COMPASS Reading

Students in multicultural room practicing different languages

Preparing for the COMPASS reading section

The length of the reading section of the COMPASS test depends on your reading skills. You will have more reading passages and questions if you have stronger reading skills and fewer selections if your reading skills are more basic. The reading passages come from a variety of content areas and disciplines.

Sample questions

To prepare for the reading section you can first practice reading and answering comprehension questions at http://www.act.org/compass/index.html.

  • Click on "Sample Questions"
  • Then click on "Reading" in the upper portion of the page

This page describes the reading section of the test and gives two short passages with comprehension questions for practice: one from the Humanities (literature), and one practical reading passage. When you have finished return to the "Sample Questions" page and select reading in the "More Sample Questions" section. These samples are more like the actual COMPASS test selections. Scroll down to practice reading three additional passages and answering questions.

The COMPASS reading tests ask three types of questions: referring questions with answers that are stated in the passage reasoning questions that require critical understanding or making inferences, and, questions about the meaning of difficult or unfamiliar vocabulary based on context clues and how they are used in the passage.

Reading review

Once you are familiar with what you'll be asked to read and the types of questions, you can improve your reading comprehension by practicing. Below are some online resources that provide reading comprehension practice or reading instruction to help you prepare –