How to Pass the CogAT 5th Grade Test in 2023
Updated January 23, 2023
The 5th grade CogAT is the 11th level of the standardized intelligence assessment administered to students from kindergarten to Grade 12.
The Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT) is an assessment designed to estimate students’ cognitive abilities.
The assessment is group administered and multiple choice, examining students’ cognitive reasoning and problem-solving abilities.
The overall assessment comprises verbal, quantitative and non-verbal tests.
The CogAT is one of many aptitude tests given to students as an entrance exam into a school’s gifted education program.
Once the students pass the CogAT, they are accepted into Intertel—a society dedicated to high-IQ students who reach the 99th percentile on standardized intelligence tests.
The CogAT is administered by Riverside Insights, a publisher of standardized educational tests in the US and a member of the Association of Test Publishers (ATP).
Riverside Insights is also a subsidiary of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH), a giant publisher of education and technology resources as well as fiction and non-fiction books for children and adults.
The CogAT was designed and continually improved upon by professor of educational psychology Dr David F Lohman, alongside author and educator Elizabeth P Hagen.
Unlike other standardized tests such as SATs, the CogAT focuses on the student’s display of overall cognitive ability.
Rather than their aptitude for literacy, numeracy or writing skills, the CogAT assesses the student’s problem solving and reasoning through verbal, non-verbal and quantitative means.
The CogAT consists of 14 levels in total. Each level varies in difficulty, types of questions, numbers of questions and question lengths.
Although the levels of the CogAT are dependent on the student’s grade, occasionally, a student will be given a test above their grade level if they are considered gifted.
Similarly, the school will provide a student with a test below their grade level if they are tested at the beginning of their year.
As a parent, it is important to ask your child’s school which level of CogAT will be administered to the students.
As mentioned before, each aspect of the tests varies according to their level.
At the 5th grade, students take the test at Level 11. The test consists of 176 questions and students have 1 hour and 30 minutes to complete it.
The content of the CogAT tests is dependent on the form of the assessment. The latest version of the test is Form 8, although there is little difference between Form 8 and Form 7.
Both Form 8 and Form 7 were designed to provide accurate assessments for students whose first language is not English.
These latest forms reduce the student’s dependency on the English language to achieve a high score in the assessment. In K2, both Form 8 and Form 7 provide questions based on pictures of shapes.
The main difference between the two forms is the content provided. While Form 8 follows the same structure as Form 7, it contains an entirely new set of questions and overall content.
Form 8 provides the opportunity for administrators to conduct reliable retesting. Both forms can be administered separately or together.
Due to a lack of funding, some schools still use the Form 6 version of the CogAT. However, Dr Lohman has enhanced this version to assess students in a similar way to Form 7 and Form 8.
Above the 3rd grade, there is little difference between the aforementioned forms.
The CogAT test contains three categories:
Each category is a group of tests and is referred to as a battery.
Below, you will find explanations of each category and subcategory, along with examples.
The Verbal Battery will assess the students on the following qualities:
- Verbal memory
- Verbal comprehension
- Ability to determine relationships between words
The subcategories for the verbal battery will depend on the level of the assessment.
Below Level 9:
- Sentence completion
- Picture classification
- Picture analogies
At Level 9 and above:
- Sentence completion
- Verbal classification
- Verbal analogies
During the 5th grade (Level 11), the three subcategories will combine to make the total CogAT verbal score:
- Sentence completion: 20
- Picture/verbal classification: 20
- Picture/ verbal analogies: 24
Students are required to read a sentence with one missing word. They will choose one word out of a list of words to complete the sentence.
One of life’s greatest ______ is finishing school.
Take; Remove; Extract;
teacher is to educate as doctor is to _______
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The non-verbal battery assesses the student’s cognitive reasoning using non-verbal content such as shapes and figures.
These types of tests are useful for students whose first language is not English or students with limited language capabilities.
