CogAT Test (Cognitive Abilities Test)
What is the CogAT?
The Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT) is a multiple-choice K-12 assessment that measures reasoning skills with different types of verbal, quantitative, and nonverbal questions. The school’s gifted programs commonly administer the CogAT as an entrance exam, which is a group-administered aptitude test.
What is on the CogAT Test?
The CogAT is a cognitive test which consists of a verbal battery, quantitative battery, and nonverbal battery. Each battery is a separate section of the test containing 3 different types of questions that cover unique cognitive abilities.
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Can You Study for the CogAT?
Preparing for a cognitive test, such as the CogAT, may require more than simply memorizing equations or facts, but you can achieve it with some practice. With our CogAT resources, you are never exposing your child to materials that are actually on the test.
CogAT Test Quick Facts
|Cognitive Abilities Test
|Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
|David F. Lohman and Elizabeth P. Hagen
|CogAT Form 8
|K – 12
|Online or paper-and-pencil
|Group or individually administered
|Amount of Time
|Time per Battery
|Verbal, Quantitative and Nonverbal
Educators employ the CogAT test in the following ways for gifted identification:
Many schools use the CogAT as a universal screening tool to identify potential gifted students across all grade levels. By administering the CogAT test to all students, schools can ensure that they are not overlooking any students with exceptional cognitive abilities, regardless of their background or previous academic performance.
The CogAT objectively measures a student’s cognitive abilities. It helps identify gifted students who may not excel in a traditional classroom setting. This is particularly important when their exceptional abilities might be obscured by other factors, such as learning difficulties or language barriers. By assessing reasoning and problem-solving skills, the CogAT can identify gifted students who traditional measures, such as grades or teacher recommendations, may not identify.
Educators frequently use the CogAT alongside other assessments. These assessments may encompass achievement tests, teacher recommendations, and parent input. By employing this combined approach, schools can provide a more comprehensive evaluation of a student’s abilities. Consequently, by considering multiple sources of information, schools can make more informed decisions about a student’s potential for gifted programming.
The CogAT helps schools identify students who may benefit from differentiated instruction or other interventions designed to meet the unique needs of gifted learners. Through this process, educators can pinpoint students’ strengths and weaknesses in specific cognitive domains. Consequently, educators can tailor their instruction to better meet the needs of gifted students and assist them in reaching their full potential.
As a parent, it is essential to understand that the CogAT is just one piece of the gifted identification process. Furthermore, it is crucial to maintain open communication with your child’s school and advocate for your child if you believe they may benefit from gifted programming or additional academic support. Remember that every child is unique, and gifted identification should be based on a holistic approach. This approach should consider a wide range of factors beyond test scores alone.
What Does the CogAT Measure?
Unlike achievement tests such as the SATs, the CogATs do not measure how much a student has learned, but focuses instead on a student’s ability to display cognitive abilities that research have associated with academic success. These abilities include reasoning and problem solving using verbal, quantitative and spatial (non-verbal) methods to find the answers.
How is the CogAT administered?
There are 14 different levels of the CogAT that vary in difficulty, number of questions, question types, and length. Your child’s age dictates the CogAT level they undergo testing at. Many characteristics of the test are consistent across all levels:
- Questions are multiple choice
- Administered online or with paper-and-pencil
- Typically test students in groups of around 20.
- The 3 batteries are usually given together (but they can be administered individually)
- Administered by a test proctor who is a school counselor or teacher
You will need to contact your child’s school to figure out the testing methods they will be using. The 3 most important questions to ask are:
1. Will the test be given online or with paper-and-pencil?
2. Will all 3 batteries be given?
3. Which CogAT level will my child be taking? (Outlined below)
Which CogAT Level will my child take?
As mentioned above, it’s important to ask your child’s school which CogAT level they will be administering. Schools can choose to administer an above grade level test if they are looking for highly gifted students. They may also choose to give a below grade level test if students are being tested at the beginning of the year. The grades and CogAT levels listed below are most common.
|CogAT Test Level
|Number of Questions
|7th – 8th Grade
|9th – 10th Grade
|11th – 12th Grade
How Many Questions are on the CogAT?
