What is the CogAT Test Used For?

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If you are looking for information on what the CogAT test is used for you have come to the right place. Chances are high that if you have a child that is beginning kindergarten soon, it is something that you will learn more about soon.  However, its never to early to get a jump start on prep. All you must do is keep reading for some pertinent information on what the CogAT is and how it can help your child.

What Does the CogAT Test Measure?What Does the CogAT Test Measure?

If you don’t have children, you may be wondering what the CogAT test is? The name itself is short for cognitive abilities. If you are looking to learn about your child’s actual cognitive progress, the CogAT test is likely in the future. This exam measures a student’s development against other children of a similar age and grade range. More specifically, three different areas are being measured with the exam. These areas include the following:

Verbal section – This section measures how well students remember and put together English words. This section of the exam also tests a student’s ability to make correct inferences and judgments.

Math (Quantitative Section) – This section of the exam measures your child’s ability to understand numerical relationships and basic concepts.

Non-verbal Section – This portion of the exam measures how your child responds and infers to pictures and shapes.

These sections are often referred to as batteries. Each battery has three additional categories of questions. These questions will be explored further in the next section.

You may be wondering what the CogAT test is used for. However, this is a critical exam for students as it can determine some essential things within their education. If you are looking to place your child in an academically talented or gifted program, many of them will need these scores as their baseline. This is an excellent exam because it is not biased toward English speakers. Since the test assesses your nonverbal reasoning, this is an excellent exam for non-English speakers.

There are several reasons why your child’s school may administer a CogAT test. Overall, the test aims to predict how well your child will likely do throughout their academic tenure. It also helps to call out strengths that your student may have that you are unaware of. This helps further develop your child’s ability and cultivate the essential things.

What Types of Questions Are on the CogAT Test?

What Types of Questions Are on the CogAT Test?

The Cognitive abilities exam typically takes students two to three hours to complete. The test has multiple formats. These formats include online and via paper. The test can also be administered in a group or individually. Traditionally there will be roughly 20 students in each group, if not given separately. Each section is timed, and students are allotted thirty to forty-five minutes for each battery.

Utilizing the three separate batteries mentioned above, each of the batteries has multiple question types. These questions given are presented in a multiple-choice format. These additional nine batteries include the following:

  • Verbal Battery
    • Sentence Completion
    • Picture Classification
    • Picture Analogies
  • Quantitative Battery
    • Number Series
    • Number Analogies
    • Number Puzzles
  • Non-Verbal Battery:
    • Classifying Numbers
    • Number Matrices
    • Paper Folding

Not all questions will be the same on the exam. The CogAT exam has varying levels for different age groups. Each level will have a different number of questions.

Grade Level Test Level
Kindergarten Level 5/ Level 6
First Grade Level 7
Second Grade Level 8
Third Grade Level 9
Fourth Grade Level 10
Fifth Grade Level 11
Sixth Grade Level 12
Seventh Grade Level 13/ Level 14
Eighth Grade Level 13/ Level 14
Ninth Grade Level 14/ Level 15
Tenth Grade Level 14/ Level 15
Eleventh Grade Level 15/ Level 16
Twelfth Grade Level 15/ Level 16


Students in grades fourth through twelfth grade will all have 176 questions. Students in the lower grades have a lower number of questions. The number of questions for these levels is as follows:

  • Kindergarten – 118 questions
  • First grade- 136 questions
  • Second Grade 154 questions
  • Third Grade 170 questions

Each exam level also has a different style of questions.

Verbal Analogy: Verbal analogy questions will help you to associate images. For example, there may be three pictures listed; your child will then need to find the image that best fits in with the group. For example, if your child sees three school supplies images, the best answer would be any item pictured classified as another type of school supply.

Students may also be required to use pictures to complete sentences. This means selecting an image that represents the completion of the sentence.

Sample Questions are provided below:

Green Grass: blue ____

  1. Sky
  2. Sun
  3. Wind
  4. Rain
  5. Cloud

The three sections listed all have different time limits. These time limits are as follows:

Sentence Completion – 14 questions, 14 minutes

Picture Classification – 14 questions, 14 minutes

Picture Analogies – 14 questions, 15 minutes

Quantitative Battery: Quantitative questions may not explicitly use numbers but something to represent numbers. For example, students may be shown an abacus with different items representing numbers; your student will need to select the numerical representation that fits best in the slot or completes the pattern.

The three sections listed all have different time limits. These time limits are as follows:

Number Analogies – 14 questions, 13 minutes

Number Series – 14 questions, 10 questions

Number Puzzles – 10 questions, 11 minutes

Non-Verbal Battery: This is one of the areas which may include paper folding questions. A question may show how a sheet of paper is folded and where some holes are punched. You may then need to answer what the page would look like unfolded. 

