How to Pass the COMPASS Math Test

Instructor: Shelby Golden
COMPASS Math tests are placement exams that gauge your preparedness for college-level mathematics courses. Keep reading to get information about what's on these tests and discover resources that can help you get the score you need.

Passing COMPASS Math Tests

You might need to earn a minimum score - as determined by your school - on one or more COMPASS Math tests in order to enter a specific program or meet prerequisites for certain math courses. Keep in mind that COMPASS exams are currently being phased out. These exams may be used through the end of 2016, but after that different placement tests will be implemented. Check with your school to make sure you're preparing for the correct test and find out what score you need before you begin studying.

Once you're ready to start studying, follow these suggestions to make sure you put your best foot forward on test day:

  • Go over your notes and old textbooks as you prepare for your exam or check out the online study aids below to help strengthen your mathematics skills.
  • You'll be able to use certain calculators for these exams. Check out the guidelines for calculator use on ACT's website (
  • Covering the answers and carefully reading each question while you try to determine the solution can help you attain a higher score on this exam.
  • You should also ensure that you answer every question. You won't be penalized for wrong answers, and you might get it right even if you're just guessing.

Online Study Help offers a COMPASS Math Test Study Guide that can help you get prepared for each of these tests. This course covers the formulas and computations you'll need to know through easy-to-follow video lessons. You'll get access to interactive quizzes so you can practice applying what you know as well as printable worksheets that you can use to work on problems when you're away from your computer. You can even contact mathematics experts if you need help with a specific issue. offers additional help with individual exam topics. Find out more about the tests and how you can get ready for them:

Numerical Skills/Pre-Algebra

This exam tests your basic math skills to ensure you'll be able to perform well in a college algebra course. Your ability to complete arithmetic operations with whole numbers, fractions and decimals; work with exponents and square roots; and calculate measures of central tendency are just some of the skills tested on this exam.

You can take these practice exams to strengthen your skills in these areas:


You'll need to review concepts associated with algebraic expressions and coordinate geometry to get the score you want on this exam. Test questions focus on your ability to set up and solve equations with a missing variable. You'll also need to be familiar with linear and polynomial equations.

To make sure you pass this test, use these exams to practice working with:

College Algebra

The College Algebra exam is slightly more difficult than the Algebra exam. You'll need a firm understanding of how to perform operations with exponents, functions, matrices and complex numbers. Sequences and series are also covered on this test.

You can use the following tests to review these areas:


The Geometry exam tests your ability to calculate the dimensions of such shapes as triangles, rectangles and circles. To do well on this test, you should also be able to calculate the perimeter, surface area or volume of 3-D and composite shapes.

Brush up on your geometry skills with these tests on:


As you get ready to take the Trigonometry exam, make sure you focus on studying trigonometric functions and their graphs. Trigonometric identities are also among the topics covered on this test.

Check out these exams to get extra practice using your trigonometry skills:

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