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Placement Testing

UH West O'ahu freshmen are required to take the Computerized Adaptive Placement Assessment and Support System (COMPASS) placement test to determine the level of their first math or English class. To schedule a COMPASS test, please call (808) 689-2752.

The COMPASS test is a computer-adapted test where questions are ranked in order of difficulty and the test automatically adjusts the level of the questions based on your answers. For instance, if you get a question correct, you are given a harder question; if you get a question wrong, you are given an easier one. This process continues until you are consistently answering the same number of questions correctly or incorrectly at a given level. This level translates into your placement score.

The COMPASS test is required of all students with no previous college experience.

Only those students who:
1) scored 510+ on the SAT Exam Writing Section;
2) scored 18+ on the ACT English Test;
3) scored 4+ on the AP English Language & Comp Exam;
4) scored 3+ on the AP English Literature & Comp Exam; or
5) completed ENG 100 or its equivalent at a regionally accredited institution, are exempt from taking the English placement test.

At UH West O'ahu we require that students take the Math and English “Writing” test. We do not require the COMPASS “Reading” exam, however several community colleges, including Leeward Community College, require the Reading score in order to enroll in any of their College English courses.

ACT Math Placement Score details are available in this Memorandum.


The COMPASS is a free test that is administered on-campus through the No'eau Center for Writing, Math and Academic Success. To schedule a testing appointment, call (808) 689-2752.

Bring a UH West O'ahu ID or alternative ID with your name, photo, social security number, or Banner ID. We provide scratch paper, but you might want to bring your lucky pencil for figuring out problems. Your computer has a calculator built in, but you may also bring your own basic calculator.

Prohibited calculators include:

Casio-- Algebra fx 2.0, ClassPad 300, and all model numbers that begin with CFX-9970G;

Texas Instruments -- All model numbers that begin with TI-89 or TI-92; and

Hewlett-Packard: hp 48GII and all model numbers that begin with hp 40G or hp 49G).

There is no time limit for the COMPASS, but we suggest allowing yourself at least two hours. The average testing time is 45 minutes per test. Make sure you budget in at least 15 minutes to get signed in at our computer lab or private testing room and read the directions. You will receive your test results as soon as you complete the test.

Most students take both the Math and English tests on the same day, but you can schedule the tests separately if you prefer. 


Education research shows that students’ scores improve when they practice first! There are many free online resources your may use (see these links), and you may also purchase guides at your favorite bookstore or online site.

At UH West O'ahu we offer free test prep workshops throughout the summer. We encourage new students to sign up for a workshop shortly before you are scheduled to take the test.

Our workshops explain how the COMPASS works, why it is important, and we provide general test taking strategies. Students have an hour to take sample Math and Writing tests and to work with tutors. We also schedule private tutoring appointments to help prepare students for the test.


COMPASS test results are available upon completion of the exam. We recommend that you make an appointment with an Academic Advisor following test completion.


The first COMPASS test for math and writing are free. However, you will be assessed a $25 fee for each additional attempt made.  Get more information regarding this policy by viewing the MemorandumAt UH West O'ahu, we comply with the UH system-wide policy that math scores are valid for two years. Currently there is no expiration deadline on the writing score. 

COMPASS test scores determine the level math and English class you are eligible to enroll. Prepare, relax, and do your best!

Testing Contact:
Testing Coordinator, B205 (Library)
Phone: (808) 689-2752