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CATS Test Frequently Asked Questions

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What is the CATS test?

The Collaborative Academic Testing Service (CATS) is an independent organization that provides licensed psychologists to administer the cognitive admissions test (a test that assesses thinking skills versus academic skills).  The WPPSI and the WISC are the two tests that CATS administers to those applying to participating private schools in Dallas and Houston.

How is the CATS administered?

All testing sessions will be administered in a psychologist’s private office. These psychologists will get to know your child and make them feel comfortable before the testing session begins. You will be given directions to the office once a date and time have been assigned to your child.

What is the cost of the CATS test?

The registration fee for the CATS test is $300.

How long will the testing last?

The testing session lasts around 30 minutes for 3-year-olds and 40-50 minutes for 4-7-year-olds. The actual length of the test depends on the pace of the child and his or her administrator.

What does the CATS Test measure?

The CATS Test measures a student’s cognitive abilities, including their verbal and quantitative reasoning skills.

Who takes the CATS Test?

The CATS Test is typically administered to students who are applying for admission to private schools in Dallas or Houston.

When is the CATS Test administered?

The CATS Test is typically administered in the fall or winter, prior to the application deadline for private schools.

How long does the CATS Test take?

The CATS Test takes approximately one hour to complete.

What is a good score on the CATS Test?

There is no one “good” score on the CATS Test, as scores are typically evaluated in the context of the overall applicant pool.

Can students prepare for the CATS Test?

Yes, students can prepare for the CATS Test by familiarizing themselves with the test format and content. Some private schools may offer practice tests or other resources to help students prepare.

How is the CATS Test scored?

The CATS Test is scored based on the number of correct responses. Raw scores are then converted into percentile ranks, which are used to evaluate a student’s performance in relation to other test-takers.

Can parents see their child’s CATS Test results?

Yes, parents typically receive their child’s CATS Test results, along with other admissions materials, from the private school to which they are applying.

Is the CATS Test the only factor considered in admissions decisions?

No, private schools typically consider a variety of factors in admissions decisions, including the student’s academic record, extracurricular activities, essays, and letters of recommendation. The CATS Test is just one piece of the admissions puzzle.

What schools require the CATS Test for the 2023/24 school year?

  • Dallas Area: The Covenant School, The Episcopal School of Dallas, Good Shepherd Episcopal School, Greenhill School, Lamplighter, Parish Episcopal School, St. Mark’s School of Texas, The Hockaday School, Trinity Christian Academy, and Wesley Prep.
  • Houston Area: Annunciation Orthodox School, Awty International School, Duchesne Academy of the Sacred Heart, First Baptist Academy, The John Cooper School, Regis School, River Oaks Baptist School, St. John’s School, St. Mark’s Episcopal School, and St. Thomas’ Episcopal School.

How can I help my child prepare for the CATS Test?

To help your child prepare for the CATS Test, you can familiarize them with the test format and types of questions they will encounter on the Testing Mom web site. You can start with free practice questions we offer for the CATS test and then purchase a membership for thousands of more questions.  Encourage regular reading and practicing problem-solving skills, as well as working on time management. You can also use available test preparation materials and practice tests, which can be found online or in study guides. Most importantly, make sure your child gets enough sleep, eats a balanced diet, and stays relaxed leading up to the test day.

What types of questions are on the CATS Test?

The CATS Test contains a mix of multiple-choice, short-answer, and essay questions, designed to assess students’ abilities in various areas such as reading comprehension, verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, and writing. The test may also include questions related to critical thinking and problem-solving skills. The specific content and difficulty level of the questions will depend on the grade level of the student taking the test.

Are accommodations available for students with special needs during the CATS Test?

Yes, accommodations are typically available for students with special needs during the CATS Test. These accommodations may include extended testing time, additional breaks, large-print materials, or other necessary adjustments to help students with disabilities participate in the test. To request accommodations, parents or guardians should contact the test administrator or their child’s school well in advance of the test date and provide appropriate documentation of the student’s needs.

What happens if a student misses the scheduled CATS Test date?

If a student misses the scheduled CATS Test date, they may be able to take the test on an alternate date or during a makeup testing window, depending on the testing policies of their school or district. Parents or guardians should contact the school or test administrator as soon as possible to discuss available options for makeup testing. Keep in mind that testing opportunities may be limited, so it’s important to plan ahead and prioritize test attendance.

How do schools use the CATS Test results for admissions or placement purposes?

Schools may use CATS Test results in various ways, depending on their specific policies and requirements. In some cases, schools may use test scores as part of their admissions process to help identify students who demonstrate strong potential in academic areas. In other cases, schools may use the results to determine appropriate course placement or to identify areas where students may need additional support or enrichment. Schools may also use the test results to evaluate their own programs and instructional practices, in order to make improvements and better serve their student populations.

Other tests besides CATS may be required by private schools to which your child is applying. Check with the school to determine exactly which tests are required.

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