Placement Tests

New Program now being offered to help prepare for writing test or re-test. Details…

New Program now being offered to help prepare for Math test or re-test. Details…

What are compass placement tests?
COMPASS® is a computer-based assessment of ability in different subjects. It helps place students in English and math courses in which they are most likely to succeed.

Do I need to take the COMPASS® tests?


  • If you are a new student with no college experience.
  • If your COMPASS® scores are more than two years old and you have not enrolled in an English or math course in the UH system or at another college.
  • If your last math course grade of C of higher is more than two years old and you wish to take a higher level course.


  • If your COMPASS® scores are less than two years old.
  • If you have completed ENG 100 or a college level math course with a grade of “C” or higher in the UH system or at another college. Counselors can help you with Prerequisite Clearances based on transcripts from other colleges.
  • If you have received approval from the Language Arts Division Chair for English exceptions, or from the Math/Science Division Chair for mathematics exceptions.

What should I bring?

  • The Placement Test letter you receive (with the bottom front section completed)
  • Photo Identification  (You will not be allowed to take the test without proper identification)
  • Your student ID Number (from your acceptance letter)
  • A jacket or sweater – the air-conditioned room can get cold.
  • Pencils and scratch paper for working on math problems will be provided. (You may use the Windows on-line calculator for the Math test.)

Where do I take the tests?
In the Test Center, located in LC 101. If you live on a Neighbor Island, you may go to the Community College on your island to take the test.  Be sure to inform the monitor that you are taking the tests for Leeward Community College enrollment. Details on the Test Center.

How long are the tests?
The tests are not timed, so you can take as much time as you need.  The number of questions is automatically adjusted as you’re taking the test. Right or wrong responses will result in either more or fewer questions.  The average time to complete a test is 30 minutes for each of the three tests: reading, writing and math. Give yourself enough time to do your best.

What’s on the tests?

  • READING - answering questions on passages.
  • WRITING – identifying errors in grammar, punctuation, usage, and style in brief articles.
  • MATH – solving problems in basic math, algebra, college algebra, geometry, trigonometry, and calculus.

To view sample test items, go to the placement test website

When do I get the results?
You will get the results minutes after you finish the tests.; Keep your test report and bring it with you when you attend your orientation session and/or meet with a counselor.

Should I prepare for the tests?
COMPASS® tests you on skills and knowledge acquired over a long period of time and you are not expected to study material that you have never learned. However, reviewing can help especially if you have not taken tests for a few years or have not studied math in a while.

How can I prepare?

  • Review the sample questions online.
  • Read the book Chart Your Success on the COMPASS® TEST, available at the Leeward CC Library, Learning Resource Center, Math Lab, and Testing Center.
  • Read other books on strategies for taking tests, for example, the SAT/ACT preparation books that cover various levels of math and reading.
  • Rest well the night before taking the tests.
  • Report for the tests with a positive and serious attitude.
  • Arrange your transportation to allow maximum time for the tests.

How long are the scores valid?
The scores are valid for two years. You must retest if your scores are more than two years old and you have not begun to take English or math classes based on those scores.

Can I retest?
Yes, you may retest at any time for a fee of $25.00 per test session.

How will my scores affect me?
Your performance on the test is important because it may determine:

  • How many English and math classes you will have to take.
  • How much time it will take and money it will cost to earn your degree.
  • What classes you can take or cannot take.
  • How soon you can start taking classes in your major.

How do I know which tests to take?
We use your country of birth to suggest which tests might be best. If you have questions consult the Language Arts Division Chair or ESL Coordinator. If English is your native language, take the English reading and writing tests. If English is not your native language, you should take the ESL reading and writing tests. Doing so will be to your advantage.

Is special help available if I have a disability?
YES. If you require special testing accommodations because of a physical or learning disability, please contact the Kākoʻo ʻIke (KI) Office in room L 208 or call 455-0421, TTY 455-0532.

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