How to Prepare for a CUNY Assessment Test

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Most competitive exams test a student’s knowledge of concepts. Unlike these, the City University of New York (CUNY) Assessment test evaluates the ability and aptitude to learn. The CUNY assessment, which consists of reading, writing and math, evaluates your readiness for taking credit-bearing courses. Students who do not pass the CUNY test are required to take non-credit courses in the area of deficiency. The official CUNY website,, provides details of what each section covers, along with practice questions to help students prepare thoroughly for this assessment.

1 Browse the CUNY website

Browse the CUNY website and get information about the nature of the test's three components in reading, writing and math. The reading test assesses your comprehension and analytical abilities, whereas the writing test evaluates your spelling, vocabulary and ability to argue your position with a clearly organized essay. The math part of the assessment tests your knowledge of basic math, trigonometry and algebra.

2 Use preparation methods suited to a particular area of assessment

Use preparation methods best suited to a particular area of assessment. The reading and math tests are not timed, so you can take your time reading and understanding the questions. The writing section is a timed test, so you should always time your practice writing sessions.

3 Not use online dictionaries

Polish your grammar and vocabulary because you cannot use online dictionaries during the test. Although you can carry a non-electronic dictionary, it will be difficult to hunt for the appropriate word every time you answer a question. A good vocabulary is also helpful to comprehend the meaning of concepts in the passage and helps you frame an appropriate answer.

4 Practice with sample passages

Practice with sample passages and learn to identify the different types of questions that appear. These generally comprise of main idea, main purpose and fact questions, besides vocabulary in context and inference questions. Concentrate on the inference questions because these are more challenging than the other direct questions.

5 Writing Test Guide available on the CUNY official website

Study from the CUNY Writing Test Guide available on the CUNY official website. Consult the step-wise tutorial also available on the same site to understand the writing test requirements. Take the sample prompts in the tutorial and practice coming up with ideas and organizing them in a logical manner.

6 Solve the sample math problems on the CUNY website

Solve the sample math problems on the CUNY website. Collect more questions covering the math section from other sources, such as guide books and online websites. The test does not allow calculators other than the one MS Windows provides. It is therefore important to improve your speed and skill at mental calculation. Practice using scratch paper without using a scientific calculator.

Hailing out of Pittsburgh, Pa., David Stewart has been writing articles since 2004, specializing in consumer-oriented pieces. He holds an associate degree in specialized technology from the Pittsburgh Technical Institute.