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Math Placement Test

COMPASS™ Math Test

The Math Placement Test is a multiple-choice test that evaluates students’ ability levels in terms of basic skills such as performing a sequence of basic operations, application skills such as applying sequences of basic operations to novel settings or in complex ways, and analysis skills such as demonstrating conceptual understanding of principles and relationships for mathematical operations. The Math Placement Test offers up to five subject areas:

  • Pre-Algebra
  • Algebra
  • College Algebra
  • Geometry
  • Trigonometry

Students may use calculators that comply with ACT specifications when taking the COMPASS math tests.

Information About Sample Math Tests

Review both of the following documents and do the sample questions before attending Orientation.

Calculator Guidelines for COMPASS™ Testing

Calculators may be used on the COMPASS Pre-Algebra, Algebra, College Algebra, Geometry, and Trigonometry tests, provided they meet the requirements listed below.

To ensure fairness for all test takers, avoid disturbances in the testing room, and protect the security of the testing materials and process, the following types of calculators are not permitted:

  • Pocket organizers
  • Handheld or laptop computers
  • Electronic writing pads or pen-input devices; the Sharp EL 9600 is permitted.
  • Models with a QWERTY (typewriter) keypad (although calculators with letters on the keys are permitted as long as the keys are not arranged in QWERTY format)
  • Models with built-in capability to simplify algebraic expressions, multiply polynomials, or factor polynomials (often called Computer Algebra Systems). Prohibited calculators in this category:
    • Casio: Algebra fx 2.0, ClassPad 300, and all model numbers that begin with CFX-9970G
    • Texas Instruments: All model numbers that begin with TI-89 or TI-92
    • Hewlett-Packard: hp 48GII and all model numbers that begin with hp 40G or hp 49G

The following types of calculators are permitted only if they are used as noted:

  • Models with paper tapes—the paper must be removed
  • Models that make noise—the sound feature must be turned off
  • Models that can communicate (transfer data or information wirelessly with other calculators)—the wireless transfer capability must be disabled by placing opaque material (such as masking tape) over the infrared data port
  • Models that have a power cord—no power cords are permitted. The electrical cord must be removed.

Note: ACT monitors new calculators as they become available. For the latest list of prohibited calculators, students and institutions are invited to call toll free 800-498-6481 for a recorded message.

If students plan to use a calculator, they are responsible for bringing an acceptable one to the testing session. Sharing calculators during the test is not permitted, and the test proctor will not provide a calculator.

Students are also responsible for ensuring that their calculator works properly. If their calculator uses batteries, students must make certain that the batteries are strong enough to last throughout the testing session. Students may bring a spare calculator and extra batteries with them.

© 2008 by ACT, Inc.

  • Advising and Testing Center
  • Pratt Hall, Room 216
    201 Pratt Drive
    Indiana, PA 15705
  • Phone: 724-357-4067
  • Fax: 724-357-2889
  • Office Hours for Orientation Questions
  • Monday through Friday
  • 8:00 a.m.–Noon
  • 1:00 p.m.–4:00 p.m.