Compass Placement Test

COMPASS is a suite of computerized tests that evaluate a student’s skills in basic areas, such as reading, writing and mathematics. Columbus Technical College uses COMPASS scores to help place each individual student in courses at a level appropriate for the student’s current knowledge and abilities.

Students who have completed college-level English and Mathematics coursework from a regionally accredited institution with grades of “C” or better and who present official transcripts showing the completed coursework will not be required to take COMPASS for entrance into degree, diploma or certificate programs. Programs with competitive acceptance processes may require valid test scores.

Special Note for Health Sciences Program Applicants: The Compass Reading and Writing portion must be taken by all students desiring acceptance into a competitively- admitted Health Science program regardless of whether they have taken college-level English or have an English transferred from another college/institution. These Reading and Writing scores are used as a part of the competitive acceptance process for all Health Science competitive-admission programs. For more information on Health Sciences programs and the competitive admission process, please visit the School of Health Sciences.

Frequently-Asked Questions about COMPASS

When and where do I take COMPASS?

The COMPASS lab is open on the following days:

  • Monday – Thursday*: Open Compass Testing (no sign up necessary-walk in).

    Lab opens at 8 am and closes at 6 pm.

    Application and Retesting Fees must be paid prior to testing.

    Room 153-A Hartline Building (Administration Building).

* The campus is closed on Fridays

The Testing Center is located on the first floor of the Hartline Building (Administration Building), on the south side of Manchester Expressway. Please allow at least 2-3 hours if you are taking all sections of the COMPASS exam. A valid photo id is required.

What should I bring?

You must bring an official picture ID such as a driver’s license or passport. Calculators, pencils and scratch paper will be provided for the math section; do not bring your own calculators. No food, drinks, tobacco products, cell phones, beepers, or children are allowed in the Testing Center.

How long does the test take?

The COMPASS test is not timed, but it typically takes from 2-3 hours to complete.

How do I get my results, and what do I do next?

Testing Center staff will go over your scores briefly with you after the exam. New applicants are advised to see an Admissions representative immediately after testing. You must have successfully completed your testing before you can register for classes.

What is the test like?

The Math section of the test will start in Pre-Algebra. You will have about 8 questions or more in each section. You will be allowed to use the Testing Center’s calculators and/or the calculators available on COMPASS, and scratch paper will be provided. You may not bring your own calculator. The questions are multiple choice.

The Reading section of the test will require you to toggle (go back and forth) between the passage and the question. You may only go back within the same passage to revise your answers before continuing. You can not go back to a previous passage once you continue out of it. There will be a minimum of 2 and a maximum of 5 passages to complete. The questions are multiple choice.

The Writing section requires you to edit an essay by highlighting each phrase or sentence, then choosing a revision from a multiple-choice list. After you click on the buttonFinished Editing Essay, you will not be allowed to make further changes. Once you have completed the editing portion of the exam, you will then have a question or two to answer about the essay. There will be a minimum of 2 up to a maximum of 4 essays to edit.

Can I retake COMPASS to improve my scores?

The policy of Columbus Technical College is to allow one retesting opportunity per test section of COMPASS per semester. A retest can occur seven or more days after an initial test. There is a minimum waiting period of seven days between an initial test and a retest.The retest fee is $15 per test section. For more information, please call Admissions at 706.649.1847.