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COMPASS® (Placement for English, Reading and Mathematics)

About the COMPASS®

COMPASS® is a comprehensive computerized adaptive testing system from ACT® that helps place students into appropriate courses and maximizes the information needed to ensure student success.

COMPASS® uses adaptive testing technology to measure students’ mathematics skills on demand.  Results are reported immediately – a real benefit in placement and advising situations.

Tests in this subject area – MATHEMATICS– provide valuable information for making general placement decisions. The placement scores can help more accurately place students into courses that are appropriate for their skill levels.

The MATH TEST is an adaptive test that begins with pre-algebra and continues into trigonometry.  When five questions are missed in a row, the test stops.

Appointments are not needed for COMPASS® testing. COMPASS® testing is done on a walk-in basis during regular testing hours.  The last COMPASS® test starts one hour prior to closing.  There is no time limit for the tests.  You must finish your test in one sitting.

Fees and Instructions:

  • To register for a Compass exam go to (this link is best viewed in Firefox or Chrome):
  • You must present a valid photo ID.
  • Test materials provided:  a pencil, a piece of scratch paper and a basic scientific calculator (you may not use  your own calculator).
  • No cell phones, other electronic devices, food or drink are allowed in the testing room.
  • Scores are available immediately after the exam with the recommendations for Boise State University courses you are eligible to take.
  • Writing scores are valid for three years and math scores are valid for the semester following the exam.
  • COMPASS® testing is not timed but the average amount of time needed for each exam is 45-60 minutes.
  • The test is designed to place you in the most appropriate course based on your current knowledge in the subject level.

Remote COMPASS® Test Options:

If you live outside of the Southwest Idaho area, you can take the COMPASS® exam at a test center closer to your home.  Go to to find COMPASS® Remote Testing Sites available throughout the United States.  Once you have located a site near your home, contact Testing Services, (208) 426-2762, to set up a remote test session.  You will need to pay the COMPASS® fees for Boise State plus any test fee required at the Remote Test Site.  Once completed, your test scores will be loaded into your student account within 24 hours to facilitate your registration process

The English Compass Test is no longer used for placement purposes.  If you are already admitted to Boise State University and you need an English placement test please go to and take the self assessment.  The English Compass is still being used for admissions purposes.