Placement Testing

Students who have been accepted to Honolulu Community College for the upcoming semester and have not successfully completed previous college courses in English or math should take the placement test at their earliest convenience. The placement test determines the level of English and math courses students are prepared to enter. The test is computerized and not timed. There is no charge for the test. Students are given their results immediately upon completion of the test along with additional information on course registration.

Testing Schedule

Each student receives a testing schedule with his or her letter of acceptance to Honolulu CC/Honolulu CC Placement Test Referral Form. Students may call 845-9217 for a recording of the most current testing dates and times for the current month. No appointment is necessary. The testing center is closed on Sundays and holidays.

Testing Location

The Testing Center is located within Testing and Tutoring (Building 7, Room 313) in Rm. 316.

Testing Requirements

  • Students must bring a Honolulu CC Acceptance Letter and a photo ID or they will not be able to take the placement test.
  • Testers are monitored by security cameras at all times during testing. Cell phones, pagers and other inappropriate electronic devices are not allowed. No communication between testers is allowed in the testing room.
  • Personal hand held calculators and other devices are not allowed in the testing room. Neither are dictionaries or other reference materials. During the math test, students will be allowed to use the onscreen calculator only. Scratch paper is provided and collected at the end of the test.
  • Children are not allowed in the testing room with testers, so students should not bring children with them to the testing site for safety reasons and out of courtesy to other testers.

Students With Disabilities

Students with disabilities may request special testing accommodations by calling 845-9272. Advance notice of at least two workdays is respectfully requested.


A Honolulu CC Placement Test Referral Form permission slip from a Honolulu CC counselor is required to retest. Students who have placement tested may retake the COMPASS Placement Test with a $25.00 retest fee and no wait period effective July 15, 2010. Students who want to retest must see a counselor first for a Honolulu CC Placement Test Referral Form permission slip and then complete payment of the $25.00 retest fee. Students must have a signed Honolulu CC Placement Test Referral Form from a Honolulu CC counselor and receipt of payment for the $25.00 retest fee when they come to the Honolulu CC Testing Center to retake the COMPASS Placement Test. It is advisable for students intending to retest to review English and math and become familiar with test taking strategies and procedures before retaking the placement test. Review information is available below.

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Sample Test Questions

Sample test questions are available at the ACT website. These sample items illustrate the types of questions students will encounter in placement testing for Mathematics, Reading, Writing Skills and ESL.

Mathematics Topics in the COMPASS Math Placement Test

Numerical Skills/Pre-Algebra

  • Basic operations with integers
  • Basic operations with fractions
  • Basic operations with decimals
  • Exponents
  • Ratios and proportions
  • Percentages
  • Conversions between fractions and decimals
  • Multiples and factors of integers
  • Absolute values of numbers
  • Averages (arithmetic means)
  • Order concepts (greater than; less than)
  • Estimation skills
  • Number theory
  • Counting problems and simple probability

Elementary Algebra

  • Substituting values in algebraic equations
  • Setting up equations in given situations
  • Basic operations with polynomials
  • Factoring polynomials
  • Solving polynomial equations by factoring
  • Formula manipulation and field axioms
  • Linear equations in one variable
  • Exponents
  • Linear inequalities in one variable

Intermediate Algebra

  • Rational expressions
  • Exponents
  • Systems of linear equations in 2 variables
  • Quadratic formulas
  • Absolute value equations and inequalities

Coordinate Geometry

  • Linear equations in 2 variables
  • Distance formulas in the plane
  • Graphing conics (circle, parabola, etc.)
  • Graphing relations in the plane
  • Graphing systems of equations & functions
  • Midpoint formulas


  • Trigonometric functions and identities
  • Right-angle trigonometry
  • Trigonometric equations & inequalities
  • Graphs of trigonometric functions
  • Special angles (multiples of 30 and 45 degrees)
  • Polar coordinates