Practice CCAT Grade 3 TestStart Practicing
The CCAT Test Grade 3 (2023 Guide)

The CCAT Test Grade 3 (2023 Guide)

Updated March 26, 2023

By Kimberley Johnson
Kimberley Johnson

What Is the Canadian Cognitive Ability Test?

The Canadian Cognitive Ability Test (CCAT – not to be confused with the Criteria Cognitive Aptitude Test) is a test which is used to assess the academic strengths and weaknesses of children at all stages of their education in Canada.

The tests will vary for each grade. It is similar to the Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT) which is found in the US.

During the CCAT, questions will be asked which are designed to test a child's verbal, non-verbal and quantitative abilities, with more emphasis on the non-verbal and quantitative aspects of the test.

This article focuses specifically on the test used for children in the third grade (the CCAT grade 3 test).

What Does the CCAT Look Like in Grade 3?

The grade 3 test will look and feel similar to the CCAT tests undertaken in other years, with the same three sections:

  • Verbal
  • Non-verbal
  • Quantitative

The test may be administered in one go or separately depending on the school’s policies.

One of the main differences between the grade 3 tests and those taken by younger children is that pupils will need to read and understand the questions for themselves – they are no longer read aloud.

Picture questions that feature in the tests for younger children are also replaced with words from the grade 3 assessments onwards.

What Are the Sections of the CCAT Grade 3 Assessment?

The CCAT Grade 3 sections – verbal, non-verbal and quantitative – are known as batteries, with three subsections each.

There are 170 questions in total across the three batteries.


The verbal battery will usually take around 30 minutes to complete. It is broken into three further sub-sections:

  • Verbal analogies
  • Sentence completion
  • Verbal classification

All of the questions are multiple-choice.

Verbal Analogies (10 minutes)

This is often considered to be the most difficult section of the test.

Pupils are asked to complete a sentence by understanding how they go together.

For example:

Example Question

Big is to small as high is to...

a) Grand
b) Low
c) Deep
d) Dark

Sentence Completion (10 minutes)

Students are shown a sentence with a word missing. They must then find the correct word to fill in the gap and complete the sentence.

For example:

Example Question

Mum put the dinner in the oven for an extra five minutes as it wasn’t quite...

a) Eaten
b) Cooked
c) Frozen
d) Blue

Verbal Classification (10 minutes)

Students are presented with a series of words that are in some way linked. The aim of the task is to identify how the words in each group are connected.

Students need to select the correct answer from a series of options.

For example:

Example Question

What group do all these words belong to?

Cat, Dog, Rabbit, Guinea pig

a) Pets
b) Boats
c) Jobs
d) Horse

The CCAT Grade 3 Test
The CCAT Grade 3 Test


The aim of the non-verbal section of the test is to assess students' reasoning and problem-solving skills without the use of words.

For this reason, this section consists of pictures and diagrams.

This section of the assessment will usually take pupils around 30 minutes to complete, and consists of the following three sections:

  • Figure matrices (10 minutes) – In this series of questions, students will be shown a variety of shapes that are all connected in some way. Pupils will need to choose another shape that fits the pattern from a selection of options.

  • Figure classifications (10 minutes) – Students will be presented with three images that are connected by a rule. The aim is to work out what rule connects the images and then select one of the options that also fits the same rule.

  • Paper folding (10 minutes) – Pupils are presented with images of folded pieces of paper. The aim is to choose the answer that shows what the paper would look like unfolded.


The quantitative section of the CCAT looks at how well pupils are able to use mathematical concepts to help them solve problems and reason their answers.

This section will typically take around 30 minutes to complete, with the questions being split into three sections:

Number Analogies (8 minutes)

For this section of the test, pupils will see four boxes, three of which will have numbers in them. The idea is to work out how the top two numbers are connected and then use this deduction to fill in the blank fourth box.

For example:

Example Question

7, 9
15, ?

Number Series (10 minutes)

Students are shown a series of numbers linked by a pattern. They then must choose from a selection of options which number should be next in the pattern according to the series.

For example:

Example Question

Which number comes next in the series?

2, 4, 6, 8, ?

a) 12
b) 15
c) 10
d) 20

Number Puzzles (12 minutes)

Pupils will need to balance simple equations so that both sides are equal. They will be given a series of possible options and need to choose the correct answer from the numbers suggested.

For example:

Example Question

What option will make both sides of this equation equal?

7 + 9 = ? + 10

a) 8
b) 6
c) 9
d) 4

If you want 12 month access to all the practice resources for this test, our partner offers a Family Membership.

