CAT 4 Test Practice for Year 7 Level D: A Definitive Guidance Guide with Sample Tests

Annually, Year 7 students are faced with the challenge of completing the CAT 4 level D test.

In this test, students are assessed on verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, non-verbal reasoning, and spatial ability.

These four broad topics can be overwhelming and stressful, not only for the student but the parents who are left with the task of preparing their children for this important assessment!

So, how can parents ensure that their children are academically equipped and have a positive outlook toward this daunting exam?

Implementing an organized and enjoyable study plan is one effective solution! Using tools and techniques such as sample tests and positive reinforcement measures will ensure this journey is easy for both the student and their guardian.

In this guide, we’ll discuss:

  • What the CAT4 Level D Test entails
  • How to best prepare for this test
  • Frequently asked questions.

Let’s get started!

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What does the test consist of?

A multiple-choice test the CAT 4 is a two-hour test examining the child’s:

  • Verbal Reasoning
  • Quantitative reasoning
  • Non -Verbal reasoning
  • Spatial Ability

Each of those skills is assessed in what is known as a battery of tests with each battery having two brief tests.

For example, the Verbal Reasoning battery assesses Verbal Classification and Verbal Analogies.

In the Quantitative Reasoning battery, the student can expect to be tested on Number Analogies and Number Classification.

Non-Verbal Reasoning tests Figure Matrices and Figure Classification. It focuses on the shield’s ability to recognise shapes and outlines.

Spatial Ability asks the child to show their skills in Figure Analysis and Figure Recognition. It tests their 3-D perception.

To get a clearer idea on the style of questioning this free sample test from shows the questions asked in the different sections. If you like what you see in the sample test you can get a test pack with further sample tests.

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Preparing for the test

This can all seem very daunting for a child of 10-12 years and for the adult who is helping them get to grips with the test. Test preparation involves getting to know the test and having sample papers to practice on.

The adult is usually the person who has to find this material and a test prep pack from a well-known test company is recommended as the most important tool a child and adult can use for test preparation.

Coming with details of the test and sample test papers the adult has the information to hand that will enable them to guide the child through the test preparation period.

Getting organised

teaching young kid

With the test prep materials to hand, it is time to put a plan in place for the preparation. Taking the following steps should make the process more effective:

  1. The child needs to become familiar with the structure of the test and the types of questions asked. When the student knows precisely what to expect from the test they will find the experience less daunting.
  2. Decide on the specific times that will be devoted to test preparation. The child has other school work to deal with as well. An organised approach to getting everything done will allow the child to feel they are in control of the situation.
  3. Build in break times during the test preparation. The child will learn faster and retain material more easily when they have regular breaks. Ensure those breaks are taken away from the child’s place of study. Fresh air, some physical exercise, a snack will help the child return to work relaxed and ready for further preparation.

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Pointers for effective learning

Preparing a child for a test can be difficult for an adult whose schooling finished at an earlier time. However, the test prep pack and the following pointers should make the process a little easier.

1.  Do the sample tests

Working through the sample tests will help your child learn actively. This is recognised by educators as a more effective form of learning than looking blankly at a page.

Doing the sample tests gives a structure to a study period. It also makes the child become familiar with the style of the test. More importantly, it also teaches the child the importance of timing in a test.

The child’s progress can be checked from test to test giving the child a sense of achievement and the adult an indication of what more needs to be done. Doing sample tests ensures the child knows what awaits them in the test centre.

2.  Have fun

Teachers are aware that children learn quickly when they are having fun in class. They also retain information more easily. Try introducing fun into test prep sessions:

  • Make doing the exercises fun
  • Set up challenges between the child and the adult. For example, who will get the right answer first? (No prizes for guessing it will be the child!)
  • Build in reward systems – the child can be rewarded for taking the time to do the work or for getting a tricky question right

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When a student is stressed

Children become stressed for any number of reasons and facing a test is one of them. Very quickly a child can move from being excited they are doing this big test to being afraid of doing badly.

