Critical Thinking Competency Exam

Exam information


Effective the Academic year 2018-2019, the Critical Thinking Competency is not 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 in Fall 2018.

The CTCE remains a General Education requirement for students completing a pre-2018 curriculum and is a school/college/department requirement for some programs.

Consult with an Academic Advisor to determine your status. 


The Critical Thinking Competency Exam will continue to be administered remotely for the immediate future as described below:

  • The test can be taken on any device: such as desktop, laptop, iPad.
  • 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. 


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

Testing during the Winter 2023 semester will be available on the following dates. Additional dates will be added as needed.

Day Date   Day Date
Wednesday 1/4/2023   Friday 3/24/2023
Tuesday 1/10/2023   Thursday 3/30/2023
Friday 1/27/2023   Wednesday 4/5/2023
Tuesday 1/31/2023   Tuesday 4/11/2023
Wednesday 2/8/2023   Wednesday 4/19/2023
Thursday 2/16/2023   Tuesday 4/25/2023
Monday 2/20/2023      
Tuesday 2/28/2023      


The test must be started between 9:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. See below for more details.

If you can not test on any of these dates, special arrangements can be made. Please send an email to

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 ASTRO 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.
  • If you do not receive your payment confirmation immediately, wait at least one hour before attempting to submit your payment again.
  • 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.
    • The registration confirmation will come from
    • DO NOT reply to this email.
  • If you have not received this confirmation more than one hour after receiving the payment confirmation, or have any questions, send an email to

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

  • You will be sent detailed instructions by 6:00 p.m. the day before the exam. These instructions will include the password you need to start the exam. If you do not receive them send an email to and they will be resent the morning of the exam. 
  • The password you are given will become active at 9:30 a.m. and will be turned off at 4:30 p.m. the same day. Exams in progress when the password is turned off will not be affected.
  • The test is timed for 45 minutes. This timing cannot be paused or restarted.
  • With directions and set up, you should give yourself a window of at least 75 minutes for the administration.
  • You will be asked to provide your 9-digit WSU student ID number, which appears on your WSU OneCard. Do not provide your Access ID.
  • A silent, hand-held, non-graphing, non-programmable, non-alphanumeric calculator is permitted but not required.
  • Scratch paper is allowed.

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 .