The COMPASS Test is the approved test for entry into Southwestern’s practical nursing (PN) and registered nursing (RN) programs. All applicants for the program will need to meet or exceed the following cut off scores for entrance into either program. Scores will be good for three years from the date the test is taken.

Required Minimum COMPASS Test Scores:

  • Writing - 70
  • Reading - 83
  • Pre-Algebra - 51

Retake Policy

The COMPASS is administered free of charge the first time it is taken.  Retakes are administered at a fee of $5 per individual test.  Prospective nursing students will be allowed to retake the test in its entirety or retake the individual components--math, reading, or writing--twice. There shall be a waiting period of six weeks between testing sessions unless the prospective student is able to demonstrate that definite remediation has occurred in a shorter time span. (Example: Prospective student works with Success Center instructor to brush up on math skills and the instructor feels the material has been adequately covered and that the student is ready to retest in less than six weeks).

If the prospective student is unsuccessful in obtaining the necessary scores needed to enter the program after taking the initial test and two retests, entrance into either the PN or RN programs will be denied.  At this point, the student will be encouraged to visit with an admissions representative to discuss his or her options.

An unsuccessful PN candidate may be allowed to test an additional one time, if they successfully complete 18 college credits of pre-nursing (required general education courses) with a minimum grade of “C” in all courses. With 18 credits of pre-nursing courses, meeting the designated criteria, and adequate COMPASS scores the prospective nursing student will be eligible for admittance into the PN program provided other entrance criteria is met.

An unsuccessful RN candidate may be allowed to test an additional one time, if they successfully complete the RN general education courses (microbiology and human anatomy and physiology w/Lab) with a minimum grade of “C” in both courses. If adequate COMPASS scores are reached, the prospective nursing student will be eligible for admittance into the RN program provided other entrance criteria is met.