What is the Senior Exit Exam?
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Frequently Asked Questions

Austin Peay uses the California Critical Thinking Skills Test (CCTST) as its Senior Exit Exam. This test is used by colleges and universities to assess the effectiveness of their general education programs. It is a tool used to improve the quality of instruction and learning. The CCTST provides an objective measure of critical thinking skills and engages students reasoning skills.


The CCTST assumes students have completed most or all of the general education or core curriculum requirements at their institution. The questions have a broad range of difficulty; some are quite easy, others are more difficult. It is an objective electronic test which uses a multiple-choice format of 34 questions. Students are given 45 minutes to complete this timed, proctored exam. Online testing options are not available. 

Students, faculty, and administrators are committed to the common goal of academic excellence at Austin Peay. An exit exam provides the standards by which our progress toward excellence is measured. The Tennessee Higher Education Commission requires all state universities administer a Geneal Education assessment test prior to students' graduation.


The results provided help Austin Peay to revise curriculum design with high scores bringing in additional state funding to further improve our programs. As a student, you play a crucial role in this process. Your participation is required so that other students, faculty, and administrators can benefit from your knowledge and experience. Group scores are reported and evaluated to satisfy state requirements and to provide us with research data. Individual scores will be kept confidential and will not be recorded on transcripts.

Taking the Senior Exit Exam is required of all seniors graduating with their first Bachelor's degree in any major. A hold may be placed on your diploma until this requirement is met. For a list of graduation requirements and deadlines, please contact the Office of the Registrar at (931) 221-7150 or visit their website. Students graduating with Associate, second Bachelor or Master's degrees are not required to take this exam. Students receiving their second Bachelor's degree should contact DSIR only if they receive email reminders to register for the exam.

The test can be taken any time during a student's final year. Testing before the final semester is recommended for students planning to relocate, complete internships, fulfill clinical training, or participate in study abroad programs.

Testing ends shortly before finals each semester. Students waiting to see if they will be allowed to graduate should go ahead and take the exam early instead of waiting for a determination or final grades. 



The CCTST is a multiple-choice test similar to other standardized tests you have taken in your educational career. However, it is a separate test from the Major Field Test, another graduation requirement. Major Field Tests are exams administered by programs based upon content covered in a student's major. Please contact your program's departmental representative for dates and times these tests will be given. Exemption requests for the Major Field Test must be directed to your academic advisor or department chair.

All requests for Senior Exit Exam exemptions must be made in writing to DSIR explaining in detail the circumstances why an exemption is requested. Requests must be submitted by email to dsir@apsu.edu before testing for the semester concludes. Each request will be evaluated and a written response will be sent to student email accounts only. Exemptions granted by departments for Major Field Tests do not apply to the Senior Exit Exam.

Senior Exit Exams are electronic tests that must be administered in a proctored computer lab. If you take classes online and live outside of the Middle Tennessee/Southern Kentucky area, please notify our office by email at dsir@apsu.edu from your student email account with your name, A number and explanation of circumstances. Your situation and student records will be evaluated to see if you qualify for an exemption. Please check and update current mailing address in AP OneStop before requesting an exemption. Our office will send responses to official student email addresses only.

Any student who has a disability that may affect his/her academic performance is encouraged to contact the Office of Disability Services to schedule testing by calling (931) 221-6230, by TTY at (931) 221- 6278, by fax at (931) 221-7102 or by email at ods@apsu.edu.

The Senior Exit Exam is offered in numerous morning, afternoon and Saturday test sessions throughout each semester. Dates and times for the exam are listed under the Senior Exit Exam Schedule. The schedule is posted at the conclusion of the previous semester. These sessions will be the ONLY dates offered so please plan ahead. Our office does not schedule individual appointments for testing.


The number of participants for each session is limited due to the size of the classroom used and the number of computers available. A session will close once the maximum number of students allowed is reached. To sign up for an available session, please click on the Registration page. Unfamiliar with the location of the classrooms being used for testing? Click to view Clarksville Campus Map or location information for the Austin Peay Center at Fort Campbell.

There are no fees charged to students to take this exam.

On test day, please arrive at least ten minutes early to the session you choose. Dress comfortably and make sure you have your APSU ID card or another form of photo identification such as a driver's license or military ID. You will be asked to show an ID during the sign-in process before being allowed to test. Scratch paper will be provided. 


The following items are prohibited in the examination room during testing:

  • calculators
  • dictionaries
  • books
  • rulers
  • food and drinks
  • children

Students who arrive late will not be allowed to test. The proctor will direct any late arrivals to exit the room and register for another session. There will be no exceptions.

Please register for another upcoming test session if a test is canceled due to a university closure or you miss a session you previously registered to take. Register for AP Alert or monitor APSU's home page if inclement weather threatens. 

This test is scored based on the number of questions answered correctly. There is no penalty for guessing, so you should try to answer every question. It is better to guess at an answer than not respond at all. If you have some knowledge about a question and can eliminate one or more of the answer choices as wrong, your chance of selecting the right answer is improved. 

No minimum score or level of achievement on senior assessments listed in the baccalaureate degree requirements is required for graduation. Participation in testing is a graduation requirement for all students, and a commitment to performing well is expected.1

1 2018-19 Undergraduate Bulletin, Testing as a Degree Requirement

Each student will receive his or her score at the end of testing.