Office of Academic Testing

Guttman’s Office of Testing Services provides information and services pertaining to the CUNY Assessment Tests (CAT) and the Ability to Benefit (ATB) tests.

CUNY Assessment Tests

The CUNY Assessment Tests (CAT) evaluate competencies in the areas of reading, writing and mathematics. Students take these tests when they are first admitted to the college unless they have demonstrated proficiency in these subject areas by other standards. Here is a review of the CUNY admissions assessment test requirements.

The Reading Test

The Reading Test is designed to measure reading comprehension and is untimed, multiple choice, and is a computer based exam. A score of at least 55 is considered a demonstration of proficiency.

The Writing Test

The Writing Test is designed to measure the ability to do college level writing in English based on critical reading and thinking. Ninety minutes is allotted for the completion of this paper and pen test. Kindly note that time may differ for students with accommodations. Our Testing Office provides each student with pen, pencil and a paperback dictionary to use during this test. Electronic dictionaries are not allowed. An overall score of 56 or higher demonstrates proficiency.

The importance of writing skills have been documented as being foundational to success in college. Therefore we offer you further insight into how this test is scored. There are five (5) subset scores that make up the final overall score, indicating strengths and challenges within your essay response.  A subset score of 8 or higher in an area indicates   strength in that area.

The subset scores:

Critical Response to the Writing Task and the text (CR): This area looks at your ability to do all parts of the writing task and to demonstrate understanding of the main ideas in the reading text. Using critical thinking, you must integrate your own ideas and experiences in responding to the main ideas in the text.

Development of your ideas (DE): In this area, you are evaluated on the ability to develop ideas (for example, the use of summary, narrative or other means of elaboration) that support clarity of expression. Your response should strike a balance between broad claims and specific details and examples. In addition to these details there must be specific references to the text throughout the response.

Structure of the Response (SR): This area evaluates your ability to organize ideas into a connected essay that supports a central focus, or thesis. Ideas are evaluated for evidence of logical progression and the use of transitions to convey relationships between ideas.

Language Use: Sentences and Word Choice (SW): This area evaluates the degree to which you demonstrate sentence control and variety in sentence structure. Your ability to use language to facilitate clarity of expression is also evaluated by this area.

Language use: Grammar, Usage and Mechanics (GM): This area evaluates your ability to use the conventions of standard American English Language use in terms of grammar and mechanics, so that meaning is clear.

The Math Test

The math test is untimed, multiple choice, and computer based. The test consists of:

  • Elementary algebra
  • College Level Math

There is a calculator available in the test program for questions where a calculator is deemed necessary.   A score of 57 or higher on the Elementary Algebra portion of the test is used to demonstrate proficiency in Elementary Algebra.


For students who do not demonstrate proficiency on entry to Guttman Community College, there will be opportunities to attain proficiency. The Office of Testing Services coordinates these opportunities with faculty in relevant subject areas.