CPAt is meant for judging entry level capabilities in students
trying to seek admission in schools and colleges for professional
courses. The results of the test are given in the form of scores that
calibrate how well a student has performed.
You are given scores for each section of CPAt as well as a composite score. But for the CPAT scores, it would be meaningless to take the exam. Scores in CPAT help us understand how a child has performed in the exam. We can make comparisons and see his performance relative to those of others. Had the exam results been declared in terms of pass or fail, it would have been difficult to make judgments about the skill level in students. We would only know if the child possesses certain skills or not, but how adept he is in the skills would still be a mystery. This would increase our dependence on other methods of estimation of his capabilities. The whole purpose of taking CPAT would thus be beaten.
A grading system for such an exam would not work either. Though the grading system does give a better idea than pass or fail status, it still suffers from handicaps. We can make grades as close to scores as possible, but then again it would be difficult to compare two students falling in the same grade category. This would again increase our dependence on other systems of judging students.
But why can’t we depend on other judgment criteria? We certainly can depend on numerous admission criteria but within limits. Some admission criteria used by colleges are GPA, recommendation letters, admission essays, results of standardized tests, interview etc. Barring a few, these criteria are subjective and depend on the background of the applicant. Hence, colleges cannot fully depend on them.
The only solution in such a situation is to formulate a method of scoring that can help us make comparisons among candidates without requirement of other criteria. Scores in the CPAT help to make such comparisons.
Passing Scores for CPAT
The passing scaled scores for CPAT are:
Language Usage: 42
Numerical Skills: 41
How are the Scores Used?
Primarily they are used as an application criterion for various college level courses. Additionally, they are used to provide financial aid to students. Let us see a few instances to understand the utility of these scores.
- As an Admission Criterion: Colleges set a minimum score in CPAT as a part of admission criteria. For admission in Everest University, one of the application criteria is stated as ‘minimum CPAT score of 120 for freshmen’. Some colleges do not set a minimum score and merely passing the exam is enough. For admission into Universal College of Beauty, California one has to pass CPAT prior to application. Retesting is also allowed by the university.
- As a Scholarship Criterion: Some colleges grant financial aid to students on the basis of these scores. To avail the Director’s scholarship in Globe University, you have to take CPAT on any one of six test dates in a school year. The scholarship amount can be up to $5,000 and depends on how high you score in CPAT is. For admission into Morrison University, a student must possess a minimum composite score of 130 in CPAT. However, this condition is relaxed for those who possess a baccalaureate degree.
- As a Substitute for ACT or SAT: Some colleges require either of ACT, SAT and CPAT scores for admission. The minimum score requirements for each of these is also predefined. At the Institute of Production and Recording (IPR), Minneapolis, the score of ACT, SAT or CPAT is one of five admission requirements. The applicant needs to score either 21 in ACT, 990 in SAT or 148 in CPAT. The test is given at IPR itself. For admission into Galen College of Nursing, one has to score at least 19 in ACT, 1350 in SAT or 163 in CPAT. Galen administers CPAT.
- As a Substitute for GED or High School Diploma: You can be asked to submit your CPAT scores instead of GED scores. At Hypnosis Motivation Institute, California, you have to either possess a high school diploma or a GED degree or passing scores in CPAT for admission.
From the above instances, it is amply clear that colleges give
importance to CPAT scores as per their requirement. While some colleges
set a minimum score requirement, others require mere passing
scores for application. However, it is beneficial to score high in
CPAT. The above mentioned scores are only application requirements and
cannot be sufficient for admission since many other students are vying
for the same seats as you. To beat competition; you shall have to put
forward an application that surpasses those of others for most of the
important admission criteria.
Setting a High Aim
You can set aims only when you understand what is best for you. Although there is a minimum passing score requirement set by ACT, it is advised that you check with the colleges you are interested in what their score requirements are as well as the average score of students admitted in the past year. This shall give you a better idea of how much you need to score, rather than depending on vague estimations.
When you set an aim for yourself, you gain a direction and focus. You judge your performance as per the aim you set and work hard towards achieving that score. This makes your approach more objective and makes your performance measurable.
Colleges favor students who exhibit excellent performance in CPAT. This gives them an idea that students scoring high in CPAT are competitive, aggressive and focused. High scores indicate that students are capable of delivering the same performance in college.
How to Maximize Your Score?
Instead of looking into what should be done, let us analyze what not to do to maximize your chances of scoring high in CPAT.
- While preparing, do not spend too much time on the portion you are familiar with. Time is at premium while you prepare and you need to use it prudently. Spend time on topics you are not familiar with and browse through those you understand well.
- Do not ape others. Set your own aim and decide your own method and time of study. You will tend to imitate your friends if you are not clear about what is to be done and how. Gain complete knowledge about CPAT to avoid such a situation and build up your confidence. This shall assist you in doing what is best for you.
- Do not ignore practice and drill. They form an important part of preparation. Include as many practice tests in preparation as possible and allocate time in your preparation plan for this aspect.
- Do not rely too much on others. Use your own brain even if you have enrolled for a prep course. Keep a check on where your preparation is heading and take corrective measures in time to avoid failures.
- Do not isolate yourself. Remain in communication with others and take help from them when required. Likewise, extend your help to others; it shall help in fixing concepts in your mind.
- Don’t practice without time limits. When you take practice tests, keep a check on the time you spend on each question. Accordingly, you shall be able to assess whether you shall be able to complete the test or not.
- Don’t ignore the test center rules and requirements. If you falter at a test center it could lead to unnecessary commotion.
A Word of Advice
A person who is well informed is generally well prepared. If you understand what the score requirements for your preferred colleges are and gain information about the test well in advance, it shall help you make the most of your opportunities. Preparation for CPAT shall take you nearly three months of study. Start making inquiries a year in advance to understand how you are to register and prepare for the exam.