How To Prepare Your Child For Kindergarten CogAT Test – Ultimate Study Guide with Practice Tests
Last Updated on October 20, 2022
The Kindergarten CogAT test assesses the cognitive abilities of kindergarten children. Within the test, there are three different batteries. Each of those itself contains three different sub-tests.
The three batteries include Verbal, Quantitative, and Non-Verbal, and we will address the components of each in turn within this article.
The CogAT test contains questions that require a special type of reasoning which is why it is important to understand and prepare for the type of questions the child may encounter.
Practice through online resources can help your child succeed in their CogAT test.
What Is On the CogAT Test?
As mentioned above, the test is divided into three batteries, the Verbal Battery, the Quantitative Battery, and the Non-Verbal Battery.
Let us explore each of these in turn:
The CogAT Verbal Battery is used to determine a student’s vocabulary along with their verbal memory and efficiency. It also measures the ability to determine word relationships and comprehension of ideas.
Within the Verbal Battery, there are three sub-tests. These differ between the lower and upper levels. The combined scores of each of these sub-tests make up the overall CogAT Verbal score.
Lower level sub-tests –
- Sentence Completion
- Picture Classification
- Picture Analogies
Higher level sub-tests –
- Sentence Completion
- Verbal Classification
- Verbal Analogies
The number of questions in the Verbal Battery test will increase according to the level of difficulty for the test from around 14-24 questions for each sub-test.
Some question examples could include:
Sentence Completion – In the lower levels, the teacher will read a sentence aloud. There will be a word missing from that sentence, and students must select a picture that best represents the missing word and completes the sentence.
In the higher levels, the process is the same – the teacher will read a sentence aloud with one word missing. However, this time the student must choose the word that best completes the sentence.
Picture/Verbal Classification – For the lower levels, the student will be given three pictures that are alike in some way. They will then be asked to choose the picture from some suggested answers that is most like the other three.
In the higher levels, the student is given three words that have some kind of connection. Then they must choose a word from some suggested answers that is most like the first three given words.
Picture/Verbal Analogies – In this sub-test, the lower-level students will be given three pictures. The first two pictures belong together, and the third picture goes with one of the answer choices – these are also in picture form. The student must make their selection and group the pictures accordingly.
In the higher levels of this sub-test, the process is exactly the same, except that words are used instead of pictures.
The non-verbal battery part of the CogAT test is used to assess the reasoning abilities of a student through spatial and figural content.
The test is designed to assess those students who perhaps have difficulties with reading or who face additional challenges such as limited capability or limited use of the English language.
There is no reading needed for the questions within the Non Verbal test. The geometric shapes and figures are ones that are not likely to have been encountered by the student previously during formal schooling.
There are three sub-tests within the non-verbal battery. The combined scores of each of these tests make up the overall non-verbal battery score. As for the Verbal tests, the number of questions increases throughout the difficulty levels – in this case, from 10 – 22 questions.
The three sub-tests are:
- Figure Matrices
- Paper Folding
- Figure Classification
Some sample questions could include the following:
- Figure Matrices – For each question within this sub-section, the student is shown a 2 x 2 matrix. Students must determine the relationship between the two pictures in the top row of the matrix and apply the same relationship in the bottom row of the matrix.
Sometimes the relationship between the pictures may not always be immediately apparent. Therefore, it is crucial that students are given the time to practice this style of questioning and develop the skill needed to identify the relationships between pictures.
- Paper Folding – For the lower-level question within this sub-section, students must be able to determine how a piece of paper will look once it is folded.
For the higher-level questions, there may be hole punching included, and students may also be asked to determine what the paper will look like once it is unfolded.
These questions are designed to evaluate the spatial abilities of a student – being able to unfold the paper and visualize the resulting image can be an indication of an analytical mind with real competency in this area.
As its name suggests, this part of the test is designed to evaluate the mathematical capabilities of the student. As with all sections, the number of questions changes according to the level of the student, ranging from 10 – 18 questions in each section for each of the quantitative sub-tests.
Sample questions may include:
- Number Series – For the lower levels, students will be shown pictures of beads on an abacus toy. Using the presented pattern, the student must determine the next abacus in the series based on the original pattern.
For the higher levels, the student will be given a series of numbers. By the same process, using the pattern presented, they must determine the next number in that series.
- Number Puzzles – For the lower levels of students taking this particular sub-test, they will be given pictures to represent math problems.
– Higher levels will need to solve simple equations by choosing an answer from those provided to ensure that the amounts on either side of the = sign are the same.
- Number Analogies – Lower-level students will be shown a 2 x 2 matrix. Within that matrix, there will be three pictures and one empty cell. Students will be required to determine the mathematical relationship between the pictures in the two boxes at the top of the matrix and apply the same principle to the picture in the bottom row and select an answer which satisfies that relationship.
– The process for the higher-level questions is exactly the same, but in this case, the students will be using numbers instead of pictures.
How Can My Child Pass The CogAT Test?
The sub-tests can prove especially challenging for children who have not encountered the test before. Familiarity will help to overcome this challenge. There are also significant time constraints on the tests. Practice is essential to make sure that you can not only answer the questions accurately, but also within the given timeframe.
Practice will allow your child to understand the format of the questions and also develop the skills necessary to save time on the day of the test. Some of the questions can be answered much more quickly if the child is able to rule out possible answers through a process of elimination.
