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Strategies for Taking the CUNY Assessment Test in Reading

The CUNY Assessment Test in Reading is a multiple-choice test that measures your comprehension of written text. When taking the reading test, the following strategies may be helpful:

  • Directions and sample computer tests are provided at the beginning of the test. Follow along carefully. It is not necessary to have any special computer skills to take the test. If you can point and click with the mouse and type your name, you can take the test.
  • Read the entire passage at least once before answering the questions.
  • When you are unsure of an answer, don't spend a lot of time on that item. Eliminate as many of the choices as possible, and guess from the remaining choices.
  • Be careful of choices that demonstrate exaggerations or extremes: Words like “all,” “always,” “never,” “ever,” “everyone,” “must,” and “completely” are usually not the correct answer Words like “sometimes,” “maybe,” “about,” “perhaps,” “some,” and “can” do not demonstrate exaggerations or extremes and are often the correct answer.
  • When answering a “I, II, and III” question, if you decide one of the Roman numerals is wrong, cancel all answers that contain it. If you decide one of the Roman numerals is right, cancel all answers that do not contain it.
  • Focus on introductory and transitional words and phrases:
    • For example: “but,” “although,” “even though,” “on the other hand,” “however,” “on the contrary,” and “otherwise” indicate that the two parts of the sentences will contradict each other.
    • For example: “just as,” “in the same way,” “similarly,” “equally,” “as,” “in like manner,” “likewise,” and “like” indicate that the author is pointing out a similarity between two subjects.
    • For example: “therefore,” “in effect,” “as a result,” “consequently,” and “thus” indicate that the information in the second part of the sentence is a direct result of the information in the first part of the sentence.
  • If you have to determine the meaning of a word in the context of the sentence, read the sentence substituting a blank for the word. Try to think of a word that makes sense with the rest of the sentence. Select the choice that is similar to the word you substituted.
  • Be sure to thoroughly review your answers before moving on.
  • You must answer all of the questions for the reading passage before you can go to the next passage.
  • Once you go to the next passage you cannot go back to the previous passage and change your answers.

The CUNY COMPASS Reading Skills Test

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