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California Gifted Education FAQs

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How many and what types of tests are used to identify GATE students?

Best practices support using more than one factor to identify GATE students. Achievement, intelligence quotient (IQ), ability, and other test scores; motivation; parent/guardian, student, and teacher recommendations; classroom observations; and portfolio assessment are some of the possible factors a district may use to identify GATE students.

When and how often should my child be tested?

It can begin as early as kindergarten. But identification can be an ongoing process that continues as your child gets older. Best practices support the continued and periodical examination of students for eligibility for GATE services. A student who does not meet the district’s criteria for eligibility in the second grade may very well be eligible later in elementary, middle, or high school. At all levels, when your child can be successful in advanced courses, he or she should be encouraged to test, regardless of whether they are identified as gifted and talented.

If my child was previously identified as a GATE student, and he transfers from one district to another, will he be identified as eligible in his new district?

California law places GATE programming under local control. Therefore, each district can set its own guidelines and policies regarding identification and enrollment procedures for new students.

My child was not selected for the GATE program at my school. What should I do if I believe my child is capable of an accelerated program?

Since California law places GATE programming under local control, you can inquire with the school district’s GATE coordinator about why your child was not selected and whether there is an appeal process parents can follow. Ultimately, the decision will be left to the district.

What is the California GATE program?

A: The California Gifted and Talented Education (GATE) program identifies and supports gifted students by providing them with challenging educational opportunities and resources designed to nurture their unique talents.

How are students identified for the GATE program?

A: Identification varies by district but typically involves a combination of standardized test scores, teacher recommendations, parent input, and individual assessments.

What age or grade level is the GATE test administered?

A: The GATE test is typically administered to students in 2nd or 3rd grade, but the specific grade level for testing can vary by district.

How can I prepare my child for the GATE test?

A: Familiarize your child with the test format, practice sample questions, and encourage critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Regular reading and discussing a variety of topics can also be beneficial.

What is the format of the GATE test?

A: The test format varies by district but often includes multiple-choice questions assessing verbal, quantitative, and non-verbal reasoning skills.The format of the GATE test can vary depending on the specific assessment tool used by a school district. However, most GATE tests are designed to assess a student’s verbal, quantitative, and non-verbal reasoning skills. Below is a brief overview of each section:

  • Verbal Reasoning: This section evaluates a student’s language and vocabulary skills, as well as their ability to understand relationships between words and concepts. Questions may include synonyms, antonyms, analogies, and sentence completions. Students are typically required to choose the correct answer from multiple-choice options.
  • Quantitative Reasoning: This section assesses a student’s mathematical and problem-solving abilities. Questions may involve arithmetic, number patterns, geometric shapes, and logical reasoning. As with the verbal section, students are usually asked to select the correct answer from multiple-choice options.
  • Non-Verbal Reasoning: This section evaluates a student’s ability to recognize patterns, relationships, and spatial awareness using visual information. Questions may include pattern completions, figure classifications, and matrix reasoning. Students are asked to identify the correct answer based on the given visual stimuli, again using a multiple-choice format.

The GATE test may be administered as a paper-and-pencil or computer-based exam. The test is typically untimed or has a generous time allotment, allowing students to work at their own pace. This is done to ensure that the test measures students’ reasoning abilities and problem-solving skills, rather than their speed or test-taking strategies.

Some school districts may use other assessments to identify gifted and talented students, including the Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT), the Naglieri Nonverbal Ability Test (NNAT), or the Otis-Lennon School Ability Test (OLSAT). It is essential to research your specific school district’s requirements and testing format to prepare your child effectively for the GATE test. Good news! We have thousands of practice questions to get your child ready for the GATE test.

How long does the GATE test take?

A: The GATE test duration varies, but it typically takes between 1.5 to 2.5 hours to complete.

When will I receive my child’s GATE test results and how is the GATE test scored?

A: Test results are usually sent to parents within 4-6 weeks after the test date.The scoring of the GATE test depends on the specific assessment tool used by the school district, but most tests share some common elements. Here is a general overview of how the GATE test is scored:

  • Raw Scores: A student’s raw score is calculated by counting the number of correct answers in each section (verbal, quantitative, and non-verbal reasoning). There is usually no penalty for incorrect answers, so it’s in the student’s best interest to attempt all questions.
  • Standard Scores: Raw scores are then converted into standard scores. Standard scores are derived using a statistical process that takes into account the average performance and the distribution of scores for a specific group of students, usually based on age or grade level. Standard scores are designed to make comparisons between students’ performances more meaningful.
  • Percentile Ranks: Standard scores are further converted into percentile ranks. A percentile rank is a measure that indicates the percentage of students in the comparison group who scored at or below a specific score. For example, if a student has a percentile rank of 85, it means that they scored higher than 85% of the students in the comparison group.
  • Age or Grade-Based Norms: The GATE test scores are often reported using age or grade-based norms, which means that the student’s performance is compared to other students of the same age or grade level.
  • Identification Criteria: School districts typically set their own criteria for identifying gifted and talented students based on the assessment scores. This might involve meeting a specific percentile rank threshold or a combination of scores from different sections of the test. For example, a district might require a student to score at or above the 95th percentile on one or more sections to be eligible for the GATE program.

It’s important to note that different school districts may have different testing and scoring procedures. To fully understand how your child’s GATE test is scored and how the scores are used for identification, it is essential to consult with your specific school district for their guidelines and requirements.

What happens if my child is identified as gifted and talented?

A: Identified students may be placed in GATE programs or classes, where they’ll receive differentiated instruction and learning opportunities tailored to their abilities.

Can my child retake the GATE test if they do not qualify initially?

A: Retesting policies vary by district, but some districts may allow students to retake the test after a specified waiting period.

Are there any costs associated with the GATE program?

A: The GATE program is funded by the state and local school districts, so there are generally no direct costs to parents. However, some districts might charge a nominal fee for testing or additional services.

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7 Responses


We are preparing our son to test for the GATE program at our school in the coming months. The gate coordinator said the testing is timed, and he will have 45 minutes. Our son is autistic as well as ADHD and often receives extra time to complete exams. Do you know if extra time has been given for children with learning disabilities or whom I should contact for help?

Hi Samantha,

Please reach out to your School District. This sounds like the OLSAT which is a verbal test and your child may need special considerations. Your GATE Program administrator would be the best source of direct information for your child’s needs.


my son is 5year old .where i can get IQtest in CA ?


Are GATE programs available only for public school students?


Please email us at and we can help walk you through the process of finding more resources for the GATE program in California.

Imelda lozano

my daughter, Isabella Lozano is in fifth grade and she’s taking the gate testing. Can you send us practice testing.

Fortunately, we’ve made it super easy to buy any of our memberships right our site. Just log in using the email address and password that you signed up with, then click the red “Buy Now” button at the top of the screen. Once you are redirected, choose the package that you want.  Once you purchase a membership we will even do the research for you to find out which tests your school use!

See if supports your child’s test by your school district. If you don't see your child's school district listed, check with us! We have practice for other tests as well.

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