COMPASS Placement Test


Choosing the courses that are right for you requires careful planning. The results of placement tests can help you make good choices. Therefore, to help you plan and be successful in your classes, the College requires that you complete all placement tests before registering for classes.

Placement Guidelines

Scheduling an Appointment

Appointments for all tests are required.  To schedule an appointment for the COMPASS placement test, please email your name, phone number, student number, birthdate, and ACT scores and date taken to and indicate that you are interested in making an appointment to take the placement test.  You may also call 231-777-0394 or stop in Room 134.

Appointment times (subject to change):

Monday & Tuesday:  1:00 pm and 4:00 pm

Wednesday and Thursday: 9:00 am

Friday:  10:00 am

Note: Examinees should arrive 15 minutes prior to the scheduled start time.  Late arrivals will be rescheduled.  Any tests not completed by 15 minutes prior to closing will require an additional appointment for test completion on another date.

Remote Testing Scheduling (Outside of Muskegon)

If you are planning to attend MCC, but do not currently live in Muskegon, you can schedule to take the COMPASS Placement test at a remote test site.  To do so, please contact the MCC Testing Center either via email or call 231-777-0394 to setup your Remote Test Registration at another college in your area.

If you live in Muskegon, but are planning to attend another college or university that also requires the COMPASS Placement test, you can schedule to take the test here at MCC.  You must first contact the Testing/Placement Office at the college or university where you are planning to attend and ask to be registered for a Remote Test at Muskegon Community College.  You will receive an email with a Registration Number and instructions on how to make your testing appointment at MCC.  There is a $25 fee for all non-MCC students.

What is the COMPASS Placement Test?

The placement tests that you will be taking is a computer based system named COMPASS (Computer Adaptive Placement Assessment and Support System) which is used to place you in classes that match your abilities. You cannot fail the placement tests; they are used as a starting point. These scores will place you in courses that will help you develop the necessary skills for success in future classes.

The COMPASS test is a series of tests that will measure a level of a student’s reading, writing skills and math skills.

Who must test?

All new students are expected to take the COMPASS assessment. If you have a proficiency level of 1 or 2 on the high school MEAP/MME writing and reading tests or have a score of 19 or higher on your ACT Reading, English or Math, this will exempt you from taking the reading and writing and math assessment of the COMPASS. (A copy of the ACT scores and MEAP/MME scores must be provided for your file).  All placement scores are valid for 3 years.

Review material for COMPASS Testing

How long does it take to complete the tests?

The total test (Reading, Writing, and Math) takes approximately two (2) hours to complete.

What will I need to take the test?

  • All students taking the Compass test should first apply to MCC and have a processed application with a student number.  It is important that this step is completed FIRST, so the Testing Center staff can actually enter the scores on the student’s MCC record once the test is complete.  If the student has applied, but does not know the student number, a Testing Center staff member can look up the information at the point when the student is scheduling the appointment.
  • Anyone who does not have a student number will be charged a $25 fee to take the Compass Placement Test. If you wish for MCC to send your test scores to another college, organization, or company, you must complete the Authorization to Release Test Information.
  • The COMPASS is taken on the computer. We provide pencils, scrap paper and computer calculators.
  • Calculator policy: We follow the COMPASS policy for calculators: (TI-89, TI-92, TI-Nspire CAS, HP 48GII, any models starting with HP 40G, HP 49G, and HP 50G, and cell phone calculators are not permitted).

How will I get my scores?

Immediately after you have finished taking the COMPASS Test you will receive a copy of your results. Keep your test results for counselor usage and enrollment purposes.

What if I want to retest?

Students are allowed to repeat the Compass test ONE TIME. A 24-hour time lapse is required for all retests. This is for all three portions of the test. If a student has taken any portion of the test 2 times, the student will need permission from an MCC Counselor in order to take that portion a third time. If a student takes the Compass test more than twice without counselor permission, the results may be declared null and void.

Why is testing required?

The College adopted a placement testing policy to help students understand their abilities and choose courses wisely. We are as concerned with your success in college as you are. You should make an appointment with a counselor (231.777.0362) after testing for career planning and course selection.