A Guide to the CAT 4 Test with Practice Questions and TipsFeb 02, 2023
Many schools use the CAT 4 test to help predict the educational performance of students in the future. The CAT4 is like an IQ test for ages 6 to 17+ year-olds and includes questions that assess:
- Verbal reasoning
- Non-verbal reasoning
- Quantitative reasoning
- Spatial reasoning
Students’ scores compare them against their peers and this data is used for school streaming or other benchmarking purposes.
Tips for CAT4 practice tests are given, alongside some sample questions and answers in a free CAT4 practice test.
Parents are encouraged to learn about their children’s strengths and weaknesses to best support them in taking the CAT4.
What Is the CAT 4 Test?
The CAT4 is a Cognitive Ability Test (edition 4) used for school-aged children in the same way that IQ tests are used for adults.
It is particularly helpful because the CAT4 reveals hidden potential by assessing more than just verbal ability or the more obvious communication skills a child has.
It provides a rounded profile of the whole student, especially around reasoning ability – which is known to make a difference to learning and achievement.
As one of the most widely used cognitive abilities tests in the UK, the CAT4 assessment is known to predict the performance of students in future exams and educational attainment.
There are several areas that are tested in the CAT4 test. These include verbal, non-verbal, quantitative and spatial reasoning. It provides an accurate analysis of potential student achievements and enables teachers to accurately baseline their students against national benchmarks.
The CAT4 was developed and delivered by GL Assessment and can only be taken through a school setting. This Cognitive Ability Test has been through several iterations (this is the fourth) and was standardized on 25,000 students – it is verified regularly based on data from 250,000 individuals.
Different levels of the test are taken depending on students’ ages. These tests can be taken by children six years old to 17+. The CAT4 is made of three tests of 45 minutes each, so that’s two hours and 15 minutes in total.
Questions are shown in multiple-choice format and students have five answers to choose from – these are given as A, B, C, D and E. Practicing CAT4 test sample questions can help students to gain familiarity with the format.
What Is Tested on the CAT4 Test?
The CAT4 test is divided into four different sections. Questions are posed as types of ‘puzzles’ which assess students’ foundational abilities in these following areas:
- Verbal reasoning – This assesses how the student expresses ideas through words and the use of language.
- Non-verbal reasoning – This section identifies how the student solves questions using pictures, diagrams and infographics.
- Quantitative reasoning – This assesses the student’s ability to use numbers to solve problems. It looks at sequences and relationships between numbers amongst other things.
- Spatial reasoning – This evaluates how a student thinks and comes to conclusions using three dimensions.
Within these main four sections there are short sub-tests – each focusing on different cognitive abilities:
- Figure classification
- Figure matrices
- Verbal classification
- Verbal analogies
- Number analogies
- Number series
- Figure analysis
- Figure recognition
These specific categories allow educators to identify where precisely a student could be struggling.
Sometimes further diagnostics after the CAT4 are required to work out if a student is experiencing specific learning difficulties or if they require additional support in a troublesome area.
Looking at CAT4 example questions in advance can even help you get ahead of any problems down the line.
Example Questions for a CAT4 Practice Test
Here are some CAT4 test examples with questions that students might encounter. These CAT4 test sample questions are taken from each of the four main sections (verbal, non-verbal, quantitative and spatial reasoning).
Verbal Reasoning Section – Sample Question for a CAT4 Practice Test
Select two words – one from each section – that are close in meaning to each other.
Section one – big, small, loud
Section two – tall, huge, quiet
a) big and tall
b) small and huge
c) loud and quiet
d) big and huge
e) loud and tall
The correct answer is: d) big and huge
Non-Verbal Reasoning Section – Sample Question for a CAT4 Practice Test
The shape below has been hidden in one of the five multiple-choice options. It might be disguised within other shapes, made up of other shapes or rotated.
Select the answer that includes the hidden shape.
The correct answer is: c) – This is the only answer that includes a circular shape.
Quantitative Reasoning Section – Sample Question for a CAT4 Practice Test
Identify the missing number from the sequence below.
2 | 4 | 6 | ? | 10 | 12
The correct answer is: b) 8 – The sequence increases by 2 each time.
Spatial Reasoning Section – Sample Question for a CAT4 Practice Test
A normal piece of paper is folded in half and after that, a hole is punched into it. What will the unfolded paper look like?
The correct answer is: a) The hole will be punched through on the left and right sides of the bottom of the paper.
The above CAT4 test samples will help you to better prepare for the test day and score well. If you are struggling in any areas, like the numerical questions for example, then you know where to focus your energy and preparation time for the CAT4 exam.
Access Practice Material With TestHQ
How did you do with the example questions? If you were stronger at some sections over others, focus your practice on where you need it most.
For a huge range of practice material, take advantage of the TestHQ tests to access more than 800 questions and answers.
The package includes full solutions and explanations, so you can understand how to get to the correct answer and avoid those dreaded point deductions.
The CAT4 Test Scoring Explained
The CAT4 provides both individual and group reports to offer a broader picture than just curriculum tests by themselves do. The reports are benchmarked and also include GCSE and A-level indicators, amongst others.
