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Contact Us

Calmar Campus Testing Center
Student Center 112
800.728-2256, ext. 311

Peosta Campus Testing Center
Main Building 251
800.728.7367, ext. 226

Dubuque and Town Clock Testing Center
680-700 Main St., Dubuque
563.557.8271

COMPASS Preparation

Students are strongly encouraged to prepare for the COMPASS exam, so the exam correctly reflects placement in reading comprehension, writing skills and mathematics.

Ways to prepare for the COMPASS exam

Tips for taking the COMPASS Exam

  • Come to the test session prepared and relaxed. Please keep in mind that this particular placement exam was designed to help students succeed in courses. The score or scores obtained will help determine which classes are most appropriate.
  • Get plenty of rest and eat properly before coming in to take the COMPASS exam.
  • Read all on-screen instructions/directions carefully.
  • COMPASS is an adaptive test, and questions are selected based upon answers to previous questions. Therefore, every question must be answered. Questions cannot be skipped or returned to. If a question seems difficult, try to eliminate one or more of the choices. Then pick one of the remaining choices.
  • COMPASS mathematics is adaptive and will begin at basic levels and move to the indicated level based on exam replies. Upon completion, the indicated score will reflect one of these levels: pre-algebra, algebra, college algebra or trigonometry.  

Testing Overview, Rules and Regulations

The COMPASS placement test consists of:

  • Reading Comprehension
  • Writing Skills
  • Numerical Skills/Pre-Algebra, Algebra
  • College Algebra and Trigonometry

Notebooks, textbooks, cell phones, calculators, dictionaries, backpacks, purses, hats, coats and other personal items are not permitted in the assessment room. Lockers are provided for storage of personal items. Any student who gives or receives help or uses personal items during the test will not be allowed to continue the test. Test proctors can end a test at any time if improper testing practices occur. A photo ID must be presented in order to test.

Scratch paper for math will be provided by the Testing Center. No assessment material or notes can be removed from the Testing Center. COMPASS scores and any other personal information will be used by the College for advising and course placement purposes. Scores and other information may also be used by the College and the College Board for research purposes.

Testing Accommodations

Northeast Iowa Community College is committed to providing equal opportunities for all students. Any applicant who needs accommodations (i.e. large print, having the test read) in placement testing because of a disability must provide documentation prior to the testing.

For more information on accommodations for placement testing, please contact the Disability Services Office on campus.