But in order to do this, they will need to understand exactly what they are looking for. This will take practice beforehand.
Practice resources will enable students to learn the strategies necessary to answer efficiently and accurately. We highly recommend Test-Prep Online, which has tailored practice resources for the Kindergarten CogAT.
Using practice resources will also mean that your child can retake the tests as many times as necessary so that you will be able to track and compare their progress throughout their learning journey. Becoming familiar with the test format will mean that your child will develop quickly in confidence and efficiency.
What Is The Importance Of The CogAT Test?
The CogAT test can provide important information to both teachers and parents about a child’s strengths and weaknesses across the different domains.
Understanding where a child is excelling or struggling means that customized lesson plans and learning opportunities can be formulated to best meet the needs of that particular child. It helps them reach their full potential.
The CogAT score will not only provide an overall score. It will also give scores for the individual categories and sub-tests, meaning that the teacher or parent can better analyze the child’s needs. This also enables the adult to amend their teaching style or use of vocabulary to suit the cognitive stage of development for individual children.
Being able to phrase questions in a way that the student can understand is often all that is needed to overcome or address challenges that they may be facing.
Raw scores are also considered when students are being considered for Gifted and Talented teaching programs or educational enrichment further into their educational journey, which is why it is important that the score is a true representation of the student’s cognitive capabilities.
Understanding the scoring of each individual category of the CogAT test can also help the practitioner better understand a child’s educational needs. Obviously, not all students will perform equally across the board.
Some may perform very well in reasoning ability whilst performing poorly in a different domain, for example. Being able to address the gaps in a student’s education is crucial for good development.
Do All children Have To Take The CogAT Test?
Conversely, it may also be used to help those students who may be struggling academically to identify the gaps in their learning and be able to design appropriate interventions to address those gaps in their skill set.
The CogAT assessments can be used from Kindergarten through to grade 12. The assessments are usually administered to groups of children and it is general practice to administer all three batteries at once.
However, this may be adapted for younger children and the batteries can be administered one at a time. They can also be done on a one-to-one basis if appropriate.
Each battery will typically take around 30-45 minutes and will be completed online or also by using paper and pencil.
Should My Child Prepare For The CogAT Test?
Ideally, the CogAT test should be a true and honest representation of a child’s academic abilities and too much preparation or pressure prior to the test may give an inaccurate reflection. This could mean that your child passes the test but is then accepted into a gifted and talented program where they are out of their depth.
Similarly, their educational challenges could be masked to such an extent that they do not receive the specific help that they may need to develop cognitively.
The important thing to try and achieve is balance. One of the main hurdles for children encountering the test for the first time is the format and style of the questions.
Simply put, if they are able to achieve some level of familiarity and understanding of the questioning style, they will be better placed to achieve a score that is well matched to their ability, showing themselves in the best possible light.
The other issue with the test is the presence of a time limit. Being able to answer within an allotted time might be something outside of their experience or comfort zone.
Understanding how much time they have for each question through time practice will give them a better chance as well as make them feel less pressured or anxious on the day.
Understanding how your child can improve or progress from their test results is more important than simply gaining a top score, especially if this does not truly reflect ability – this could just lead to pressure and overwhelm further on in their educational journey.
How Can I Help My Child To Prepare For Their CogAT Test?
As we have already mentioned in this article, it is important to achieve a balance between over-preparing your child and misrepresenting their true ability and allowing them time to become familiar with the style and time pressures of the test on the day.
The resources at Test-Prep Online can help you and your child to achieve this balance. Using the practice tests will mean that your child will be able to approach the test with confidence and perform to the best of their true ability.
They will be able to better understand what the amount of time they will have on the day actually feels like, meaning that they will be able to answer as accurately and efficiently as possible.
Make sure you help them to practice little and often – a long hard slog is not the best way to alleviate anxiety and can often lead to overwhelm!
Understanding their areas of weakness can sometimes be more useful than knowing the areas in which they are strongest. It is important to make sure that they understand this as a way to progress, not as a sign of failure.
And as always, a healthy diet, plenty of breaks, and a good night’s sleep are all essential components of a realistic study regime. The important thing is to approach their practice with enthusiasm, positivity, and a calm approach.
What Is a Good Score On The CogAT Test?
Typically the test will be scored in different ways to obtain different data, but the simplified answer to that question is as follows:
- A Standard Age Score will be a score that is given based on the average results of children who are in the same school system and who are of the same age. Typically a score of 100 would be considered an average score when looking at standard age scores.
– Any pupil who scores over 125 when using the standard age score system will be considered above average.
- Age Percentile Scores are used to calculate where students rank in relation to each other. The easiest way to understand this method of scoring is to imagine a line of 100 students – with number one being the highest score and number 100 being the lowest.
If your child scores in the third percentile, they would effectively be third in line – close to the highest score. If your child scores in the 57th percentile, then they would be at number 57 in ‘the line’ – somewhere in the middle.
If they scored in the 99th percentile, for example, they would be close to the end of the line and, therefore amongst the lowest-scoring students.
Written by Karen Stanley
Karen is a former teacher of 20 years and ten times published author. She writes content for educational organisations and businesses, nationally and internationally. She coaches new and budding writers through to publication and is passionate about creativity; she runs creative writing workshops in schools and fostering agencies.