COMPASS Placement Test Review Packet – Portland Community

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COMPASS Placement Test

     Review Packet

       For preparing to take
  the COMPASS Placement Test

        Portland Community College
                           Table of Content

The COMPASS Test                                           3
     Test-taking Strategies                                5
     Additional Resources for the Compass Placement Test   6

Reading Review                                             7
     I. Finding the Main Idea                              8
     II. Vocabulary: Word Meaning and Context              9
     III. Supporting Details                               11
     IV. Inferences                                        12
     V. Implied Main Ideas and Central Points              14
     Online Reading Resources                              18

Writing Review                                             19
      I. Punctuation                                       20
      II. Basic Grammar and Usage                          25
      III. Sentence Structure                              38
      IV. Rhetorical Skills                                38
      Online Grammar & Writing Resources                   47

Math Review                                                48
     I. General Overview                                   50
            Topics Covered in PCC Math Classes             50
            Are You Prepared?                              57
     II. Refreshing your Math                              88
     Additional Math Review Resources                      107

PCC COMPASS Placement Test Review Packet                         2
            The COMPASS Test

The COMPASS placement test is offered in Reading, Writing, and Math. The test helps
to determine whether you have the knowledge to succeed in the classes you are
planning to take or whether taking some preparatory classes will ensure your success.
Taking the three tests separately is usually helpful to ensure best results in all three

The COMPASS test is a self-adjusting, multiple choice test that is taken at the computer.
The answer to your current question will determine the next question; it will stop once
it has determined your level. Consequently the test is untimed and has a different
number of questions for each student. It also means that you will see questions that you
don't know, because the test will ask you more and more difficult questions until it has
found something that you don't know. Just do your best you can for each question the
test presents to you.

You will receive paper, pencil, and a calculator. Since you will work on the computer
you will not be allowed to bring food or drink. Once you have completed a test you will
receive a printout with your scores and a recommendation of classes to take. You
should then make an appointment with an advisor to discuss your course work.

PCC COMPASS Placement Test Review Packet                                               3
The COMPASS test can be taken on all three campuses (Cascade, Rock Creek, and
Sylvania) and the Southeast Center. Following are the locations and phone numbers.
Contact the testing center of your choice for opening hours. During those opening hours
you can take the test at any time.

      Cascade: SSB 204, 503-978-5234

      Rock Creek: Bldg. 9, Rm. 118, 503-614-7300

      Southeast Center: Mt Tabor Hall, Room 107 & 109, 503-788-6277

      Sylvania: CC 216, 503-977-4533

      Testing Centers website:

After you have taken the placement test in the three subjects of Reading, Writing, and
Math, you should see an advisor to discuss your course work. Here are the advising
centers for each campus:

      Cascade: SSB 150, 503-978-5271, opening hours:
         o Monday, Tuesday & Thursday: 8:30am - 6:00pm
         o Wednesday: 8:30am - 7:00pm
         o Friday: 8:30am - 4:00pm

       Rock Creek: Bldg. 9, Rm. 102, 503-614-7297, opening hours:
         o Monday to Thursday: 8:30am - 6pm
         o Friday: 8:30am - 4pm

      Southeast Center: Mt Tabor Hall, Room 152, 503-788-6240, opening hours:
         o Monday to Thursday: 9am - 6pm
         o Friday: 8am - 4pm

      Sylvania: CC 216, 503-977-4531 , opening hours:
         o Monday, Tuesday and Thursday: 8am - 6pm
         o Wednesday: 8am - 7pm
         o Friday: 8am - 5pm

      Academic Advising website:

PCC COMPASS Placement Test Review Packet                                             4
                      Test-taking Strategies

   1. Take the Placement Test Seriously
      Giving your best during the test can save you several terms of math, reading,
      and writing classes, and therefore a lot of time and money. What you don't
      know, you don't know. That's fine. But if you know something, make sure you
      show it on the test so that you are placed into the appropriate class for your skill

   2. Prepare For the Test
      It is important that you review your knowledge before you take the test,
      particularly if you have not been in school for many years. Go over the following
      parts in this review packet to refresh your memory about the things you once
      knew. This packet is not designed to help you learn material that you never
      knew. For that you should take a class.

      It is equally important, however, that you are physically prepared for the test. Be
      sure to get enough sleep the night before, and eat something nutritious before
      arriving for the test. Don't consume anything with caffeine or a lot of sugar right
      before the test. Caffeine might make you feel more jittery and less patient,
      causing you to skip important steps. Too much sugar will give you a short
      energy boost followed by a sense of fatigue. Drink water or tea instead.

   3. Take Time
      The Compass Test is not timed which means that you can take as much time as
      you need. Make use of that! Read the questions carefully, think about them, do
      your work on paper, and then choose an answer. Your score does not depend on
      how long you take for each question. Your score only depends on whether you
      choose the right answer.

   4. Read the Questions Carefully
      Don't assume anything. Follow the instructions of the question exactly. Read all
      the details very carefully. A simple ,not can change everything around. It helps
      to copy the question onto paper and underline the important information or
      rewrite it in your own words.

PCC COMPASS Placement Test Review Packet                                                     5
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