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Picture of a computerized test

Testing Center

Compass testing

Student Instruction Sheet

You are about to take a series of assessment tests which will help you decide what courses you should enroll in. These are not admission tests; they are CLASS PLACEMENT tests. There are no "failing" grades. Whatever your score, we have a course that is appropriate for the level of knowledge you have at this time.

The followings items are NOT permitted in the testing room. They may be stored in a locker if brought with you. Electronic items, including cell phones. Food or drink. Hats, headbands & hoodies. Backpacks, tote bags and purses. Coats, watches, and sunglasses.

There are three sections of this assessment: a reading section, a writing section, and a mathematics section. If you are exempt from one or more sections (retesting), you will be able to test in whatever sections are required for your enrollment. Continuing and students working to be admitted to the college who wish to take a retake of a single or multiple subjects will need to obtain a Compass retake referral slip from an admissions counselor. The counselor will then be the one who makes the determination that the student fits within the ACT standards; that their original performance was influenced by factors other than ability or a significant change in examinee ability has occurred. If you are completing more than one section, the program will automatically start you on each test. Tests are not timed, but students generally spend 20-30 minutes on each test. Total testing time for the full battery of tests may require about 2 hours.

For the math section you will be able to access the Windows calculator through a link at the top of the screen, or bring your own personal calculator. Bring photo identification with you and receipt of payment from the cashier office.

As you work through the assessment, all necessary information and instructions will be given right on the computer screen. You will click the mouse on your response or you may type the letter of your response. Each question is very important and you should carefully consider your answer. You cannot "skip" a question and come back to it.

It is important that you do your best on the assessment.

Students requesting to use the EITC testing facilities to take a Compass test for another college or university should contact the admissions department at the requesting institution and make the arrangements for a Remote Compass Test.

Good sources for test preparation include:


The Reading Placement exam is an un-timed multiple-choice test that helps you and EITC determine your current reading skill level. The exam will assist advisors with determining if a student has the necessary reading skills they need to succeed in certain standard entry-level college courses.

Before starting the test you will have a screen that will prompt you with commands to learn how to take the test. The right side of the screen has the current question and four possible responses. You can click anywhere on the correct answer, or you may type the letter of the correct response. Numbers in boxes below the question indicate the question number. The left side of the screen has the passage. You can click on the "More" button to scroll through the passage, or press the ¯ (down) or ­ (up) arrows.

  1. You will see a Focus Question before each passage.
  2. You should read all the questions before reading the passage.
    To answer a question, click anywhere on the correct response OR type the letter of your response.

You can change an answer to a question for the current passage by clicking on the numbered box for the question you want to see again; click on the response you want. You cannot return to this passage or to the questions about this passage later.
You must be satisfied with all your answers for the completed passage before you click on "Go On."


The Writing Skills Placement exam is an un-timed multiple-choice test that requires students to find and correct errors in essays in the areas of usage and mechanics, including basic grammar, punctuation and sentence structure, and rhetorical skills, including strategy, organization and style. There are a variety of topics and reading passages that will be provided during this exam. The Writing Skills Placement exam will assist advisors with determining what level of English is best to begin for students attending EITC.

CAREFULLY read and follow the directions given here.

  1. You will have a practice screen to learn how to take this test.
  2. BE SURE TO EDIT (click on to see options for) EVERY SENTENCE OF THE ENTIRE ESSAY; don't just scan for errors!  IF YOU FAIL TO DO THIS, A LOW SCORE WILL RESULT!
  3. When you click on any sentence or phrase in the essay, those words will be highlighted and you will see an area on the right side of the screen with options for change. Option "A" will always be the same as in the essay (reflecting no change!).
  4. BE SURE you have made all the corrections for an essay before you click on the "Finished editing essay" button.  ONCE YOU HAVE FINISHED EDITING AN ESSAY, you cannot go back to it later.
  5. You will then have two questions referring to the essay; choose the best option from the choices given.  After answering both questions, click on the "Go On" button to continue with the test.


The Math Placement test is a multiple-choice test that evaluates students' ability levels in terms of basic skills such as performing a sequence of basic operations, application skills such as applying sequences of basic operations to novel settings or in complex ways, and analysis skills such as demonstrating conceptual understanding of principles and relationship for mathematical operations.  The Math Placement exam will assist advisors with determining what level of Mathematics or Algebra is best to begin for students attending EITC.

NOTE:  Because COMPASS is a computer-adaptive test, you will be given a problem and depending on how you answer the problem depends on whether the next problem gets harder or easier.  You may use the calculator on the computer.  You may switch between the standard or scientific view throughout the test.

  1. You can click anywhere on the correct response, or type the letter.
  2. You must answer a question before you will see the next question, and you will not be able to return to any questions later.
  3. You are allowed a pencil and one piece of scratch paper at a time for the test.  Scratch paper will be shredded after the test.

When you have completed all required tests, the final screen will say:  "You have completed the test.  Leave the computer station and take scratch paper and pencil out of the room.  A copy of your score report will be available after you have retrieved your belongings from the locker and show identification to the testing center staff.

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