The Cognitive Ability Tests (CATs) are a suite of assessments used in English primary schools to measure children’s cognitive abilities and potential. They are usually taken in Year 6, at the end of Key Stage 2.
The CATs tests cover three main areas:
1. Verbal Reasoning – This measures a child’s ability to understand and work with words and language. It includes tasks such as identifying synonyms and antonyms and working out word meanings from context.
2. Non-verbal Reasoning – This measures a child’s ability to understand and work with visual information and patterns. It includes tasks such as identifying missing shapes in sequences and spotting embedded figures.
3. Quantitative Reasoning – This measures a child’s ability to understand and work with numbers, measuring units and mathematical operations. It includes tasks such as working out which symbol goes in a sequence or calculating the perimeter of shapes.
It is important to note that the tests are not designed to be easy, and most children will not be able to finish all of the questions.
There is no pass or fail mark for the CATs tests, as they are simply a way of identifying a child’s strengths and weaknesses. However, your child’s score will be compared to the scores of other children in their year group, and this can be used to identify which children may need extra support in school.
Helping Your Child Prepare For The CAT Test
If your child is due to take the CATs tests, there are a few things you can do at home to help them prepare:
Encourage them to read as much as possible – Reading will help them with all three areas of the tests, as it will improve your child’s vocabulary, comprehension and understanding of numerical concepts. In conjunction with reading more, it can also be helpful for your child to keep a vocabulary diary, where they can write down any words they come across and don’t understand. They can then look up the word’s meaning later on, and they may even be able to use it in a sentence on their own.
Help them to practice solving puzzles and brainteasers – This will help them to develop their problem-solving and reasoning skills, which are essential for the Non-verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning sections of the tests.
Play maths games with them – Games are a great way to make learning maths fun, and they will also help your child to become more confident and fluent in their numeracy skills.
Talk to their teacher – Your child’s teacher will be able to give you more specific advice on how to prepare your child for the tests, and they may also be able to provide extra practice materials.
While there is no guarantee that preparing for the CATs tests will lead to a higher score, it is certainly worth doing what you can to help your child do their best. With a little bit of effort, you can give them a valuable head start in their educational journey.