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CUNY Assessment Tests (CATs)

Evaluation and Testing

CUNY Assessment Tests (CATs)

The CUNY Assessment Tests (CATs) are critical in measuring your readiness for college success. These high-stakes tests evaluate your competency in reading, writing, and mathematics.
Your results on the CUNY Assessment Tests can determine:
  • Your admission to City College
  • Whether or not you can enroll in credit-bearing courses directly, or if you must first take non-credit courses in reading, writing, math, or ESL.

​The three CUNY Assessment Tests are given in Reading, Writing, and Math:

1. The CUNY Assessment Test in Reading is:

  • un-timed
  • multiple choice
  • computer-based of reading comprehension

The test consist of 20 multiple choice questions, that will measure your ability to understand what you read, identify main ideas, and to make inferences. You need to distinguish between direct statements and secondary or supporting ideas.

You must achieve a score of 55 or more to demonstrate college readiness.

It is strongly advised that you review the different test preparation resources available for the CAT in Reading.

2. The CUNY Assessment Test in Writing (CATW) is:

  • A standardized writing test that measures your ability to do college-level writing in English and assess your readiness for introductory college courses
  • 90-minutes written essay
  • You will be asked to respond to a reading passage that you see for the first time when you sit for the test

In the test, you are required to read, understand, and respond to a passage of 250-300 words. The CATW is designed to test your ability to think and write in English, similar to the way you will be asked to think and write throughout your college career. It consists of a reading passage (the text) and writing instructions. You must read the passage and instructions and then write an essay responding to the passage while following the instructions.

You may bring a non-electronic dictionary to the test (a paperback dictionary is recommended), bilingual if preferred.

You must achieve a total score of 56 or more to demonstrate college readiness.

It is strongly advised that you review the different test preparation resources available for the CAT in Writing.


3. The CUNY Assessment Test in Mathematics is:  

  • un-timed
  • multiple choice
  • computer-base
  • some questions on the math test allow for calculator use; there will be a built-in calculator automatically available when it is permissible
  • composed of two sections: Elementary Algebra (Math 5) and College-Level Math (Math 6).

Elementary Algebra (Math 5)

  • It is used to satisfy the college readiness requirement.
  • A score of 57 or more is require to demonstrate college readiness.
  • In the test, you will answer 12 questions, that measures your ability to perform basic algebraic operations and to solve problems involving elementary algebraic concepts.
  • There are three types of Elementary Algebra questions:

Operation with intergers and rational numbers: topics include computations  with intergers and negative rationals, the use of absolute values, and ordering.

Operations with algebraic expressions: topics include the evaluation of simple formulas and expressions, adding and subtracting monomials and polynomials, multiplying and dividing monomials and polynomials, the evaluation of    positive rational roots and exponents, simplifying algebraic fractions, and factoring.

Solution of equations, inequalities, word problems: topics include solving linear equations and inequalities, solving quadratic equations by factoring, solving verbal problems presented in an algebraic context, including geometric  
reasoning and graphing, and the translation of written phrases into algebraic expressions.    

College-Level Math (Math 6)

  • It is used for placement into more advanced college level math courses.
  • In the test, you will answer 20 questions, that measure the ability to solve problems that involved college-level mathematics concepts. 
  • Composed of five types of College-Level Math questions: 
    Algebraic Operations: 
    topics include simplifying rational algebraic expressions, factoring, expanding, polynomials, and manipulating roots and exponents.

    Solutions of equations and inequalities: topics include the solution of linear and quadratic equations and inequalities, equation systems and other algebraic equations.

    Coordinate geometry: topics include plane geometry, the coordinate plane, straight lines, conics, sets of points in the plane, and graph of algebraic functions.

    Applications and other algebra topics: topics include complex numbers, series and sequences, determinants, permutations and combinations, fractions and word problems.

     Applications and other algebra topics: topics include polynomials, algebraic, exponential, and logarithmic and trigonometric functions. 
It is strongly advised that you review the different test preparation resources available for the CAT in Math.