Compass Tests

Wayne Community College offers placement tests in four basic areas:
math, reading, English, and computer literacy.

The purpose of the placement tests is to identify areas of strength and weakness in these four subject areas. After you have taken the tests and your scores have been evaluated, you will be placed in the appropriate math, reading, English, and computer courses. Depending on your scores, you may go directly into college level courses, or you may need a developmental course to help you to improve your skills before tackling college level material.

The college offers two different placement tests:

  • COMPASS is an un-timed computerized placement testing system for math, reading, and English.
  • CIS 070 is an untimed computerized placement tst for computer skills.

The following are some of the most frequently asked questions about COMPASS and CIS 070 placement testing:

Question:  Do I need an appointment to take the COMPASS or CIS 070 test?
Answer: Yes! To make sure enough space is available, please call Admissions (919-739-6720 or 919-739-6719) or Counseling Services (919-739-6732) to schedule a testing appointment.

Question:  How long will the test take?
Answer: COMPASS is not timed; however, the average testing time is 2 hours. It is best to allow approximately3 to 4 hours on campus to test and receive your results. CIS 070 is not timed. There are 40 multiple choice questions and the average testing time is approximately 30 minutes.

Question:  What if I am not very familiar with computers?
Answer:  Both tests are entirely multiple choice and no computer knowledge is required. Appropriate instructions are given for those unfamiliar with a computer, and a proctor will be available to help you at all times during testing in case you need assistance.

Question:  When will I receive my test results?
Answer:  You will receive your test scores immediately after you have completed your test. A counselor will go over your scores with you to see how they relate to the specific courses/programs you may be considering.

Question:  How can I study for the test?
Answer:  The purpose of COMPASS and CIS 070 is to identify your strengths and weaknesses and to place you in the appropriate courses that match your skill level. Sometimes a review is helpful for those who want to refresh their skills. The Academic Skills Center located in the WLC Building (919-739-6748, 919-739-6746, 919-739-6889) is available to assist in reviewing. You might also find it helpful to see the types of questions that can be found on the COMPASS tests. Also, study guides are available online and paper copies are available in the Counseling Services office.

Question:  What if I have a disability?
Answer:  If you have a disability that will require special arrangements, you must present documentation of the disability and needed accommodation to the Disability Services Counselor or call 919-739-6729. After approval of the documentation, testing will be scheduled.

Question:  Can I fail the test?
Answer:  No. These are placement tests designed to place you in the necessary levels of math, reading, English and computer skills to ensure your success in your chosen major. Should you need assistance in meeting academic requirements once you are enrolled, free tutoring is available for those who request it through our Academic Skills Center. Certain allied health programs have minimum score requirements. Please talk with a counselor if you are interested in an allied health program.

Question:  May I retest?
Answer:  All applicants may test twice. After the second test, there is a six-month waiting period before testing a third time and proof of remediation is necessary. After the third test, applicants must wait one year before testing again.

Question:  Can I use a calculator?
Answer:  Yes. A calculator may be used on the math portion of Compass you may use any four-function, scientific or graphing calculator unless it has features described in ACT’s “prohibited list.”


  1. Plan to review before testing. Remember that the Academic Skills Center is available to assist in your review. Math is an area that particularly needs review as those skills are lost fairly quickly.
  2. Plan to arrive 15 minutes prior to the scheduled testing time. If you arrive after testing begins, you will not be admitted, and you will be required to reschedule.
  3. You must have a picture ID in order to test.
  4. You must know or have your social security number to test.
  5. No children or visitors are allowed during the testing session.
  6. Notify the Office of Admissions and Records if you have previously taken a placement test.


To find examples of the types of questions found on the COMPASS tests, click here.

To find topics of study in preparation for the CIS 070 placement test, click here.

To find resources specifically for the math portion of the COMPASS placement test, click here.

For interactive practice questions to all portions of COMPASS, click here.