CUNY students seeking a degree, or those who wish to transfer to another
CUNY college at, or after, 45 credits must take and pass the CUNY Proficiency
do students have to take the CPE?
Board of Trustees have mandated that all students within the university
must demonstrate proficiency in reading, writing and critical thinking
commensurate with sophomore (second year) college level skills. The
CPE was developed by Educational Testing Services and CUNY faculty from
across the university as a means of measuring CUNY students’ performance
in reading, writing and critical thinking. The university is committed
to helping students strengthen skills that will help them achieve success
in further academic studies and, subsequently, in their professional
I’m transferring to a college outside of CUNY, do I need to pass
not unless you’re completing a degree at LaGuardia before you
transfer, in which case you must pass the CPE because it’s a graduation
requirement for all students.
many times can I take the CPE?
can take the CPE three times, beginning at the forty fifth credit. If
they wish to take it before the forty fifth credit, they may do so.
After the forty fifth credit, if a student chooses not to take the CPE,
he/she forfeits a chance, so it’s important to keep careful track
of when the exam is given and how many times you’ve taken it.
If a student chooses to take the exam before the forty fifth credit,
that attempt will not be counted as one of the three chances.
should I do if I don’t pass the CPE on the first or second try?
is not unusual for students not to pass on their first attempt at the
CPE, but if you fail the exam you should make sure that you attend a
CPE workshop before your next attempt. The Testing Office has schedules,
dates and times for workshops each semester; check there three weeks
before your next attempt in order to sign up. In addition, you should
attend the Writing Center for help with any grammatical or organizational
problems in your writing. Lastly, you should familiarize yourself with
essay-writing rules and then try a few practice essays on topics of
your choice that closely correlate with CPE-like topics.
happens if I fail the exam three times?
three failures you must appeal to take the exam one more time. This
request for a fourth chance will be processed by the campus CPE liaison,
Dr. Sue Young. Some form of formal intervention will be agreed upon
before you’re allowed to try the exam again. This might mean assigned
Writing Center tutorial sessions, or other initiatives for which you
will be responsible. Including one appeal to take the CPE a fourth time,
students may have no more than four chances to take the CPE. If a fourth
attempt is unsuccessful, the student’s registration/intent to
graduate will be cancelled.
if I’m at 45 credits but the Testing Office hasn’t contacted
me about taking the exam?
sure that you take the initiative to contact the Testing Office and
have yourself put on the list for the next CPE testing session.
do I sign up to take the CPE?
you are contacted by the Testing Office, go to M-147 to sign up for a
testing session of your choice. At that time you will be given the long
reading for Task 1, and will also be able to sign up for a CPE prep
workshop. Therefore, it’s very important that you follow the sign-up
procedure in a timely manner.
do students take the CPE exam?
exam is given once per semester and students take it on campus in the
Mainstage Theatre. The entire exam (3 hours) is taken during one testing
will I get my results?
results will be mailed to you at the end of the semester in which you
took the exam.
courses will help me acquire the skills I need to pass the CPE?
All of them! The CPE requires students to demonstrate proficiency in
reading, writing, and critical thinking. It also involves writing a
comparative analysis (Tasks 1 &2) and interpreting visual data (Task
2). The content courses in all majors are valuable resources for developing
and strengthening these CPE-related requirements. In addition, make
sure that you maintain and practice your English reading and writing
I ask my professors to help me with the Task 1 reading?
Faculty members are prohibited by the university from teaching or discussing
in detail the Task 1 reading. However, you may want to get together
with several other students who are preparing for the exam, and form
a study group in which you can discuss the reading. In addition, while
CPE prep workshops do not address the reading itself, they do go over
past readings and help students extract important ideas, summarize,
and otherwise analyze a long reading selection similar to that given
in Task 1 of the CPE.
I see my CPE exam after I get my results?
The exams are the property of the university and as such students are
not given access to the actual tests. Moreover, the college must maintain
exam security and in order to protect the integrity of the exam, as
well as the privacy of all students in the college insofar as their
CPE exams are concerned, completed exams are warehoused in the Testing
Office and are off-limits to individual students.
should I do if I want to appeal my CPE result?
CPE evaluators are extensively trained, and the evaluation process is
complex and thorough, it’s rare that a CPE result is overturned.
However, if you feel that you want to appeal your result, you must apply
in writing to the Testing Office (M-147) explaining why, specifically,
you think your test has been incorrectly evaluated. The test will then
be sent to the campus CPE liaison, Dr. Sue Young, who will decide whether
a second evaluation is warranted. If she decides in your favor, your
exam will then be forwarded to Iowa, where it will be re-evaluated by
four new CPE readers. Their decision will be final, and no more appeals
will be entertained. Students who desire to appeal their CPE result
should be aware that the appeal process is a lengthy one.
If you want any further information about CPE policies and procedures,
please consult the CUNY Proficiency Examination Information for Students
handbook, available in the Testing Office, M-147.