Testing Services: Compass (Placement Exam)

COMPASS: Course Placement Tool

The Compass Test is used by Columbia State to determine course placement for entering students.  The Compass is not a pass/fail instrument but instead determines  which courses are best suited to the student's level of readiness. Students with valid ACT/SAT scores (within 3 years old) are placed according to those results and are not required to take the Compass test.  Students may choose to challenge both ACT and Compass scores.  

How to apply:

  1. In order to register for the Compass exam you must be admitted to the college and screened to take the Compass according to placement guidelines or you must be challenging existing ACT/SAT scores.   Contact the Office of Admissions at 931.540.2583 if you have not been screened to  take the Compass exam.
  2. If you are challenging valid (within 3 years) ACT/SAT or previous Compass scores, you must complete the Compass Challenge Application and make your payment prior to scheduling. Students are permitted one opportunity to challenge their initial placement results.  The challenge exam can not be completed on the same day as the initial testing.  The registration fee for challenging all or part of the Compass exam is $20.00. Current High School Students who are challenging their ACT/SAT scores must also sign the Challenge Acknowledgement Form.
  3. Each campus schedules their own Compass exams. Contact the campus nearest you  to register for the Compass exam. You may also click on the Online Registration form if you are testing at the Columbia Campus, Williamson County Campus, or Lawrenceburg Campus.

    Columbia Campus - Online Registration form - 931.540.2821

    Williamson County Campus - 615.790.4400

    Lawrenceburg Campus - 931.766.1600

    Lewisburg Campus - 931.359.0351

    Clifton Campus - 1.888.346.6581

Dates of exam:  Consult each campus at the numbers above or consult the Columbia Campus Master Calendar.


  1. Free for initial testing

  2. $20.00 if challenging valid ACT or previous Compass scores


Scores are available the same day as the exam and are valid for 3 years. Compass requirements and placement scores are established by Tennessee Board of Regents guidelines.

How to prepare for the Compass:

www.act.org/compass/sample/index.html (Sample Test)

www.dianahacker.com/bedhandbook (writing exercises)

http://algebrahelp.com (Algebra)

www.quickmath.com (Mathematics)

www.studygs.net (Reading, Writing, Math and Study Skills)

http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/index.htm  (Writing Skills)

Get additional test preparation at your local State of Tennessee Career Center:


Compass Test Preparation in Williamson County:

Literacy Council of Williamson Co.
129 W. Fowlkes Street, Suite 143
Franklin, TN 37064
Contact Person Rita Dozier