There are seven levels to the CAT4, each with a corresponding age range:
- Year 2: Level X (6 and 7 years)
- Year 3: Level Y (7 and 8 years)
- Year 4: Level A (8 and 9 years)
- Year 5: Level B (9 and 10 years)
- Year 6: Level C (10 and 11 years)
- Year 7: Level D (11 and 12 years)
- Year 8: Level E (12 and 13 years)
- Years 9 and 10: Level F (13 to 15 years)
- Years 11+: Level G (15 to 17+ years)
The total assessment time for the CAT4 is two hours and 15 minutes and this includes breaks, instructions and practice questions.
In levels X and Y, there are four modules, one for each section (verbal, non-verbal, spatial and quantitative). In the older levels (A to G) there are eight modules in total, two for each of the four sections.
Every school will have its own rules for what information is shared after a CAT4 assessment. You may be able to access the results of the assessment and discuss these with your child’s teacher – or you may only be provided with areas for improvement and strengths for your child.
If you are given the full results, they can be a little more difficult to make sense of. Each student taking the CAT4 test will be allocated several different scores. The first is the Raw Score – this is a number out of 168 (the quantity of questions on the test) and correlates to the number of questions that the student has got right.
The Raw Score is then transferred into a normative score to provide a better educational evaluation of the student. This includes:
- National Percentile Rank – This is a percentage reflecting the proportion of other students your child has performed better than. For instance, a score of 60% means that your student has performed better than 60% of the others and lower than 40% of them.
- Standard Age Scores (SAS) – The standard for each age group, with an average of 100 and a standard deviation of 2. If pupils score exactly at 100, they are performing just as average.
- Stanines (ST) – This scale is split into nine different levels. The score is calculated using the other two scores mentioned above. It demonstrates the performance of the student and where they sit on a normative scale. The Stanines score is 1 to 9, with 9 considered ‘Very High’ and representing the top 4% of students, while 1 is ‘Very Low’ – representing the bottom 4% of students. The average is between 4 and 6. The nine levels are meant to be like the new GCSE system of awarding grades.
Top Advice for Parents
The CAT4 is taken by 750,000 students each year so it helps parents to be informed about it. It is used to identify your child’s strengths and weaknesses, and how much school or parental support they may need in the future.
Your child’s results can be used to understand their learning preferences (for example, if they’re a visual learner) and help you match the educational material that you or their tutors/teachers use to improve their educational odds.
Remember the CAT4 is not a test of knowledge, but of how a student demonstrates reasoning ability.
The more they get used to the test format and working under timed conditions, the less they will feel pressured on the day.
There are only eight types of questions that students can expect on the CAT4 so familiarity through online CAT 4 test practice will make a big difference to their performance.
If your child becomes stressed by these kinds of CAT4 test samples, then try and lighten the load on them. Do your best to make it more fun when they practice and ensure they are getting lots of breaks as well as good-quality sleep and nutrition.
How Can CAT4 Test Examples Help Students?
Schools will use the CAT4 results in important ways, so taking practice assessments can help students perform well on the actual test day. CAT4 results can be significant to a student’s journey so it should be taken seriously as an exam. CAT 4 exam sample questions are found earlier in this article and can be used to help prepare.
Both private and state schools will use the CAT4 as a way to support – and test – students through their educational journeys. The CAT4 is often used as a school entrance test, along with interviews to assess whether a student is considered a correct fit – or as a predictive test to help teachers place students in the right academic bracket or set. A CAT4 online practice test can help prepare students for these selection processes.
When the CAT4 is taken by older students it can help them work out which subjects they should study for GCSEs, A-levels and at university, and ensure they end up in the most fruitful or suitable career paths for their skills.
The CAT4 can be taken by students during any time in the academic year, though it is designed to be taken between September and November ideally. It’s helpful because the data it provides supports feedback and planning discussions for students, teachers and parents. Having CAT4 test examples and practicing in advance can only help.
CAT 4 Online Test Practice
In general, the designers of the CAT4 as well as teachers and schools will advise against revising or practicing for the CAT4 exams.
However, if your child is doing these types of ‘puzzle’ questions for the first time on test day then they will likely be nervous and underperform – especially compared to children who might have done similar psychometric tests in the past and thus be able to work faster or with more confidence.
We advise doing CAT4 online test practice to help your child get familiar with these types of assessments. Since this assessment follows a formulaic pattern with predictable sets of question types, there is certainly an advantage to practicing. It’s worth noting that there is no negative marking in the CAT4 so do encourage your child to answer every question – and guess the rest if they are running short on time to finish too.
When you do CAT 4 online test practice with your children, you will be able to see which types of questions they find tricky. Then you can focus specifically on doing more of them to improve results before taking the actual test in the school setting. You can easily find a free CAT4 practice test online with lots of CAT4 sample questions.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is the CAT4 Test?