Being aware that this can happen is the first step to helping the child deal with it. Putting measures in place to prevent it from happening can spare the child and their supporting adult from difficult moments.

Putting measures in place can help avoid the danger of this happening. Ensure the child gets:

  • Regular breaks
  • Sleep and rest
  • Good nutrition
  • Exercise and fresh air

Even the child who displays a great deal of confidence can secretly harbour feelings of not being good enough. To offset any danger of this:

  • Ensure the child is praised, not just for a superb effort but for any improvement
  • When the child performs less well than expected offer encouragement and the prospect of doing better next time

The sample tests in the test prep pack allow both the adult and student to track the student’s progress and give a clear idea of where progress can be made. This information can boost the child’s confidence.

Test Day

When test day comes around the child will probably experience a combination of excitement and nervousness.

To make coping easier the adult now has another role to play ensuring the child:

  • Gets a good night’s sleep before the test
  • Eats a proper breakfast
  • Has all the equipment they need packed in their bag
  • Knows that everybody wishes him/her Good Luck!

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What Is the CAT4 Level D Test?

CAT4 (or the Cognitive Abilities Test) is an assessment used for students in the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland to examine children’s academic abilities.

There are various levels to a CAT, which is dependent on the specific age group being tested. Level D is used for children in year 7.

The CAT4 test contains four sections. Within these four sections are two short tests.

Verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, non-verbal reasoning, and spatial ability are all covered in the assessment.

The number of questions per sub-section in the test varies, with some set to take around 8 minutes and others around 10 minutes.

This is where time management becomes crucial for the student! Within these areas of the test, students should expect assessment of:

–   Verbal classification and verbal analogies in the verbal reasoning section

–   Number analogies and number series in the quantitative reasoning section

–   Problem-solving using shapes and diagrams in the non-verbal reasoning section

–   Figure analysis and recognition in the spatial ability section.

Once the test is completed, students will receive a score which will then be interpreted through various standards.

These include the standard age scores (SAS), national percentile rank (NPR), and stanines IST). This will allow for comparison amongst peers of the same age.

Ultimately, this test will achieve the objective of gaining insight into a student’s academic potential and learning capabilities.

The outcome of the results will identify strengths and weaknesses, prompting strategies that will be most effective for each individual student.

Final Words

A successful CAT 4 level D test outcome can be achieved by understanding the test structure and objectives, as well as having a positive attitude towards the assessment.

The test structure follows a 2-hour course where verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, non-verbal reasoning, and spatial ability are assessed. Being aware of this format will ultimately help with preparation.

Another important aspect of preparation that needs to be kept in mind is the timing of organized learning sessions and learning breaks. Effective studying is best done when there are reasonable breaks implemented for the student.

As discussed earlier, sample tests will allow the student to apply their learning actively under time pressure.

It will also ensure that the student can become familiar with the test style. With this preparation, they can learn how to manage their time throughout the test.

Make sure to keep the learning process as enjoyable as possible! This means introducing challenges and rewards that will motivate and engage the student.

On the day of the test, making the student’s well-being a priority is key. A good sleep the night before, eating a substantial nutritious meal, and having the right equipment organized will all go a long way!


How can I practice for a CAT4 level D test?

The best way to practice for a CAT4 Level D test is to familiarize yourself with the test structure and content by using sample tests, as well as test prep packs from reputable companies.

Ensure that study times are reasonable, with numerous breaks in between. Additionally, tracking progress and implementing challenges and rewards will help with motivation!

What age is the CAT 4 level D test for?

The CAT4 Level D test is an assessment designed for year 7 students. Year 7 students are typically around the age of 10-12 years old.

What should students do on the day before the CAT 4 test?

Ensure that they have a good night’s sleep, eat nutritious meals that are filling and nourishing, check that they have all their equipment ready to go, and offer positive encouragement!

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