ConceptKCTCS/KCTCSConcept Frequently Asked Questions | Madisonville Community College

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the COMPASS test?

COMPASS is an untimed, computerized test that helps Madisonville Community College evaluate your skill level in the areas of writing, reading and math. It is used to place you into courses that fit your level skill and ability. View more details about the COMPASS.

Before, During, & After?

Prior to taking the COMPASS tests, you can prepare yourself by:

  • Familiarizing yourself with the types of questions on the exam by reviewing sample COMPASS test questions.
  • Understanding that the COMPASS test is not timed and that you can work at your own pace.
  • Scheduling enough time to take the test. It's a good idea to set aside a few hours of your day to complete the exam.
  • Making sure you have proper information needed on test day (i.e. photo identification, social security number, fees, etc.)
  • Getting enough sleep the night before the test.
  • Eating a nutritious meal both the night before and the morning of the exam.
  • Arriving early enough before the test begins to allow yourself time to locate the testing area, go to the restroom, get a drink, etc.
  • It's important not to feel rushed so that you have time to gather your thoughts before the test begins.

The best way to maximize your score during the COMPASS is: Don't stress out! Remember, the goal of the COMPASS test is to help you succeed in your college classroom. Your scores will help Madisonville Community College decide which classes are best suited to your ability level. The good news is that once you know what your academic weaknesses are, you can get the help you need to improve in these areas.

Additionally, while taking the COMPASS test, you can maximize your score by:

  • Carefully reading the directions for each test and making sure you understand them.
  • Raising your hand to get the attention of the test administrator if you do not know what to do. Although they cannot answer any test questions, they can help you with other types of problems, such as clarifying test directions.
  • Reading each question carefully so that you understand exactly what it is asking.
  • Completing all of the steps necessary to answer each test question.
  • Answering every item. Remember, you will not be penalized for guessing. Answering all questions will provide better placement information to the college or university looking at your test results.
  • Changing an answer only if you are convinced that what you originally put down was wrong.
  • Focusing on the test and not letting yourself get distracted by anything else going on in the room.

Once you have completed the COMPASS test, you can understand your results by:

  • Reviewing your COMPASS Score Report and Understanding Your Scores worksheet with the Coordinator of Academic Assessment.
  • Paying special attention to any suggestions or messages your results contain regarding what you need to do to enroll in the classes best suited for you.
  • Talking not only to your academic advisor, but also to your instructors about your results. Make sure you ask them any questions you may have about your
    program of study, what classes you should take, and what you should do to improve in your identified areas of weakness.

Do I need to take the COMPASS?

If you do not have a current ACT or COMPASS score on file, or if you have taken the ACT and scored below any of the following you will need to take the COMPASS assessment.

Minimum ACT scores for exemption from the COMPASS:

  • English: 18
  • Reading: 20
  • Math: 19

Why do I have to take the COMPASS?

Madisonville Community College is committed to providing you with the greatest chance of success in initial and future coursework. MCC’s course placement policy will ensure that you enroll in courses that most accurately reflect your current skills and abilities in English usage, reading and mathematics. Unless your ACT scores exempt you, completing the COMPASS test is a required part of the application process at MCC.

How do I sign up to take the COMPASS?

Register for the assessment by emailing Abby McGregor Mullen, Coordinator of Career Services.

How much does the COMPASS test cost?

The first time you take the COMPASS test at MCC, it is free. If you would like to retest, you can take the entire test for $20 or one individual section for $10. Payment must be made prior to testing. Payment is accepted at the testing locations.  Cash only accepted, and testing locations do not keep change.

Where is the COMPASS test administered?

Testing is administered in the Enrollment Center of the John H. Gray building on the north campus of Madisonville Community College. Testing is administered in room 202 when testing at MCC’s Muhlenberg Campus.

What is on the COMPASS test?

You will be assessed in writing, reading and math. You can find study materials on the placement testing webpage.

How long does the COMPASS test take?

You will be working at your own pace; it is a good idea to set aside 1 hour per section.

What will I need to bring to the test?

You are required to bring:

  • Photo ID (drivers license, instruction permit or any government issued identification)
  • Your 9 digit Social Security number (You do not need your actual Social Security card. Your Social Security number will be used to login to the test. If you do not have a social security number please inform your test administrator prior to testing.) 
  • Payment (if you are retesting the COMPASS with MCC)

You are also allowed to bring a calculator. A calculator is provided for all test takers. If you would like to bring your own calculator it will need to fall within the ACT/COMPASS calculator guidelines.

You are not allowed to bring:

  • Cell phones or other electronic devices.
  • Food or drink (It is not allowed at the computer workstations.)
  • Children or friends (Only individuals testing will be allowed in the testing room while the test is being administered.)

When will I get the results?

You will receive your COMPASS test results immediately upon completion of testing. Your score report will include placement messages informing you what courses you should take. The Academic Assessment Coordinator will be present to go over your scores and answer any questions you may have.

What do my COMPASS scores mean?

The COMPASS test is used as a placement tool used to evaluate your skill level in the areas of writing, reading and math. It is used to place you into the proper courses for your level of knowledge and ability.

What if I have a learning or physical disability that requires special accommodations?

Contact Valerie Wolfe, Disability Resource Manager at (270) 824-1708.

How long are my test scores valid?

Madisonville Community College requires that your test scores be less than 5 years old.

Can I retest if I am not satisfied with my test scores?

Yes, you may retake the COMPASS test. You will be required to pay the retest fee as listed above. You can find study materials on the placement webpage to prepare for your retest.