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


What is the test like?

The test presents a series of reading passages and asks the student to answer 5 – 7 comprehension questions per passage. Some of the questions may ask about vocabulary in the paragraphs.

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 courses for the student to select. Students whose scores on this test show that there is some weakness in reading may be advised to seek additional help and support, including but not limited to specialized tutoring and placement in specific courses that will give the student time to develop those reading skills.

How can students prepare for the reading placement test?

Students should read as much as possible and should spend some time reviewing basic reading skills before taking the placement test. This review can include going over exercises that require the reader to identify main ideas, make inferences, locate details, distinguish between fact and opinion, and so forth. Doing exercises to expand one’s vocabulary may also be helpful. Many websites are available to help students improve their reading skills. One that may be helpful is NOTE: Although 3 practice tests are listed, students who are not enrolled in Georgia State University (GSU), the sponsor of the site, will have access only to Practice Test 3. That test provides a number of sample passages and is a great introduction to the COMPASS reading test.

What do students need to know about the testing session?

The COMPASS reading 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.