CTP4 Test Preparation: How to Ace the CTP4 Test

The Comprehensive Testing Program 4th Edition (CTP4) is a rigorous battery of assessments for high achieving students in areas including reading, mathematics, listening, vocabulary, writing, and science (online only).

The assessments often serve as diagnostic testing to measure performance in private schools, and they are occasionally used for admission to various schools and programs as well.

If your child will be taking the Comprehensive Testing Program, or if you’re simply curious about the assessment, read on for information on CTP4 question types, plus helpful tips on CTP4 test preparation.

CTP4 Basics

The CTP4 is designed for students in Grades 1-11 and is available in both paper-pencil and online formats. The content of the two formats differ slightly.

There are ten different levels of the CTP4 test. The level your child will take depends on both her grade level and whether the test is administered in the Spring or the Fall.

For example, Level 1 is administered in the Spring of 1st grade or the Fall of 2nd grade, while Level 2 is given in the Spring of 2nd grade and Fall of 3rd grade.

The CTP4 measures student achievement in the following areas:

  • Vocabulary
  • Reading Comprehension
  • Listening
  • Writing
  • Mathematics
  • Science (online version only)
  • Verbal Reasoning (Levels 3-11)
  • Quantitative Reasoning (Levels 3-11)
  • The reasoning tests beginning at Level 3 assess innate academic ability and potential, which can be very usefully compared to a student’s scores on the curriculum-based achievement tests.

    In addition to multiple choice questions, the CTP4 also contains optional open-ended questions about reading and mathematics. These questions, if used by your child’s school, require short written responses.

    Although test administration can vary according to the school your child attends, it is customary for the CTP4 to be administered over the course of several days.

    CTP4 Question Types

    In order to adequately help your child with CTP4 test preparation, it’s important to have an understanding of the types of questions your child will encounter on the test. Let’s take a look at each section of the assessment.

    Verbal Tests

    The CTP4 verbal tests were designed to align with the National Council of Teachers of English Standards for English Language Arts.

    These tests measure Word Analysis, Auditory Comprehension, Reading Comprehension, Writing Mechanics, Writing Concepts and Skills, Verbal Reasoning, and Vocabulary. Your child may not take all seven of these tests, depending on her grade level.

    Word Analysis: This test is administered to Levels 1 and 2 only (Spring of 1st grade-Fall of 3rd grade). The test consists of 50 questions on sight words, phonic analysis, and structural analysis.

    Auditory Comprehension: Levels 1-3 (Spring of 1st grade, Fall of 4th grade) are given this test. The test consists of 40 questions on vocabulary in context, explicit information, inference, and analysis. Questions are based on information that is read aloud to students.

    “Explicit information” refers to questions about information that is directly stated, such as “who,” “what,” “when,” “where,” “why,” and “how.”

    Reading Comprehension: All students take the Reading Comprehension test, and it ranges from 32-37 questions, depending on the level.

    The test poses questions on vocabulary in context (for Levels 1-3 only), explicit information, inference, analysis, and reading for understanding. The reading for understanding questions are optional written response prompts.

    Writing Mechanics: Level 1 students (Spring of 1st grade-Fall of 2nd grade) do not take the Writing Mechanics test, but all other students do.

    The test features 45 questions on spelling, capitalization, punctuation, usage, and sentence construction(Levels 7 and 8—Spring of 7th grade to Fall of 9th grade—only).

    Writing Concepts and Skills: This 50 question test is administered to all students except Levels 1 and 2. Questions focus on organization, purpose, audience, focus, supporting details, and style and craft.

    Verbal Reasoning: This test begins with Level 3 and asks questions related to analogical reasoning, categorical reasoning, and logical reasoning.

    Analogical reasoning questions require students to identify the relationship between a pair of words and pair additional words using this same relationship.

    Categorical reasoning asks students to identify words that do or do not belong in a group of thematically linked words and to generate appropriate headings for thematically linked words.

    Logical reasoning asks students to draw logical conclusions based on provided information.

    Vocabulary: Beginning with Level 4 (Spring of 4th grade), students taking this test answer questions about word meanings, precision (choosing between subtle shades of meaning), and application.

