When Is CogAT Test Given

When Is CogAT Test Given And Who Conducts It?

Children that exhibit extraordinary cognitive abilities from an early age often don’t reach their full potential at state schools. Gifted and talented students are always a step above the rest and require an environment that will test their abilities to the fullest.

Students with exceptional abilities that wish to be granted access into gifted and talented programs in the United States first need to pass an achievement or abilities test.

One of the most popular abilities tests used in the United States is the Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT). The CogAT is an abilities assessment that is undertaken by students in a group.

This test is commonly administered by gifted and talented programs to measure a student’s cognitive abilities.

Who Takes The CogAT And When?

Two Girls Walking Inside the Classroom

The CogAT test can be written by students from kindergarten to grade twelve (12), from the ages of five (5) to eighteen (18) years old. The test is often administered at the beginning of a school year as it allows schools to assess their students’ abilities per grade.

Anyone can write the CogAT as some schools do not offer the CogAT as part of their curriculum. Students that wish to write the CogAT are able to write the assessment individually. All they will need to do is create their own profile to start the assessment.

The test can be administered online or completed with paper and pencil. However, if the student chooses to physically write the assessment, a test proctor will be required to administer the assessment.

In this case, the student may need to register to complete the test at a local school at a time when the school is administering the assessment.

How Many Levels Does The CogAT Have?

As mentioned above, the CogAT assessment is inclusive of all ages from kindergarten to grade twelve (12). An assessment tool that caters to all ages will, naturally, be divided into multiple levels.

The CogAT offers ten (10) different levels, with each level varying in difficulty, the number of questions, and the length of time allowed to complete the test.

What CogAT Level Should My Child Take?

There are ten (10) CogAT assessment levels that students are able to qualify to take. There are different levels of the test for the different grades the students may be in. Each level is more cognitively challenging than the previous one.

As a parent, you should ask your child’s school which CogAT they will be administering. Some schools may choose to assess students using a level that is above their current grade level in order to identify highly gifted students.

Similarly, your child’s school may choose to administer a below-grade level test to students, especially if the test is taking place at the beginning of the school year.

The CogAT levels and the respective grade to which they should be administered are as follows:

  • Level 5/ 6: Kindergarten
  • Level 7: Grade one (1)
  • Level 8: Grade two (2)
  • Level 9: Grade three (3)
  • Level 10: Grade four (4)
  • Level 11: Grade five (5)
  • Level 12: Grade six (6)
  • Level 13/ 14: Grades seven to eight (7 – 8)
  • Level 15/ 16: Grades nine to ten (9 – 10)
  • Level 17/ 18: Grades eleven to twelve (11 – 12)

What Is The CogAT?

Teacher Checking on her Student

The CogAT test is an assessment tool used to measure the level of cognitive development of a student in comparison to other students that are of the same age or are in the same grade.

The CogAT Form 7 is the most widely used version of the test which consists of a verbal battery, quantitative battery, and non-verbal battery. Each battery is a separate section of the test containing three (3) different types of questions that test the cognitive development and problem-solving skills of students.

The CogAT Form 7

There isn’t a standard format when it comes to an abilities test, as there are a huge variety of tests available. However, most achievement and ability tests are divided into separate sections, and their questions are multiple-choice.

The CogAT follows the same basic structure that most ability tests do. The CogAT is divided into three separate batteries (sections). The purpose of dividing the assessment into separate batteries is to broaden the assessment and to cover different aspects.

The three different batteries that the test is made up of are:

  • Verbal Battery
  • Quantitative Battery
  • Non-verbal Battery

Each battery (section) consists of its own three (3) types of questions, as can be seen below:

Verbal battery

  • Picture/ Verbal Analogies: The student will be required to grasp the relationship between two separate concepts (these are represented by words or images).
  • Sentence Completion: Students will have to complete sentences after they have either heard or read them.
  • Picture/ Verbal Classification: Students will be required to classify an image or word that has been provided based on its relationship to other images or words.

Quantitative battery

  • Number Analogies: Students are required to evaluate the connection between two mathematical concepts.
  • Number Series: Students will have to decipher a pattern to complete a sequence of numbers.
  • Number Puzzles: Students will have to first solve an equation before they are able to discover the value of an unknown.

Non-Verbal Battery

  • Figure Classification: Students are required to choose the correct figure or shape that fits into a given category.
  • Figure Matrices: Students are required to compute the 2X2 matrix, where they will have to identify the relationship that exists between the two top squares and repeat it with the two bottom squares.
  • Paper Folding: Students will have to figure out what the end result would be when folding a hole-punched paper in a specific way.

How Long Will The CogAT Take To Complete?

The CogAT assessment is divided into three batteries, and each section will take between 20 – 45 minutes to complete. The time it takes to complete the test is also influenced by how long the administrator takes to read the questions and hand out the test papers.

In total, the entire test can take anywhere from one (1) to two (2) and a half hours (30 minutes) to complete.

