CUNY Assessment Tests
CAT in Reading
All conditionally accepted students are required to meet CUNY's Skills Requirements in Reading, Writing, and Mathematics by passing the CUNY Assessment Tests. We have found that students tend to do better on the CUNY Assessment Tests when they spend time on practice exercises.
To practice your math, writing, and reading skills, we recommend that you use the resources to the right.
What are the CUNY Assessment Tests (CAT)?
There are three CUNY Assessment Tests: one in Reading, one in Writing, and one in Math. You may have to take one, two, or all three, depending on your SAT, ACT, and Regents scores. Whichever tests you need to take, you will be scheduled to take them all on the same day.
Reading: The CAT in Reading (CATR) is an untimed, multiple-choice, computer-based test. You will be asked to read several passages that are similar to what students have to read in their first year of college and then answer questions about the content of the readings.
Writing: The CAT in Writing (CATW) is a 90-minute test. You will be asked to read, understand, and respond to a passage of 250-300 words. This will test your ability to think and write in English, similar to the way you will have to think and write throughout your college career.
Mathematics: The CAT in Mathematics (CATM) is an untimed, multiple-choice, computer-based test. It has four sections: numerical skills/pre-algebra, algebra, college algebra, and trigonometry.
Why do I have to take the CAT?
Depending on your SAT, ACT or Regents scores, you will be taking the CAT either for admission or math placement purposes.
For admission: If your SAT, ACT or Regents scores do not qualify you for exemption in one of the skill areas, you have to take the CAT in that skill area. Your CAT score will determine whether you meet the admission requirements for a senior college.
For math placement: If your SAT, ACT or Regents scores qualify you for exemption, you still have to take the CAT in Mathematics. Your CAT score will determine how many math courses you have to take at John Jay and which ones.
Which CATs do I have to take?
You will receive a letter from the CUNY Testing Office. The letter will tell you which test(s) you will be taking, and when and where your test is scheduled.
How well do I have to do on the CAT?
If you don't meet the admission requirements: In order to be admitted to John Jay College, you will have to pass all the CUNY Assessment Tests in the skill area(s) you are not exempt. If you pass, you will receive an acceptance letter indicating that you are eligible to start at John Jay in the fall.
If you meet the admission requirements: You will have to take the CAT in Mathematics for placement purposes only. If you score high on the test, you will place directly into the advanced MAT 108 or 141. Otherwise, you will have to take two semesters of math (MAT 104 or 105 and MAT 108 or 141). Placing into an advanced math course will save you time and money.
How can I prepare for the CAT?
Whether you take the CAT for admission or placement purposes, it is worth becoming familiar with the test and spending some time on practice exercises.
To prepare for the CAT, we recommend that you take advantage of the Self-Study Tools below. You should expect to spend a minimum of 3-5 hours preparing for each test. Before start studying, you should read CAT Made Easy Tips for Math, Reading, and Writing.
Self-Study Tools for the CAT in Mathematics (CATM)
John Jay COMPASS Math Review
CUNY CAT Resources
Are You Ready for Math?
The ACT COMPASS Page
Georgia Perimeter College
Self-Study Tools for the CAT in Reading (CATR)
John Jay CAT Tutorial in Reading
Printable Summary of the CUNY Guide to the CAT in Reading
CUNY Interactive Guide to the CAT in Reading
Self-Study Tools for the CAT in Writing (CATW)
John Jay CAT Tutorial in Writing
CUNY Learn about the Writing Test
CUNY Information for Students
CUNY Student Handbook
CUNY Practice Exercises for Students
What happens after I take the CAT?
About a week after you take the test, the college will review your results and send you an invitation to join one of the following programs:
The Bachelor Degree Program
If you pass all your CATs, you will be fully admitted to John Jay.
The Bachelor Degree Program with ESL Exemption
If you pass Math but fail Reading and/or Writing, you may qualify for an ESL Exemption, which allows you to start at John Jay. You still have to pass the Reading and Writing tests within four semesters.
Spring Academy or Summer Academy
If you fail only one of the CATs, you will be required to retest in the skill area you need after participating in the Spring Academy or Summer Academy in order to start at John Jay in the fall. To secure your seat in the Spring Academy, you must take the initial CATs no later than May 7. To secure your seat in the Summer Academy, you must take the initial CATs no later than June 11.
CUNY Justice Academy or Community College
If you do not qualify for any of the programs above, you will be referred to a community college or to the CUNY Justice Academy, a dual admission program in which you take your first 60 credits at a community college partner school, and the last 60 credits at John Jay.
How can I get my CAT results?
Follow these instructions to log in to the Jay Stop to look up your results. Please do not ask us to give you results over the phone; federal law does not allow us to.