Bonus FeaturesGuide to the CUNY Assessment Test in Reading
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TEST BASICS
Here is some important information about the CUNY Assessment Test in Reading:
The CUNY Assessment Test in Reading is an untimed test that takes place on a computer. You will read several text passages either about science, social studies, literature or humanities and then be asked to answer questions about the content. Outside knowledge is not needed for the test; you can answer all the questions just by reading the passages carefully. Dictionaries and language translators are not allowed to be used during testing. You are allowed to ask for a blank sheet of paper from the proctor. Make sure to eat a full meal and to use the bathroom before the test begins. Since you can take as much time as you need to finish the test, do not schedule anything after the test.

Most questions on the CUNY Assessment Test in Reading fall within five categories:
  • Main idea questions
  • Main purpose questions
  • Vocabulary in context questions
  • Fact questions
  • Inference questions
MAIN IDEA QUESTIONS
Main idea questions ask you to find the overall point in the passage or in a specific paragraph.

To answer main idea questions:
  1. Find the paragraph that the question is asking about.
  2. Summarize the most important points in the paragraph.
  3. Try to state in one sentence what the paragraph says.
  4. Look for the answer choice closest to the sentence you created.
MAIN PURPOSE QUESTIONS
Main purpose questions ask you what the author is trying to accomplish. Instead of identifying what a paragraph says, you may be asked to notice how the information in a paragraph supports the authorís main point.

To answer main purpose questions:
  1. Read the question. Donít read the possible answer choices yet.
  2. Go back to the passage to find the answer to the question.
  3. Select the answer choice that is the closest to what you think the
    answer is.
* Answering the question on your own first and then matching your answer with the answer choices is a technique that will help you avoid making mistakes.
VOCABULARY IN CONTEXT QUESTIONS
Vocabulary questions will show you a word and ask you to select what the word means as it is used in the passage. The word is highlighted in the passage to make it easy to find. The word you are asked about may have many different meanings, but you are only looking for what the word means as it is used in the passage.

To answer vocabulary in context questions:
  1. Read the question, but do not read the answer choices yet.
  2. Go back to the passage and reread the sentences surrounding the selected word.
  3. Look for clues in the surrounding sentences that hint at the meaning of the word.
  4. Decide what you think the word means as used in the passage.
  5. Look at the answer choices and find the answer choice that is the closest to the word you chose.
FACT QUESTIONS
Fact questions ask the reader to go back to the passage and find specific information that is stated in the passage. Donít pick any answer that you cannot prove by using information from the passage.

To answer fact questions:
  1. Read the question
  2. Go back to the passage to find the answer
  3. Select the answer choice that is the closest to what you think the answer should be.
INFERENCE QUESTIONS
When you infer, you draw your own conclusion based on a careful reading of the text, rather than locating an answer that is explicitly stated in the text.

A question may ask you to infer something based on the authorís tone. ďToneĒ means the emotion of the narratorís words.

For inference questions especially, slow down and give yourself enough time to think about each answer. Then:
  1. Read the question.
  2. Go back to the passage to find clues.
  3. Answer the question on your own before you look at the answer choices.
  4. Select the answer choice that is the closest to what you think the answer should be.
COMMON MISTAKES
The most common mistakes students make on the CUNY Assessment Test in Reading are

  • Choosing familiar words that have the wrong meaning

  • Be careful: donít just pick an answer because it uses words youíve seen in the passage. Make sure that the answer you pick means the right thing

  • Relying on Outside Knowledge

  • If an answer choice contains a fact that you know is true, but that information is not in the passage, that cannot be the correct answer. All the information you use to answer the questions, whether the information is explicitly stated or implied, must come from the passage.

  • Not taking enough time on the questions at the beginning of the test that have a bigger impact on your score.

  • Take as much time as you need: this test is un-timed. You can recheck and change questions you have already answered as long as you are still on the same passage.
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