Administration time may vary, depending on how long the proctor takes to administer the test. Students are generally given between 20-45 minutes per battery.
What is the most updated version of the CogAT?
The most updated version of CogAT is form 8, which is an equivalent of form 7. The main differences between CogAT Form 7 and Form 8 are as follows:
- Content: CogAT Form 8 includes new and updated content compared to Form 7, with an increased emphasis on problem-solving and critical thinking skills. The test also includes new question types and formats.
- Age Range: CogAT Form 8 extends its coverage to encompass grades K-12, while Form 7 was tailored for grades K-12.
- Administration Time: CogAT Form 8 has a shorter administration time than Form 7, with fewer questions in each section.
- Norms: CogAT Form 8 uses updated norms based on a larger and more diverse sample population than Form 7.
- Scoring: CogAT Form 8 uses updated scoring methods, including composite scores and subtest scores.
CogAT test prep for your child’s CogAT level
CogAT test prep starts with familiarizing your child with the test-taking process. It is also important to have your child work with CogAT practice questions that are similar to the cognitive test questions they will encounter during the CogAT. Sample questions for each specific CogAT level can be found below.
- CogAT Kindergarten Practice Questions (Level 5/6)
- CogAT 1st Grade Practice Questions (Level 7)
- CogAT 2nd Grade Practice Questions (Level 8)
- CogAT 3rd Grade Practice Questions (Level 9)
- CogAT 4th Grade Practice Questions (Level 10)
- CogAT 5th Grade Practice Questions (Level 11)
- CogAT 6th Grade Practice Questions (Level 12)
- CogAT 7th Grade Practice Questions (Level 13/14)
- CogAT 8th Grade Practice Questions (Level 13/14)
Our CogAT Parent FAQ includes answers to the most common questions we receive from parents. We encourage you to message our Student Success Team by chatting from the lower left-hand side of the screen or sending an email to email@example.com to find out how we can help your child get their highest possible score on the CogAT.
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- Picture/Verbal Analogies – These visual-based questions make use of a 2×2 matrix with 3 pictures and 1 empty cell. To approach this question optimally, students must examine the 2 pictures on top to identify their point of relation. The recommended strategy is to begin by analyzing the picture on the bottom row. The goal is to ensure that the three pictures on the bottom exhibit a parallel relationship to the pictures on top. Overall, this section comprises 14 questions and usually takes about 15 minutes to complete.
- Sentence Completion – Students must listen to a sentence or question and choose the picture that best satisfies the sentence or answers the question. This section comprises 14 questions and lasts approximately 14 minutes.
- Picture/Verbal Classification – Students examine 3 pictures on top and determine how they are alike. Then, they must choose the 1 picture on the bottom that belongs in the same group. This section comprises 14 questions and typically takes around 14 minutes to complete.
- Number Analogies – These require the same thought processes as Picture Analogies except instead of verbal concepts, students must identify relationships between quantitative concepts. Like the verbal battery, this section consists of 14 questions and takes 13 minutes.
- Number Puzzles – Students see 2 trains. They must select the answer picture that makes the second train carry the same number of objects as the first train. This section includes 10 questions and takes 11 minutes.
- Number Series – Each question shows an abacus with a bead pattern. Students must rely on their patterning skills and select the string of beads that comes next in the sequence. 14 questions. Approximately 10 minutes.
- Figure Matrices – These figure analogies require the same thought processes as Picture and Number Analogies. Still, instead of verbal or quantitative concepts, students must identify relationships between spatial forms. By studying and identifying distinct points of relation between previous figures, students can asses possible answer choices. This section consists of 14 questions and takes approximately 11 minutes to complete.
- Paper Folding – Students must envision the outcome of folding a piece of paper, making cuts or hole punches in some manner, and then unfolding it. The TestingMom.com website has a fun, animated game to help students with this subtest. This section consists of 10 questions and takes approximately 10 minutes to complete.
- Figure Classification – These require the same thought process as Picture Classification, except instead of inferring relationships between pictures, students infer relationships between shapes and figures. They then must find the answer on the bottom that belongs with the group on top. This section includes 14 questions and takes approximately 10 minutes to complete.