During the 5th grade (Level 11), the following three subcategories will combine to make the total CogAT non-verbal score:
- Figure matrices: 22
- Paper folding: 12
- Figure classification: 22
Each question will contain a box of four squares (2 x 2 matrix). Within each square (cell), a figure will share a relationship with the others, creating a pattern. One cell will be left blank.
A selection of figures will be provided that are similar to those in the matrix. The students must discern the matrix pattern and choose the correct figure to fill the blank cell.
The quantitative battery assesses the students on the following qualities:
- Problem solving
- Abstract reasoning
- Quantitative reasoning
During the 5th grade (Level 11), the following three subcategories will combine to make the total CogAT quantitative score:
- Number series: 18
- Number puzzles: 16
- Number analogies: 18
Students are provided with a series of numbers which are set in a particular sequence.
Out of a list of numbers, the students must choose the correct one to continue the sequence.
1,350 | 1,075 | 1,250 | 975 | ?
225 ÷ ? = 15
432 → 108 | 460 → 115 | 496 → ?
The CogAT measures the students’ overall cognitive development in relation to students of the same age.
Measuring the scores by age (rather than grade) provides a more reliable indication of students’ cognitive ability.
The Age Scores provide methods of score assessments:
- Standard Age Score (SAS)
- Age Stanine
- Age Percentile Rank
The SAS is the result of the CogAT score compared to every student within the same age range. The average SAS score is 100.
There is an SAS score for each battery. There is also an SAS score representing the combination of each battery (the composite score).
The standard deviation for the SAS is 16. This means that if a student scores 116 and above, they will be among the higher-scoring students.
The stanine scale comprises nine levels that represent the performance of the students relative to their age range.
The stanine scores correlate with the percentile ranges, so a certain percentile range will achieve a corresponding age stanine score.
A stanine score of 4–6 indicates a percentile rank of 23–76 – representing the average CogAT performance
A stanine score of 1–3 indicates a percentile rank of 1–22 – representing a below-average or very low CogAT performance
A stanine score of 7–9 indicates a percentile rank of 77–99 – representing an above-average or very high CogAT performance
The age percentile rank identifies the percentage of students in the same age group who scored lower than that student.
For example, if a student achieves a percentile rank of 65, they will have scored higher than 65% of other students.
Conversely, if a student reaches a percentile rank of 30, they will have scored lower than 70% of students.
The Raw Scores aspect directly assesses the student’s CogAT performance. This measurement assesses three attributes for each battery:
- Number of test items
- Number of question attempts
- Number of questions answered correctly
The result will determine the student’s stanine score and percentile rank within their school and national age group.
The composite score is the combination of the results of all three batteries. This score represents the students’ overall CogAT performance.
Unlike other standardized intelligence tests, the CogAT evaluates a student’s natural cognitive abilities, so there isn’t much they can do in terms of studying.
However, there are ways to prepare the student for examination that will increase their chances of success.
First, parents will need to check the following with the school:
- Will the test be taken online or with pencil and paper?
- How large are the test groups? (Generally around 20 students)
- Will each battery be taken separately or together?
Interactive games are an excellent way for 5th-grade students to engage in problem-solving activities.
As the games are online, they are easily accessible to both parents and children. It also provides incentives for children to express their overall cognitive abilities.
There are plenty of online resources that parents can use to prepare their children for the official CogAT.
As students use the practice resources, parents and teachers can see where the students excel according to each battery.
An official test environment can have a significant effect on students’ overall performance.
By providing a simulated test environment, students can accustom themselves to what it will feel like during the official exams.
Flashcards can be a fun, helpful way for a student to exercise the attributes that will be assessed during the CogAT.
They can also maintain a student’s morale before entering exam conditions.
Parents must ensure that their children are mentally prepared to enter exam conditions.
Studies show that students within stressful environments perform significantly lower during exams.
Ensuring that the student maintains a positive mindset will definitively improve their chances of success during the CogAT.
The CogAT is one of the most effective ways for parents and teachers to identify a gifted student.
Students excelling during the CogAT will be likely be enrolled in gifted education programs.
Therefore, ensuring that the students are sufficiently prepared for the assessment will increase their future academic success.