What skills do the Reading, Writing and Mathematics tests measure?

Frequently Asked Questions for the CAT Exam

The Reading Skills Test

Generating Ideas Sample Chart for the Writing Exam The Reading Skills Test measures reading comprehension as a combination of referring and reasoning skills.

Test items require students to derive meaning from several texts by (1) referring to what is explicitly stated and determining the meaning of words through context, and (2) reasoning to determine implicit meanings, to draw conclusions, and to make comparisons and generalizations.

The test consists of three prose passages of approximately 375 words each, which are representative of the level and kinds of reading commonly encountered in college first-year courses. Each passage is accompanied by a set of eight multiple-choice test items.

The Writing Skills Test

Please refer to the new CAT Writing FAQ's

Compass Math Test

COMPASS Math is an untimed, multiple-choice, computer-based test designed to measure students’ knowledge of a number of topics in mathematics. The test is organized into four sections:

  • Numerical Skills/Pre-Algebra: From basic math concepts and skills (integers, fractions, and decimals) to the knowledge and skills that are required in an entry-level algebra course (absolute values, percentages, and exponents)
  • Algebra: Questions from elementary and intermediate algebra (equations, polynomials, formula manipulations, and algebraic expressions).
  • College Algebra: Questions that measure skills required to perform operations with functions, exponents, matrices, and factorials.
  • Trigonometry: Topics such as trigonometric functions and identities, right-triangle trigonometry, and graphs of trigonometric functions.