The three sections listed all have different time limits. These time limits are as follows:

Figure Matrices – 14 questions, 11 minutes

Figure Classification 0 14 questions, 10 minutes

Paper Folding – 10 questions, 10 minutes

When is CogAT Test Given?

When is CogAT Test Given?

The CogAT test is given to students in kindergarten through 12th grade. Therefore, they may take this exam at any point in a student’s educational career. The test prepares students to begin an academic career by taking standardized tests.

What Do the CogAT Scores Mean?

What Do the CogAT Scores Mean?

One of the most critical aspects of the exam is scoring. The exam uses two styles of norms. These include grade norms and age norms. Much like the name suggests, the age norms category compares students’ performance in similar age groups, and the grade norms compare students in equivalent grades. The highest age score that a student can receive on the CogAT exam is 160. However, the average is typically 100.

A student’s CogAT score for gifted programs is likely very different from the child’s age range norm. To be considered gifted, a child would need to score in the 97th percentile for a particular battery. Another way to be considered gifted is to score a composite within the 95th percentile. However, it is essential to remember that the score needed can vary based on the institution that your child attends.

When presented with your child’s scoring, there are several different score types that you may see. The list below includes a definition of each of the score types, which can be found on the exam.

The stanine score also referred to as standard nine, is shown on a nine-point scale. It allows the score to be converted into a more straightforward form, a single digit. A different ranking percentile represents each stanine score. The higher a child’s stanine, the higher the percentile rank.

In addition to the stanine, there are several other score types listed. These include the following:

  • Percentile Rank: The percentile rank means that if a student scored a 70%, the student scored higher than 70% of the students who also took the exam. This rank compares all students of the same age and grade level. A 50 is traditionally the average for students.
  • Standard Age Score: The max that a student can score is 160. This is a normalized score for the universal scale scores. This score has a standard deviation of 100 and a mean of 100.
  • Raw Score: The raw score is the actual score that a student scored on the exam. This score is obtained by calculating the number of questions answered correctly concerning the ones answered incorrectly.
  • Universal Scale Score: This score is derived from the universal. This is the normalized score.

Parents are also provided with a Pattern Indicator. This indicator is represented by letters and provides parents with different ability patterns. Each letter has a diverse pattern representation.

A A student has the same ability in all batteries.
B The student has proven they have a relative strength or weakness. The student has scored above or below the other two in a particular battery.
C Two scores of a student drastically contrast each other.
D Two scores differ by 24 or more raw score points

How Do You Practice for the CogAT?

How Do You Practice for the CogAT?

There are several ways to prepare your child for the CogAT. This test will likely be your child’s introduction into the world of standardized testing; ensuring that they are adequately prepared is essential to them doing well. Use the tips below to help your child practice for the exam.

Expose your child to the exam questions

Exposing your child to the various question types is also essential. The first time they see the exam questions should not be when they sit down for the exam. They should have ample practice so that regardless of the difficulty of the question, they know what to expect and have a general idea of how to answer it.

Take a practice exam

Several CogAT practice tests can help your student prepare for the exam. These can be related to each of the different batteries or cumulative exams that they can complete as a whole. Practice tests will often come with answers and explanations. Review these explanations with your child for the questions they answered incorrectly. Help them to understand what they missed and how they can change their thinking in the future.

Prepare your child for the Format

One of the best things you can do is prepare your child for the exam format. This means not only the number of questions and their formats but also the timing. The time varies by section. Practice timed exercises with your child to understand what happens when time stops and how to work efficiently.

Make Learning Fun

No child particularly likes to study, and it may be hard to keep your child’s attention the younger they are. Make learning fun by turning these questions into activities. Give children prizes as incentives to help them do better.

Use these tips to help them be prepared whenever the exam arises.

Wrapping Things Up: What is the CogAT Test Used For?

The CogAt exam is used for several different things. The primary purposes of the exam are two determine the cognitive abilities of a child and utilize the CogAT score for gifted program acceptance. These are two critical purposes as they directly impact your educational trajectory.

There are several ways to prep your child for the exam. It is crucial to get them acclimated to the format of the exam and the different styles of questions that are possible. This helps your child use their cognitive reasoning and understand how to solve the exam questions accurately. CogAT test prep could be the difference between a high percentile score and a low one.

Overall, the CogAT exam is essential for understanding your child’s cognitive abilities and ensuring that they are on par with their peers. You can expect your child to take this exam between kindergarten through twelfth grade.

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Professor Conquer

Professor Conquer started Conquer Your Exam in 2018 to help students feel more confident and better prepared for their tough tests. Prof excelled in high school, graduating top of his class and receiving admissions into several Ivy League and top 15 schools. He has helped many students through the years tutoring and mentoring K-12, consulting seniors through the college admissions process, and writing extensive how-to guides for school.

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