close-up of old compass

COMPASS and ASSET Placement Tests

COMPASS Placement Test:

The COMPASS Test is used by Columbia State to determine course placement for entering students. The COMPASS is NOT a pass/fail instrument but instead determines which courses are best suited to the student’s level of readiness. Students with valid ACT/SAT scores (within 3 years old) are placed according to those results and are not required to take the COMPASS test.

Students may choose to challenge both ACT and COMPASS scores.

  1. In order to register for the COMPASS exam you must be admitted to the college and screened to take the COMPASS according to placement guidelines or you must be challenging existing ACT/SAT scores. Contact the Office of Admissions at 931.540.2790 if you have not been screened to take the COMPASS exam.
  2. First-time students with valid ACT scores (scores acquired within the past three years) receive their academic placement according to those scores. First-time students with no valid ACT/SAT scores will be required to take the COMPASS for placement. Students may challenge their ACT/SAT placement by taking the COMPASS one time. Students who place initially with the COMPASS exam may also challenge those initial results one time. The challenge cannot be completed on the same day as the initial testing. Placement will be based on the best scores from all valid placement instruments.
  3. The challenge fee for COMPASS testing is $20.00 per session for Columbia State students only, NON-TBR students $25.00. *All fees are non-refundable and non-transferable. Payment must be made to Business Services office prior to scheduling test.
How to apply:
Online registration form

Dates of exam:
A complete listing of available test dates is available through our online scheduling system. *STOP! If you are challenging your test scores, please call Testing Services at 931.540.2821 before registering online.
  • Free for initial testing
  • $20.00 if challenging valid ACT or previous COMPASS scores
Scores are available the same day as the exam and are valid for 3 years. COMPASS requirements and placement scores are established by Tennessee Board of Regents guidelines. If you need your scores transferred to another institution, please follow the instructions on this Request Compass Scores form.

ASSET Placement Test:

The ASSET is a paper-pencil format placement test designed to assess the student's level of preparedness for college-level classes. It is used only in special testing circumstances. Contact Testing Services for more information.
Study Guides:
Study guides are available in Testing Services, Jones Student Center, room 162 on the Columbia campus and at the campus location nearest you.

Need help preparing for the COMPASS? The links below may help:
(sample test) (algebra) (mathematics) (reading, writing, math and study skills) (writing skills) (additional test preparation)

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