Critical thinking

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 university programs.

Consult with an Academic Advisor to determine your status and requirements.

Effective Fall 2023, after administering the test remotely due to Covid restrictions, we are returning to proctored exams, offered both on-campus and online.


From the 2017-18 University Bulletin

The ability to reason critically and to analyze information is essential to the acquisition of knowledge in any discipline and may therefore appropriately be regarded as a fundamental skill, one to be acquired by students as early as possible in their education. Critical and analytic thinking includes: formulating and identifying deductively and inductively-warranted conclusions from available evidence; recognizing the structure of arguments (premises, conclusions, and implicit assumptions); assessing the consistency, inconsistency, logical implications, and equivalence among statements; and recognizing explanatory relations among statements. Competency in critical thinking must be demonstrated by all students prior to completion of the first seventy-five credits earned toward a bachelor degree. Competency shall be demonstrated by:

  • Completing successfully an approved course in critical thinking:
    • BA 1010; COM 2110; PHI 1050 (Schools and colleges may also have specific requirements, such that careful course selection can lead to meeting both General Education and college requirements. Please consult the College/School listing for specific requirements.); OR
  • Passing the Critical Thinking Competency Examination; OR
  • Transferring credit received for successful completion of a comparable course taken at another college or university

For students who matriculated beginning in the 2018-19 school year or later.

You may not have a separate General Education CTCE requirement, but the above concepts have been incorporated into your other degree requirements and are still considered relevant.

Some students who have matriculated 2018 or later may have a PHI 1050 or another “Critical Thinking” course requirement as part of their degree. Those students may have the option to test-out of that course requirement via this Critical Thinking Competency Exam and should consult with their academic advisor to verify this is a valid option.

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. 

A general critical thinking practice test can be found accessed through Assessment Day .

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

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

How the CTCE is administered

On Campus: The Critical Thinking Competency Exam will be administered on the following on-campus dates, see below. These administrations are given in conjunction with other placement tests and as such their initial availability is limited. If you wish to schedule for one of these dates and it does not appear available in our test registration program, ASTRO, send an email to to inquire about availability for the date you want. The office may be able to add spaces to accommodate you.

Online: As a matter of convenience, if you are unable to test at one of our on-campus dates, the Testing Office can arrange for an individual online administration. Online administrations will be proctored through the university-integrated, Microsoft Outlook TEAMS program. If you have an active WSU email account, you should have access to TEAMS and the TEAMS appointment will be scheduled through the WSU Outlook Calendar. If you do not have access to University TEAMS, then it will be proctored via Zoom. Either system will require you to have a working web cam, microphone and speakers, a strong internet connection and a sufficient internet device. Click here for further online testing information.


Day Date Time Location
Wednesday June 5 2:00 PM on campus
Thursday  June 6 9:30 AM on campus
Wednesday June 12 9:30 AM on campus
Monday June 24 10:00 AM on campus
Monday July 1 10:00 AM on campus 

**The Testing and Evaluation Office will be relocating to a new building on campus at the beginning of July. 

We hope to be back in business to admininster exams the week of July 15 and if the dates that week (listed below **)

work best for you, we encourage you to register for them.  If we are unable to resume by then, you will be notified as far in advance as possible. 

Wednesday **July 17 2:00 PM on campus
Tuesday July 23 10:00 AM on campus
Wednesday July 31 10:00 AM on campus
Friday Aug 9 10:00 AM on campus
Thursday Aug 15 10:00 AM on campus
Wednesday Aug 21 10:00 AM on campus
Friday Aug 23 10:00 AM on campus

How to register for an on-campus administration

ASTRO is the online registration system 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

How to register for an online administration

  • Follow the above steps for on-campus registration and schedule for the last test date listed. This is the simplest way for you to make your payment, and we will reschedule you of that test when we schedule your online test.
  • As soon as you have received your registration confirmation, send an email to In that email state that
    • You have registered for the Critical Thinking on which ever date you scheduled.
    • You would like to take an online administration and are available to do so on….
      • Provide a general description of your best availability, with any caveats, such as
        • I can test any Monday after 2:00, any Wednesday before 11:00, or any Thursday between 10:00 and 3:00
        • I can test any Tuesday after 12:00 except for November 12.
      • When considering your availability allow a block of 90 minutes. This is probably more time then, necessary, but will allow for any problems that may arise.
      • Include your daytime phone number so Testing Office staff can contact you before the test to iron out any issues, or the day of the test if there are connection problems.
  • The Testing Office will look at your availability, compare it to our availability and register you for the soonest available date. We will send you notice of that date and ask you for a confirmation that it is OK for you.
  • Once agreement is reached on the test, the Testing Office will send a final confirmation

Prior to and on the day of the examination for an online administration.

  • If you are testing through TEAMS, along with your registration confirmation, you will receive a second email, an Outlook calendar appointment request. You must RSVP yes to this request as soon as you receive it, and this will place the appointment on your WSU Outlook Calendar. At the exam time, you will click that appointment to join the test.
  • Prior to your test date, regardless of whether you are testing though TEAMS or Zoom, the Testing Office will send you instructions for the test day. Depending on the amount of time between your scheduling and the test date, these may come with your date confirmation or not until the day before your test date. They will be sent no later than 6:00 p.m. the business day prior to your test date.
    • If you are testing through TEAMS these directions will include instructions for using TEAMS.
    • If you do not have an active WSU email and are testing though Zoom, the instructions will include the Zoom link.
    • For both TEAMS and Zoom the instructions will include the specific technical requirements and instructions to access the testing web site.
  • You should be ready to start, in front of your computer, five to 10 minutes before your scheduled start time.
  • When the testing session begins, but before you start the exam itself you will be asked to hold up to your camera; your photo ID, any scratch paper you plan to use, your calculator if you have one. You will also be asked to pan your camera across your desktop, where you are working. A full room scan will not be required.

Rescheduling and refunds

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Exam fees which are not rescheduled or refunded within one calendar year are subject to forfeiture.
  • 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 .