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Placement Testing

Stock Image of woman studyingPennsylvania Highlands Community College uses COMPASS computerized placement testing to determine a student's academic skill level in reading, English, and math. This is not a college entrance examination; rather, it is an accurate assessment of skills for appropriate course placement.


Who is required to take the COMPASS Test?

All degree-seeking full and part-time students and all non-degree seeking students planning to enroll in English or mathematics courses.

Why is it necessary to take the COMPASS test?

The COMPASS test helps to determine your level in certain areas. You will start at that level which will bring you the most success.

How do I prepare for the COMPASS test?

WE STRONGLY ENCOURAGE YOU TO PRACTICE AND PREPARE FOR COMPASS TESTING. By adequately preparing and successfully testing into college level courses in English and math, you can save time and tuition. If, however, your skill level in English and/or math needs more development, our college-preparatory courses will insure that development and contribute to your ultimate success at the college level. Here are some links to help you adequately prepare for the COMPASS test:

www.act.org/compass/tests/index.html (This link provides actual practice questions.) 
  www.mycompasstest.com/ (This link provides additional study materials for further preparation.)   
www.khanacademy.org/ (This link provides additional study materials for further preparation.) 

Exceptions to COMPASS placement testing:

A COMPASS Placement Test may be waived under the following conditions:

  • English is waived with a minimum of 500 on the SAT Writing section.
  • Math is waived with a minimum score of 500 on the SAT math section. Students will be eligible to register for various college-level math courses, as well as chemistry and physics.
  • Math is waived with a minimum score of 600 on the SAT math section. Students are eligible for calculus.
  • Penn Highlands requires either the SAT Transcript report or high school transcripts that include SAT scores. Once received, the College will authorize the student to register.

Additional COMPASS placement testing information:

  • Free of charge for admitted students
  • Untimed (take take your time and do your best).
  • A calculator is provided within the Compass math test.
  • Re-testing is available; however, we recommend total preparation for your first test. You have an opportunity for one re-test only after a period of one week from the original test.

Stock Image of man reading

College-Preparatory Courses

Pennsylvania Highlands Community College offers college-preparatory courses in math, reading, and English. Depending on your COMPASS placement scores, you are enrolled in the college-preparatory course that best suits your needs. These courses are carefully designed to build skills that will lay a foundation for your success. College-preparatory classes are small, allowing more direct involvement with your instructor and your classmates. Each course is offered in a variety of technology-enhanced formats, ranging from a summer program of six weeks to a semester-length of fifteen weeks. Whether you simply need a refresher or a more intensive review, successfully completing your required college-prep courses tends to promote your success in your chosen field of study.

The following college-preparatory courses are offered:

  • ICR 031   (College Reading)
  • ENG 010  (Basic English)
  • ENG 020  (Introduction to Composition)
  • MAT 020 (Basic Math)
  • MAT 041 (Pre-Algebra)
  • MAT 080 (Basic Algebra)

For a complete description of  the college-preparatory courses and their requirements, please refer to the Pennsylvania Highlands' College Catalog (eLOG).

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