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 CogAT is a group-administered aptitude test commonly given as an entrance exam into school’s gifted 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|
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Can You Study for the CogAT?
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|
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 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|
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.
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.
- 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 Parent Success Team by chatting from the lower left-hand side of the screen or sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to find out how we can help your child get their highest possible score on the CogAT.
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- 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.
- 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 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.
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How is the CogAT scored?
The CogAT uses two types of norms when tests are scored: age norms, and grade norms. Age norms compare how a student performed relative to other children of the same age, and grade norms compare how a student performed relative to other children in the same grade.
Age norms span from 4 years and 11 months through 18 years old, in which students are grouped in one month intervals. Age and grade scores will often be very similar. However, using age norms can be more accurate when assessing children who are very young or old for their grade level.
Scores for the CogAT are calculated in a number of steps. First, the raw score is calculated by tallying the total number of questions answered correctly. Raw scores are then converted to Universal Scale Scores (USS) for each of the three batteries, which is then used to calculate the Standard Age Score (SAS), percentile rank, and stanine score. Using these scores, along with an analysis of the patterns present in a student’s score, a student is given a score profile.
What is a Stanine Score?
A stanine (“standard nine”) score is a way to scale scores on a nine-point scale. It can be used 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 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.
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 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, 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. 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.
For More Information:
Looking for more resources to help your child approach the CogAT with 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 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 40+ games from top educational publishers to strengthen your child’s overall skills like math, language arts and more.
- A Parent 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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