Placement Testing - Compass & ASSET

Compass Test

$20 test fee, nonrefundable

Schedule a Test

Make an appointment to take the Compass test. You’ll need an appointment even if it’s only to take a portion of the test.

If you have further questions or concerns, please contact us at 206-546-4608.

This is a required, computerized placement test for new students entering college for the first time or returning students who are changing careers. The test is untimed and assesses abilities in writing, reading, and mathematics. With this information, students and their advisors will be able to increase chances for success by selecting appropriate classes.  Test results are available immediately after completing the test.

It's advisable to take all three parts at the same time, but one can take the test in segments if needed. The test is not timed, but generally takes 1-1/2 to 2 hours for all three segments.

Compass scores for most programs are valid for 2 years, but some programs require current scores so check with the program you are interested in to get accurate information. Placement (cut scores) are as follows:

Materials will be provided during the test (calculator, pencils). Students may take a break during the exam ONLY after completing a segment of the test. Students will be given their test results immediately after the exam  Keep a copy of your Compass test results and take it with you when you see an advisor.

If you meet one of the criteria below, you may not need to take the Compass test.

  1. Pursuing any Professional/Technical degree; review their intended program's planning guide to determine what level of English or Math is required, if any.
  2.  If you've taken Accuplacer, Compass, or Asset at another institution within the last 2 years. Show your placement scores to a Shoreline advisor for initial placement.
  3. Took college level English or Math courses at another institution. Submit official transcripts from that institution to Enrollment Services and show your unofficial transcripts to a Shoreline advisor to determine your course placement.  You can also email advisors to determine if you're met prerequisites for a specific course here at Shoreline.
  4. High school students who took the 11th grade Smarter Balanced assessment in Washington can use their scores for placement into college level English and Math. Show your unofficial transcripts to a Shoreline advisor for course placement.
    Math Placement Matrix for Shoreline Schools
    English Placement Matrix for Shoreline Schools
  5. Shoreline public high school graduates may choose to place according to their high school courses and grades. Show your unofficial transcripts to a Shoreline advisor for course placement. See chart for score equivalencies.
  6. Accepted into Shoreline's International Education program. Meet with an advisor in the International Education Program.
  7.  Did not graduate from a U.S. high school and are a student for whom English is a second language.
    Meet with an advisor in Transitional Programs.
  8. Pursuing an ABE-GED-HS21+ program.
    Meet with an advisor in Transitional Programs.
  9.  If you have a BA or BS degree and are returning to college. Fax your transcripts to Enrollment Services at 206-546-5835, then make an appointment with an advisor.  For advising appointments call 206-546-4559 or get information online at Advising Services.

Math: If you have questions about math in particular, please email a math advisor at or contact the Science Division at 206-546-4567 and ask to speak with a math advisor.

Retake Policy

Retake exams cost $20.  For English placement, the test can be taken three times per quarter.  For math, it can be taken twice per quarter. Retakes cannot be taken on the same day as the initial test.  You can schedule a retake exam online.


Compass Study Guides

General Compass prep:


Algebra Learning Modules


ASSET Test:  $20

This is a paper/pencil test that is similar to the Compass, and is provided only to those who cannot use a computer.  It is has three 25 minute sections.  Results are usually provided the next day after the test is completed.

If you need special/alternate accommodation to take the ASSET test (such as extended time), please provide documentation of your disability to the Office of Special Services (OSS), 206-546-5832.  If approved, OSS will arrange accommodation with the Testing Center. See a sample practice ASSET test.