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Evaluation and Testing

CUNY Assessment Tests (CAT)

The CUNY Assessment Tests (CATs)

All students pursuing a bachelor's degree program at CUNY must satisfy the reading, writing, and mathematics basic skills requirements for the University in order to be admitted. You can show that you meet the University's skills proficiency requirements based on your SAT, ACT, or NY State Regents test scores. Otherwise, you may take CUNY Assessment Tests (CAT). Details about primary ways to meet the CUNY admission requirements for four-year colleges can be found here>>
  • The CUNY Assessment Tests (CAT) 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 the college.
  • Your results on the CUNY Assessment Tests can determine 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, and
  • designed to measure reading comprehension
You will be given several readings that may be practical or drawn from prose fiction, the humanities, social sciences, or natural sciences. Questions about the readings will ask you to refer to what is explicitly stated and to determine the meaning of words through context. They will also ask you to reason to determine implicit meanings, to draw conclusions, and to make comparisons and generalizations. The readings are like those commonly assigned in first-year courses in college. For each passage you will be asked a set of multiple-choice questions.
You must achieve a scaled score of 70 or more to demonstrate minimum Proficiency.

Test preparation resources for the CAT in reading are available to all students here >>

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. 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 have 90 minutes to complete the exam. 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 minimum Proficiency.

Test preparation resources for the CAT in writing are available to all students here >>

3. The CUNY Assessment Test in Mathematics is:  

  • un-timed
  • multiple choice
  • computer-based
  • composed of four sections:
    1. Numerical skills/pre-algebra
      Numerical skills/pre-algebra items are questions range from basic math concepts and skills (integers, fractions, and decimals) to the knowledge and skills that are required in an entry-level algebra course (absolute values, percentages, and exponents).
    2. Algebra
      The algebra items are questions from elementary and intermediate algebra (equations, polynomials, formula manipulations, and algebraic expressions).
    3. College Algebra
      The college algebra section includes questions that measure skills required to perform operations with functions, exponents, matrices, and factorials.
    4. Trigonometry
      The trigonometry section addresses topics such as trigonometric functions and identities, right-triangle trigonometry, and graphs of trigonometric functions.

Placement into CUNY's required basic math courses is based on results of the numerical skills/pre-algebra and algebra sections. Student must achieve a score of 40 or more in algebra (Math 2). Students who score less than 40 on Math 2 will be required to take numerical skills/prealgebra (Math 1); a score of 45 or higher in Math 1 places students out of prealgebra remediation.
The test covers progressively advanced topics with placement into more advanced mathematics or mathematics-related courses based on results of the last three sections of the test (algebra, college algebra, and trigonometry). You are permitted to use only the Microsoft Window calculator integrated on the test.

Test preparation resources for the CAT in math are available to all students here >>

All new students - whether or not they are math proficient are require to take the placement portion of the CUNY Assessment Test in Mathematics (Math 3). Test results will be used to place you in the appropriate mathematics course.


The Math 3 Placement test is:

  • un-timed
  • multiple choice
  • computer-based
  • composed of three sections:
  1. Algebra
    The algebra items are questions from elementary and intermediate algebra (equations, polynomials, formula manipulations, and algebraic expressions).
  2. College Algebra
    The college algebra section includes questions that measure skills required to perform operations with functions, exponents, matrices, and factorials.
  3. Trigonometry
    The trigonometry section addresses such topics as trigonometric functions and identities, right-triangle trigonometry, and graphs of trigonometric functions.
Your test score on the Math 3 test is used for placement into advanced mathematics or mathematics-related courses and has no bearing on your admission to the college. You are permitted to use only the Microsoft Windows calculator integrated on the test.

Test preparation resources for the math 3 are available to all students here >>