ConceptKCTCS/KCTCSConcept COMPASS FAQs | Somerset Community College
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What is the COMPASS test?

The American College Testing Program’s COMPASS Placement test was developed to help those entering college to succeed in their educational goals. COMPASS is a computer-adaptive placement test that measures skills in reading, English, and mathematics. The main purpose of the skills assessment is to help identify your current strengths and needs so you may build a solid plan for success in the educational options you choose to pursue at Somerset Community College.

Do I have to take the COMPASS test?

Students enrolling in KCTCS colleges for the purpose of earning credit applicable toward a certificate, diploma, or associate degree must demonstrate through the ACT or COMPASS that they possess the minimum academic skills essential for success. If you have never taken the ACT, the COMPASS will be used for placement.

How much does it cost to take the COMPASS test?

Everyone must first complete and submit an admissions application to Somerset Community College before taking the COMPASS test, after you submit your application there will be no charge for the COMPASS test. If you do not submit an admissions application there will be a $20.00 testing fee. If you are required to take a COMPASS post-test in English or reading, you will not be charged. Post-tests are scheduled by the instructor, and given to classes, not to individuals. If you choose to retest, there is a fee of $7.00 per section or $20.00 for the complete retest. If you are a non-student or will be using the COMPASS test results for a hiring process, the fee is $20.00 for the complete test and $7.00 for section.

Should I review before taking COMPASS


Yes. COMPASS will assess your current strengths and needs, but it is important to be familiar with the type of questions that will be asked. These sites online may be helpful:

Sample questions are available online or in the Assessment Center.

Will my COMPASS score keep me from attending SCC?

The COMPASS is a placement test. Your scores help you and your advisor select the courses you need to be successful. English and mathematics courses require certain scores as prerequisites. A minimum score in reading is also required for entry-level classes. For students seeking a certificate or a diploma, minimum COMPASS scores are required for program admission. Students intending to enroll in these programs are not exempt from the admission requirement; however, concurrent enrollment in program courses and academic-related instruction (ARI) is permitted.

What if I fail the COMPASS test?

Although there are cut-off scores for enrolling in certain courses, COMPASS is not a pass-fail test. It is a course placement test. Your scores will indicate where your strengths and weaknesses are in relation to college-level work for your chosen major. If you need assistance in meeting academic requirements, SCC offers classes in mathematics, reading and English that will prepare you for success in college level courses. There is a 30 day re-test policy.

May I retake the COMPASS to improve my scores?

A retest on the Compass is not normally recommended. The scores of students who retest generally do not vary more than a point or two. We highly recommend that before you consider retesting, you take the recommended coursework or complete a remediation program. COMPASS cannot be repeated more than one (1) time in a 30 day period.

How do I sign-up for a COMPASS test?

The COMPASS test is administered on a walk-in basis, with first-come, first-served availability Monday through Friday between 8:30 am and 1:00 pm at the Somerset and Laurel Campuses. Please call the Somerset testing center at 606-451-6850 or the Laurel testing center at 606-878-4728 in advance to be sure the center will be open the day you plan to test.

You can schedule the COMPASS at the following locations by appointment only:

  • Clinton Center 606-387-3236
  • McCreary Center 606-376-5747
  • Russell Center 270-858-6501
  • Lincoln Co. Adult Education Center 606-365-9665
  • Wayne Co. Adult Education Center 606-348-5286
  • Rockcastle Co. Adult Education Center 606-308-5343

Should I bring anything with me when I take the test?

The Assessment Center will provide a pencil, scratch paper, and calculator for the COMPASS. If you would like to use your own calculator, you may; however, it must be one from the list of ACT approved calculators. Cell phones with calculator functions or handheld mobile devices cannot be used. You should also bring a photo ID.

How soon will I know the results of my COMPASS test?

The COMPASS will automatically print your results when you have completed the test. You will be given a copy of your results. Your scores will be available to your advisor when you meet with them during your advising session. It is helpful to take your copy of the COMPASS results with you when you meet with your advisor.

What are the COMPASS course placement guidelines?

Course placements in math, reading and English are determined by your ACT or COMPASS scores. The COMPASS Placement Form outlines which courses you can take based on these scores.