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A Guide to the CCAT Test: Practice Questions and Tips

Feb 02, 2023

If you are applying for a job – either taking the first jump onto the career ladder or as a next step – you may be asked to take a cognitive assessment. 

One of these exams is the CCAT test, developed by Criteria Corp and used by many companies for a range of positions.

It is known as being one of the hardest pre-employment tests in the world, but, with some preparation, you can go into the test feeling capable and confident.


What Is the CCAT Test?

The CCAT is otherwise known as the Criteria Cognitive Aptitude Test. As the name suggests, it measures a candidate’s ability to understand information, as well as their critical thinking and problem-solving skills.

The test is used to predict a candidate’s suitability for a job role. As it is very accurate, the CCAT test is one of the most popular cognitive assessments – especially in the US.

When taking the test, you will have a 15-minute time limit. As there are 50 questions in the test, you will have just 18 seconds to answer each question. 

This time pressure is one of the reasons this test is so difficult. In fact, it is very rare that a candidate completes all questions within the allotted time. Later on, you’ll discover in more detail how the CCAT is scored, so don’t worry about not being able to answer all questions.

The Criteria Assessment Test consists of three different sections: verbal reasoning, logic/mathematics and spatial reasoning. It is important to remember the structure of these sections so you can use your skills and knowledge against the clock.

To give yourself the best chance of success, you need to practice. TestHQ has several practice tests for you to try out – why not take a look?


1. Verbal Reasoning

The verbal reasoning section of the CCAT is designed to test your ability to identify the relationships and differences between words and use vocabulary.

The 17 verbal questions are split into four different types:

  • Word Analogies
  • Sentence Completion
  • Antonyms
  • Attention to Detail


With four different question types and only 15 minutes to complete the whole test, it is important that you understand what each section is assessing.


Word Analogies

Word Analogies are one of the most common CCAT verbal questions – alongside sentence completion.

These questions will present a pair of words. You must identify the relationship between the pair and use this logic to decide the correct answer from a list of alternative pairs.


Sentence Completion

There are generally seven to eight Sentence Completion questions on the CCAT Test. This section assesses your vocabulary level, so it is a good idea to begin learning a wide range of words in preparation for the CCAT.

These questions will present a sentence that is missing at least one word. You will need to choose the word that best fits the sentence.



In the Antonyms section of the CCAT, you will be given a word and asked to identify the opposite word from those listed.

These questions can be more difficult than the Sentence Completion section, as you will not have the context of the whole sentence surrounding the word.


Attention to Detail

This question type is the least common of all CCAT verbal questions, but you should still spend time understanding the section as it may feature on your test.

The Attention to Detail section will present you with information such as names and addresses. Your task is to count how many pairs are the same. 

Spotting identical words and phrases is generally not too difficult, but the time pressure can cause trivial mistakes. You should try and double-check your Criteria Assessment Test answers to avoid losing marks.


2. Logic/Math

The Logic/Math section of the CCAT test is the largest. It includes roughly 18 numerical questions. 

Because this section is the most substantial, it is crucial to aim for a high score on these questions. The maths questions are split into three different types:

  • Word Problems
  • Number and Letter Series
  • Tables, Charts and Graphics


Word Problems

These questions will be in the form of a short story outlining a scenario. There will be several answer choices, so you must read the story and figure out the correct answer. On the CCAT Test, Word Problems are divided into two types of questions: basic calculations and distance/travel problems.

The basic calculation questions will consist of word problems that require simple maths such as addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, ratios, percentages, averages, and fractions.

For the distance/travel questions, the word problems will ask you to calculate the distance that an object or person will travel in the specified time. The question will assume the person or object moves at a specific average rate, so you need to use the following formula to calculate the answer: distance = rate x time.


Number and Letter Series

These questions will present you with a series of letters or numbers and ask you to identify the logical rule behind the series. Once you have figured out the common pattern, you must decide which letter or number comes next to complete the series.

The key to these questions is being able to spot patterns quickly. By practising numbers and letter series questions, you can train your brain to swiftly spot the logical rule and the next character in the sequence.


Tables, Charts and Graphics

The Tables, Charts and Graphics part is considered the hardest of the maths portion. This section can include quite lengthy sentences that require understanding in the short time frame of 18 seconds per question. 

The majority of CCAT participants do not answer all of these questions correctly, and some may even skip them to save time.

The good thing is that the Tables, Charts and Graphics section usually consists of no more than three questions. It is worth attempting to answer these questions, as they could get you some valuable points.

The maths and logic section of the CCAT may sound scary, but good preparation can make all the difference. As long as you practise basic arithmetic methods and memorise the distance formula, you should have a strong chance of answering these questions.


3. Spatial Reasoning

The Spatial Reasoning section of the CCAT is usually the one that candidates struggle with the most. Understanding the purpose of the questions can make answering them easier.

