How to Pass the CogAT 2nd Grade Test in 2022
Updated July 27, 2022
The CogAT 2nd Grade Test is an assessment given to 2nd graders that tests their cognitive and reasoning skills.
The CogAT (abbreviation for Cognitive Abilities Test) is an assessment that measures the skills of children and young people in three key areas:
It is a K through 12 assessment that is usually administered in a multiple choice format. There are 14 levels of the test that are set for different age groups throughout the K through 12 age range.
Schools across the US use CogAT tests to measure academic ability and to identify particularly gifted students.
Students will usually encounter the CogAT 2nd grade test while they are studying in the 2nd grade at elementary school.
The main difference 2nd graders will encounter when comparing this test to one they may have previously done is that they will be required to read the questions. Children in the lower grades are able to listen to the questions.
The CogAT has 10 levels, each with a number that corresponds to the age group that it is aimed at. The 2nd Grade CogAT Test will usually be the level 8 test (with participants broadly being around eight years old).
The questions on the test at the 2nd grade level will be aimed at their age group and include simple mathematical equations (addition, subtraction, multiplication and spotting patterns) and basic linguistic skills such as spelling, punctuation, sentence structure and basic classification skills.
The assessment has 154 questions and students have 122 minutes to answer them all.
The verbal section tests a child’s reading and understanding of words and sentences in English and their ability to:
- Make judgements
- Make inferences
The quantitative section tests a child's knowledge of:
- Basic numerical concepts
- Relationships between numbers
Using pictures, icons and shapes, the non-verbal section measures:
- Understanding links (and, to an extent, logic)
Some students may find having to read the questions provides added pressure. The non-verbal battery eases this to a degree, as language skills are not the primary focus here (although some reading is still involved to ascertain what is being asked of the student).
1. Which number should replace the symbol?
Tip: Rephrase this to your child by asking: Which number replaces the X to make the equations equal, so the left one is the same as the right one?
1. Which number is missing from the series here:
7, 10, ?, 16, 19
1. Apple, orange, banana, ?
Choose the word from the following that makes the most sense to go where the ? is:
1. Which word is missing from the following sentence?
Leaves ______ down in October.
1. 'Cat' is to 'kitten' as 'cow' is to:
1. Which symbol from the selection on the right-hand side best fits in the missing space on the left?
2. The item on the right relates to the item on the left. Which item fits best in the missing square?
Your child takes the assessment, which is made up of three sections (referred to as batteries), and their performance on all of the sections generates one composite score.
The number that corresponds to the composite score is indicative of the percentile in which your child is placed, based on all three sections of the test.
A composite percentile of 85 would mean that your child is in the 85th percentile or that their overall score was higher than 85% of their peers who took the test.
A norm score is also generated, which is based on using age norms (national) and grade norms (national) so that scores can be compared to other participants of the same age (or in the same school grade). This gives an indication of how a student has performed in relation to their peers.
The student’s test report card will indicate a standard age score, a stanine score and their percentile rank. Stanine scores are ranked from 1 to 9 (with 9 being the highest). A higher stanine will indicate a high level of cognitive skill. The stanines can be a useful tool for teachers to refer to.
The report will indicate the student’s score on each section of the test, as well as the composite score. This will help you to see how your child scored on each area and if they have excelled in one section in particular.
You will be able to see their percentile rank in each section, as well as their percentile rank for their composite score, which combines all three. In general, a percentile score of 50 on the test is considered average.
Students whose score falls in the very high percentile (usually around the 97th, or the top 3%) will often be considered suitable candidates for gifted and talented programs.
Tests are usually administered online, although you may want to check this with your child’s school.
As digital natives, 2nd graders will likely be familiar with how to navigate their way around a computer.
If your child lacks basic IT skills, it is useful when preparing them for the CogAT 2nd Grade test, to explain how to use a mouse, where to click on the screen, etc.
Do not simply sit your child in front of the computer and expect them to find the answers; if they are struggling, you could rephrase the questions to them, as they may not appear in exactly the same way on the real exam as they do on the practice papers. This can help them to build their understanding and confidence.
Practice questions are available online and full test-packs of sample questions similar to those your child may get on their 2nd Grade CogAT test are available to purchase.
If you decide to buy a preparatory test online, some sites will also provide you with a study guide aimed at the child taking the test and a parent manual, in addition to the practice questions and full-length practice tests.
Make use of these resources by ensuring that your child studies the guide as well as takes the preparatory tests. Also make sure that you read the manual, so you can support your child as much as possible in their learning journey.
Practice for the same amount of time each day and at roughly the same time (morning or evening). This can help to sustain your child’s interest and motivation.
Check in with their teacher if necessary to ask for tips or details about how your child works in the classroom. This insight might help you to find new strategies that help them learn more effectively.
As your child practices for the test, make sure that they take regular breaks and time to reflect. They may be struggling in particular areas or getting bored.
It is not uncommon for children to struggle with understanding exactly what the question is asking. As they practice more, they should get familiar with the structure and phrasing of the questions.
Encourage your child to spend time focusing on the areas they find difficult rather than playing only to their strengths.
Ensure that your child gets enough rest and is eating healthily and staying hydrated. A balanced diet and plenty of sleep will help to keep your child healthy, energetic and ready to learn.
Read widely with your child (try to build this into your learning routine, if possible) and pause during reading to ask questions that check their comprehension and that they are paying attention.
Children who are feeling anxious or stressed will be less able to retain information and are unlikely to perform at their best.
Maintain a calm environment at home to help your child to study. Praise their successes and encourage them to retry any parts they find difficult; practicing for the assessment is a process and it is not something that will go perfectly first time, if ever.
By 2nd grade, your child is most likely still exploring their strengths and weaknesses at school and may have not fully grasped some of the concepts they are faced with in the classroom.
Some, however, may already be thriving within the formal education system and you, or their teacher, may have noticed from a young age that your child is excelling in some areas.
Regardless of natural aptitude, it pays to prepare your child for their examinations and assessments and give them the practice and encouragement that they need to fulfil their potential.
By incorporating learning in a balanced way into their daily lives, you can nurture a love for education in your children and empower them to believe in their abilities and perform at their best.
It is important to remember that, in general, cognitive tests such as the CogAT are unable to provide the full picture of a student’s abilities. They can be influenced by a number of external factors and therefore, although they can be a useful guideline, they do not provide absolute proof of a child’s academic skills and abilities.