Blog home

Information on the CTBS™ Test

Information on the CTBS™ Test

posted by Karen Quinn, The Testing Mom - November 6th, 2014

boy taking CTBS test

The Canadian Test of Basic Skills™ (or CTBS™ test) is a test used commonly in Canada to qualify students for gifted and talented programs. Like tests in the United States, the CTBS test can be competitive and it’s important for children to feel prepared for the test lest they get blindsided by difficult questions.

The CTBS test is administered over multiple sessions to students in grades kindergarten through 12th grade. The subtests given depend on the grade that a child is in. Children in grades K through 3.5 are given subtests in reading, vocabulary, word analysis, language, listening, sources of information, science, math concepts, math computations, and math problems. Kids in grades 3 through 8 take subtests covering reading comprehension, vocabulary, punctuation, capitalization, spelling, reference materials, usage and expression, science, maps and diagrams, math computation, math concepts and estimation, and math problem solving and data interpretation.

As with any test, it’s a good idea to start preparing early and to use a variety of different materials. The good news is that there are lots of materials out there for the Canadian Test of Basic Skills or CTBS test, so you and your child should mix it up by using a variety of different resources. Of course, workbooks and practice questions provide the most straightforward preparation for the CTBS test. At the same time, you don’t want your test prep to become too dry and boring, and you want to make the experience a fun one for your child. To that end, it’s a good idea to mix in some online games and other interactive activities that will help your child learn the underlying skills.

Even better, many of the subjects covered on the CTBS test are also subjects your child needs to know for school, so by preparing for the test your child will also be building a better foundation for school success!

Share this article

Tell us about your experiences

2 Responses

I am a student teacher doing a study on the different achievement test. is the CTBS a norm or criterion referenced test? I used to administer the CAT at the school where I was teaching but I have know idea how the CTBS looks like. Is it possible to have a look at one page in math or english to get an idea about the test?

Hi Racha –

The CTBS is a norm referenced test which compares the results of students to the Canadian norm for their grade level. Unfortunately, we do not provide free trials for our website, but the questions are very similar to the questions on the Iowa Test of Basic Skills. You can view sample questions for this test here:

All the best,


Need help? - Contact Support