What is Compass?
The ACT Compass is an untimed, computerized test that helps Azusa Pacific University evaluate your skills and place you into appropriate courses. ACT Compass offers tests in reading, writing, math, writing essay, and English as a Second Language (ESL). You will receive your ACT Compass test results immediately upon completion of testing, and your score report will include placement messages informing you what courses you should take and how to register.
Why do I need to take the Compass?
At APU, we use Compass testing for course placement purposes. Students are identified as candidates for Compass testing based on incoming, qualifying SAT/ACT scores. Please see the Placement Testing Information page for more-detailed information regarding the specific qualifying scores that result in each course placement. If your incoming SAT/ACT scores have qualified you for ENGL 099,* ENGL 100,** MATH 090,*** MATH 091,*** MATH 095,*** or MATH 096,*** we would encourage you to take a Compass placement test in the appropriate subject area(s) as soon as possible, as the placement results will determine the course(s) in which you will be enrolled for your first semester at Azusa Pacific University.
Note: The asterisks following the course listings above indicate that you should schedule the following portions of the Compass exam if you have been placed in the indicated course: *Reading **Writing ***Math
Do I have to take all portions of the Compass exam (like the ACT/SAT), or can I simply schedule the test(s) that apply to me?
You may schedule an appointment to take only the test(s) that apply to you.
If I need to take more than one portion of the Compass exam, do I have to take all of the tests during one sitting?
No, you are able to make multiple appointments to come in and take each portion of the Compass exam separately, or you may schedule an appointment to take all of the tests that you need during one sitting. The choice is up to you.
How do I schedule a Compass test?
You may arrange to take a Compass placement test either at the Learning Enrichment Center, located on the Azusa Pacific University campus in Azusa, California, or you may arrange to take the Compass at a remote location, as arranged through the Learning Enrichment Center. Steps to schedule both options are outlined below.
Steps to schedule a Compass test through the Learning Enrichment Center (LEC) at Azusa Pacific University in Azusa:
- Note which portions of the Compass you need to take (Reading, Writing, and/or Math). If you are unsure, ask the office administrator for assistance when you call the Learning Enrichment Center.
- Call the Learning Enrichment Center at (626) 815-3849 to schedule a time to take the Compass. While the Compass is untimed, please allow for at least one hour to complete each portion of the test that you schedule.
- There is NO FEE for enrolled APU students to take the Compass placement test when you take it on Azusa Pacific’s main campus.
- Please remember to bring the following items when you arrive on your test day:
- Current Picture ID
- Graphing Calculator (NOT a TI-89) if you are taking the Math portion of the test. You may also borrow one when you arrive at the LEC if you do not have one of your own.
Steps to schedule the Compass at a remote testing site:
- Visit the ACT Compass website to locate a testing center near you. Please note that you may have to adjust the distance component of the search in order to find an appropriate testing center for you.
- Once you have determined where you would like to take the test, call the LEC at (626) 815-3849. You will be asked for the name of the remote testing site you have selected, as well as general personal information, including your APU-issued Student ID number.
- Please note that you are responsible to pay a small proctoring fee that may be charged by the remote testing site.
How do I prepare for the Compass Exam?
Visit the ACT Compass website to find sample questions, additional downloadable Compass practice material, and helpful test-taking tips and strategies to help you prepare for the exam.
Compass Preparation Websites
- Official Compass Website
- Calculator Guidelines for Compass Testing
- West Texas A&M Virtual Math Lab
Choose the math area where you need help: Beginning, Intermediate, or College Algebra.
- University of Missouri Online Math Tests
Sample questions/tests for all levels, including higher-level math such as calculus and trig.
Excellent preparation website for those needing review in pre-algebra and algebra.
- Hostos Community College Mathematics Review Site
Diagnostic tests in algebra and pre-algebra, plus practice questions with step-by-step solutions.
- Khan Academy
Online learning resource for any academic subject or level—free and extremely useful!
- Official Compass Website
- Sample Compass Reading Test
With questions and answers.
- Compass Reading Preparation Video Series
A series of in-depth prep videos based on the Compass reading exam.
- Official Compass Website
APU uses the 2–12 scoring guidelines referred to on the webpage.
- Official Compass Website Sample Essay
- (Official Compass Website Tips for Taking the e-Write Test
- Central Ohio Technical College Student Support for the Compass Test
Scroll down the page to the Writing section, which offers helpful information for understanding what to expect on the e-Write test, including information about what an “ideal” response looks like.
Note: If you are uncertain about the meaning of your scores/results once you complete Compass placement testing, contact your advisor or the following LEC staff members: Anna Smith (firstname.lastname@example.org), Beth Chamberlain (email@example.com), or Jill Hartwig (firstname.lastname@example.org). You may also call the LEC at (626) 815-3849.