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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 test administered?

All testing sessions will take place in a psychologist’s private office. These psychologists will establish rapport with your child and ensure their comfort before commencing the testing session. You will receive directions to the office once a date and time have been assigned to your child.

What is the cost of the test?

The registration fee for the CATS test is $300.

How long will the testing last?

The CATS Test 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 test measure?

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

Who takes the Test?

The CATS Test usually administers to students applying for admission to private schools in Dallas or Houston.

When is the test administered?

The CATS Test typically administers in the fall or winter before the application deadline for private schools.

How long does the test take?

The CATS Test takes approximately one hour to complete.

What is a good score on the test?

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

Can students prepare for the 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 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 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 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 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 test?

To help your child prepare for the 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 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 utilize available test preparation materials and practice tests, which you can find 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 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 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 test date?

In case of a missed CATS Test date, students may have opportunities for makeup testing based on school or district policies. For makeup testing, parents or guardians should promptly communicate with the school or test administrator to explore available options. Keep in mind that limited testing opportunities exist, so it’s crucial to plan ahead and prioritize attending tests.

How do schools use the 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 use test. IIn other instances, schools utilize results for course placement and identifying areas needing support or enrichment. Additionally, schools can assess test results to enhance programs and serve students more effectively through improved instructional practices.

Private schools to which your child is applying may require additional tests besides CATS. Check with the school to clarify the specific tests they demand.

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