Each CogAT level for each grade consists of a different total number of questions and allows different lengths of time to complete the assessment, as seen below:

  • Level 5/ 6 (Kindergarten): 118 questions, 112 minutes
  • Level 7 (1st Grade): 136 questions, 112 minutes
  • Level 8 (2nd Grade): 154 questions, 112 minutes
  • Level 9 (3rd Grade): 170 questions, 90 minutes
  • Levels 10 – 18 (4th – 12th Grade): 176 questions, 90 minutes

How Is The CogAT Assessed?

Girls wearing school uniform holding books

The purpose of the CogAT assessment is to evaluate students’ cognitive abilities in order to decipher whether they are, in fact, gifted and talented or not. The CogAT assessment uses two methods to determine how a student performed.

The CogAT is able to assess students in the same age category or students that are grouped in the same grade. The age norms are calculated by gauging how a student has performed compared to other children that are of the same age.

The CogAT is assessed per age group, and every age group has its own set amount of questions and time limits. In order to accurately assess students by their age groups, they are split up into groups starting from as young as four years and 11 months old and ranging to 18 years old.

Students are often required to write the CogAT in groups consisting of 20 students. A student’s individual score is calculated by tallying their correct answers.

The student’s CogAT score is compared to other peers in their age group or grade. This is done in order to identify if the student qualifies as gifted.

The grade norm is calculated in the same way as the age norm. Students that are in the same grade will have their scores compared to each other.

How Students Are Scored In The CogAT

As mentioned above, students are assessed in their age groups or by their grade (whichever method the school decides on).

Here is how a student’s score is determined:

  1. All the answers that a student gets correct are tallied up. This score is known as the raw score.
  2. The raw score is then converted into a Universal Scale Score (USS). Each battery in the CogAT will have its own separate USS scores. The Composite USS is determined from averaging the three battery scores.
  3. The Standard Age Score (SAS) has a mean of 100, a standard deviation of 16 and a maximum score of 160. Students that receive a score of 100 are considered to have a normal rate of development. Students that generally score 132 or higher have an exceptional rate of development.
  4. The student’s SAS score is compared to other students in their age and/ grade. Their scores are placed in a percentile rank. A percentile rank of 90 means that a student scored better than 90% of students that wrote the assessment.

Every assessment has its own standards. The CogAT assessment generally evaluates students that are placed between the 90th and 95th percentiles, who are then considered to be gifted.

How To Best Prepare For The CogAT Test

Black boy Using laptop

Did you know that taking a practice test is one of the best ways to ensure that you are successful in preparing for an assessment? To help you prepare for your upcoming CogAT:

Here are some helpful tips to follow:

Practice Tests

The CogAT has been around for several years; the structure of the assessment and its format are mentioned above. Hands down, the most effective way to prepare is to try practice questions and simulation tests. We recommend using the resources on TestPrep-Online that are tailored to the CogAT test.

Students who take the time to go through the CogAT practice tests will be able to acquaint themselves with how the questions are formulated. Practicing tests is the best way to study for the CogAT.

Create a Study Schedule

In order to stay on top of your preparation game, you will need to create an effective study schedule. The CogAT has three batteries (sections) that could be broken up and scheduled for different study days.

Creating a study schedule prevents you from focusing on one aspect and neglecting the others, as it allocates equal time for each section.

If you find that you are struggling to grasp a certain section of work, rather allocate more time towards studying for it after you have completed all the sections of work first.

Keep Healthy

The build-up to any assessment can be a stressful time for students and parents. This is why it is important to put/ keep healthy habits in place. Students must maintain a healthy balanced routine, such as getting sufficient sleep, regularly exercising, and eating the right foods.

Having a good night’s rest before you take your CogAT is one of the most important aspects that students tend to neglect. Waking up refreshed and ready to tackle an assessment will be the best platform for students to focus and answer questions to the best of their abilities.

Study For Understanding

We all want to do well in an assessment, but, studying to do well for the CogAT assessment, however, is the incorrect technique for students to use.

The CogAT measures a student’s ability and isn’t so focused on what they know but rather on their problem-solving and reasoning skills.

Students that study for the CogAT assessment should rather study to understand the material. They should try to grasp the concepts behind what is being assessed.

Read Each Question Carefully

The objective of the CogAT assessment is to measure the higher-level thinking abilities of a student. The questions that are asked can sometimes be misleading.

In the assessment, there is sufficient time for students to answer every question. Students must use their time wisely and read each question carefully before submitting an answer.


The CogAT Form 7 is often used by higher-level learning institutions as an entrance exam for prospective students to complete should they wish to gain admission. The CogAT also forms part of certain state schools’ assessment curriculums.

Any student between the ages of five (5) to eighteen (18) can write the assessment, which can be done online or in groups of approximately twenty (20) students.

The most effective way to practice for the CogAT is to go through practice tests.