Preparing for the Math Test
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What kind of skills will I be tested on?
Keep in mind that the COMPASS math assessment will test your knowledge and skills in a variety of areas. All students will start with the COMPASS Algebra test. The test will then adjust to your skill level by accounting for how you are answering the questions. The entire test consists of arithmetic, algebra (elementary and intermediate), college algebra, geometry, and trigonometry. However, you may not be assessed in all areas. All questions you get will fall under one of these categories:
- basic skills—performing a sequence of basic operations
- application—applying sequences of basic operations to novel settings or in complex ways
- analysis—demonstrating conceptual understanding of principles and relationships in mathematical operations
How can I prepare?
To get you started:
You should sign-up for a free diagnostic math test through "aleks.com."
See our instructions page for more information. But this test, will give you an idea of just how much math you can do NOW, without preparing.
Use the results from aleks.com to help you determine where you should start studying/prepping.
Review the student guides and video tutorials below.
Take some of the sample tests below.
Come to the Assessment Center to take your assessment tests. Placement into math courses will be based on how you perform on the test. So take it seriously!!
Which COMPASS math test will place me into college-level math?
Students may be placed into college-level math with the successful completion (i.e., a high score) of the algebra, college algebra, geometry, or trigonometry tests. Here is a breakdown of the courses students may place into. Remember: placement is based on your performance on the COMPASS math test.
Pre-Algebra (pre-college level placement only) |
Math 81: Basic Arithmetic (3 units) Math 84: Pre-Algebra (3 units) Math 31: Elementary Algebra (5 units) |
Algebra (pre-college level placement) |
Math 18: Intermediate Algebra for Finite Math & Statistics (Pre-college level; 3 units) Math 20: Intermediate Algebra (Pre-college level; 5 units) Math 32: Plane Geometry (Pre-college level; 3 units) |
Algebra (college level placement) |
Math 21: Finite Mathematics (3 units) Math 26: Functions and Modeling for Business and Social Science Math 41: Mathematics for Elementary School Teachers Math 54: Elementary Statistic (3 units) |
College Algebra (college level placement) |
Math 21: Finite Mathematics (3 units) Math 26: Functions and Modeling for Business and Social Science
Math 41: Mathematics for Elementary School Teachers
Math 54: Elementary Statistic (3 units) Math 28: Calculus 1 for Business and Social Science (5 units) |
Geometry (college level placement) |
Math 28: Calculus 1 for Business and Social Science (5 units) |
Review Materials & Sample Tests
Review of Arithmetic & Pre-Algebra Skills
Links to review concepts
Links to sample tests
Review of Algebra Skills (Elementary & Intermediate)
Links to review concepts
Links to sample tests
Review of College Algebra Skills
Links to sample tests
Review of Geometry Skills
Links to review concepts
Links to sample tests
Review of Trigonometry Skills
Links to review concepts
Links to sample tests
Test-Taking Tips for Math Assessment
- Process of Elimination and Guessing
This handout explains through examples how to use the "POE" (process of elimination) method when taking a math test. Learning it will enable you to increase your chances at making an educated guess.