Cognitive Ability Test Guide: Take Free Practice Tests Online

Ace the Cognitive Ability Test With Comprehensive Prep Guides and Realistic Practice Tests
268 Reviews|1826 Students|Last Updated: Apr 22, 2024
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What is the Cognitive Ability Test?

Cognitive tests measure a candidate’s thinking abilities, including, reasoning, perception, memory, problem-solving skills, and verbal reasoning. They are usually used by potential employers to assess an applicant’s thinking abilities.

The questions featured in these tests tend to include verbal analogies, arithmetic calculations, spatial relations number series puzzles, comprehension, and reading comprehension. Cognitive ability tests are notoriously tricky, as they often come with harsh time-limits and specific question types. Yet, rest assured, through practice it is possible to familiarize yourself with the types of questions featured on these tests and to improve your speed.

Here’s our 3-step easy to follow formula to ace any cognitive ability test:

  1. Read this short guide to learn everything related to cognitive ability tests.
  2. Take our online practice tests to assess your knowledge.
  3. Take our Rapid Cognitive Ability Course Online to increase your score.

Take the Free Cognitive Ability Practice Test

25 Questions No Time Limit

Quick Facts on Cognitive Ability Tests

  • Cognitive Ability tests mainly have multiple-choice format.
  • Cognitive tests usually consist of verbal, numerical, abstract and logical tests.
  • Questions from many topics will be included in the test, for example verbal, logical, etc.
  • A single question may not be about one single topic.
  • There are typically many questions that need to be answered in a very short time.
  • Applicants are not required to complete these exams in their entirety.
  • The content of the tests is generally not hard, however, the time constraints and the changing between subjects makes the tests difficult.

That’s why Prepterminal’s Cognitive Ability Test Prep Course is designed to get you top results in no time. With the course, you’ll benefit from learning the following: time management, a detailed strategy, question preparation and tips on approaching the test with confidence.

What topics are included in Cognitive Ability Tests?

In this part, you’ll learn about what topics are included in most of the cognitive ability tests.

Numerical Reasoning

  • Basic Numeracy: Undertaker basic math – 4 operations (subtraction, addition, division, multiplication), averages, fractions, and ratios.
  • Word problems: Study and solve mathematical questions given in text format.
  • Number series: Discover and follow patterns in a specific list of numbers.

Verbal Reasoning

  • Vocabulary: Show your knowledge of the definitions and usages of various words.
  • Analogies: Discover relationships between two words and apply this relationship to an additional word.

Abstract Reasoning

  • Odd One Out: Choose which shape doesn’t fit in a specific set.
  • Next in Series: Discover a progression pattern of shapes and find out which shape is next.
  • Matrices: Similar to ‘next in series’, but rather in a two-dimensional matrix format.
  • Analogies: Discover the relationship between a certain pair of shapes and apply this knowledge to another shape.

Logical Reasoning

  • Syllogisms: Come up with a conclusion from a certain number of premises.
  • Deduction and Conclusions: ‘Syllogisms’ in reverse – use the necessary information to form a certain conclusion.
  • Seating Arrangements: Discover the order of various elements in keeping with a given set of rules.

Sometimes test takers confuse Cognitive Ability tests with Cognitive Skills tests. Cognitive Ability tests mesure your general intelegence, your ability to learn and apply new skills. And Cognitive Skills tests are designed to find out if math and verbal career training programmes are necessary for entry-level roles. This exam will inform your future employer about where best to put you within the company structure.

Cognitive Ability Test Scores

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

1. Raw score

The number of questions you answered correctly on your assessment

2. Subscores

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

3. 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).

4. 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:
Stanine Percentile Rank Description
1 1-3 Very Low
2 4-10 Below Average
3 11-22 Below Average
4 23-39 Average
5 40-59 Average
6 60-76 Average
7 77-88 Above Average
8 89-95 Above Average
9 96-99 Very High

5. 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 for.

6. 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!

Rapid Cognitive Ability Course

Most Popular Cognitive Ability Tests Employers Usually Use

There are several Cognitive Ability Tests, that employers might require to pass. Here we have collected the most popular Cognitive Ability Tests. Take a look at our separate guides to be aware of each test in detail:

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I bring and use a calculator?

While some exams let you use a calculator for numerical questions, the majority of cognitive ability tests don’t.

Bear this in mind when you practice, and try to do the calculations in your head.

Should I just guess if I don’t know an answer?

Skipping a question depends on the manner in which the exam is scored. It depends if points are taken off for incorrect answers.

If they are deducted – you shouldn’t guess, and just skip the question. If they aren’t – you should take a guess and then move on to the subsequent question.

Can I go back and answer a question that I missed?

This changes from test to test. Make sure you read the instructions well on your test day. The instructions will tell you if you can go back and answer a question you skipped.

If you read that you can’t go back then you need to address each question as they are presented.

If you are allowed to go back, you can choose, for example, to answer all the questions you know best first, and only then go back and answer the questions you are not sure about.

Will I have enough time to answer all the exam questions?

Most people don’t complete the entire test in the given amount of time. This is primarily due to the fact that typically there are a lot of questions that need to be answered in a short time frame.

It is very rare for applicants to not only answer all of the questions, but also to answer them accurately. Make sure you focus on quality and not quantity.

*Note: Cognitive Ability and other trademarks are the property of their respective trademark holders. None of the trademark holders are affiliated with PrepTerminal or this website.
Matthew Appleyard

Created by: Matthew Appleyard

Psychometric Tutor, Prepterminal Test Expert

1826 students,
, 268 Reviews

I’m Matthew Appleyard, Prepterminal’s Cognitive Ability Expert. Any questions about the course? Let me know at [email protected]

Rapid Cognitive Ability Course
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