The Cognitive Abilities Test, also known as the CogAT, is a test used to help determine if a child will be admitted into a gifted and talented program. This test is administered all across the country to children ranging in age from 5 to 18. If you are wondering how to prepare your child for the CogAT test, you have come to the right place!
Regardless of your child’s age, there is something you can do to help them, and we’re here to help you find it! In this article, we’ll be breaking down the structure of the test, so you know what to expect. We’ll also be taking you through some of the nuts and bolts of taking the test and giving you all our best tips to help you help your child prepare for the CogAT test.
What Does CogAT Consist Of?
The CogAT, or the Cognitive Abilities Test, is a three-part test used by many schools across the US to determine if a child should be admitted into a gifted and talented program. Most gifted and talented programs accept students who score in the 95th percentile on the composite score of their CogAT, but this can vary depending on the program your child is applying to.
The three sections of the CogAT are called batteries and are listed below:
The verbal battery is designed to test a student’s vocabulary as well as their ability to understand word relationships. Like the other batteries, the verbal battery is divided into three subsections. These subsections are verbal classification, sentence completion, and verbal analogies.
The quantitative battery is used to test a student’s problem-solving ability and to understand their ability for abstract reasoning. This battery also has three subsections, each with differing amounts of questions given over a different amount of time. The subsections on this battery are quantitative relations, number series, and equation building.
The nonverbal battery is a great section for students who struggle with reading or who are not as fluent in English since this section relies on pictures and geometric shapes as opposed to words. It also has three subsections that students must complete. On this battery, the three subsections are figure classifications, figure analogies, and figure analysis.
How is the CogAT Administered?
The CogAT is administered differently in different parts of the country. Overall, the test is given either using a pencil and paper using a scantron-type bubble answer sheet or on the computer. Both tests are scored the same. It will depend on the district you live in and your child’s age if your child takes the test on paper or on the computer.
The CogAT takes between 2 and 3 hours, depending on your child’s age range. Each battery takes between 30 and 45 minutes, and the test does have some built-in breaks throughout the time to allow time for your child to get a drink or use the restroom.
Typically, the CogAT is administered in a testing center or at a school, but this is not always the case. Make sure you check with the program your child is applying to figure out exactly how and where your child will be taking the test.
How Should Your Child Prep for the Test?
There are so many ways that your child can prepare for the CogAT, and it is important that you find what works best for them. It is worth noting that this test is designed to determine if a child is ready for a gifted and talented program, so what you will be assisting your child with in preparation for the test is much more based on how to take a test rather than the material on the test.
We’ll offer you some of our favorite ways to prepare, but it is important to keep in mind that every age group is going to need different preparation for the CogAT. Helping a kindergartener prepare for the exam won’t be the same as helping a middle schooler prepare. Just keep that in mind as you start gathering any materials you might need.
Here are some of our favorite ways to help your child prepare for the CogAT:
Utilizing CogAT practice tests is a great way to help your child prepare for the CogAT. If you have an older child, you may find that most of your test preparation is based on practice tests. If you have a younger child, taking a practice test might be something that your child does once or maybe twice. Understanding how to incorporate these tools into your child’s studying is crucial for their success.
Practice tests allow your child to fully understand what they are preparing for. Taking practice tests is also a great way to help your child build up their stamina to sit through a long test and to remain focused. You have to understand that your child is not used to taking long tests, so practicing remaining focused for that length of time might be the biggest hurdle in your preparation for the CogAT.
Since the CogAT is a test of problem-solving and mental reasoning, it is important to keep children focused on thinking through problems. Mental games or puzzles are a great way to prepare for the CogAT. There are lots of CogAT-specific mental games that you can purchase or find online to help your child study, but even doing something as simple as sudoku or a crossword puzzle can be helpful.
Finding a mental game or puzzle that is age-appropriate for your child can also make preparing for the CogAT fun for them. If you are looking for CogAT test prep for grade 3 or any other lower elementary school grade, puzzles are a great way to help your child prepare while keeping them engaged and focused.
Ultimately, the best way to help your child prepare for the CogAT is to practice daily in some capacity. For a child studying for the CogAT test in kindergarten, this might mean having a daily vocabulary word that the family uses throughout the day, while for a child studying for a more upper-level CogAT test, this might be answering a practice question every morning at breakfast.
The goal of providing your child with daily practice is to keep their brain developing new connections all the time. The more you push your child to build those new connections, the more used to that type of thinking they will become. Make sure you scale your daily practice for their age, as you don’t want to put too much pressure on a young child or make an older child do something they find meaningless.
How Does the CogAT Compare to the IQ Test?
Comparing the CogAT test to the IQ test is like comparing apples to oranges. IQ tests are designed to test your intelligence quotient, although the test has changed a lot throughout its history and is no longer based on a quotient of any kind. The IQ test is supposed to assess human intelligence as compared to the average person. This is not the goal of the CogAT test.
The CogAT test, as we’ve discussed in this article, is designed to test your problem-solving and critical thinking skills. It is also aimed at children from kindergarten through the end of high school, while the IQ test can be given to anyone ranging in age from 2 to over 100. The CogAT test is used more frequently than the IQ test when assessing school-aged children since their problem-solving abilities are great indicators of their future success at school.
If you are trying to help your child with CogAT test prep grade 4 or any other grade, providing your child with IQ test prep materials won’t help them much. The structure of the questions on these tests is remarkably different, so they really aren’t that comparable at all.
If you are interested in learning more about the IQ test and its uses and structure, feel free to check out our articles on the IQ test.
Wrapping Things Up: How to Prepare Your Child for the CogAT Test?
From understanding the structure of the test to finding the right ways to help your child prepare for their CogAT test, there is a lot to think about. Hopefully, we’ve broken it down and made it clearer for you and thus easier for you to assist your child in their preparation. The CogAT may very well be your child’s first big test that they will take, so making sure they have all the tools they need will set them up for a lot of future success.