You are about to look at some sample test questions as you prepare to take the actual COMPASS test. The examples in this booklet are similar to the kinds of test questions you are likely to see when you take the actual COMPASS test. Since this is a practice exercise, you will answer just a few questions and you won’t receive a real test score. The answer key follows the sample questions.
Once you are ready to take the actual COMPASS test, you need to know that the test is computer delivered and untimed— that is, you may work at your own pace. After you complete the test, you can get a score report to help you make good choices when you register for college classes.
We hope you benefit from these sample questions, and we wish you success as you pursue your education and career goals!
Note to Parents:
The test questions in this sample set are similar to the kinds of test questions your son or daughter will encounter when they take the actual COMPASS test. Since these questions are only for practice, they do not produce a test score; students answer more questions on the actual test. The aim of this booklet is to give a sense of the kinds of questions examinees will face and their level of difficulty. There is an answer key at the end.
Running Start Students:
The Running Start tests are the same as the COMPASS tests. The difference is that Running Start students must obtain a minimum score on the College Algebra test in order to take math classes at Clark. They do not have the option to test at lower levels for math.
COMPASS Mathematics Tests
The COMPASS Mathematics Tests are organized around five principal content domains: numerical skills/prealgebra, algebra, college algebra, geometry, and trigonometry. To ensure variety in the content and complexity of items within each domain, COMPASS includes mathematics items of three general levels of cognitive complexity: basic skills, application, and analysis. A basic skills item can be solved by performing a sequence of basic operations. An application item involves applying sequences of basic operations to novel settings or in complex ways. An analysis item requires students to demonstrate a conceptual understanding of the principles and relationships relevant to particular mathematical operations. Items in each of the content domains sample extensively from these three cognitive levels.Students are permitted to use calculators provided by the testing organization on all current Windows® and Internet versions of COMPASS Mathematics Tests.
Numerical Skills/Prealgebra Placement Test
Questions in the Numerical Skills/Prealgebra Placement Test range in content from basic arithmetic concepts and skills to the knowledge and skills considered prerequisites for a first algebra course. The Numerical Skills/Prealgebra Placement Test includes items from more than a dozen content areas; however, a majority of the questions come from the following categories:
- Operations with Integers
- Operations with Fractions
- Operations with Decimals
- Positive Integer Exponents, Square Roots, and Scientific Notation
- Ratios and Proportions
- Averages (Means, Medians, and Modes)
Algebra Placement Test
The Algebra Placement Test is composed of items from three curricular areas: elementary algebra, coordinate geometry, and intermediate algebra. Each of these three areas is further subdivided into a number of more specific content areas. Overall, the Algebra Placement Test includes items from more than 20 content areas; however, the majority of test questions fall within the following eight content areas:
- Substituting Values into Algebraic Expressions
- Setting Up Equations for Given Situations
- Basic Operations with Polynomials
- Factoring Polynomials
- Linear Equations in One Variable
- Exponents and Radicals
- Rational Expressions
- Linear Equations in Two Variables
COMPASS Reading Placement Test
The reading comprehension items are of two general categories: referring and reasoning. Within each of these two general categories are several content categories that further specify the skills and knowledge assessed by each item. Referring items pose questions about material explicitly stated in a passage. Reasoning items assess proficiency at making appropriate inferences, developing a critical understanding of the text, and determining the specific meanings of difficult, unfamiliar, or ambiguous words based on the surrounding context.
COMPASS Writing Skills Sample Test Questions
The Writing Skills Placement Test presents one or more passages, each containing several errors.
When an error is detected in a passage, there are several alternative segments of text from which a more appropriate segment can be selected.
Items in the Writing Skills Placement Test assess basic knowledge and skills in usage and mechanics (e.g., punctuation, basic grammar and usage, and sentence structure) as well as more rhetorical skills such as writing strategy, organization, and style. Representative samples of items from these knowledge and skill areas are provided in the passages.
Note that in the sample passages, each section is numbered. In the computerized
COMPASS Writing Skills Placement Test, sections are not numbered; instead, errors are identified by moving the cursor to the section of text in which an error is identified and then clicking the left mouse button to make the alternative text options appear.