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CogAT® Test (Cognitive Abilities Test™)

What is the CogAT?

CogAT test logo
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. Schools commonly administer the CogAT for admissions into gifted and talented programs.

What is on the CogAT Test?

The CogAT 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.

Verbal Battery Quantitative Battery Non-Verbal Battery
Picture Analogies Number Analogies Figure Matrices
Sentence Completion Number Puzzles Paper Folding
Picture Classification Number Series Figure Classification

Details about each of these question types can be found in the individual sections for the verbal, quantitative, and non-verbal battery below. For examples of these types of questions asked on the CogAT, get started with our 100 free interactive practice questions:

CogAT Test Quick Facts

Full Name Cognitive Abilities Test
Publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Creators David F. Lohman and Elizabeth P. Hagen
Latest Version CogAT Form 8
Age Range K – 12
Test Format Online or paper-and-pencil
Group or individually administered
Amount of Time 2-3 hours
Time per Battery 30-45 minutes
Question Types Multiple Choice
Verbal, Quantitative, and Nonverbal

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 determines which CogAT level they are tested with. Many characteristics of the test are consistent across all levels:

  • Questions are multiple choice
  • Can be administered online or with paper-and-pencil
  • Students are typically tested 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.

Grade CogAT Test Level Number of Questions Test Time
Kindergarten Level 5/6 118 112 Minutes
1st Grade Level 7 136 112 Minutes
2nd Grade Level 8 154 122 Minutes
3rd Grade Level 9 170 90 Minutes
4th Grade Level 10 176 90 Minutes
5th Grade Level 11 176 90 Minutes
6th Grade Level 12 176 90 Minutes
7th – 8th Grade Level 13/14 176 90 Minutes
9th – 10th Grade Level 15/16 176 90 Minutes
11th – 12th Grade Level 17/18 176 90 Minutes

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 what they will encounter during the CogAT. Sample questions for each specific CogAT level can be found below.

Our CogAT Parent FAQ includes answers to the most common questions we receive from parents. We encourage you to message our Parent Success Team by chatting from the lower left-hand side of the screen or sending an email to help@testingmom.com to find out how we can help your child get their highest possible score on the CogAT.

VERBAL BATTERY

  • Picture Analogies – These visual based questions make use of 2×2 matrix with 3 pictures and 1 empty cell. Students are required to examine the 2 pictures on top so to their point of relation. The most optimal approach to this question is to start by looking at the picture on the bottom row. The objective is to ensure that the three pictures on the bottom have a parallel relationship to the pictures on top. This section is comprised of 14 questions and takes approximately 15 minutes to complete.
  • Sentence Completion – Students are required to listen to a sentence or question and select the picture that best satisfies the sentence or answers the question. This section is made up of 14 questions and takes approximately 14 minutes.
  • Picture 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 is composed of 14 questions and takes approximately 14 minutes to complete.

CogAT Verbal Battery Question

QUANTITATIVE BATTERY

  • 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.

CogAT Quantitative Battery Question

NON-VERBAL BATTERY

  • 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 imagine what will happen to a piece of paper that is folded, then cut or hole-punched in some way, and then unfolded. 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.

CogAT Nonverbal Battery Question

How is the CogAT scored?

CogAT scores are primarily based on a child’s age. Student’s may also be compared to students in the same grade (“Grade Scores”) or with students in the same school district (“Local Scores”).

When looking at your child’s age scores, you will see a “Standard Age Score”, “Age Stanine” and “Age Percentile Rank” for each battery. There is also a composite score that is the combined results for each of the 3 batteries.

The “Standard Age Score” is calculated by taking your child’s raw scores and putting them on a scale that compares to children of the same age. An average Standard Age Score is 100.

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 is a number from 1-9 that ranks your child’s cognitive abilities against children of the same age. Stanines are grouped by percentile rank. 1 is considered to be very low while 9 is very high. 5 is the average.

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.

You can find details on the relation between stanines and percentile ranks, as well as in-depth coverage on how the CogAT is scored on our CogAT scoring page.

Where is the CogAT given?

The CogAT is given across the United States with metropolitan areas having the highest concentration of parents looking to prepare their children for the test. Major areas that administer the CogAT include Seattle, Baltimore, Atlanta, North Carolina, South Carolina, Dallas-Fort Worth, Washington DC, Chicago, Minneapolis, Houston and San Antonio.

CogAT test wide logo

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. 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 – including new question types, reduced reliability on English-speaking ability, 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.

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