Cognitive Ability Test: Take a Free Practice Test

Last updated 10/2020

Cognitive ability tests measure your skill level in relation to problem-solving, using new information, and thinking critically. Why do employers want to know about your cognitive abilities? How well you do in the exam lets your potential employer know how quickly you will learn all you need to know in your new job role. Research shows that cognitive aptitude is one of the most accurate predictors of your job success. It is notably more predictive than previous job experience, interviews, and your level of education.

If you have an upcoming cognitive ability test, take our free cognitive ability practice test to determine your current cognitive skill level.

Question-MarkWhat is the Cognitive Ability Test?

Cognitive tests measure a candidate’s thinking abilities, including, reasoning, perception, memory, problem-solving skills, and verbal reasoning. Cognitive ability tests are created to reveal a candidate’s potential to solve problems, acquire new job skills, or deal with workplace challenges.

Cognitive assessments test general mental ability or the intelligence of a person. The questions featured in these tests tend to include verbal analogies, arithmetic calculations, spatial relations number series puzzles, comprehension, and reading comprehension.

Most cognitive ability tests calculate the total correct answers and gain an overall score that is indicative of general mental ability. If an individual score is calculated for each particular type of ability (including verbal, numerical, and reasoning), then the scores are a measure of that specific mental ability only.

Typically, cognitive tests are reliably scored, well-standardized, and can be distributed to large groups of people simultaneously. The test can come in a variety of formats including, sentence completion, multiple-choice, short answer, or true-false. Many professionally created cognitive tests are ready for use commercially and can be used when there is no need to develop a test that relates specifically to an organization or particular job role.

People with high cognitive ranks are more inclined to:

  • Make decisions more effectively
  • Perform tasks more proficiently and accurately
  • Use reasoning abilities
  • Use problem-solving skills
  • Respond tactfully to complex or new situations

Take Our Free Cognitive Ability Practice Test

We have created a FREE cognitive ability diagnostic test that features 25 questions, to help you gain an idea of your initial test-level. Our sample diagnostic test is developed to assist you as follows:

  • Develop an understanding of how well you are performing on each cognitive assessment question type
  • Learn what your initial testing level is so you have a benchmark in mind
  • Our diagnostic test is not timed so you can get a taste of the Cognitive Ability Test material without feeling pressured by a time-limit
  • Our practice test features 1 or 2 examples of every question type so you get a sneak preview of what the real exam will look like
  • You can discover where your areas of strengths and weakness lie in relation to Cognitive Assessment question types
  • You can practice on questions you are currently having difficulty with and note your progress and improvement as you work through our prep course

Question-MarkHow Do Cognitive Ability Tests Work?

Cognitive ability assessments are generally timed tools that can be administered online or by pencil-and-paper. They can be used alone, or in conjunction with other assessments such as behavioral assessments to give employers and picture of a potential candidate.

An effective cognitive assessment test will measure a candidate’s aptitude for numerical, critical, and analytic reasoning to see if they process the ability to easily process new information. The tests are also designed to measure an individual’s out-of-box thinking and abstract reasoning skills. Cognitive ability tests can even determine if a candidate is an effective problem solver and can undertake well-thought-out, rational, and precise decisions.

Let’s take a look at the process behind cognitive ability testing:

1. An employer picks an ideal scoring range for a job based on the skills needed. Employers often also assess the current top employees and use their performance to set their scoring range.

2. The candidate then takes the cognitive aptitude test in the workplace office during the interview process or remotely.

3. The candidate’s results are instantly available to the potential employer, typically as a report.

4. The employer then measures the candidate’s results against their target score to see how they performed.

5. The employer then decides whether or not the candidate should move on to the next stage of the employment process.

Make sure you move onto the next stage of the employment process. Start practicing for your cognitive ability test tody with PrepTerminal.

Why Do Employers Use Cognitive Ability Tests?

The aim of a cognitive assessment is to discover an individual’s cognitive abilities, in relation to three main attributes: solution generation, information processing, and decision-making abilities. Employers use these tests to find out about issues related to low-quality talent, poor leadership, and development and learning programs.

Cognitive ability tests are highly predictive tools that can be completed in a relatively short time. They are used by employers to save manages valuable resources and time, as the test will help reduce the chances of making bad hiring decisions.

Employers tend to use cognitive ability test for employment for two main reasons:

1. Pre-employment assessments are more objective
Employers can rely on objective data to make more accurate hiring decisions. Pre-employment tests can provide employers with standardized insights on candidates, and predict whether a candidate will be a good fit for the job and company culture. By using the results of cognitive ability tests employers can identify and hire the best candidates and thus improve their overall productivity.

Pre-employment tests allow employers to assess a broad range of relevant skills and personality traits. Employers use these tests to assess several characteristic traits of the candidate including, strategic thinking, cognitive ability, subject-area knowledge, problem-solving skills, leadership ability, confidence, agreeableness, organizational skills productivity, and analytical skills.

2. Pre-employment assessment increases employee retention
It is crucial for companies to retain talent and reduce turnover in order to be productive and efficient. WIth pre-employment assessments, employers can screen a candidate more readily for aptitude and see if a candidate will probably stay in a role and blend in with the company culture.

To see if a candidate is a good fit for a job, there are many factors the employers consider, including; overall ambition, a passion for learning, ownership and initiative, critical thinking skills, collaboration skills and motivation screening for these skills during a regular interview can be challenging.

Replacing a bad hire can be time-consuming and costly, that is why employers tend to use pre-employment testing to help hire the right people for a given job opportunity, the first time around.