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How is the CogAT scored?
When scoring tests, the CogAT employs two types of norms: age norms and grade norms. Comparatively, age norms assess a student’s performance in relation to other children of the same age, while grade norms evaluate a student’s performance in comparison to peers in the same grade.
Students within this range range from 4 years and 11 months to 18 years old, organized into one-month intervals. It’s common for scores based on age and grade to exhibit significant similarity. However, using age norms can be more accurate when assessing children who are very young or old for their grade level.
Calculating CogAT scores involves several steps. First, we calculate the raw score by counting the total number of correctly answered questions. Then, we convert raw scores to Universal Scale Scores (USS) for each of the three batteries, which we use to determine the Standard Age Score (SAS), percentile rank, and stanine score. These scores, combined with an analysis of the score patterns, allow us to create a student’s score profile.
What is a Stanine Score?
A stanine (“standard nine”) score is a way to scale scores on a nine-point scale. You can use it to convert any test score to a single-digit score.
The two numbers that are most useful for a parent trying to interpret their’s child’s CogAT results are the “Age Stanine” and “Age Percentile Rank”.
The Age Stanine assesses your child’s cognitive abilities against those of the same age, assigning a number from 1 to 9. These Stanines categorize students based on percentile rank, where 1 represents very low and 9 indicates very high cognitive abilities. The average is situated at 5.
The Age Percentile Rank identifies the percentage of students in the same age group whose scores fall below the score obtained by a particular student. For example, if your child’s percentile rank is 95, this mean they outperformed 95% of other children their age.
What is a passing score on this test?
This can vary significantly from state to state and school district to school district. We recommend you reach out to your district for the definitive answer, but overall we see that scoring in the top 3% and higher based on national averages will qualify for most programs.
What is a good CogAT Score?
The highest score your child can possibly achieve is definitely the best score that your child can have. With the right preparation, your child can increase the chances of doing that.
You can explore details about the relationship between stanines and percentile ranks, as well as get comprehensive coverage of how the CogAT cognitive test is scored, on our CogAT scoring page.
Where is the CogAT given?
Parents in metropolitan areas across the United States have the highest concentration of interest in preparing their children for the CogAT, a widely administered cognitive test. Major areas that administer the CogAT include Seattle, Dallas-Fort Worth, Baltimore, Atlanta, North Carolina, South Carolina, Washington DC, Chicago, Minneapolis, Houston and San Antonio.
CogAT Form 7 and Form 8 Updates
In 2011, the CogAT test was updated from Form 6 to Form 7. The most significant difference between the two forms are the types of questions for the kindergarten, first grade, and second grade levels.
CogAT Form 7 and CogAT Form 8 are the latest editions of the CogAT and reflect the most current research in the measurement of reasoning and problem-solving abilities. Moreover, lead author Dr. David F. Lohman, an internationally recognized abilities assessment researcher and winner of the National Association of Gifted Children’s Paper of the Decade award, has built on the strengths of CogAT Form 6 by introducing a variety of enhancements. These enhancements include new question types, reduced reliance on English-speaking ability, an expanded instructor support package, multiple administration methods, and reduced testing times.
Due to school districts lack of funding some schools are still using the older CogAT Form 6 while some are using the updated CogAT Form 7. If your child is third grade or above there is very little difference between the two forms. In this case, it is advised that students practice CogAT Form 7 questions.
For More Information:
Exploring Additional Resources for Building Your Child’s CogAT Confidence
TestingMom.com can help with:
- Hundreds of CogAT practice questions similar to the test to help your child recognize each of the nine CogAT question types and apply the right cognitive test strategies to answer them correctly.
- A customizable program, based on your child’s grade level and upcoming tests, so you can target your child’s prep for maximum improvement.
- Interactive practice with 30+ games from top educational publishers to strengthen your child’s overall skills like math, language arts and more.
- A Student Success Team to help you if you need a little advice or if you get stuck.
- Over 100,000 practice questions for the most popular tests for Pre-K to 8th Grade, including gifted and talented, private school admissions, state tests and more—all for one low price.
- Parent resources to help you easily navigate your child’s testing process.
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