What is the Cognitive Abilities Test? COGAT

Cognitive abilities tests are specially designed exams used to measure a student's reasoning skills in three main areas: verbal, quantitative and nonverbal. They aren't IQ tests that are utilized to measure the intelligence of a pupil, but rather unique assessments to determine how capable the student is in the three areas that are most important should they want to succeed at school.

In most cases, the tests are used to gauge a student's reasoning abilities, which is the cognitive process of seeking answers, conclusions and reasons from a set of given information. Despite this being the most frequent use, when combined with other assessment tools, the scores from COGAT examinations can be used to make predictions for how the pupil will perform further down the line.

Unlike most school exams, the COGAT collection does not ask pupils to show knowledge of particular subjects, such as history or geography. Instead, the tests focus on the wider range of skills that students require to perform at the best of their ability in all subjects - throughout their whole educational life. Even things such as listening ability and concentration are accounted for by the cognitive ability assessments.

After taking the tests, students will be marked on each of the three key skills individually. The first domain, verbal reasoning, demands the pupil to complete sentences, classify words, and solve verbal analogy puzzles - all within a time limit.

The quantitative tests require a different skill set that relates to numbers and how to use them in various circumstances. The student may be asked to complete a number series by stating the next number in a sequence, or else use a set of numbers and symbols to build a correct equation.

The final element of COGAT testing is the nonverbal skills assessment. Here, numbers and words are replaced by shapes and symbols - making it a particularly accurate tool for examining the skills of a pupil with reading difficulties. Figure classification tasks ask students to identify similarities between an array of shapes, choosing which are most alike, and then grouping them together.

Also a part of the quantitative tests is figure analysis, where the candidate is given a diagram of a folded piece of paper with holes punched in. It is the student's task to discover how the paper would appear should it be unfolded.

When combined, these three areas of reasoning make up the range of skills a student must have in order to succeed on an academic level. Designed to carefully match the school curriculum, COGAT results help teachers to see how capable individual students are, and what grades they should achieve by the time they come to leave primary or secondary education.

By assessing such abilities at an early stage during one's schooling, students can be supported and nurtured to maximize their chances of achieving the targets that they are capable of. Data collected from results is useful to teachers in other ways, too, as they can plan lessons around common weaknesses, and give students who seem to be struggling the extra support that they need.