CAAP Test Breakdown

CAAP or Collegiate Assessment of Academic Proficiency is a test that helps educational institutions to measure the abilities of postsecondary candidates in specific content areas. The result of this test helps to give information about candidates’ proficiencies to the colleges they are getting enrolled to or to the institutes they are already studying in. It helps to identify weaknesses in the candidates so that they can be guided for better results. Moreover, the assessment also helps colleges to evaluate the efficiency of their institutions and determine loopholes in the education being imparted through the weaknesses exhibited by the test takers.
The test format is designed to meet the above mentioned uses of the test. It tests varied skills amongst students that could be required by colleges for an overall assessment. Along with other questions, it has the provision of about 9 to 10 local questions to be included in the test by individual institutions.

CAAP Test Sections
There are six sections of the CAAP test which are referred to as modules and represent different skill areas. According to the suitability of the curriculum, educational programs and the objective behind conducting this standardized test, educational institutions can select the modules that they need to conduct. Each of these modules is conducted in 40 minutes.
The six modules are as follows:

  1. Reading
  2. Writing Skills
  3. Writing Essay
  4. Mathematics
  5. Science
  6. Critical Thinking
  • Reading

Time – 40 minutes
Test Items – 36 multiple-choice questions
Content– There are four prose passages followed by 9 questions each. Each passage is based on either of the following content areas:

  • Prose Fiction
  • Humanities
  • Social Studies
  • Natural Sciences

The passages are about 900 words long and the difficulty level is generally similar to that of college level. Questions are required to be answered in context of the information given in the passages.
Skills Tested – The questions of the Reading Module are such that they test the ability of students to understand the given passages. The skills tested through the questions can be classified as follows:

    • Referring Skills – Questions that test the referring skills of students are those questions which need them to identify the direct meanings in the passage. For example, questions on details of passage, main idea etc.
  • Reasoning Skills – These questions test the reasoning skills and correspond to the implied meanings. Such questions may ask students to reason out the conclusion, make comparisons, find relationships and generalize.
  • Writing Skills

Time – 40 minutes
Test Items – 72 multiple-choice questions
Content – There are six prose passages of different types followed by 12 questions on each one of them. Questions are framed on the underlined portions of the passages or on a selected section of the passage, which require students to correct them if required. The questions are based on sentence structure, punctuation, grammar, organization etc.
Skills Tested – The skills tested in the Writing Module are divided into two broad categories, which are as follows.

  1. Usage/Mechanics- A total of 32 questions are asked on usage and mechanics. This includes question on the following content categories.
  • Punctuation – 6 questions
  • Grammar – 8 questions
  • Sentence Structure – 18 questions
  1. Rhetorical Skills – There are 40 questions in all that test the rhetorical skills that include the following skills.
  • Strategy – 15 questions
  • Organization – 10 questions
  • Style – 15 questions
  • Writing Essay

Time – 40 minutes
Test Items – 2 essay writing questions (20 minutes each)
Content – The essay prompt contains an imaginary situation that presents an issue. The student is supposed to take a stand according to his understanding of the issue and support it with suitable reasoning and examples.
Skills Tested – This test evaluates the student’s response to the prompt through assessing the stand and the supportive argument provided by him. The skills required by students to be represented in their writing sample include the following:

  • Making a claim about the issue
  • Supporting the claim with suitable examples
  • Organization and connectivity followed in the writing sample
  • Expression, clarity and effective use of language
  • Mathematics

Time – 40 minutes
Test Items – 35 multiple-choice questions
Content – The questions are in multiple-choice format and are derived from the content mentioned below.

  1. Basic Algebra
  • Pre Algebra
  • Elementary Algebra
  • Intermediate Algebra
  • Coordinate Geometry
  1. College Algebra
  • College Algebra
  • Trigonometry

Skills Tested – The questions emphasize on mathematical reasoning skills. Students are required to possess skills of solving mathematical problems of the postsecondary level. The use of permitted calculators is allowed, however, the questions in this module can be solved without using calculators as well. This test does not require you to memorize difficult concepts and formulas.

  • Science

Time – 40 minutes
Test Items – 45 multiple-choice questions
Content – There are eight passages followed by a set of multiple-choice questions. These passages could be taken from biological sciences, chemistry, physics and physical sciences. The format of passages is of either of the following types:

  • Data Representation – There are 15 questions on this type of format
  • Research Summaries – 24 questions are based on research summaries
  • Conflicting Viewpoints – 6 questions are based on conflicting view points

Skills Tested – The skills of scientific reasoning are tested in this module. Hence, students are not expected to memorize difficult concepts of science. The skills tested can be classified as follows:

  • Understanding the different concepts, assumptions, figures etc
  • Analyzing and drawing conclusions
  • Generalizing and predicting outcomes
  • Critical Thinking

Time – 40 minutes
Test Items – 32 multiple-choice questions
Content – There are four passages in this module. The passages contain arguments followed by a conclusive general statement, which present an issue. The passage could be in the format of case studies, debates, dialogues, editorials etc. The questions asked are broadly divided as follows:

  • Analysis of the elements of an argument – 17 – 21 questions
  • Evaluation of an argument – 5 – 9 questions
  • Extension of an argument – 6 questions

Skills Tested – This module is dedicated to evaluating the critical thinking abilities of students. Such abilities are required at many times in college studies as well as in everyday situations. Hence, skills of clarifying, analyzing, evaluating and extending arguments are tested in this module.

Since the CAAP provides flexibility to colleges for selecting the modules and customizing the test according to the institutional needs, students should make it a point to get in touch with the college authorities and find out the testing requirements before preparing for the test.

The CAAP test format should be known to students before they appear for the same. This is because it assists in preparing for its specific questions, skills and content. Hence, the best thing to do is to make use of this information and attain a good score in this test.