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Placement Test Skills

The COMPASS Math Placement Test asks you to choose the best answer for multiple-choice problems in the following three areas:

  • Basic skills – performing a sequence of basic operations, including addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division of whole numbers, fractions, and decimals.
  • Application – applying basic operations to word problems that sometimes involve more than one step.
  • Analysis – demonstrating that you understand the principles and relationships in mathematical operations.

During the Test

  • Read each question slowly and carefully.
  • Do your best to answer the question correctly. This is a smart test. If you miss several questions in a row, the test will stop and you won't be able to continue.
  • You can change your answer as much as you wish until you click the "Go On" icon.
  • Questions are presented in a somewhat random order from a large pool. If the first question seems very hard, don't worry. The next question may be easier.
  • Realize that some problems may have two or more steps. Don't automatically choose one of the answers just because it matches one of your calculations. Perhaps your calculation is correct but as a step along the way rather than final answer.
  • If you simply don't understand the question or the material seems completely unfamiliar, take a guess and move on.

ACT COMPASS sample questions can be found at or at

Additional Placement Test Prep Sites

Accuplacer for students (with iPhone app):

COMPASS, ASSET, PSAT, ACT, SAT and other standardized tests:

Math test practice: or (select COMPASS testing on the left side of the screen)

Guilford Tech COMPASS Test Preparation - Create a username and password. You do not have to be a Guilford Tech student to use this information.