In this section of 11 questions, problem solving skills are crucial. The types of spatial reasoning questions are:

  • Next in Series
  • Odd One Out
  • Matrices


Next in Series

In these questions, you will be given a set of three, four or five figures. The series follows a specific rule and will be missing one figure.

Your task is to decide what comes next in the series.

For this section, you will need to quickly identify what the pattern is and which figure must come next.


Odd One Out

The Odd One Out questions will present you with five different figures. You will be required to identify which of the figures does not match the characteristics of the other four.

By practising problem solving and pattern spotting you can strengthen your ability to quickly identify the odd one out.



In this section, you will find an incomplete series of symbols. You will need to identify the missing symbol from the several options provided.

While the symbols have no meaning, unlike letters or numbers, there is a logical sequence that you will need to understand to solve the puzzle.


Why Is the CCAT Test So Hard?

The CCAT Test is known as one of the most difficult pre-employment exams in the world and with good reason.

With just 15 minutes to answer 50 questions, the CCAT Test is very challenging. It is almost impossible to read, think about and answer every single question within 18 seconds each time.

The test also does not allow the use of calculators, but the mathematical calculations you will be asked to do should not be too difficult. Nevertheless, you should make sure you strengthen your arithmetic ability when you practise all parts of the CCAT Test.

One of the main features of the CCAT test is large chunks of instructions and information. This can make it difficult to quickly understand the question and get to figuring out the answer.

Practising skim reading in advance of the test can help you swiftly get to the ask of the question. You can then use the short time you have to decide on an answer.

Due to the scoring system of the CCAT, the pass scores for each intake are higher than you might expect. Generally, the average pass score is 28, but this can vary between employers. You must score higher than average to pass the exam.

Add to that the pressure of your job offer depending on how you perform on the test, and the CCAT can seem terrifying. The key to passing the CCAT Test is practise, practise and more practise! 

The CCAT sample questions below provide an idea of what you can expect on the test.


CCAT Practice Test Questions

As you have just 15 minutes to answer 50 questions, it is important that you know what to expect in the CCAT Test. 

Here are some CCAT example questions, after trying these, access more sample questions on TestHQ:


CCAT Practice Test Questions – Verbal Reasoning

This part of the test is designed to assess your vocabulary and understanding of how words relate to each other. Employers are interested in these attributes, as research suggests a strong correlation between your vocabulary size and your communication skills level. 

This section is an easy way for employers to assess if you have the qualities required to succeed in the job.

This is a CCAT sample test question for Sentence Completion, one of the largest sections on the CCAT test.


1. Read the sentence below and decide which word best fits the blank.

During the concert, the band would ________ pause between songs to ask the audience questions – much to their delight.

a) Largely
b) Thoroughly
c) Periodically
d) Unhelpfully
e) Totally

The correct answer is: c). These questions can be tackled using the process of elimination. Reading the sentence with options a), b) and e), we can tell that these words are not correct, as they do not fit the context. 

We also know from the statement that the audience enjoys the band asking questions, so option d) is incorrect.

This leaves us with option c), which is the only word that grammatically and logically makes sense.


This second Verbal Reasoning practice question is on antonyms. This is the smallest topic in the section, but answering the questions correctly is a good way of picking up points.


2. The opposite of ‘concur’ is:

a) Agree
b) Counter
c) Assent
d) Correspond

The correct answer is: b). To answer this practice Criteria Cognitive Aptitude Test question, try and eliminate at least two choices from the list. You can do this by figuring out which words are similar.

For this section, a wide vocabulary is very useful.


CCAT Practice Test Questions – Logic/Math

The questions in this section are designed to assess more than just how quickly you can add up. With a time pressure of just 18 seconds per question, the Logic/Math part of the test measures your problem-solving, critical thinking and logical reasoning. Employers are interested in these skills, as they are often a requirement in the workplace.

This question is a basic calculation Word Problem.


1. A study on a new brand of sparkling water had 2,000 participants sample the drink. They were then asked if they would buy the drink in stores, and survey answers were split into ‘definitely’, ‘maybe’ and ‘definitely not’. When surveyed, 54% said they would definitely buy the drink, and 26% said they might buy the drink.

What percentage of participants said they would definitely not buy the drink?

a) 14%
b) 18%
c) 20%
d) 30%

The correct answer is: c). From the information above, we know that a total of 80% of participants chose either ‘definitely’ or ‘maybe’ when surveyed. We can then deduce that the percentage of people who chose the remaining option of ‘definitely not’ is 20%, as these two numbers add up to 100%.

This is where quick arithmetic skills are crucial. If this is an area of maths you struggle with, don’t worry. You can strengthen this skill with plenty of practice.


Another part of the Logic/Math assessment is Number and Letter Series. Presented with a series of letters or numbers, you must identify the logical rule behind the series. Once you have worked out the common pattern, you must decide which letter or number comes next in the series.


2. Which number comes next in the following sequence?

6 | 18 54 162 ? 

a) 271
b) 486
c) 367
d) 201

The correct answer is: b)  

Each number is multiplied by three to get the next in the series. Once we have figured out this pattern, we can do the following calculation: 162 x 3 = 486.


