Before the semester you take the CPE
The CPE tests skills that you have developed through the course work you have already taken:
Taking writing-intensive courses within your first 45 credits is the best preparation. The whole curriculum, not the required English Composition courses, is the field for your preparation.
If you experience difficulty in writing, contact the Writing Center, Kiely 229, for assistance.

After you register for the CPE
If you register for the CPE online, you will need to print the long reading selection for Task 1. If you register in the Testing Center, you will be given the long reading selection.

Review the Reading Selection

You must study the reading selection in preparation for Task 1. Read the selection as many times as necessary to understand it thoroughly. You may underline, mark up, highlight, or outline the important points in the text as you would if you were studying for a course examination. You may also discuss the selection with others to prepare for the test.

Learn about successful strategies. Readers who have reviewed and scored thousands of essays suggest that you:
· become familiar with the CPE format, directions, and grading criteria;
· prepare thoroughly;
· take time to plan your answers;
· follow the directions carefully, answering all parts of the question for each Task;
· summarize only the parts of the readings called for, not the entire reading;
· avoid plagiarism by making a clear distinction between your own words and the language of the readings and by identifying language or ideas taken from the readings;
· explain and support your points fully;
· keep the reader in mind-focusing your essay, making logical connections between readings or between reading passage and data, and between readings and your own perspective or experiences;
· take time to edit and correct your work.

Attend workshops
Workshops give more information and some practice with the type of tasks on the CPE. Task 1 Workshops are two and one-half hours long; Task 2 Workshops are 1 and one-half hours. The workshops are intended to acquaint all students with the format and scoring of the exam and to provide practice with CPE-like materials. Workshop schedule

Use web-based sources of information
CUNY has prepared two websites to help students gain more information about the CPE. The site at has a sample CPE, scoring guides, and sample student responses.
The site at is an interactive tutorial that provides instructional materials to help you prepare for the exam as well as sample materials.

What should I bring with me to the CPE session?
You must bring your copy of the reading selection, but no other papers. In addition, you must bring a pen, a #2 pencil, and 2 forms of picture identification. You may bring one dictionary for use during the test; however, no electronic spellers or other devices may be used.