Testing & Assessment
Regular Testing Hours
Monday through Thursday 8:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.* and Friday 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.*
*Please note that the last testing appointment is scheduled to begin at 4:30 p.m. Monday-Thursday and the last testing appointment is scheduled to begin at noon on Friday.
The Testing Center is located on the Council Bluffs Campus in the Welcome Center inside Clark Hall.
To get questions answered, to schedule a testing appointment, or to cancel a testing appointment, please contact us at 1.800.432.5852, ext. 3277 or 712.325.3277 or email@example.com.
- COMPASS – Identify academic strengths and weaknesses
- COMPASS/ESL – Evaluate English language skills
- Distance Education – Take E-college and Distance Learning Exams
- Typing – Test typing speed and accuracy
- CLEP – Earn college credit for qualifying test scores
- Dental Exams – Meet state dental assisting and dental hygiene requirements
- Nation-wide Assessments – Learn more about ACT
If you need special accommodations for testing, contact the Office of Student Assistance at 712.325.3399.
More information about Credit for Prior Learning
What is COMPASS?
COMPASS (COMputer-adaptive Placement Assessment and Support Services) is a placement tool designed to measure your current skills in writing, reading, and math. Throughout the assessment, COMPASS will adapt to your abilities. Questions may increase or decrease in difficulty depending on how previous questions were answered.
Why do I need to take the COMPASS?
Placement tests are required for all students who apply to Iowa Western Community College, and the scores cannot be more than two years old in order to be admitted. The results will help Iowa Western Community College staff and faculty decide where you should begin your academic coursework. It is imperative that you do your best because the results have an impact on the level and number of writing, reading and math classes you take.
Can I retake it if I don’t do well?
You may retake the COMPASS one time after waiting 30 days and paying a $15 retest fee. We recommend that you: (1) are within ten points of the cutoff for your desired course or program requirement, or (2) have completed recent and relevant coursework in high school or college that does not correlate with your COMPASS placement scores. Recent coursework is defined as high school or college coursework completed in the last 12 months. We also recommend that you brush-up before testing by reviewing sample test questions and other resources. After taking COMPASS twice, you must complete relevant coursework in order to be eligible for subsequent retests. In addition, you must pay the $15 retest fee for all additional retests and must wait 30 days from the last COMPASS test date.
How long will testing take?
You may take as little or as much time as you wish to complete the assessment. The COMPASS is untimed; however, the average completion time is two hours.
What should I bring with me?
All examinees are required to bring photo identification, which can be your driver’s license. You may bring your own calculator for the math test, or you can use the computer-based calculator that is provided.
Where do I go?
Once you turn on campus, simply follow the signs to Clark Hall. Our Testing Center is located on the First floor of Clark Hall in the Student Welcome Center.
How can I prepare for the COMPASS?
It is important that you refresh your math, reading, and writing skills. Particularly focus on math if it has been a year or more since your last math class. For sample questions and general test taking tips, visit the websites below:
- General test taking tips
- Sample Reading Skills questions
- Sample Writing Skills questions
- Sample Numerical Skills, Prealgebra, and Algebra questions
- Sample College Algebra, Geometry, and Trigonometry questions
To schedule or cancel a testing appointment: 1.800.432.5852, ext. 3277 or 712.325.3277
COMPASS/ESL is a placement tool designed to measure current skills in writing, reading, and listening for students for whom English is not a first language. To schedule a COMPASS/ESL test, please contact Admissions Advisor, Jeanna Cata, at 712.325.3419 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Proctor services are available for students who take tests for online or distance education courses, including E-College. This service is free to Iowa Western students; a $20 fee will be charged for non-Iowa Western students.
A timed typing exam is offered for entrance into the Medical Assistant program and Health Information Technology Certificate at Iowa Western. The test can be completed in less than 30 minutes and is free to students.
The College-Level Examination Program allows students to receive college credit by earning qualifying scores on any one or more of the CLEP examinations. Iowa Western students can earn up to 20 hours of college credit through CLEP exams. The tests are computer-based and students receive results immediately. The only exception is the College Composition exam that includes an essay. Those results will be mailed to the student within six weeks of the test date. All CLEP exams are 90 minutes long. Students must create an account at clep.collegeboard.org. Students will pay the $80 exam fee on this website using their login information. Students will also pay the $30 administration fee for the CLEP exam with Iowa Western's cashier prior to taking the exam. For more information on which exams are available, please review CLEP Examinations at Iowa Western Community College.
Iowa Western offers the following tests for the Iowa Board of Dental Examiners:
- Dental Assistance Iowa Jurisprudence
- Dental Assistant Infection Control & Hazardous Materials
- Dental Hygiene Iowa Jurisprudence
- Dental Iowa Jurisprudence
Each exam is one hour long and costs $20. For more information visit the website at http://www.state.ia.us/dentalboard/.
Iowa Western offers the following nation-wide assessment at scheduled times throughout the year. The ACT is not administered in our testing center, but is administered on campus. For specific dates and registration information, click on the link to ACT.
ACT – College entrance examination- www.act.org