Placement Testing FAQs

Placement Testing FAQs


What is Placement Testing, and why do I need it?

Compass placement testing evaluates your current skills in the areas of English, Reading and Mathematics. The purpose of the test is to ensure that you are placed into the appropriate level (not too difficult and not too easy) of each of these subjects. It is important to prepare for the test and do your best to minimize the need for additional classes.  Back to Top

When should I take the placement test?

It is to your advantage to take the placement test early (preferably at least 60 days prior to the semester start date) in order to meet with your advisor and schedule appropriate courses for your first semester at LCCC..  Back to Top

Can I be exempt from taking all or part of the placement test?

You can be exempt under the following conditions:

  • If you successfully completed a math or English course at an accredited college (an official transcript must be sent to the Student Services Office).
  • If you completed a math, English or reading placement test at an accredited college in the last two years and can provide a copy of your test results.  
  • If you have official SAT or PSAT scores that equal or surpass minimum required scores:

            Math:      500 or higher in SAT, 50 PSAT

            English:   490 or higher in SAT, 49 PSAT Critical Reading

            Reading: 490 in SAT, 49 PSAT Critical Reading

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Should I prepare for placement tests?

YES!!! Research shows that practicing sample questions such as those on prior to testing provides a valuable "rehearsal" for the test. This can help you to prepare mentally for the test and reduce your chances of placing into a level below your abilities, thus taking a class that you don't need. In addition to practice questions, this site includes test taking tips and calculator guidelines. There are free refresher courses in Reading, Writing, and Math at If you haven't been in school or taken a test in a few years this is a great place to get back into school work, and it may help improve your scores. There are also videos at Preparation materials are available for in-house use at the Rothrock Library..  Back to Top

Will great placement test results allow me to place out of any coursework?

In most circumstances, satisfactory results will allow you to bypass developmental English, Mathematics and Reading coursework and begin taking college level courses as indicated in the catalog for your chosen academic program.  Back to Top

Will poor placement test results prevent me from attending LCCC?

No. Your COMPASS Placement Testing results are used to determine which English and Mathematics courses you should take first and whether any Reading courses are required. In some cases, noncredit literacy or English as a Second Language classes may be recommended before taking credit programming.  Back to Top

Is there a fee for placement testing the first time?

No.  LCCC does not charge a fee for the first time you take the COMPASS Placement Test.  Back to Top

How do I arrange to take the placement test? 

For the Schnecksville Site (Main Campus), please go to to schedule a convenient day and time to take the COMPASS Placement Test. Contact the sites directly to schedule a testing session at Allentown (610-799-1940), Tamaqua (570-668-6880), or Jim Thorpe (570-669-7010). Allow yourself enough time to comfortably complete your test. The full test takes approximately 2 to 2.5 hours.  Back to Top

How long will it take to do the placement test?

The estimated average time to complete all three sections of the COMPASS Placement Test is 2 to 2.5 hours. Since the test is self-paced you may take more or less time to complete the full test.  Back to Top

Do I need to take all sections of the placement test at the same time?

You are not required to take all sections (English, Mathematics and Reading) of the COMPASS Placement Test at the same time; however, you must complete all sections before meeting with an Academic Advisor.  Back to Top

What should I bring with me when I come for testing?

Required: Student ID number and Photo ID (driver’s license, passport, school ID, etc.)

Optional: Nonprogrammable personal calculator or you may use calculator on the computer

***NOT ALLOWED: cell phones or other electronic devices.

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May I use a calculator when taking the placement test?

You are permitted to use a nonprogrammable calculator on the Mathematics section of the COMPASS Placement Test. You may either use what is provided by LCCC at the time you test or your own nonprogrammable calculator. Cell phones or other electronic devices are not allowed. Back to Top

How and when do I get the placement test results?

A paper copy of your results will be provided to you immediately after you have completed your testing session.  Back to Top

What about retesting?

Your scores are valid for two years, but students can retest once, without cost, during that two year period. If the test is to be taken a third time, however, a charge will incur. If two or more years elapse between the time that you tested and when you plan to take your first English or Math class, retesting is required. Back to Top

What if I’m returning to LCCC after skipping one or more semesters?

You may or may not have to re-test depending on the types of classes you have already completed and the amount of time that has passed since you last tested or attended. Contact the Advising Office at 610-799-1137 or for more information specific to your situation. Back to Top

What if English is not my first language?

If English is NOT your first language, you should take the ESL Compass Test that is designed for English Language Learners. It tests your Listening, Reading and Grammar proficiency. You will also be asked to complete a writing sample in order to demonstrate your writing skills. Your placement will be done based on those results. These tests are given through the Credit ESL Department. Go to the Admissions Office on main campus in Schnecksville or to the Allentown Site on Hamilton Street (MK) to complete an ESL Prospective Student Information Sheet in order to be scheduled for a testing session. Contact Credit ESL at 610-799-1504 for more information.  Back to Top

What if I have questions about my results?

After you get your results, you should review them and check your recommended course placement.  If you have any questions, schedule an appointment with an advisor as soon as possible.