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Best Methods for California GATE Test Prep

Because the NNAT-2 (Naglieri Nonverbal Abilities Test, Second Edition) and the OLSAT (Otis-Lennon School Abilities Test, Eighth Edition) are all traditional IQ/Full Scale Intelligence Quotient exams and the CogAT Test (Cognitive Abilities Test) is a group cognitive or intelligence test, we strongly recommend you start your California GATE test prep for your child well in advance of the January testing period each year. However, psychologists and school administrators really don’t like students to be told in advance that they’re taking an IQ or intelligence test. So as much as you possibly can, avoid using the words “test prep” or “IQ” or “exam practice” in front of your child! Instead, call your practice sessions something like “Study Superheroes” or “Brain Blasters” or “Puzzle Solvers” — whatever your child already shows an interest in, try to incorporate that theme into your overall routine. (Especially avoid talking about any specific subtests around your child, because psychologists and school administrators want to ensure that no students have been exposed to the actual testing materials beforehand.) Luckily, our resources are similar, but not identical to questions your child may see on the verbal or nonverbal sections, but it’s best not to discuss your practice schedule or test preparation methods with anyone beforehand.

Kids love to play games on your laptop or tablet, so you can feel confident letting your child practice as much as he or she likes using the interactive questions we offer in Digital Tutor (all interactive learning games available on our site are included with any membership).

We also strongly recommend using workbooks and educational games to practice with, such as those available from Aristotle Circle. As a bonus, all memberships include a 20% discount on products that are purchased through our store.

3 Tips to Make California Gifted and Talented Test Prep Fun

  • Purchase several jigsaw puzzles and make a family habit of completing them together. Younger kids can start with puzzles that have larger pieces and are quick to assemble, then work their way up to the harder ones. Let your child choose the theme, character or colors so he or she stays engaged in the task and doesn’t get bored.
  • To build strong listening and focusing skills, show your child how to put on their “listening ears” and point to your mouth as you speak. Grab your own ears and say, “Do you have your listening ears on?” Then, point to your mouth as you speak. This helps your child pay attention to what you’re saying and avoid getting distracted.
  • Plan field trips that offer language-rich experiences where you and your child can explore together. Whether it’s going to the museum to look at sculptures and paintings or a zoo visit to compare different types of animals, getting out of the house and exposing your child to a variety of intellectually stimulating environments can provide a wealth of benefits that will improve his or her performance on a traditional intelligence test, such as: expanding vocabulary and reading comprehension, using visual-spatial reasoning, patterning, sequencing and ordering skills as well as making analogies (i.e., “How are zebras and gazelles alike? What makes them different? Which animals can live in or out of the water?”). Finding activities that will stimulate your child’s mind shouldn’t be too hard in California!
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Tell us about your experiences

7 Responses

Tisha Tyler

Had problems with my daughters school with the GATE program in the testing area!


Hi, I’m looking for some practice for my son before the test 3/13. That gives us 2 weeks. Our school is off schedule compared to all neighboring schools and thus it’s hard to take a prep class because they are at a completely different time. And, we get just like 2 wks notice.
How does your tutoring -8 sessions work? How soon can we start? 4 classes per week? My son does better in short strokes, with novelty.

Hi Kiran, please email us at for more information on how we can help your son prepare for the upcoming test! We have one-to-one tutoring and small group classes for the GATE test along with online practice materials. We have it all!

I need the free test please I need it for 3 grad:(

You can access our 100 Free Questions and those provide a comprehensive sample from the variety of tests we support. Accessing these practice questions is straightforward, and no purchase is necessary. To get started, simply follow these step-by-step instructions:

Click at the top of and log in using your registered email address and password.
Once you have successfully logged in, locate the “100 FREE QUESTIONS” button on the left-hand side of the page.



My younger son who started in 3rd grade today would really like to get into the 4th grade GATE program at his school. We are in the Santa Barbara Unified School District. Do you happen to know which test they take here. I think it is CoGAT but I’m not sure. If I were to ask the district, what is the best way to ask so as not to tip them off that we are planning on preparing?

Thank you,

Hi Katrin, Thank you for reaching out with your inquiry about the GATE program in the Santa Barbara Unified School District.

Many districts in California, including some within Santa Barbara, have indeed utilized the CoGAT (Cognitive Abilities Test) as part of their assessment for GATE eligibility. However, it’s always a good idea to confirm the specifics directly with the district, as testing methods can vary and change over time.

If you’d like to approach the district discreetly, consider framing your question around understanding the assessment process in general. You could say:

“I’m interested in understanding more about the GATE qualification process in our district. Could you provide information on the assessment or assessments used to determine eligibility? Is it a cognitive type test or achievement test?” By asking in this manner, it focuses on general knowledge rather than a specific intent to prepare.

Remember, while preparation can provide some advantages, it’s also essential for assessments to capture genuine cognitive abilities and learning styles. GATE programs are designed to cater to students’ unique learning needs, so it’s in your child’s best interest to be placed appropriately based on genuine results.

If your son ends up taking the CogAT, we have small group online classes for CogAT prep! Go here to register:

We with your son all the best as he begins his 3rd-grade year and embarks on the GATE qualification journey. Keep us posted on how he does on the GATE!

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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