CUNY Test Preparation

CUNY test is a test for students to make decisions of a lifetime. While those who have scored high can take control of their future by getting enrolled into the courses of their choice, those with low scores do not have this advantage. They will either have to settle with the courses that are not popular, or will have to improve their level of skills to beat the competition.
Getting high scores in this test is in the hands of students to a great extent. You should remember that it is better to put yourself in a favorable situation than to look for alternatives and remedial options in the end. Hence, instead of leaving things to chance, it is better to prepare when time is on your side.

Preparation for CUNY Test in Reading
The Reading test in CUNY is a reading comprehension test. If you have already appeared for a certain reading comprehension test of any standardized exam, it is easier to prepare for this test. However, needless to say, one does need to prepare for this test in time so that it can be taken without difficulties.

What to Prepare for the Reading Test?
To have better knowledge of what aspects of the Reading test require preparation, it is better to understand what should be avoided in the first place. The following tips explain the “don’ts” to be followed during preparation of this test.

  • Do not prepare for the content of the passage. The passages asked do not require students to have previous knowledge of the subject matter they contain since the questions purely depend upon the content that is given in the passage. Moreover, the student is required to answer the questions only in the context of the passage, without applying outside knowledge.  

  • Do not prepare for time management skills as the Reading test is un-timed. You can take as long as you wish to read the passages, understand them and answer the questions.

Having made a note of these points, it is easier to progress with the preparation of this test by considering the following points.

  • Polish your vocabulary and grammar skills as the software used in the test does not allow you to use dictionaries. Moreover, good word knowledge helps to answer the questions based on vocabulary given in the passage.

  • You have to derive information from the passage to answer questions. Therefore, your attempt in the test depends upon your understanding of the passage. Practice to understand different passages, related with different topics so that you get a hang of reading unfamiliar material.

  • During the practice of this test, it is required that you learn the most common question types, which are:
    • Main idea questions
    • Main purpose questions
    • Vocabulary in context questions
    • Fact questions
    • Inference questions

Note: The inferential questions are more challenging than direct questions. Hence, attempt all question types for each passage that you practice. The CUNY Reading Test Guide provides tips and guidelines to answer each of the mentioned types of questions.

  • Generally at the start of the Reading test, there is a practice session for students to get familiar with how the test is to be taken. However, it adds to your advantage if you have previously been familiar with the test format and its computer based administration.

Points to Remember

  • Remember that you can ask for a blank paper during the test to make notes if required.

  • You must also remember that you can move to a previously attempted question while attempting the same passage in order to revise it or change your answer option. However, once you move forward to another passage, you cannot make changes in the previous passage. Therefore, satisfy yourself for all the answers provided by you before coming to the next passage.

Preparation for CUNY Test in Writing
The Writing test is a real test of your writing abilities since it exposes your grasp over English language. Moreover, whatever the present level of your skills in writing is, it can be improved to a higher level with preparation, which helps in achieving a better score than what you would get otherwise.

Preparation for this test includes practicing writing samples on various prompts in order to improve the flow of ideas, organization and writing abilities. It also includes polishing your grammar, vocabulary and sentence structure skills. It is during preparation for this section that you can also view some scored sample essays so that you get an idea of the requirements of the test. One of the best sources of preparation for this test is the official website.

The Official Help for CUNY Test in Writing
The official website offers a complete step-wise tutorial for the writing test. It explains the best way to prepare for writing well composed essays, right from understanding the prompt to revising the complete sample essay. This tutorial should be consulted by all students preparing for CUNY Writing test for understanding the requirements of the writing sample. Apart from the tutorial, the website also offers practice for skills related with understanding the prompt, generating ideas and the introductory paragraph.
The official website is a source of CUNY Writing Test Guide, which is another preparatory assistance offered to students for well rounded preparation for writing the perfect writing sample.
Points to Remember
This is the only timed test in CUNY. Hence, while practicing the sample questions for this test, it is best to time yourself and work on time saving techniques during preparation.

Preparation for CUNY Test in Math
This is a crucial test in the CUNY Assessment Tests. It contains four sections depending upon which you can get selected into courses of Mathematics. The four sections that require preparation are:

  • numerical skills/pre-algebra
  • algebra
  • college algebra
  • trigonometry

The first two sections help in getting into basic mathematics courses and the last three sections are required for advanced level math courses. It is therefore, essential to focus on the ones that would help you to get into the course that you want to. However, by preparing well enough for all the sections you can have more choice of courses to get enrolled into.
It is essential to go through the syllabus asked in the tests so that you do not leave out on any of the content areas. The official website helps you to understand the content areas in detail.
The most rewarding form of preparation for this section is to hand-practice sample questions. The official website contains sample problems of all the four test sections for students to get an idea of the types of questions asked in the test. Sample questions should be collected from all the possible sources, including guide books, instructional courses, online preparatory websites and libraries. These questions together form a personal question bank, which must be practiced on a regular basis.

Points to Remember
Like the Reading test, the Math test is also untimed. Hence, you need not worry to hurry up and finish the test. Instead you can relax and spend time on concentrating on each question of the test, and answer it to the best of your capacity.
Since calculators are not allowed in the test, it should be remembered that the emphasis during preparation should be on mental calculations so that you don’t have difficulty in the test. Make efforts to solve the problems, whether on a scratch paper or mentally, to arrive at the answer.

Decisive Steps for CUNY Preparation
Some important decisions need to be taken by students at the start of preparation.

  • The total time required for preparation as well as time for each of the three CUNY tests should be decided before one starts to prepare. Generally about 5 to 6 weeks of preparation is considered enough for an average student.

  • Students must plan the source of preparation in advance. The best source of preparation is one which is most conducive to the study habits and nature of the student, whether it is self-study with books and software, preparatory classes run by coaching institutes, private home tutoring or online courses.

  • Preparation for all tests must be supplemented with a lot of practice questions of all types. Hence, make sure to collect as many questions as possible from all possible sources.

  • One must set aims of the desired score before starting preparation.

  • One of the best options for students is making use of the prep courses and study materials offered by colleges. Most of the colleges run their own preparatory courses, which turn out to be very advantageous for students willing to join those colleges. Some of these courses are also conducted free of charge.

A Word of Advice…
It is during practicing for the test that the most effective test taking strategies are formed. Moreover, learning from your mistakes during preparation makes it an active process. Therefore, students must make the best of this opportunity and prepare for the CUNY tests to improve their preparedness to enter college academics.