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The Center will be closed Friday, April 3. We have relocated to building 19 room 124

COMPASS is a tool developed by ACT Inc. to measure writing, reading and math skills. This test is used for placement into academic courses required for certificate and degree programs and as a prerequisite for entrance into select technical programs. The test is not timed and retests can be arranged. COMPASS is user friendly, and we have practice tests before each session so students can become familiar with the format. The computer selects questions based on questions you've previously answered. Our staff are available to assist as needed. 

COMPASS is given in the Assessment Center in Building 19, Room 124.

Students who would like to take the COMPASS assessment will first need to visit Enrollment Services located in Building 11, Room 142. You will be assigned a student identification number and will then proceed to the Cashier Office in Building 14, Room 103; to pay the non-refundable testing fee of $19.00. Picture identification must be presented in order to obtain your test results.

Testing Hours

Mon., Tue., Thurs.
8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
1st, 3rd, and 5th Wed.
8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
2nd & 4th Wed.
11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
8 a.m. to noon

Closed holidays

COMPASS Sample Questions


For COMPASS accommodations, contact our Student Disabilities Specialist at 253-589-5767 prior to testing.

What Does COMPASS Measure?

COMPASS is a computerized adaptive test that measures skills in reading, writing and math to determine readiness for college-level courses in these areas. 

  • Reading: you'll be given one or more passages to read, and then you'll be asked to answer questions about the passage.
  • Writing: you'll be presented with an essay and asked to look for errors in grammar, punctuation, usage and style.
  • Math: you'll be asked to solve problems that measure numerical, pre-algebra and algebra skills. Some of the areas included are basic operations with integers, fractions, decimals, exponents, ratios and proportions, percentages, elementary algebra, intermediate algebra and coordinate geometry.

What Is Included in COMPASS?

  • Student Educational Plan: collects student data, status, goals and services requested.
  • Writing, Reading and Math Skills Tests: all are multiple-choice. You cannot use reference guides or your own calculator.
  • Algebra Test: all multiple-choice. You cannot use your own calculator.
  • Diagnostic Tests: these tests are used to identify possible specific skill deficiency.

How are COMPASS scores used?

COMPASS scores indicate strengths and can identify problems in academic areas before they disrupt the educational process. Advisors meet with students after testing to determine their next step, as research shows that students placed at the proper start point have a higher success rate. If skill building is necessary, students are given the necessary information on resources and services to prepare for their technical program at Clover Park Technical College. Admissions and registration are available for those who are ready to start programs.

Is It Necessary to Take COMPASS?

Potential students must take COMPASS before entering most technical programs. Students who have taken the writing, math or algebra COMPASS at another institution within the last two years can use that test record to enter Clover Park Technical College. The Student Advising Report must be stamped in Assessment before registration.

Can I Fail the COMPASS Test?

No. COMPASS is used as an advising tool. Some technical programs have established cut-off scores for enrollment; refer to the catalog for these programs.

In order to receive Financial Aid you must have a High School Diploma or a High School Equivalency.

Tips for Taking COMPASS

Relax! The COMPASS test process is designed to help you succeed. Your score helps you and the advising staff determine which program is most appropriate for you current level of knowledge and skills. Once your academic strengths and weaknesses are identified, help is available should you need to improve any skills before they can interfere with your learning.

Rest and eat properly prior to the test. Arrive early to find parking, the cashier, Assessment Center (Building 19, Room 124), bathrooms, seating, and to gather your thoughts before the test begins.

Ask questions to clarify any information or directions before the test session begins.

The test is not timed. However, it could take approximately two hours to complete. Please do not bring or leave children unattended on the College campus during the testing process.

Read each question carefully until you understand what the question is asking. If answering any item requires several steps, be sure you consider all of them.

Be sure to answer every item. There is no penalty if you must guess. Your score will provide more useful placement information if you answer every item. Do not be afraid to change an answer if you believe that your first choice was wrong.

If you have a problem or question during the test, ask the examiner or proctor for assistance. She/he cannot help you with specific test information, but can help you with problems related to computer use.

Cheating will not be tolerated. If suspected, the testing session will be terminated. Penalties may include, but are not limited to: cancellation of scores and an imposed waiting period before retesting.

No dictionaries or study aids are allowed during testing. A calculator will be provided for you. You may not use your own. Scratch paper will also be available if you find the use of the calculator too difficult. Scratch paper and calculator will be picked up at the end of the testing session.

You may exit the test session if you are unable to complete your work. You may return on another day to complete your test.



Office Hours

Mon., Tue., Thurs. and Fri.
8 a.m. - 4 p.m.

1st, 3rd, and 5th Wed.
8 a.m. - 4 p.m.

2nd and 4th Wed.
11 a.m. - 7 p.m.

Hours subject to change due to holidays. Keep in mind that testing ends 30 minutes before the end of the session.

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