Placement Testing Guidelines

Placement Testing Guidelines


The Goal of Placement Testing is to Ensure Success

It is important to understand that students cannot “fail” their placement tests. Rather, results of writing, mathematics, and reading tests are indicators of a student's current skill levels and are used to help students select appropriate courses that build on present knowledge and support future success. Prior to enrolling in courses in their program of study, students may be required to enroll in basic skills courses to help develop the academic proficiency necessary for success at the college level. If you would like to take a few practice questions please go to ACT COMPASS Sample Questions and look at the pdf files at the bottom of the webpage.

Reading Competency Requirement

Demonstrated proficiency in reading comprehension is a requirement for all degrees awarded by Central Arizona College. Students must achieve an appropriate score on their reading placement test or complete RDG094 with a grade of "C" or better to meet the college graduation requirement.

Reading is a prerequisite or co-requisite for many individual courses at Central. Students can consult individual course descriptions in the College Catalog for more information. When test scores indicate a reading class is necessary, an academic advisor can help students select additional appropriate courses.

Central Arizona College administers the COMPASS test to assess a student’s reading, writing, and math ability.  Your results are used to help you and your advisor determine the proper level of course placement. The following guidelines outline testing expectations. 

 Important Information about the Compass Placement Assessments:

  • The Compass is not timed.  Remember to take your time . . . and breathe
  •  You cannot PASS or FAIL this test.  This is an assessment to help you and your advisor determine the best level of placement in academic courses.  You will be assessed on your reading, writing and math abilities.
  • Students must read at college level to ensure academic success in coursework and the majority of courses offered at CAC have a reading pre-requisite. The Reading test is a comprehension test. The test is designed to determine how well you are prepared for college level coursework and assesses your understand of what you read. Take your time on this portion of the test - it does not test how quickly you read.
  • The Writing test assesses your command of American English grammar. There are three levels of English composition students can qualify for when taking this test: English090, English100, English101. Take your time on this portion of the test to ensure your proper placement in English composition.
  • The Math test assesses your math ability. The test will begin with Pre-algebra and will adjust the difficulty level based on your answers. As soon as the program assesses your math ability it will stop testing. Achievable math levels range from Basic Arithmetic to Trigonometry. A calculator is available within the testing program or students may request one from the test proctor. Students may change the calculator to a scientific calculator if needed. The test proctor will provide scratch paper.


Testing Center Expectations: 
  •  You must have a CAC student ID number. (If you are not a CAC student, you will need to pay a $25 proctor fee at our Cashier's office prior to testing - submit your receipt to the test proctor.) 
  • You must present photo identification to testing center staff.  (Acceptable ID: CAC student/staff ID or state issued photo ID)
  •   Testing rooms are restricted to students who are testing.  Parents, children, friends, spouses, pets and others may not accompany students into testing rooms. (Children under 16 years old may not be left unattended in the lobby area during testing)
  •  Personal items and electronic devices are prohibited in the testing room.  This includes but is not limited to:  book bags, backpacks, purses, pagers,   cell phones, CD players, MP3players, PDAs, IPODs, etc.  (Test center proctors will direct you regarding the storage of your belongings).
  • Food and/or drinks are not permitted in the testing room.



Content on this page is provided by Advising.

Central Arizona College - District Office 8470 N. Overfield Road, Coolidge, AZ 85128 Phone: 800-237-9814