Test Prep Guide for the Cognitive Abilities Test™ (CogAT®)
Test Preparation Practice for CogAT Assessment
January 06, 2023, by The Critical Thinking Co. Staff
The Cognitive Abilities Test™ or CogAT® is commonly utilized as part of the entrance process for students who have been identified as potentially gifted and talented. The CogAT® (Cognitive Abilities Test™) is published by Riverside Publishing, a Houghton Mifflin Company.
The test measures students’ reasoning abilities in the three areas that are linked to academic success: Verbal Reasoning, Non-Verbal Reasoning, and Quantitative Reasoning. CogAT® is often paired with the Iowa Tests of Basic Skills® (ITBS®) to show a more complete picture of a student’s abilities.
Reasoning is synonymous with learning and problem-solving. CogAT’s measurement of the three reasoning areas helps provide a balanced view of the child’s potential for academic success.
The latest edition of the CogAT® is Form 7 (7th edition). Form 6 is still in use, but most schools have transitioned to Form 7. The main differences between Form 6 and Form 7 are the primary level questions (Kindergarten through 2nd grade), which are now picture based as opposed to word based. Also, figural analysis questions are now included at the Kindergarten level. The bundles presented below will help prepare students for both versions of the test (and include Figure Analysis practice for Kindergarten students).
Here’s a look at each section of the test and some sample item types:
The verbal section of CogAT® will measure Oral Vocabulary, Verbal Reasoning, Sentence Completion (grade 3 and up), and Verbal Analogies (grade 3 and up).
- Verbal Classification: The student is given a list of three words that are alike in some way. The student is asked to choose a word (from a selection of five words) that is alike in the same way.Example: The words displayed are GREEN BLUE RED and the answer choices are color, crayon, paint, yellow, rainbow
- Sentence Completion: The student is given a sentence with a word left out and is asked to choose a word that makes the best sense in the sentence.Example: Apples _______ on trees. The answer choices arefall, grow, show, bloom, spread
- Verbal Analogies: The student is given three words. The first two words go together. The third word goes with one of the answer choices. The student is asked to choose the word that goes with the third word the same way that the second word goes with the first.Example: new (is to) old : wet (is to) ________ and the choices are rain, drip, hot, sun, dry
In this section, Figure Classification, Matrices (K-2), Figural Analysis, and Figural Classification are assessed. This part of the test often presents the most novel problems to students. The items on these tests use only geometric shapes and figures that have had little direct relationship to formal school instruction. The tests require no reading and no prior knowledge.
- Figure Classification: The students are given three figures that are alike in some way. They are given three answer choices and five pictures to choose from. They are asked to decide which figure goes best with the three answer choices.Example: the student is given three items that are oddly shaped but each one has 4 sides and is black. The choices are a black circle, a black triangle, a 4-sided white object, a black 4-sided object, and a six-sided white object.
- Figure Analogies: The student is given three figures. The first two figures go together; the third figure goes with one of the answer choices.Example: The first two figures are a large square that goes together with a small square. The second pair is to go together the same way that the first two figures go together. For the second pair students are given a large circle. The answer choices are a small triangle, a large circle, a small square, a small circle, and a large rectangle
- Figure Analysis:The student is shown how a square piece of dark paper is folded and where holes are punched in it. The student is to figure out how the paper will look when it is unfolded.Example: If a dark piece of paper is folded in the center from top to bottom and a hole is punched in the bottom right-hand corner, what will the piece of paper look like when it is unfolded?The answer choices are:
A) one hole in the bottom right-hand corner
B) one hole in the bottom right-hand corner and one in the top right-hand corner
C) one hole in the top right-hand corner
D) one hole in the bottom right-hand corner and one in the bottom left-hand corner
E) one hole in the bottom right- hand corner and one in the top left-hand corner.
This section isn’t just about math facts, it’s more about thinking numerically and problem-solving with numbers. Relational Concepts, Quantitative Concepts, Quantitative Relations (grade 3 and up), Number Series (grade 3 and up), and Equation Building (grade 3 and up) areas are assessed.
- Quantitative Relations: The student is given two problems numbered one and two with three answer choices. The student is to solve the two problems and determine if the answer is greater, less than, or equal to.Example: 1. 0 + 3 2. 3 + 0The answer choices are:
- 1 is greater than 2
- 1 is less than 2
- 1 is equal to 2
- Number Series: The student is given a series of numbers and asked to decide which number should come next in the series.Example: 5 10 15 20 The answer choices are 25, 30, 35, 40, 45
- EquationBuilding: The student is given numbers and signs. The student is asked to combine the numbers and signs to get a solution that is an answer choice.Example: 1 2 3 -x The answer choices are 1, 2, 3, 4, 6
Test Prep Bundle and Suggested Test Prep Plan for CogAT®
We recommend working with the bundles over at least a six-week period, but we also recognize parents often receive a testing date with less than 30-days’ notice. If you are really pressed for time, and you see the student has mastery in a section, you may skip ahead. You may also want to bookmark and return to activities that are more challenging.
One way to measure the mastery is to use the first few items in each activity as a pre-test. If you see that your child answers quickly and correctly, you may want to consider moving on. If they struggle, go through the activities as best you can, but bookmark them and consider going back over the material. Using the pre-test technique will give you a good idea of where the child’s strengths and weaknesses are across the skills and abilities the material covers.
The bundles offer a lot of material, but if you make working with the books part of the daily routine, you’ll be surprised how fast things will move. Remember, the youngest students have shorter attention spans, so 15 minutes a session is fine.
It is also important to point out that all the titles have value well beyond the testing window. Each title will help enhance your child’s ability to reason and analyze, skills that are essential for success in many arenas.
The Cognitive Abilities Test™ (CogAT®) is published by Riverside Publishing. CogAT® and Cognitive Abilities Test™ are registered trademarks of Riverside Publishing. The contents of these bundles were determined by The Critical Thinking Co.™ and are not endorsed by either Riverside Publishing or Houghton Mifflin. While the contents of these bundles will help prepare students to master most of the skills tested, they do not reflect the actual test items on any given test.