Paine College uses the COMPASS test, prepared by ACT, as the English placement exam.


What is the test like?

The test presents a series of paragraphs and asks the student to determine whether or not there are any errors in the sentences. The student should read each sentence to look for errors or to think about how to improve the clarity of the sentence. Each sentence will allow the student to select a better version from a series of alternatives, or the student can decide that the original sentence is the best choice.

When will students find out the results?

When the student meets with his or her advisor to confirm course selection, the advisor will share the results of this testing. These results will help the student and the advisor determine the best English course placement. Students whose scores on this test show that there is some weakness in English composition and grammar will be advised to seek additional help and support, including but not limited to specialized tutoring and placement in specific courses that will help the student develop those writing skills.

How can students prepare for the English placement test?


What do students need to know about the testing session?

The COMPASS English test is untimed, so students will be able to work at their own speed. This means that students should be prepared to take as much time as they need to complete the test. It will be impossible to tell them exactly when they will be finished. As a general guide, students should plan to spend about an hour per test, although the actual time may vary from student to student.