Placement Testing

NPC is dedicated to student success.

To ensure that students select courses appropriate for their skill level, many students are required to participate in the course placement process. The following conditions define who must take part in the placement process:

  • Students enrolling in courses with placement prerequisites who have not previously taken a placement test.
  • Courses that require placement testing include all mathematics, English, and general education courses, as well as some program-specific courses, such as ATO courses, NAT 101 and EMT 132
    or EMT 244.
  • Students pursuing an NPC associate degree of any type, a Certificate of Applied Science of any type, or the Arizona General Education Curriculum (AGEC).

Speak with an NPC Academic Adviser to see if you need to take placement tests. Allow at least two hours to complete the tests. Be sure to call an adviser ahead of time to make an appointment for testing.



The purpose of placement tests is to identify any weaknesses in major subject areas before they disrupt your educational progress, giving you the opportunity to prepare more effectively for needed courses. The computerized tests have no "passing score" and there is no time limit to finish the test. You will receive your test results immediately upon completion of testing and then an academic adviser will help choose the appropriate NPC classes.

The following PDF sample tests will give you an idea of the kinds of questions you will see on the COMPASS tests.

  • There is a $10 fee allowing you to take the basic test and, if needed, two retests in that academic year. Students may not take the placement test more than three times per academic year.

Students may be exempt from the placement process if they meet one of the following criteria:

  • Students providing proof of an accredited associates degree or higher, unless the degree includes no college-level mathematics.
  • Students providing ASSET or COMPASS placement scores less than two years old from another institution.
  • Students providing official transcripts listing a grade of “C” or better for College Composition I (reading/writing requirement) and/or college-level mathematics (mathematics requirement).
  • Students providing ACT or SAT scores that meet NPC placement minimum standards. (SAT composite verbal and math score of 930; ACT composite score of 22)
  • Students taking courses for “Audit” grade only. The Audit grade exemption applies only to courses with a placement prerequisite. Courses with prerequisites may not be waived by this exemption.

General guidelines for the placement process are as follows:

  • Students should contact the campus/center academic adviser to begin the placement process. NPC uses the COMPASS computer-based placement test as its primary placement tool. If technical difficulties prevent the use of the COMPASS test, students may be given the ASSET placement instrument.
  • A complete set of COMPASS assessments typically takes two hours. Depending upon the COMPASS results, some students may need additional placement testing in one or more areas.
  • At the conclusion of the COMPASS test, the academic adviser will meet with the student to discuss the placement results.
  • Students needing placement testing pay a $10 annual fee. This fee allows for the basic text and, if needed, two retests within the academic year.
  • Placement test scores, whether from NPC or another institution, are effective for a maximum of five years. If more than five years have elapsed since the testing date, the student must re-test before enrolling in a class.
  • Placement results will be used to make initial placement for students in mathematics and English courses.
  • Depending upon their placement results, some students may need to enroll in College and Career Preparation (CCP) courses to develop the skills needed to succeed in college-level courses.
  • Certain program-specific courses, such as NAT 101 and EMT 132 or 244, also have required placement minimums.