All new students are required to take a COMPASS placement test. Students may be exempt from COMPASS testing if they have taken the ACT or SAT exam within three years of the date of acceptance with the following scores:
Students may also be exempt from the writing portion of the COMPASS test if they have scored a 3.5 or higher on the Montana University System Writing Assessment (MUSWA), a 7 or higher on the SAT Writing Essay, an 18 or higher on the combined English/Writing section of the ACT, or a 7 or higher on the Writing section of the ACT.
Students who have successfully completed college-level mathematics and writing courses at an accredited college or university do not need to take the relevant portion of the COMPASS placement test or provide test scores. All students must present reading test scores through COMPASS, ACT or SAT, unless they have has already been awarded a two- or four-year degree from an accredited college or university. MCC’s Admissions Office must receive official transcripts in order to extend these exemptions.
Students who do not meet the requirements for exemption, which prove their readiness for college level work, are required to take the recommended courses in their first semester. Students who score below a 33 on the COMPASS Reading test and below a 9 on the COMPASS Writing test will be limited to developmental coursework (015 level courses) until they either complete and pass the necessary 015 class or improve their COMPASS test scores.
COMPASS assessment results are used by academic advisors to place students into courses that are consistent with their skill level. Many college courses have pre-requisites of a basic aptitude in reading and writing before a student may enroll in that course. Therefore, a student who does not complete required developmental reading, writing, or math coursework during the first semester may jeopardize their ability to carry a full load of classes by their second semester and graduate within a two year period.
COMPASS scores will be valid for one year from the date of the original assessment, and students are permitted no more than two retests per subject area each semester.
The cost for the full COMPASS battery (reading, English, and mathematics) is $15. Individual subject tests cost $5. Testing fees may not be deferred and must be paid before students test. The Learning Center will provide test takers with a calculator and scratch paper.
Though COMPASS is untimed, please plan at least one and a half to two hours to complete your COMPASS testing. Please keep in mind the hours we are open when you call to schedule your COMPASS testing appointment. To schedule, please call 406.874.6152.
Sample COMPASS questions are available on the COMPASS website.
The MCC Learning Center is also a COMPASS remote testing site. MCC students who cannot take the test at MCC may choose to set up a remote test at an official COMPASS testing center near them (please note that the COMPASS may not be taken at home or at any institution or business that is not specifically authorized to offer COMPASS). These students will need to schedule their remote test through the MCC Learning Center, and Learning Center staff can help students determine the remote testing center nearest them. Students will be responsible for paying the COMPASS testing fee to Miles Community College prior to course registration. To schedule, please call 406.874.6152.
Students needing to take a COMPASS test for another institution should register through that institution, then schedule a testing time at MCC. A $5 remote testing fee is charged in addition to whatever COMPASS fees are required by the home institution.