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COMPASS Placement Test

Developed by ACT, COMPASS was designed to help students entering two-year colleges succeed in their educational goals.  The main purpose is to identify your present academic strengths and needs in the areas of writing, reading, and math.

Scheduling An Appointment
After submitting your application to the Admissions Office, you should contact Testing Services to schedule an appointment to test.  Appointments are scheduled at the campus where you plan to test.  Only Main Campus has walk-in testing available.  If you have qualifying SAT, ACT or ASSET scores the COMPASS test is not required.

Main Campus  -  (843) 574-6410  -  Building 410  Room 202
Palmer Campus  -  (843) 722-5516  -  Room 226  
Berkeley Campus  -  (843) 899-8079  -  Room 111
Mt. Pleasant Campus - (843) 958-5810 - Room 143 B
St. Paul's Parish Site  -  (843) 323-3800  -  Room 100 A
Dorchester QuickJobs Site - (843) 574- 2591 - Room 102 

A valid picture ID (e.g., School ID, Driver's License, Passport, Military) and your Social Security Number are required when testing.  Testing Services will provide scratch paper, a pencil and a hand-held calculator for testing. 
The tests are not timed.  Students usually take about 90 minutes to complete the entire test.  You will receive a copy of your COMPASS scores immediately after testing.

Important Placement Test Information For Distance Education Students
If you are currently living/working some distance away from campus (another part of the state or in another state), we can help you complete your COMPASS placement testing for Trident Technical College through a COMPASS remote test site near your current location.  To set up your COMPASS testing at a site near you, begin the process by calling either (843) 574-6684 or (843) 574-6334 at Trident Technical College. We will help you make the necessary arrangements in a short phone call.

COMPASS is user-friendly and is designed for individuals with little computer experience.  You will use a computer mouse to select your responses as you move through the different sections of the test.  The test is not timed.

COMPASS Writing allows the student to find and correct errors in essays.  Test items include:  grammar, punctuation, and sentence structure.  

consists of several reading passages.  Questions are asked concerning the content of the reading material.  The items are multiple-choice.  The passages are displayed on one side of the screen and the test questions with answer choices are displayed on the other side. 

COMPASS Math covers a variety of items from pre-algebra to advanced mathematics.  Test items include:  averages, decimals, fractions, percentages, addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, word problems, and algebra.  The items are multiple-choice.  An online calculator is available. 
Test Preparation

Practice is KEY for COMPASS Placement Test Success!

Based on a student survey:
  • 95% of students who looked at the COMPASS Practice Tutorial said it was easy to use and full of good information.
  • 95% of students who used the COMPASS practice question links said that the information provided a good review before taking the test.

The sections to study are Reading, Writing Skills, and Math (Pre-Algebra, Algebra, College Algebra, and Trigonometry). 
The Math section starts in Pre-Algebra, so brush up on the basics!


It is important to take the test seriously.  Your test results will be used to place you in the appropriate classes for your skill level.  It will be to your advantage to be accurately placed in the highest level course possible.  A GED Study Guide may be used to prepare. Additional information can be found online at the following websites:
  • COMPASS sample questions 
  • Additional sample questions
  • LearningExpress Library

  • Test Scores
    The COMPASS test was developed to assist with academic advising.  The test results will help your Advisor to determine where you should begin your academic coursework.  Your scores indicate your academic strengths and weaknesses in relation to college-level work.  TTC offers developmental courses in math, reading, and writing skills.  Writing and reading scores are valid for five years and math scores are valid for two years.

    After Testing
    Orientation will provide information concerning test scores, retesting options, and will assign you an Academic Advisor.  COMPASS is not a pass/fail test; however, some academic programs of study have set mandatory scores for program admission.  Testing Services does not interpret test scores.  A $25 fee is required for retesting.

    When testing for other institutions, a $40 fee is required for COMPASS or Accuplacer test administration and score processing.

    Special Accommodations
    If you require a disability-related testing accommodation, contact Services For Students With Disabilities at (843) 574-6131 prior to taking the test.
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