CUNY Test Breakdown

The City University of New York is one of the biggest and most popular universities comprising of a number of colleges running various courses. It runs courses for which nearly half a million students have enrolled themselves. For admitting these students, CUNY accepts the scores in tests like ACT or SAT, and it also offers the option of CUNY Assessment Tests that are given equal value in the admission process. Moreover, students who have been unable to score well in other standardized tests can take this opportunity and avail the same benefits.

Being a part of the esteemed CUNY however, requires students to prove their worth. You can exhibit your talent and expertise in the CUNY Assessment tests, which are measured by scoring your performance in the three tests that it offers. Getting high scores in the test does not depend upon your past academics. CUNY provides you with an opportunity to start afresh, leaving behind all the lows of your academic performances in school years. That means it is what you do in the present that will have an effect on the result of CUNY.

Importance of Understanding the CUNY Test Structure
The structure of the test is predefined and declared to all before the test. This makes it possible to relate this information to the preparation process for optimizing results. The official website helps in obtaining information for the test. This website explains the three tests conducted as CUNY Assessment Tests. It helps to understand the types of questions, the time allotted to answer the questions and the content asked in the tests. Therefore, students can practice for the test by referring to this information from time to time. The benefits of understanding the CUNY test structure can be listed as follows.

    • It helps students appearing for the first time for the CUNY test to get familiar with it.
    • The test structure of CUNY provides significant inputs to form preparation tips and guidelines. Hence, it is possible to be on the right track during preparation.
    • The structure of the test helps to keep focus on the content that is asked in CUNY rather than beating around the bush.
    • Since it is possible to outline your preparation with following the structure of the test, it helps to avoid wastage of preparation time as well as efforts.
  • Having knowledge of the test helps in changing your attitude towards the test. You take the test with a positive approach and with confidence.

Understanding CUNY Assessment Tests
The CUNY Assessment Tests are helpful to determine the preparedness of students at the outset of college academics. These tests help in enrolling students into courses of various colleges. There are three assessments tests conducted by CUNY. These are Reading, Writing and Math.

This is a reading comprehension test comprising of reading passages followed by multiple-choice questions. It is a computer based test and there are no limitations of time for completing it. The passages asked in the test are based on varied topics like humanities, prose fiction, non-fictional writings, social sciences and natural sciences. These passages resemble the level of reading generally associated with first year college courses.
The questions that follow the reading passages are based either directly on the passage or are implicit questions that refer to the implied meanings. The questions asked in this test generally fall under five categories, which are:

  • Main idea questions
  • Main purpose questions
  • Vocabulary in context questions
  • Fact questions
  • Inference questions

It is possible to go back to review your answer and change them for as long as you are on the same passage. The minimum passing score for this test is a scaled score of 70.

The writing test is a paper and pencil test that has to be completed in 60 minutes. There are two questions in this test out of which an essay is to be written on any one of the topics depending upon the choice of the students. They are supposed to compile a self produced sample of writing based on the given topic.
The writing prompt is presented in the form of a choice to be made by a person in authority between two alternative views. The student is required to take a stand and choose the view that he supports and provide reasons for the same as well.
This test is scored on a scale of 1 to 6. A single essay sample is scored separately by two trained readers and hence the maximum score in this section is 12, out of which a minimum of 7 must be scored to make it a valid attempt.

This is also a computer based test and is un-timed like the reading test. It consists of multiple-choice questions that are divided into four content based sections, which are as follows:

    • Numerical skills/pre-algebra – The questions in this section are   asked from basic mathematical concepts of integers, fractions and decimals. The questions also include skills pertaining to pre-algebra like absolute values, percentages and exponents.
    • Algebra – In this section, the questions are taken from elementary and intermediate algebra, which include questions on equations, polynomials, formula manipulations and algebraic expressions.
    • College algebra – This section consists of questions pertaining to skill areas of operations with functions, exponents, matrices, and factorials.
  • Trigonometry – The questions of the trigonometry section are taken from the content areas of trigonometric functions and identities, right-triangle trigonometry, and graphs of trigonometric functions.

The results of the first two sections, i.e. numerical skills/pre-algebra and algebra sections are used for placements into basic math courses of CUNY. The three sections, algebra, college algebra and trigonometry, are used for placement into courses dealing with advanced mathematics. However, the minimum score required in these tests is determined by college admission authorities. The use of calculators is prohibited in the CUNY Assessment Test in Math.

Tips Gained from the Test Structure

    • Since reading and math tests are untimed, you need to concentrate only on accuracy and performance rather than speed. Therefore, there is no need of preparing for time management skills for these tests during preparation. Take your time to answer these questions, however, make sure that you don’t take too long to lose interest in completing the tests.
    • The passing score for math is determined by colleges. Hence, you must do some groundwork to get this information from colleges before taking the test.
    • Get familiar with basic computer features so that you don’t have any hesitations to take the computer based reading and math tests.
    • The writing test offers a choice between two essay prompts. Hence, you must give both the questions a good reading and brainstorm for ideas. Select the choice for which you can express more effectively.
    • Time yourself up when you attempt practice essay writing questions. You must learn to write the essay as well as review it before the allotted 60 minutes are over.
  • Since the use of calculators is not allowed in CUNY, you should practice to work out the problems and calculations either mentally or on a scratch paper.

Official Assistance for Preparation
The official website of CUNY offers sample questions to give an idea of the test. It contains a Reading Test Guide, a Writing Test Guide, Additional Writing Test Tutorial and lots of practice questions for all the tests. Hence, not only does the website contain test related information and practice material, but also provides tips and strategies to prepare for answering the tests in the best possible way.

One Last Word…
While planning for the test preparation, keep the outline of the test format in front of you. Refer to it to plan out the preparation strategies and also to remain focused during preparation. The test structure works as a guiding light that brightens up the path of preparation. Hence, it is worth to make use of this guiding light and display your finest potential in the CUNY tests.