Sample COMPASS Questions
COMPASS Transfer Form

For a testing appointment or for more information, call 641.782.7081, ext. 320 or stop by the Assessment Center in room 215 of the Instructional Center.  You may also e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with your questions.

Who Must Take The COMPASS?

  • Any student enrolling full-time at Southwestern
  • Any student enrolling for his/her seventh credit hour
  • Any student enrolling for a math or English class
  • All high school students

In lieu of the COMPASS, Southwestern will accept an ACT composite score of 19 or above, or an SAT score of 1350 or above.  These scores must be officially documented and on file with Southwestern's admissions office prior to registration.  It is the student's responsibility to check with admissions and make sure his/her ACT or SAT score is on file with Southwestern.

Nursing students are required to take the COMPASS exam or have an ACT composite score of 20 or higher.  If you are a prospective LPN or ADN student, please read the retake policy for important information regarding COMPASS entrance requirements for nursing students.

What is the COMPASS Test?

The COMPASS test at Southwestern Community College is comprised of a series of three short placement tests developed by American College Testing (ACT).  The tests--which cover the areas of writing, reading, and mathematics--are designed to help you identify your present strengths and needs so you can build a solid plan for success while you are a student at Southwestern.  COMPASS tests are computerized and untimed.  Use of a calculator is permitted on the math portion of the test.

Is There a fee to Take the COMPASS?

The COMPASS is administered free of charge the first time it is taken at Southwestern.  Retakes are administered at a fee of $5 per individual portion of the test.  A $10 fee and written request are required if you would like Southwestern to send a copy of your COMPASS scores to another college.

What If I Took The COMPASS At Another College?

Southwestern will accept officially documented COMPASS results taken within the past three years at another college, as long as you took all three portions:  writing, reading, and mathematics.  Contact the college where you took the COMPASS and ask them to send your results to:

Southwestern Community College
Attn: Assessment Center
1501 W. Townline St.
Creston, Iowa 50801

How Can I Study For The COMPASS?

Please visit for sample questions

For students wishing to brush up on their math skills, please visit

When you come to test, bring your social security number, a photo ID, and a smile!