Instructor: Ms. Becky Villarreal
CYP Learning Lab, room 2108
Fax: 512-223-2046
Attn. Becky Villarreal
The Reading Section | The Writing Section | The Math Section | Online Learning Explained |Hardware/Software Required |Course Web Site Index

This website is free for all ACC students.

ACC also offers face to face workshops for students and most are free. Every semester free workshops at the Cypress Creek campus via the Learning Lab. Email me at or call 512-223-2045 to sign up.

Compass Prep

  • Tackling the Writing Section of the Compass Test: Coming this Summer! Stay tuned!
  • Tackling the Reading Section of the Compass Test: Coming this Summer! Stay tuned!

See below for information about other ACC workshops:

Writing Department Workshops

Bridge Workshops (Reading, Writing, and Math)

ACC Success Workshops

FREE Math Workshops at Cypress on (some) Fridays

  • Taught by Adjunct Instructor, Fattaneh Hashemi (call 512-223-2105 for more information)

Free Tutoring Services

If you have completed an ACC application, signed up to take the Compass test, and filled out a residency form, you can visit any Learning Lab to help prepare for the test. Obtain a blue Assessment Referral form from the Assessments Center (CYP 2116) before coming to the Learning Lab.

Click here for all Learning Lab hours and locations:

The Cypress Creek Learning Lab (where I work) is in the same building as Student Services (Building 2), on the first floor near the restrooms. We are open 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays. We also have hours on Fridays through Sundays.

If you want to meet with Becky Villarreal in the Learning Lab for help with the writing section, please email me first at, so that I can know when to expect you. Click here to view my hours in the Learning Lab.

For reading prep, visit Beth Scoggins who is also at the Cypress Creek Learning Lab. To check her availability, go to

For help with the math section only, complete the following review sheets (MATD 0370, MATD 0390, and MATH 1314) at: Then follow up with any math tutor in one of the Learning Labs.

Obtain a blue Assessment Referral form from the Assessments Center (CYP 2116) before coming to the Learning Lab. Contact Assessment at Cypress at 512.223.2020.

Overview of the Compass Test

ACC uses the COMPASS and the THEA Alternative Compass tests to help students with appropriate course placement. These self-paced computerized tests measure an individual's skills in reading, writing, and math. The tests are user friendly, requiring no previous computer experience. Dictionaries, spell checkers, and laptops are prohibited. Calculators are allowed, however.

The Reading, English, and Math computerized sections of the Compass and Compass are identical. However, those taking the Compass, or THEA alternative, must also write a persuasive essay. After completing the test, an advisor or counselor will review the test results with you and recommend suitable courses.

Web-Based THEA Sample Test

Testing is by appointment only and can be done during the week, as well as on weekends. Stop by or call any Assessment Office to make a reservation. If special assistance is needed, contact the Office for Students with Disabilities (OSD). Remember, students are allowed to take either the Compass (as an alternative to THEA) or Compass (for placement) once only. Applicants who have never taken the THEA test or any other THEA Alternative Test may take Compass. After visiting with an ACC advisor or counselor, you can purchase a ticket and then make an appointment for the Compass. Results are usually available in 2-3 days.

Click here to connect with the Assessment Center.

For more information about ACC's learning labs go to:

The computerized version of COMPASS (for placement) is composed of tests in three subject areas: writing, reading, and mathematics. Students will read the instructions and questions on the computer monitor and will select answers using the computer keyboard. The test instructions are easy to understand, and entering information is very easy. A test administrator will always be present to answer questions that may arise.


Reading, writing, and math practice designed by ACC faculty

Compass Practice Exams

Click here for sample questions

Click here for a sample test

Test Taking Tips

  • Be well rested before you test. If you are hungry, eat something light before the test.
  • Don't drink too a lot of fluids before the test.
  • If you have children with you, return when you have a sitter.
  • If you wear glasses or contacts, be sure to have them with you.
  • Try to relax (take a deep breath).
  • Read the instructions carefully. This is very important.
  • Make use of the practice items provided by the Learning Labs.
  • If you are taking the Compass for placement, give yourself at least an hour and a half (preferably two hours) to complete the entire battery of tests before the Assessment Center closes.
  • Do your best. The test scores will be used by the counselor to place you in the appropriate classes.
  • Testing is by appointment only. Bring a photo ID, a second form of ID, your paid admission ticket, and social security number.
Click here to access the Assessment Center.

Click here to download sample questions.

Click here for help from the University of Phoenix.


Website Index

This course is primarily web-based, and the web site has a straightforward design which makes it easily navigable. Please click on all the blue links below and review the information thoroughly.

I. The Math Section Tutorial

The Mathematics section of the Compass assesses students’ knowledge in three levels of math skills: pre-algebra/numerical skills, algebra, and college algebra. Pre-algebra/numerical skills items range from basic math concepts and skills (integers, fractions, and decimals) to the knowledge and skills that are required in an entry-level algebra course (absolute values, percentages, and exponents). The algebra items are essentially questions from elementary and intermediate algebra (equations, polynomials, formula manipulations, and algebraic expressions).

The college algebra test items measure algebra knowledge and skill in operations with matrices, functions, and factorials. The tests all measure three general levels of performance: basic skills, applications, and analysis. Basic skills require the performance of a sequence of basic operations. Application items use these same basic operations on complex settings. Analysis items require demonstrating a conceptual understanding of the essential principles and relationships that are relevant to each of the math skills. This test results in placement into the appropriate skill building mathematical course or approval for enrollment into a college-level mathematical course.

You will be permitted to use a calculator, scratch paper, and pencil. You will not be allowed to return to previous questions in order to change your answers. You must answer each question presented to you and will not be penalized for guessing.

Click here for more Math information.

II. The Reading Section Tutorial

The Reading section contains two basic types of questions: multiple choice and text highlighting. Two to four passages may be presented from the following areas: humanities, prose fiction, natural sciences and/or social sciences. Several different question types are given: inference, detail, vocabulary in context, main idea, tone, and application.

Each test has a built-in practice session to familiarize you with the kinds of questions you will encounter. The computer screen is divided in half, with the passage on the left side of the screen and the question on the right. After you answer each question about a passage, you will be able to go back and change your answers. However, you cannot go back to a previous passage.

Click here for more Reading information.

III. The Writing Section Tutorial

The Writing section of the Compass evaluates editing skills that are used for checking passages for errors. Students are required to identify an error and then to correctly select an appropriate revision. The passage errors assess sentence structure, grammar and usage, and punctuation. A final set of questions measures a student’s organizational and rhetorical skills. The test determines placement into a developmental English course or an English Composition I course. Those students taking the Compass for TSI purposes must write a persuasive essay.

Click here for more Writing information.


Created by Becky Villarreal Austin Community College 2000
Compass Schedule | Blackboard