Critical Thinking Competency Exam

Exam information

The Critical Thinking Competency Exam will continue to be administered remotely for the immediate future.

Remote testing is available as described below:

  • The test can be taken on any device: desktop, laptop, iPad, and even smart phone.

  • We do not recommend using a smart phone if you have another option. 

  • The test does not require a webcam but does require a good internet connection. 

Effective the Academic year 2018-2019, the Critical Thinking Competency is no longer required for incoming first year students, or for continuing students who opt to complete their degree under the General Education Regulations which went into effect Fall 2018. Consult with an Academic Advisor to determine your status. All the information below applies only to those students who are completing their degree under the pre 2018-19 General Education Regulations.


Toward the goal of developing competent critical thinkers, undergraduates who earn a degree from Wayne State University (WSU) should be able to:

  • Recognize that all decision-making as to "what to believe" involves examining and weighing evidence.
  • Clearly state a belief or assumption or fact.
  • Gather and analyze relevant supporting and contradictory evidence.
  • Formulate and identify deductively and inductively warranted conclusions from available evidence.
  • Recognize the structure of arguments (premises, conclusions, and implied assumptions).
  • Assess the consistency, inconsistency, logical implications, and equivalence among statements, and recognize explanatory relations among statements.
  • Arrive at a well-reasoned conclusion supported by evidence.

Before completing their first seventy-five credits towards their bachelor's degree, students are required to demonstrate competence in critical thinking by one of the methods listed below.

  • Successfully complete a WSU course in critical thinking.  See the current Undergraduate Bulletin for approved courses.
  • Pass the WSU Critical Thinking Competency Examination.  No credit hours are earned for passing the examination.
  • Receive transfer credit for successful completion of a comparable course taken at another college or university.

Description of the examination

The Critical Thinking Competency Examination covers the following areas:

  • Analysis
  • Inference
  • Evaluation
  • Inductive Reasoning
  • Deductive Reasoning
  • Interpretation
  • Explanation

The examination is computer-based and consists of 34 multiple choice questions.  The test is timed for 45 minutes.  Questions relate to everyday life.  Test-takers will be asked to:

  • Analyze or interpret information presented in text, charts, or images.
  • Draw accurate and warranted inferences.
  • Evaluate references and explain why they represent strong or weak reasoning.
  • Explain why a given evaluation of an inference is strong or weak.

A total scaled score of 73 is needed to meet the requirement.  Sample questions are available at  Solution strategies and explanations for these sample questions can be requested by following this link:

A general critical thinking practice test can be found here:

The book Think Critically by Peter Facione is also recommended as a resource to help prepare for the examination, available at

You may take the Critical Thinking Competency Examination once per semester.

How to register for an examination

The last test date during the Spring/Summer semester is August 26, 2021. 

Testing during the Fall semester will begin August 31, 2021 and will be available to take ever Tuesday and Thursday, not including University holidays. 

You must register for the exam in advance according to the following guide:

  • Tuesday test dates – by the end of the preceding Monday
  • Thursday test dates – by the end of the preceding Wednesday

If you can not test on a Tuesday or Thursday, special arrangements can be made. Please send an email to

Test registration for Spring/Summer test dates will become available by May 3rd, 2021. 

Once a test date has closed, it will no longer be displayed in our Automated System for Test Registration Online (ASTRO).

1. Online registration: Click the "Register or reschedule a test" button at the bottom of this page.  This will lead you to ASTRO where you must pay the $35.00 fee with a credit or debit card and choose your test date. You will receive two email confirmations: one for your payment and the other for registration. 

  • You should receive your payment confirmation immediately. There may be a delay of up to one hour to receive your registration confirmation.
  • The registration confirmation will be sent to your WSU email address. If it does not appear in your inbox, check your junk or spam folders.
  • If you have not received this confirmation more than one hour after receiving the payment confirmation, send an email to
  • If you do not receive your payment confirmation immediately, wait at least one hour before attempting to submit your payment again.

2. In Person Registration:  ***NOT CURRENTLY AVAILABLE   If you wish to pay your test fee(s) with a check, money order, or WSU OneCard, come to Testing, Evaluation and Research Services, Room 686 Student Center Building, 5221 Gullen Mall (click here for map). Make your check or money order payable to Wayne State University. You may also use our public computer to make your credit card payment. Cash will not be accepted.

Prior to and on the day of the examination

For remote testing you will be sent detailed instructions by 6:00 p.m. the day before the exam.  If you do not receive them send an email to and they will be resent the morning of the exam.  When taking the test you will be asked to provide your 9-digit WSU student ID number, which appears on your WSU OneCard, not your Access ID.    A silent, hand-held, non-graphing, non-programmable, non-alphanumeric calculator is permitted but not required. Scratch paper is allowed.

For in person testing, bring your WSU OneCard, or government-issued, current, signed, photo-bearing identification (e.g., driver's license, state ID).  The identification presented must be an original document.  Valid identification is required to test.  A silent, hand-held, non-graphing, non-programmable, non-alphanumeric calculator is permitted but not required.  Scratch paper and a pencil will be provided.  Be on time.  Late arrivals will not be admitted. 

Rescheduling and refunds

  1. You may reschedule a test registration a maximum of three times per fee payment.
    • Reschedules can be made the day before a test and the day after a test, but not the day of the test.
    • We do not recommend using the postpone option within ASTRO.  If you cannot test on the date you have scheduled no action is necessary.  You will be able to reschedule after the test date has passed, for up to one year.

  2. A refund can be processed only if it is made before the day of the test.  We cannot honor requests for refunds made on or after the test date, or after the third reschedule.
  3. Exam fees which are not rescheduled or refunded within one calendar year are subject to forfeiture.
  4. Test fees are subject to change without notice.

Retaking the examination

You may take the Critical Thinking Competency Examination once per semester.

Special accommodations

If you have a documented disability that requires testing accommodations, you will need to register with Student Disability Services for coordination of these accommodations. The Student Disability Services (SDS) office is located at 1600 David Adamany Undergraduate Library in the Student Academic Success Services Department. To schedule an appointment, call 313-577-1851. Information about SDS can be found at .


Register or Reschedule a test