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COMPASS Placement Test

New students (exceptions below) and former students without placement scores on file are required to take a placement test before registering for classes. Students who have previously taken the placement test but whose placement scores are one or more years old are required to re-take the placement test. 

What is the COMPASS Placement Test and Why Is It Important?

The City Colleges of Chicago (CCC) uses the COMPASS Placement Test to evaluate a student's knowledge and skills in reading and math. A separate writing test is also administered. These tests help to determine how prepared a student is for college level coursework. Depending on test results, students will be placed in college credit, developmental, and/or non-credit (pre-credit) classes. Developmental and non-credit courses in an academic discipline (such as math) must be successfully completed prior to enrolling in college credit courses in that discipline.  

It is very important that students do their very best work on the placement test so that they are placed appropriately in courses where they can succeed and make progress. Time spent in developmental or non-credit courses will delay enrollment into college level courses.  

How to Prepare

Knowledge is power! It pays to know what to expect, practice sample test questions, review, and learn. Students are highly encouraged to prepare for the placement test.  

New Students

Placement tests are administered on a first come, first served basis. Prior to taking the placement test, new students must:  

  • Apply for admission
  • Obtain a student ID number
  • Attend New Student Orientation
  • Submit high-school transcripts or a GED certificate to the Admissions Office. Students who do not have a high school diploma or GED may still take the placement test and enroll in classes

What to Bring to the Test

  • Photo ID (provide one of the following):
  • - Driver's license or State of Illinois ID
    - High School ID
    - Passport
    - Consulate ID
  • Proof of address – Independent Students (provide one of the following):
  • - Driver’s license or State of Illinois ID
    - Voter registration card
    - Copy of lease agreement or mortgage statement
    - Utility (gas, electric, water) or home telephone bill (land line only)
    - Consulate ID with Chicago address
    - Current orders or letter from Command for persons in the military
    - Signed letter on letterhead stationery from homeless shelter confirming residency
  • Proof of address – Dependent Students (provide one of the following):
  • - Voter registration card
    - Copy of lease agreement or mortgage statement
    - Utility (gas, electric, water) or home telephone bill (land line only)
    - Completed orientation workshop verification form/Placement Test Pass
  • Two ink pens
  • Two No. 2 pencils

​Day of Test

  • Arrive well rested and ready to concentrate on the test. Most students need 2 - 3 hours to complete the testing
  • No children or guests can accompany you while you test
  • No cell phones, electronic devices, food or drink are allowed in the Testing Center during testing
  • Be sure you understand the directions for each test before you begin each section. Ask questions if needed
  • Pace yourself. Remember with the exception of the e-write section, the test is not timed. Allow yourself plenty of time. Do not put yourself in a situation where you must rush through the test
  • Relax! Placement testing is designed to help you to be successful in school. This is not a pass or fail test! Your scores help us to determine which courses are most appropriate for your current level of knowledge and skills

Placement Test Waiver

You may not be required to take the placement test if you are:  

  • A transfer student who has earned a grade of "C" or better in college-level English and/or math or if you have previously earned an Associates Degree or higher from an accredited college or university. You must submit an official transcript verifying successful completion. You may still be required to submit a written essay
  • A high school graduate with a copy of your ACT test scores. Scores expire 48 months from the original test date. You may obtain a copy of your ACT test scores by contacting your high school advisor or ACT at (319) 337-1000​​​​​





Contact Information

(312) 553-3195
30 E. Lake St.
Room 402
Chicago, IL 60601
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