 Types of Cognitive Ability Test

Of course, the cognitive ability tests might vary that employers give but they also have many similarities that help you conquer the test-taking challenge.

Wonderlic: You’ll find two versions of this test. The Wonderlic Personnel Test-Quicktest (WPT-Q) which features 30 questions that you have around eight minutes to complete. The Wonderlic Persona Test-Revised (WPT-R) which contains 50 test questions that you must complete within 12 minutes.

Professional Learning Indicator (PLI): The Professional Learning Indicator (PLI) is considered a general pre-employment test. It measures and evaluates your problem-solving abilities, critical thinking, aptitude, and skill learning capabilities. There are 50 questions and you will be provided 12 minutes to answer all of them.

Criteria Cognitive Aptitude Test (CCAT): The CCAT is considered a general-employment aptitude test. Your problem-solving abilities, critical thinking, and skill learning capabilities are all tested. The test is 50 questions and you are given 15-minutes to complete.

 Cognitive Ability Test Scores

Let’s take a look at cognitive ability test scores terminology:

Raw score
The number of questions you answered correctly on your assessment

The score you achieved on each sub-section of the tests, namely verbal, numerical, and abstract reasoning.

Percentile score
Your score benchmarked against a specific group of candidates that were tested before you. A percentile score will appear as a percentage and will show what percentage of the population scored lower than you on the same cognitive ability test. For example, a percentile score of 52, means that you score higher than 52% of the population of candidates within a specific group of pre-tested candidates (known as the norm group).

Stanine score
Stanine is a way to scale scores on a nine-point scale, as opposed to the regular ten-point scale. Thus, stanine scores go from 1 to 9. Each stanine stands for a group of percentile ranks.
Let’s see how percentile and stanine scores relate to one another:

StaninePercentile RankDescription
11-3Very Low
24-10Below Average
311-22Below Average
777-88Above Average
889-95Above Average
996-99Very High

Norm group
A norm group is a sample of pre-tested candidates who have a specific characteristic in common and whose scores were aggregated to develop a benchmark. Norm groups can be divided by industry, geography, profession and the like. An example of a norm group could be the population of employed managers.

Is there a cut-off score for all cognitive ability tests?
In short, no. Firstly, all test providers have unique score distributions. Thus, when you are looking to find a cut-off score for your own test, ensure that you are examining the data that relates to your own assessment.

Secondly, a cut-off score or target score varies according to the employer’s recruiting decisions and thus the job position you are applying.

Negative scoring
Most cognitive ability tests do not take off points for incorrect answers or blank answers. It is thus better to take an educated guess, than to leave a question blank.

Make sure you get a top score on your cognitive ability test. Maximize your test score PrepTerminal’s cognitive ability prep course today!

Tick-Mark Preparing for a Cognitive Ability Test

Top Tip #1. Identify your strengths and weaknesses
As you practice, you will get better at pinpointing the question types that you answer more easily and more quickly. Try to answer all of these question types.

You will probably also discover questions that you find more challenging. Some of us are better at maths while others are stronger at grammar and reading. If you are presented with a question that you know will take you a bit longer than others, just move on. It is not worth losing time on a question and only later deciding to skip it.

Top Tip #2. Strive for excellence, and not perfection
Your aim should be to get enough questions right and not to get all the questions on the test right. Only a small percentage of candidates manage to finish the test and even less manage to get all the questions right.

Generally speaking, people answer only 48% of cognitive ability test questions correctly. For many jobs, if you are able to answer 56% of the questions correctly, you will, in all likelihood, move on to the next stage of the hiring process.

Top Tip #3. Keep track of the time
Don’t spend too much time on any of the questions in your cognitive ability test, and remember that most of these tests come with a harsh time limit. Generally speaking, you should spend around half a minute for each question. You can aim to solve shorter questions more quickly so you can have more time for complex longer questions. If you find you are stuck on particular questions, just move on to the next one without hesitating.

Top Tip #4. Find out if you lose points for incorrect answers
Two essential bits of information you will need to find out before the exam are:
Can I return to a previous question?
Will I lose marks if I select a wrong answer?
The answer to these two questions will influence your exam strategy. If you will not lose marks for wrong answers then go ahead and guess if you need to. However, if there a penalty for wrong answers try to avoid guessing. Furthermore, if you can’t return to previous questions, make sure you tackle all the questions as you move through the test.

Top Tip #5. Practice, practice, and more practice
As the saying goes, practice makes perfect, and when it comes to cognitive tests this holds true. Invest time now in practicing for the test and take as many mock cognitive ability tests as you can.

Why Our Cognitive Ability Program is the Best

Some people think that there is no way to improve your score on these tests or to prepare beforehand. This is simply untrue. Cognitive ability tests often reuse a similar format and style of questioning. By reviewing different kinds of cognitive ability tests before you sit the ‘real thing’ you will gain a competitive advantage.

At PrepTerminal we offer an easy-to-follow video-based cognitive ability prep course that you conquer at your own pace. Our complete curriculum-based preparation includes assessment tests, study materials, practice tests, and cognitive aptitude test sample questions that will help you on your road to test success. Our team of cognitive ability test experts have developed a prep course that includes comprehensive content coverage. Our prep course is appropriate for all cognitive ability tests.

With our cognitive aptitude course, you will benefit from learning the following:

  • Time Management
  • A Detailed Strategy
  • Question Preparation
  • Tips on Approaching the Test with Confidence
  • How to Successfully Pass the Test

Why wait? Embark on your cognitive ability test-taking journey today and land the job you are after.


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