CCAT Practice Test Questions – Spatial Reasoning

To succeed in the Spatial Reasoning section, you will need to be good at problem-solving. Here, you will find a sample Odd One Out question.


1. Below are five shapes. You need to identify which of the figures does not match the characteristics of the other four.

The correct answer is: d). Here, option d) is the odd one out, as a cube is a three-dimensional shape. The rest are two-dimensional.


The next sample question of the Spatial Reasoning section is on Next in Series. Here you will need to identify the pattern in the following images and decide which box finishes the sequence.


2. Which of these arrows finishes the sequence?

The correct answer is: e). In this pattern, arrows move 90 degrees clockwise. They are also in colour order. The next in the series must be an upward-facing grey arrow: answer e).


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 CCAT practice 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.


How to Prepare for the CCAT Test

When it comes to the CCAT Test, preparation is key. There are many things you can do to give yourself the best chance of success, from taking sample Criteria assessment tests to prioritising self-care.

  • Revise test papers take CCAT practice assessments regularly – Familiarising yourself with the test structure and question style will help when it comes to the real thing.
  • Practise basic maths and English – You don’t need to be studying degree-level material, but improving on your arithmetic can help you answer questions quickly and accurately.
  • Practise timing and try to answer questions in under 18 seconds – The key to passing is being able to provide correct CCAT test answers against the clock.
  • Learn a strategy to not get stuck on harder questions when many easier questions can be answered – It can be tempting to linger on a question, hoping the answer will pop into your mind, but this can waste precious seconds and minutes. Learn to give yourself a cut-off time, at which point you move onto other questions where you can rack up the points. This is where doing lots of sample Criteria assessment tests will come in handy.
  • Ensure the test area is free from distractions and set up correctly – Your revision area should be tidy and well-organised, so you can focus on preparing for the test. Remove all distractions and reward yourself with regular breaks to stay motivated.
  • Ensure proper self-care, as tiredness, hunger or thirst can impact performance – Thorough revision is crucial, but you should not neglect your wellbeing. Make sure you stay nourished and hydrated and stick to a good sleep schedule. Looking after yourself will help your brain consolidate all the new information you are learning.


How Is the CCAT Test Scored?

The CCAT Test is scored in a very complex manner to ensure candidates are properly assessed. As the test is online, you will receive your comprehensive results immediately.

Candidates are often compared to candidates within a specific position, rather than a generic score.

Your two-page CCAT score breakdown will explain the following:

  • Raw score – How many questions you answered correctly. If you got 20 questions right, then 20 is your raw score. The average raw score is 24.
  • Percentile ranking – This is the raw score converted into a relative performance metric. The higher score that you get, the better you perform when compared to the rest of the population. For example, a candidate with a score of 60 will be performing better than 60% of other candidates.
  • Sub-scores – Scores will also be collected and displayed for each category of the test.
  • Score range – The score range explains how a candidate performs based on an assessment of how their peers will perform. For example, someone who works with numbers – such as an accountant – should score in the range of 24 and 39. Someone in a customer service role, such as a store manager, will likely score between 20 and 37. 

Different employers will request specific passing scores, but the average pass score is 28.

So why not practice your skills on TestHQ?


Frequently Asked Questions 

What is the CCAT test?

The CCAT Test, otherwise known as the Criteria Cognitive Aptitude Test, measures a candidate’s critical thinking and problem-solving skills, as well as their ability to learn/apply new information.


Is the CCAT test difficult to pass?

The CCAT Test can be difficult to pass, but it has a relatively low pass score of 28. It is perfectly possible to pass with lots of CCAT test prep and practice.



How can I prepare for the CCAT test?

You can prepare by using practice CCAT test questions and answers to strengthen your skills. You should also prioritise your wellbeing in the lead up to the test by minimising stress.


Where can I find more CCAT practice questions?

You can find practice resources online, including a range of CCAT example questions to complete. These should also include Criteria aptitude test answers and explanations.


Can you fail the CCAT test?

You can fail the Criteria Cognitive Aptitude Test if you do not reach the pass score.


Can you retake the CCAT test?

Retaking the test is uncommon, though some companies may allow it. This is not always possible, and so CCAT exam preparation is very important to help you pass the first time.


What is the purpose of the CCAT test?

The CCAT Test assesses a person’s psychological capacities and ability to think critically.


Which companies use the CCAT test?

Companies such as Cvent, Crossover, Vision IT and Finastra all use the CCAT Test.


Where can I find a complete guide for the CCAT test?

You can find a complete CCAT test guide online at TestHQ. These resources include practice CCAT test questions and answers, as well as explanations.


Final Thoughts

Of all pre-employment tests, the CCAT is one of the hardest and most challenging. The questions asked are difficult, and the time constraints can stress candidates. With this introduction to the CCAT Test, you can familiarise yourself with the assessment content.

Implement some of these tips and you will be on the road to success. Good luck!


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