CCTST

Congratulations!  You have completed at least 96 credit hours of coursework and can now take the California Critical Thinking Skills Test (CCTST).  The state of Tennessee requires students attending state-supported universities to complete this general education assessment as a graduation requirement.  Failure to take the CCTST will result in having your diploma held until this condition is met.

Please note that the CCTST is different from the Major Field Test.  All seniors must take the CCTST; only selected majors take the Major Field Test.  You will be contacted by your department with dates and locations of tests if you are required to take the Major Field Test. If you are graduating from a program that requires a Major Field Test, you must complete both the CCTST and the Major Field Test. 

You can take the CCTST in the Center for Academic Achievement – Testing Services, located in Sherrod Library.  For hours or directions, please follow the "Testing" link at http://www.etsu.edu/cfaa

You must have your ETSU Student ID card to verify your identity and E-number.  The CCTST consists of 34 questions and is designed to be completed in 45-50 minutes.  To do your best, you should spend the full 45-50 minutes on the test.    

Contact Testing Services at or (423) 439-6708 if ...

  • you have questions about testing and/or Testing Services or
  • you are completing your degree online or at an off-campus site and want to take the CCTST at a testing center near you; a handling fee is required for off-campus proctoring.

Some students are exempt from the CCTST requirement.  To find out if you qualify for an exemption, contact the Office of Assessment at or (423) 439-4236 if ...

  • you have already taken the CCTST;
  • you are registered with disability services;
  • you have international or non-resident student status; or
  • you are completing your second degree.

Please Do Your Best on the CCTST

  • Employers and graduate programs value the ability to think clearly, solve problems, and evaluate arguments.  You’ll receive your CCTST score as soon as you finish the test, along with standards showing how well you did.  You can use this information to show prospective employers and graduate schools you have the abilities they desire.
  • Your college degree is worth as much as the university that grants it.  By doing your best on the CCTST, you help raise ETSU’s institutional score.   The better ETSU looks, the better you look.
  • ETSU benefits from your success.  The Tennessee Higher Education Commission awards funding based in part on CCTST institutional scores.  As much as $600,000 will be awarded to ETSU from the state government based on our students’ performance on the CCTST in 2014-15.
  • ETSU analyzes exit exam results to find ways to improve our programs and services.

About the Test

The CCTST is designed to permit test-takers to demonstrate the critical thinking skills required to succeed in educational or workplace settings where solving problems and making decisions by forming reasoned judgments are important. 

The CCTST measures critical thinking in five areas:

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

The 2014-15 national mean for the CCTST was 17.1 for 4-year college and university level test takers.  CCTST Total scores in the range 0 to 7 do not manifest evidence of critical thinking. Scores in range 8-12 are ‘Weak,’ 13-18 are ‘Moderate’ scores, 19 to 24 are ‘Strong’ and 25 or higher are ‘Superior.’

How to Prepare for Test

The developers of the CCTST offer the following advice on how students can get ready to take a critical thinking test:  “A critical thinking skills test engages you with questions that require you to apply your skills.  Typically a critical thinking test will present some information or a scenario of some kind and then ask questions about it, but the questions will invite you to analyze or interpret the information presented, or to draw a reasonable conclusion based on that information.  A critical thinking dispositions measure typically invites the person to agree or disagree with a series of statements.” 

You can access additional information and sample questions at: www.insightassessment.com .

Information for Distance and Online Students

Sometimes students who are in online programs or who are finishing their degrees mainly online may have difficulty traveling to the Johnson City campus in order to take the CCTST at ETSU. Instead, you can locate an institution near you to administer the CCTST; a list of cooperating institutions can be found at http://www.ncta-testing.org/cctc/

Note that the CCTST will be administered as a computer-based test. All costs associated with the administration of the test at a testing center other than ETSU's must be borne by the student.