What is the COMPASS Test?

Computer Adaptive Placement Assessment and Support System

The COMPASS program is a series of untimed computerized placement tests developed by American College Testing (ACT) that lets you and Ozarks Technical Community College work together to help you succeed in your educational program.  COMPASS helps identify your strengths as well as the knowledge and skills you will need in order to succeed in specific subject areas.  COMPASS also helps OTC use this information to guide you toward classes that strengthen and build logically upon your current knowledge and skills.

The COMPASS is not used like a traditional test battery.  There is generally no “passing score”.  You cannot fail.  COMPASS scores indicate areas in which you are strong and areas in which you may need help.  COMPASS can identify problems in major subject areas before they disrupt your educational progress, giving you the opportunity to prepare more effectively for needed courses.  The exception to this information is with the selective admission programs for Practical Nursing and Surgical Technology (Please note for these two programs, you are only allowed two opportunities to achieve the required score).  Specific scores on the COMPASS must be attained for a student to continue in each program process.  The required test scores may be found in the Student Services Office.  If you are in a selective admissions program we recommend you meet with an advisor. 

The WRITING SKILLS test measures your understanding of appropriate usage in grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, writing strategy and writing style.  This test asks you to find and correct errors in essays presented on the computer screen.

*Please note that if you are an English as a Second Language student and prefer or feel you need to take the ESL version of the grammar part on the COMPASS exam, it is available. Please let testing staff know if  you are interested.

The READING SKILLS test measures your ability to find specific information in text and to make logical inferences that extend beyond the test information.  You will be asked to read a passage and then the computer will ask you questions to check your comprehension.

The MATHEMATICS SKILLS test assesses your knowledge and skills on everything from basic math to calculus depending on your skills.  As you get questions correct, the computer will give you harder questions.  The computer will continue this until it can verify your current mathematics skill level.  You may use a calculator although certain types of calculators are not allowed on this test.  You will also be given scrap paper to do your calculations.

Please refer to Tips for Taking the COMPASS for important additional information.