Student Connection

COMPASS ESL Test: Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is COMPASS ESL?
  2. What is COMPASS ESL like?
  3. Who must take COMPASS ESL?
  4. How long will COMPASS ESL take?
  5. What happens when I finish the COMPASS ESL assessment?
  6. What do my COMPASS ESL scores mean?
  7. Will taking COMPASS ESL prepare me to take the TOEFL or other exams?
  8. Help! I've never used a computer before! How will I complete COMPASS ESL?
  9. What should I do to prepare for COMPASS ESL?

What is COMPASS ESL?

COMPASS ESL is a computerized assessment of your English listening, reading, and grammar skills.

What is COMPASS ESL like?

COMPASS ESL is not timed. That means you can relax and take your time. The assessment should take you between one and two hours to complete. There are three parts: listening, reading, and grammar/writing.

Who must take COMPASS ESL?

If you are a non-native speaker and have not already taken and passed the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) with an internet score of at least 61 or paper score of at least 500, MELAB (Michigan Language Assessment Battery) score of at least 72, or an IELTS (International English Language Testing System) score of at least 5.5, and do not qualify for an exemption, you must attend a special international student orientation which includes an English placement test. Students on F-1 visas must submit official TOEFL, MELAB or IELTS score report meeting the above minimums.

How long will COMPASS ESL take?

COMPASS ESL will take you anywhere from one to three hours to complete. And, if you are unable to finish your session for some reason, you can return and complete the test at another time. Be sure to tell your proctor if you need to suspend your session. Remember, you must return and complete the remainder of your session before you can talk to a counselor and select your course. Your assessment must be completed within at least 30 days.

What happens when I finish the COMPASS ESL assessment?

When you are finished with COMPASS ESL, you will see a screen on the computer telling you to STOP. Go to the testing proctor to get a copy of your score report. Then you may go to your counselor to choose your classes.

What do my COMPASS ESL scores mean?

There will be a recommended course listed on your score report for each part of the assessment (listening, reading, and grammar). In most cases, you will be required to take the recommended course or courses. Your counselor will help you decide what courses to take, and may ask you to undergo additional assessment if necessary.

Will taking COMPASS ESL prepare me to take the TOEFL or other exams?

While taking COMPASS ESL may help you improve your test-taking skills, it will not prepare you for the TOEFL or any other English as a Second Language examination.

Help! I've never used a computer before! How will I complete COMPASS ESL?

Even if you've never used a computer before, you'll find that COMPASS ESL is simple to use. If you can point and click a mouse, you can take COMPASS ESL. The testing proctor is always available for assistance.

What should I do to prepare for COMPASS ESL?

No special preparation is necessary, since COMPASS ESL is designed to measure your current skills.

Other Information

Students with disability-related or accommodation needs should contact Learning Support Services at 734-973-3342.

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