What is COMPASS?

COMPASS–Computer-Adaptive Placement Assessment and Support System is a comprehensive software package developed by ACT to help postsecondary institutions place students into appropriate course levels.

In order to take your COMPASS Test, you will need to provide UH Student Identification Number and government issued photo identification. You can find your UH ID number on your acceptance letter or in your portal. If you would like to request a number, download a request form and return it to Admissions in the Ho’okipa Building.

UH ID Number Form


Do you need to take the COMPASS?

All students who intend to enroll at the University of Hawaii Maui College are required to take the COMPASS test. The COMPASS is used to place students in appropriate English and Math courses, and also identifies prerequisite skill levels for certain courses and programs. If you took the COMPASS test but did not enroll in courses, your test may still be valid if you took the test within two years of registering for classes.

If you already took COMPASS at another Non-UH school and if they are still valid within two years, request to have your previous college’s testing center send us your scores. Please include your full name and your University of Hawaii Student Number and fax (808) 242-1009, or email with your scores.

Other Places to take COMPASS

For students who intend to transfer to UH Maui College from a Mainland Community College, you can register to take COMPASS at another school or testing site that proctors COMPASS tests.

More Information on Remote COMPASS Testing


COMPASS is divided into two areas:


Reading section – The student is given one or more passages to read and then answers questions about the passage.

Writing section – The student is presented with a passage and is asked to locate errors in grammar, punctuation, usage, and style throughout the entire passage. The student must then choose the best option to correct the errors.


The student solves problems which measure numerical, pre-algebra, and algebra skills. Some areas included are basic operations with integers, fractions, and decimals; exponents; ratios and proportions; percentages; and topics in elementary algebra, intermediate algebra, and college algebra.

Because math knowledge and skills are easily forgotten if not used, students should brush up on their math skills before they take the test.

The math section has a self-select starting point:

  • Pre-Algebra – basic arithmetic
  • Algebra –introductory algebra
  • College Algebra – college algebra

For appropriate placement, students should start at the highest level of math that they have completed in their most recent math course.

When and where will the COMPASS Placement Test be given?

Placement testing is available on a walk-in basis at The Learning Center (TLC) during regular hours of operation. Placement testing is also available at several Maui public high schools. If you are a high school student, contact your high school counselor for more information.

Time Limit and Required Items for Testing

You should allow approximately two hours for the entire COMPASS Test. COMPASS is a self-paced, computerized test, which allows you to proceed at your own rate.

Required Items for Testing:

  1. Photo ID (driver’s license with photo)
  2. Your UH ID number. If you have not applied to attend Maui College, you may obtain a UH ID number from the Admissions and Records Office.

You may NOT bring books, dictionaries, notes, papers, or other aids into the testing room. Cell phones must be turned off and put away. A pull-down calculator is available on the math test, and The Learning Center provides calculators to test takers. If students plan to bring their own calculators to the testing session, they are responsible for checking the following web page to ensure that they have an approved calculator:

Check if you are allowed to use your calculator: COMPASS Allowable Calculators

COMPASS and Registration

Your scores will be given to you when you have completed the test. Placement results, together with advising from counselors and faculty, should insure correct course placement and assist with planning an academic program.

Retaking COMPASS

COMPASS can be taken once every 2 years without a fee. For this reason, you should take the test seriously and try your best. If you choose to retake your COMPASS Placement Test without having to wait the normal 2-year wait period, you will be charged a $25 fee. If you are a high school student, you will be charged a $10 fee.

COMPASS Test Preparation

Online COMPASS Sample Test Guide

COMPASS Preparation Books

  • Chart Your Success on the COMPASS*
  • COMPASS Exam Secrets*

*Available at The Learning Center on closed reserved. They may only be used in the center.