What is the CogAT®?

What is the CogAT?

The Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT®) is a multiple choice K-12 assessment that is used to determine admissions into gifted and talented programs. CogAT Forms 7 and 8 are the two most recent editions, both covering the same material; Form 8 is given on a computer or tablet whereas Form 7 is given on paper. When prepping your child for the CogAT, it is essential to know which form they will take so that your child builds familiarity with the test-taking skills necessary for computers or paper. Metropolitan areas commonly use the CogAT, with Seattle, Dallas, New York, Washington, DC and Chicago being some of the most popular areas for this test.

TestPrepExpress’s practice materials include printables and online, interactive questions, similar to those found on Forms 7 and 8. Our test prep covers questions for each battery, and can identify your child’s performance by subsection, making sure you spend your practice time where it matters.

The CogAT assesses students’ reasoning skills through three distinct batteries; verbal, quantitative and nonverbal.  Each battery introduces 3 unique question types that measures a different part of the student’s cognition. We offer free CogAT practice questions.

Verbal BatteryQuantitative BatteryNon-Verbal Battery
Picture AnalogiesNumber AnalogiesFigure Matrices
Sentence CompletionNumber PuzzlesPaper Folding
Picture ClassificationNumber SeriesFigure Classification

In addition to knowing which form your child will take, it is important to ask your child’s school which CogAT level they will be administering, as each version contains a different number and type of questions. If your child is being tested for a highly gifted program, she may be given a level one level higher than what would be considered grade level. If testing happens at the beginning of the year, your child may take a test level one level lower than expected. The grades and CogAT levels listed below are the most common.

The child will often be tested in groups of around 20 students. The test is administered by a test proctor who is a school counselor or a teacher.

GradeCogAT Test LevelNumber of QuestionsTest Time
KindergartenLevel 5/6118112 Minutes
1st GradeLevel 7136112 Minutes
2nd GradeLevel 8154122 Minutes
3rd GradeLevel 917090 Minutes
4th GradeLevel 1017690 Minutes
5th GradeLevel 1117690 Minutes
6th GradeLevel 1217690 Minutes
7th – 8th GradeLevel 13/1417690 Minutes
9th – 10th GradeLevel 15/1617690 Minutes
11th – 12th GradeLevel 17/1817690 Minutes


What do CogAT Scores Mean?

To put it simply, CogAT scores can be complicated. Your child’s age determines who she is compared to dtermine the score, with the possibility that a child is compared to other students in the same grade (“Grade Scores”) or with students in the same school district (“Local Scores”).  When looking at your child’s age scores, you will see a “Standard Age Score”, “Age Stanine” and “Age Percentile Rank” for each battery as well as a composite score which is the combined results for each of the 3 batteries. Below are the steps and definitions used to calculate a child’s test score:

“Raw Score”: The total number of questions answered correctly. Note that incorrect answers do not cause points to be deducted from the overall raw score.

“Universal Scale Score (USS)”: After the raw score is determined, it is converted to a normalized standard score known as the universal scale score. The composite USS is determined by averaging the three different scores for the verbal, nonverbal and quantitative reasoning skills subsections.

“Standard Age Score (SAS)”: Calculated by taking your child’s raw scores and placing them on a scale that compares two different children of the same age. An average Standard Age Score is 100.

“Percentile Rank (PR)”: Identifies the percentage of students in the same age group whose scores fall below the score obtained by a particular student.

“ Stanine (S)”: This is a number from 1-9 that ranks your child’s cognitive abilities against children of the same age. Stanines are grouped by percentile rank. 1 is considered to be very low while 9 is very high. 5 is the average.

Each stanine is made up of a range of percentile ranks. The table below shows the percentile ranks that formulate each stanine and the associated ability level.

StaninePercentile RankDescription
889-95Above Average
777-88Aove Average
311-22Below Average
24-10Below Average
11-3Very Low

If you’re interested in more about the CogAT, visit the following links:

CogAT® Test (Cognitive Abilities Test™)

CogAT Info for Specific Grades

CogAT Practice Questions

How is the CogAT Scored?

Cognitive Abilities Test™ (CogAT®) is a registered trademark of Riverside Publishing, a Houghton Mifflin Company, or their affiliate(s), or their licensors. Test Prep Express is not affiliated with nor related to Houghton Mifflin Company or its affiliates (“Houghton Mifflin”). Houghton Mifflin does not sponsor or endorse any Test Prep Express product, nor have Test Prep Express products or services been reviewed, certified, or approved by Houghton Mifflin. Trademarks referring to specific test providers are used by Test Prep Express for nominative purposes only and such trademarks are solely the property of their respective owners.