The CAT4 is a Cognitive Ability Test (edition 4) used for school-aged children in the same way that IQ tests are used for adults. The CAT4 can reveal hidden potential by assessing more than just verbal ability or the more obvious communication skills a child has. It provides a well-rounded profile of the student, especially around reasoning ability – which is known to make a difference to learning and achievement.
Is the CAT4 Test Easy to Pass?
The CAT4 test is taken at several levels depending on the age of each student so the tests do get harder as the children get older. Depending on the student’s learning style, some aspects of the test will be harder than others. There is no standard pass or fail but each student taking the CAT4 test will be allocated several different scores, which will help them place their performance against their peers.
Depending on the school that is making the decisions, they will look for a benchmark to suit their purposes – for example, when used as an entrance exam, a school may decide to set their CAT4 passing score at well above average.
Where Can You Prepare for the CAT4 Test?
You can do CAT4 online test practice to help your child get familiar with these types of assessments. Since this assessment follows a formulaic pattern with predictable sets of question types, there is an advantage to practicing. You can easily find a free CAT4 test online with lots of CAT4 example questions.
How Do You Pass the CAT4 Test?
If you do CAT 4 online test practice with your child, this will help them eventually pass the test as you will be able to see which types of questions they find tricky. Then you can focus specifically on practicing more of them to improve results before taking the actual test. There is no negative marking in the CAT4 so encourage your child to answer every question, as well as guess the rest if they are running short on time to finish.
How Many Questions Are on the CAT4 Test?
The CAT4 test is broken down into different sections and contains a total of 168 multiple-choice questions – with five given options as answers. Questions are posed as types of ‘puzzles’ that assess students’ foundational abilities in four areas: verbal reasoning, non-verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning and spatial reasoning. There are eight separate subsections within these four areas:
- Figure classification
- Figure matrices
- Verbal classification
- Verbal analogies
- Number analogies
- Number series
- Figure analysis
- Figure recognition
Is the CAT4 Test Timed?
The CAT4 consists of three tests of 45 minutes each, so that’s two hours and 15 minutes in total. The total assessment time for the CAT4 includes breaks, instructions and practice questions. Timing might feel tight, so it’s worth noting that there is no negative marking in the CAT4 – therefore encourage your child to try to answer every question and guess the rest if they are running out of time.
Where Can I Find More Sample Questions for the CAT4 Test?
You can find a free CAT4 test online with lots of CAT4 sample questions. Doing lots of CAT4 online test practice to help your child get familiar with these types of assessments is a great idea, as it will build their confidence.
Preparation is key as the results of this test are used to judge your child and can shape their educational journeys. Since the CAT4 assessment follows a formulaic pattern with predictable sets of question types, it is definitely advantageous to practice a free CAT4 test online.
Can You Fail the CAT4 Test?
The CAT4 tests get harder as children get older – and some aspects of the test will be harder than others depending on each child’s skills. There is no standard pass or fail – the results of the test are used differently by each school.
Each student taking the CAT4 test is given several scores which are used in different ways to help them place their performance against their peers. If a school is using the CAT4 as an entrance exam, they may decide that your child’s score is a ‘fail’ for their own particular benchmark, but in general, the score results you get will not be phrased that way.
Can You Retake the CAT4 Test?
The designers of the test (GL Education) strongly discourage repeat tests. The final decision will be made by the school in question though. GL Education suggests you think of the CAT4 like an eye test. If you do multiple eye tests and somehow memorize the card, the diagnosis you receive may not be correct and thus valuable information may be missed.
What Is the Purpose of the CAT4 Test?
The CAT4 provides a well-rounded profile of the student, especially as regards reasoning ability – which is known to make a difference to learning and achievement. As one of the most widely used cognitive abilities tests in the UK, the CAT4 assessment helps predict the performance of students in future exams and educational attainment.
Can You Cheat on the CAT4 Test?
In general, the designers of the CAT4 as well as teachers and schools will advise against revising or practicing for the CAT4 exams. However, the more you practice the better you will perform. This isn’t considered cheating – although GL Education suggests that you think of the CAT4 like an eye test. For example, if you do multiple eye tests and do better in the future because you ended up memorizing the card, valuable information about your real eyesight may be missed.
Where Can I Find a Complete Guide for the CAT4 Test?
There are free study guides to the CAT4 test online with lots of CAT4 sample questions. It’s worth doing these because if your child is doing these types of ‘puzzle’ questions for the first time on test day then they will likely be nervous and underperform. Study guides will help them perform comparably to children who might have done similar psychometric tests in the past and so work faster or with more confidence.
In summary, there are three main reasons why your child might take the CAT4 test. First, it can be used to assess them as a potential candidate for entry into a new school. It can also help make decisions on how to stream or set them into classes within a year group. Third, it is used to benchmark progress to help them get the most out of their academic goals.
As a parent you can support your child by helping them with CAT 4 online test practice and improving the areas in which they struggle the most. The more they build their confidence, the better they will perform on the test day and the stronger the results will be.
Both preparing for and taking a CAT 4 assessment sample will help you understand your child’s strengths and weaknesses. All in all, the better informed you are, the more you will be able to support your child on their educational journeys as they progress through life.