The CUNY Proficiency Exam (CPE) requires students to demonstrate their competence in aspects of academic literacy that the CUNY faculty considers important for success in upper-division studies. The exam has been designed by faculty to resemble college assignments in which writing is produced in response to reading material, data, or observations.

The CPE tests some of the skills that you have developed through the course work that you have taken: reading and interpreting textbooks and material of general interest; organizing and presenting your ideas about what you have read and connecting those ideas to other information or concepts; writing clearly and effectively for an audience; and interpreting and evaluating material presented in charts and graphs. If you think that it would be helpful to strengthen some of these skills before you take the exam, help is available at the writing center or tutoring center on your campus. The total time for the CPE is three hours. The exam consists of two tasks:

Task 1: Analytical Reading and Writing (2 hours)
You will be given two reading selections, an 8 - 9 page selection to be studied in advance and a 1 – 1 1/2 page selection at the test. You must write a focused essay, drawing a relationship between specified elements of the two reading selections and extending it, as directed, to your own experience, understanding, or ideas.

Task 2: Analyzing and Integrating Material from Graphs and Text (1 hour)
You will be given a set of materials (two charts or graphs and a brief reading passage) on the same or similar topics. These materials are not released prior to the testing session. You will be asked to state the claims of the reading selection and discuss the extent to which the data in the charts support or challenge the claims.