    Mathematics Tests

    The CTP4 Mathematics tests are aligned with the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics Principles and Standards for School Mathematics.

    These tests assess abilities in five major areas: Number and Operations, Algebra, Geometry, Measurement, and Data Analysis and Probability. Tests vary according to grade level.

    Math Achievement: This test contains 37 questions for Levels 1 and 2 and 84 questions for all other grade levels. Test question types are as follows:

  • Number Sense and Operations with Whole Numbers (Levels 1-4, Spring of 1st-Fall of 5th)
  • Number Sense and Operations with Fractions and Decimals (Levels 3-4, Spring of 3rd-Fall of 5th)
  • Number Systems and Number Theory (Levels 5-8, Spring of 5th-Fall of 9th)
  • Numbers and Number Relationships (Levels 5-10, Spring of 5th-Fall of 11th)
  • Geometry and Spatial Sense (all)
  • Measurement (all except Levels 9-10, Spring of 9th-Fall of 11th)
  • Probability (Levels 5-8)
  • Statistics (Levels 5-8)
  • Pre-Algebra (Levels 5-8)
  • Data Analysis, Statistics, and Probability (Levels 1-4 and 9-10)
  • Patterns, Functions, and Pre-Algebra (Levels 1-4 and 9-10)
  • Algebra (Level 9)
  • Functions (Level 10)
  • Conceptual Understanding (all)
  • Procedural Knowledge (all)
  • Problem Solving (all)
  • Math Communication (all)- These are the optional math questions that ask for short written responses.
  • Quantitative Reasoning: This test contains 50 questions and is administered to all except Levels 1-2. Questions cover comparison, generalizations, and analysis.

    Comparison questions require students to compare sizes of numerical quantities, relative units of measure, and relative measurements of geometric figures.

    Generalization questions ask students to recognize patterns, including in real-life situations, and formulate conclusions based on observations and data.

    Analysis questions test students’ ability to interpret, evaluate, and model level-appropriate mathematical concepts.

    Algebra I: This test is for Levels 8 and 9 (Spring of 8th-Fall of 10th). Students are asked questions concerning expressions, statements, matrices, equations and inequalities, tables, graphs, algebraic geometry, and situations involving variable quantities.

    CTP4 Test Preparation

    Now that you have a basic understanding of CTP4 test content, it’s time to discuss CTP4 test preparation.

    Because the bulk of the CTP4 is curriculum-based, your child is essentially preparing for the CTP4 throughout the year, particularly in English Language Arts and Mathematics classes.

    With this in mind, regularly talk to your child about what she is learning in school and if she is struggling with anything in particular. Have her take notes that she can review as the test approaches.

    If she does happen to be struggling in a key area, consider asking her teacher for extra help, hiring a tutor, or working with her to develop a better understanding of the challenging material.

    Having your child read a set amount of pages or minutes each day can help improve verbal abilities such as vocabulary, grammar, spelling, reading comprehension, and more. You can also work on teaching your child prefixes, suffixes, and roots that can bolster vocabulary and comprehension skills.

    If your child will be tested on auditory comprehension and struggles with listening, practice reading passages aloud and asking questions. If you consistently practice this for at least a month before the test, you should notice obvious improvement in your child’s listening skills.

    For the reasoning portions of the CTP4, work with your child on recognizing patterns and relationships with both words and numbers. Be sure that your child understands basic concepts such as “less,” “more,” “equal,” “synonym,” and “antonym.”

    One of the most effective ways to prepare for any standardized assessment is to have your child answer practice questions. As she works through questions, discuss what she is doing well and what she needs to work on. For wrong answers, always ensure that your child now understands the correct answer and how to approach future questions more effectively.

    Lastly, teach your child basic test-taking strategies. For example, she should use process of elimination by crossing out obviously wrong answers, thus increasing her chances of selecting the correct response.

    She should also feel free to write in the test booklet: cross out wrong answer choices, underline key information, work out problems, etc.

    By following these tips, your child will receive solid CTP4 test preparation and the chance to perform to her fullest potential on the assessment.