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What Is the CogAT and How Can I Prepare?

The Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT) is a standardized test often used for gifted testing. Learn more about the history, format, and content of the test, as well as information on how to prepare your child for test day.

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What Is the CogAT?

The Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT) is a multiple choice test written by Dr. David F. Lohman and published by Riverside Publishing. It is used to measure cognitive development among children and is often used to identify gifted children for admissions into gifted and talented programs across the United States. The CogAT was first published in 1968. The most current version of the CogAT, the CogAT Form 7, was published in 2011.

The CogAT is made up of three sections, called batteries: the Verbal Battery, the Quantitative Battery, and the Nonverbal Battery. These batteries can be administered separately or together, depending on the specific needs of the school administering the test. They are designed to assess specific reasoning skills in each area that correlate strongly to academic success. More specifically, the CogAT measures cognitive development, the ability to learn new tasks, and problem solving abilities. Because much of its content is nonverbal, the CogAT is also very useful for testing students who are not native English speakers. See a breakdown of the CogAT Form 7 below. Learn more about CogAT questions

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CogAT Form 7 Batteries

Battery Subtests
Verbal Picture/Verbal Analogies*
Sentence Completion
Picture/Verbal Classification*
QuantitativeNumber Analogies
Number Series
Number Puzzles
NonverbalFigure Matrices
Figure Classification
Paper Folding

*Primary levels (5/6-8) contain Picture Analogies and Picture Classification. Higher levels contain Verbal Analogies and Verbal Classification.

The CogAT is administered to students in grades K-12. There are ten CogAT levels, which are based on age. The number attributed to each level corresponds to the age level it is administered to. For example, the Level 9 is designed for students who are 9 years old and is generally administered to students in 3rd grade. The testing levels for the CogAT Form 7 and the grade they are usually administered to are as follows:

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CogAT Form 7 Levels

Level Grade
5/6K
71st
82nd
93rd
104th
115th
126th
13/147th-8th
15/169th-10th
17/1811th-12th

Administration time may vary, depending on how long the proctor takes to administer the test. Students are generally provided between 30-45 minutes per battery. With administration time, it takes between two to three hours to complete all three batteries. In total, the CogAT has between 118 and 176 questions, depending on the level. The table in the following section details the number of questions by level.

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Form 6 vs. Form 7

The CogAT Form 7 is still fairly new. Its predecessor, the CogAT Form 6, may still be administered at certain schools. It is important to know the difference between these two versions of the test and which one your child will be taking.

One main difference between the Form 6 and Form 7 is the number of questions on each test. The following table illustrates the changes in the number of questions on each level of the Form 6 and Form 7:

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Number of Items by Level


5/67 8 910-18
CogAT 6120132 144190190
CogAT 7118136 154170176


The testing levels on the CogAT Form 7 differ from how the testing levels on the CogAT Form 6 and other previous editions were divided. On the Form 6, the testing levels were broken down as follows:

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CogAT Form 6 Levels

Level Grade
KK
11st
22nd
A3rd
B4th
C5th
D6th
E7th
F8th-9th
G10th-11th
H12th

Similar to the current levels system, these do not match up strictly to a grade level. Levels K-2 are designed for students in kindergarten through 2nd grade, while Levels A-H are designed for students in grades 3-12. However, a high achieving 2nd grader may take the Level A, while a low achieving 3rd grade student may take the Level 2. This fluid system allows for a more specific and focused testing for each student.

The format also changed from Form 6 to Form 7. In Form 6, the format for the primary levels (K-2) was different from higher levels. On the Form 7, the format is mostly the same across all levels. See the table below for a breakdown of the batteries and subtests at each level.

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CogAT Form 6 Batteries (Primary Levels)

Battery Subtests
Verbal Oral Vocabulary
Verbal Reasoning
QuantitativeRelational Concepts
Quantitative Concepts
NonverbalMatrices
Figure Classification

Primary levels are levels K-2 on the Form 6, which corresponds to levels 5/6-8 on the Form 7.

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Norms and Scores

The CogAT uses two types of norms when tests are scored: age norms and grade norms. Age norms compare how a student performed relative to other children of the same age and grade norms compare how a student performed relative to other children in the same grade. Age norms span from 4 years and 11 months through 18 years old, in which students are grouped in one month intervals. Age and grade scores will often be very similar. However, using age norms can be more accurate when assessing children who are very young or old for their grade level.

Scores for the CogAT are calculated in a number of steps. First, the raw score is calculated by tallying the total number of questions answered correctly. Raw scores are then converted to Universal Scale Scores (USS) for each of the three batteries, which is then used to calculate the Standard Age Score (SAS), percentile rank, and stanine score. Using these scores, along with an analysis of the patterns present in a student's score, a student is given a score profile. Learn more about CogAT scores

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Language

The CogAT Form 7 is accessible to non English speaking students due to its highly nonverbal format. The main reason for the changes between the Form 6 and Form 7 primary levels was to accommodate English language learner (ELL) students. The Form 7 primary levels (5/6-8) are now made up almost entirely of nonverbal questions. The only section that requires language skills is the optional Sentence Completion section, which is available in both English and Spanish. Instructions for all levels are offered in English or Spanish. Learn more about how to prepare for a Gifted and Talented test.

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How to Prepare for the CogAT

The CogAT is a difficult test, and with increasingly high levels of competition for gifted programs, it is important that you prepare your child for test day. TestPrep-Online offers comprehensive, age-specific study packs to ensure that your child is ready. These packs include practice tests, as well as additional sample questions. Start your test prep for the CogAT today. Look at our CogAT 2nd grade, CogAT 3rd grade, and CogAT 4th grade test prep materials. Check out our free CogAT Practice Tests.

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