CCAT- Criteria Cognitive Aptitude Test

Looking for a new job isn’t easy, even more so when your potential employer wants you to take an aptitude test. The CCAT (Criteria Cognitive Aptitude Test) is a test used by many employers in order to gauge a potential candidate’s ability to train for a new position and of course, succeed. This and other cognitive aptitude tests have been shown to be accurate in predicting success in the workplace. Believe it or not, the results tend to be a better predictor of success than interviews and previous job experience. The results are relevant for a wide range of jobs, especially mid and upper-level positions.

Here we’ll break down exactly what to expect from the test, how scoring works and even throw in a few tips to make sure you succeed and secure your dream job.

General Information- CCAT

CCAT is an aptitude test taken during the recruiting process and measures various skills: problem-solving, aptitude, critical thinking, and learning skills.

The CCAT is comprised of 50 questions divided into three different categories: math and logic, verbal ability and spatial reasoning. You have 15 minutes to complete the test and you must answer as many questions as possible in that time. The average test taker answers 24 questions correctly (only 1% manage to answer all of the questions!). Calculators are not allowed during the exam. The exam is given online with results delivered to potential employers (some employers may require the candidate to take the exam in their office).

Time is an important factor in the CCAT exam. The faster and more accurately you can answer each question, the greater your chances are to succeed.

Question Types

  • Math and Logic Questions- You may not have touched math problem solving since high school, but in many real-world jobs your math skills are of critical importance. Why? Because your ability to solve math and logic based questions are a clear indication of your ability to problem solve and think critically. The questions are based on simple algebra skills, proportions, and real-life problems. No need to panic here, all of the questions are designed to be solved without a calculator. Get ready to put your brain to work!

  • Verbal Questions- Almost every job requires some level of communication and therefore your verbal skills are often critical in the hiring and training process. These questions test your ability to determine a word’s meaning, the relationship between different words and the role of context in word choice.

  • Spatial Reasoning Questions- The point of this question type isn’t always clear to prospective employees. Spatial reasoning tests your innate aptitude. What does that mean? Your ability to solve these problems shows how well you’ll be able to problem-solve and learn and make use of new information in the workplace (and in life in general). These questions require you to flip or rotate shapes and identify patterns and outliers. Now it makes a bit more sense why this is so important, no?

CCAT Results

After you take the exam you will be given your raw score- the number of questions answered correctly on the test. This result is also be given as a percentile as compared to the others who took the exam. Your score will additionally be divided according to the different categories- math and logic, verbal ability and spatial reasoning.

Employers will set a score range that is applicable for each position and therefore will decide if you are an appropriate candidate based on your results. Some employers may be focused more on certain sections according to the specific position. Make sure to focus on these questions based on the role you are aiming for.



Plan your time- You almost definitely won’t answer all 50 of the questions. Focus on the questions that you know and understand, and don’t waste your time on questions that you don’t know.


Focus on the subjects that you know- With three sub-categories, it’s safe to say that one or two will be easier for you. Focus on these! If you’re a math whiz, don’t get stuck on the verbal questions. Make sure to answer as many questions as possible in the sections that you are more comfortable.


Guess- There is no harm in answering a question wrong on the CCAT. If you find yourself stuck on a certain question or question type, don’t waste your time. If you’re not sure of the answer, guess and move on.

Criteria- Test Administrator

Criteria was founded in 2006 and creates and provides assessments for potential employees in over 18 countries throughout the world. CCAT is one of the various aptitude tests that Criteria offers. In addition to various pre-employment tests, Criteria’s main product is HireSelect, a software program that aids in the hiring process using many of its assessments.

Last Thoughts Before the Exam

The CCAT is a popular exam used today to screen potential employees. Its results are accurate and often more telling than other factors like your interview or education level. It’s important to be prepared for the exam, to take practice tests in advance and study the question types and formats. Good luck!