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Student Success - Compass Testing

What is COMPASS?


COMPASS is an assessment that measures your current reading and math abilities.  North Central uses your scores from the COMPASS to place you in the appropriate level of these subjects. 


You may place into some courses that you will need to take before you can take any other courses or courses that don’t count for credit toward graduation, so your placement on the COMPASS and the effort you put into it is very important.


Because your scores on COMPASS can have such an effect on how many courses you have to take, you will want to make sure your skills are as strong as they can be when you take it.  We recommend you review your skills before testing, especially math.  There are lots of places you can do that, including reviewing old textbooks in Learning Support Services.  Some on line sources are: -- the official COMPASS site which provides sample questions and test-taking tips -- an online prep course and study guide -- an online COMPASS workshop offered by University of Georgia..  Follow the directions to log in and go through the workshop.

Signing up for COMPASS

North Central offers the COMPASS by appointment at each of our sites.   You can contact the location at which you are interested in testing for an appointment.
Petoskey-- 231.348.6693
Gaylord – 989.705.3775
Cheboygan— 231.597.0322
If you are a person with a disability and require accommodations, they can be arranged through LSS in Petoskey.  Notify the staff member when making your appointment or call 231.348.6817


COMPASS can be taken all at once (reading and math) or in portions.  All sections are untimed.  The average testing time is between 2 and 3 hours.  You will need to bring your social security number and a picture ID.  The test will start promptly at the time it’s scheduled, so come a few minutes early to get settled.  Late arrivals may have to reschedule as to not disturb other testers.


You will receive your placement results immediately upon finishing.  The test administrator will go over your results with you.


If you don’t think your placement is an accurate portrait of your skill level or you want to try to place higher, you can retest any portion of COMPASS for $10 after a 24 hour waiting period.

Before retesting, we recommend you go through the online workshop at:  for Reading practice and

For math practice.


COMPASS is required of all entering students except the following:

  • Students who have ACT or COMPASS scores on file at North Central
  • Guest students from other colleges
  • Students who have already earned an associate degree or higher
  • Students who have on file at NCMC proof of 15 or more transfer credit hours, which include appropriate English and mathematics credits, & a 2.0 or higher GPA
  • Students only interested in pursuing "personal interest" /PE 116 or 216, and not taking math or English.