Exam Strategy


There are many strategies that will help you improve your score on the COMPASSĀ® Test. Combining these basic strategies with review and practice of the test material will help you achieve the math placement you desire.

Why You Should Study For The COMPASS Test

The score you earn on the COMPASS Test will determine which math classes you will need to take. The lower your score is, the more entry level classes you’ll be required to take. If you can improve your COMPASS Test score you can avoid taking one or more entire semesters of college math! Skipping a couple math classes can make a substantial difference in your degree progress.

This website specifically focuses on helping students score well on the algebra and pre-algebra segments of the COMPASS Test. Doing well on these two basic subjects is crucial to achieving a good overall test score. If you can perform well on the COMPASS algebra and pre-algebra sections you will be placed one or two classes above where you would’ve had you not done well here. To save yourself the time and cost of taking these classes through your school, take the time now to review our study guide and practice questions and improve your COMPASS Test score!

Five Tips To Follow

  1. The test is not timed, so breathe, relax, and work at your own pace.
  2. Use the same calculator to practice for and take the actual test; it’s good to keep as many things familiar as possible.
  3. If you cannot answer a question, eliminate as many answers as possible and guess; there is no penalty for incorrect answers.
  4. If you know how to solve a question, solve it first then look for your solution in the answer list. If you find it, move on and don’t second guess yourself.
  5. Don’t panic: you’ve studied for this and are prepared. You will even have a chance to retake the test if you mess up. Just focus on answering the questions you know and guessing on the rest. Focus only on answering the question at hand and do not worry about anything else.

Confidence Is Key

Apart from knowledge of the material, the most important factor for successful testing is confidence. If you’re confident you won’t tense up, second guess yourself, or panic, and you’ll perform much better. The best way to build up your confidence is to prepare for the test by studying the material, and then to focus on answering the questions you’ve studied for, just like you did in practice. You don’t need to get every question right; don’t stress if you are clueless about some of the questions, just guess on these and move on to more familiar territory. Remember that the test is merely a monitored extension of your studies: don’t treat it as something foreign or scary.

If pressure really gets to you then you could try this tip: just before you begin the test shift your mind-state to broad external ideas. Try to ‘zoom out’ and focus on all the natural and human occurrences taking place around the world that are totally independent of your control. This can help put things in perspective and bring some calm. Try to carry this calm feeling into the test as you shift your focus to answering the questions.

Finally, check to see if your school allows multiple attempts at the test (many do). If you are not successful on your first attempt, you may be able to take the test once or twice more to try and get the score you need. If you do not pass the first time, treat the failure as a learning experience and move on with the extra knowledge you’ve gained about the test from your first attempt. With a little extra preparation you are likely to do much better on your second attempt.

The Study Guide

To help you prepare for the COMPASS Test we have provided a free study guide covering the most important topics you’ll need to know. Study these lessons and work on the practice questions included with each of them. Once you’ve gone through the lessons, you can test your overall knowledge by taking the free practice tests we’ve created. If you spend enough time studying the lessons you should do well on the practice tests, and if you do well on the practice tests you should do well on the actual test.