Family Membership gives you access to all the TestPrep-Online resources for the next 12 months. You will also get two separate accounts, which can be very helpful if you have two children preparing for their tests.

How Are Scores for the CCAT Grade 3 Calculated?

Scores for the CCAT will usually be made available shortly after completing the test.

The results are split into three different scores, which are a composite of the results of all three batteries of assessments.

The three scores are:

  • Age percentile rank – This ranks a pupil within their age group and is shown as a percentage. For example, if a student scores 51% then it means that they rank higher than 51% of students in their age range.

  • Grade percentile rank – This score is used to rank a student within their school grade and, like the age percentile rank, is shown as a percentage. For example, if a student scores 45% then this means that they rank higher than 45% of students in their grade.

  • The Staines rank – This is a number used to indicate a specific range of scores. In this system, a score of 9 would be very high and 1 would be very low. A student with average scores would be given a Staines Rank of 4 to 6.

Students are also given their raw scores alongside a breakdown of sub-scores for each section of the test.

  • Raw score – This indicates the number of questions that were answered correctly.

  • Sub-scores – These are separate scores for each of the different batteries within the CCAT. The scores are formatted as a figure which indicates a percentage relative to others who have taken the tests. For example, a Verbal Analogies score of 76 would indicate that the pupil scored higher than 76% of students who took the CCAT Grade 3.

How to Prepare for the Test in 2023

While this assessment is designed to test a child’s abilities, there are some things that can be done to help pupils become familiar with the layout and style of questioning.

This can help them to feel more relaxed and able to perform at their best on the day.

Step 1. Create a Study Plan

It may help to create a study plan with designated blocks of time set aside for practice papers and revision.

Some children find that this approach helps because they can visually see how much time will need to be spent practicing, while also being able to see that they still have time to do things that they enjoy.

Parents often find this approach useful as it gives them a way to structure their time effectively.

Step 2. Develop a Personalized Approach

Not all methods of revision will work for every single person, children and adults alike.

Finding the way that your child learns best is key to ensuring that they are able to learn to the best of their ability.

Some children may absorb information better by using visual learning techniques, while others learn faster by using note cards or recorded information.

Having a personalized approach can also help when trying to identify any areas of weakness – you can spot topics requiring extra input, then focus on these in a way that your child finds easy to understand.

Step 3. Try Practice Questions

Practice questions are an ideal way of familiarizing a child with the assessment and are an especially good idea for pupils who are unsure of what to expect.

They are also a good way of practicing the timings and other elements of the CCAT process.

There are many websites that offer free practice questions as well as practice papers which are available to purchase, such as this one on word meanings or this one on numbers’ logic.

Step 4. Practice Different Question Formats and Similar Exercises

It is important to practice a variety of question styles and formats so that the child can be fully prepared ahead of the CCAT.

This way, no matter what style of question they come across, they will know what is expected and how to answer.

Step 5. Make Sure Your Child Gets Enough Rest Beforehand

Having enough sleep – being well-rested – is key to ensuring that stress levels are as low as possible ahead of the CCAT.

Ideally, grade 3 children should have 9 to 12 hours sleep a night.

It has been well documented that children who get enough rest before an exam will generally perform better as they tend to have a better ability to recall facts and information.

Step 6. Eat a Nutritional Meal

A healthy meal will not only help to avoid any distractions from hunger, but may also help to improve overall performance.

It is thought that protein-rich foods are particularly good as they can help to improve concentration and mental clarity, as do leafy vegetables, berries and nuts.

Good breakfast choices ahead of the CCAT assessments would include eggs, porridge or natural yogurt with a selection of fresh fruit and berries.

Step 7. Try Calming Techniques

If your child is particularly nervous, consider practicing some calming techniques ahead of the assessments.

Simple breathing exercises can be useful when sitting an exam as they give the student an opportunity to stop, relax and process things before answering any questions.

Calming music, mindfulness and simple meditation practices can also help to ensure that children get enough rest ahead of tests.

Step 8. Talk About Anything Which Is Making the Child Feel Particularly Worried

Sometimes the best thing that can be done to help a child who is worried about a test is to let them know that they are heard.

Taking the time to talk through any worries and listen to concerns can help to put their mind at ease.

This can be useful in overcoming any anxieties that they may have.

Step 9. Remember to Have Fun

While practice papers and tests are an important way of familiarising and preparing a child for upcoming assessments, it is also important to not put too much pressure on them.

Many parents find that having a designated ‘revision free’ time ahead of tests will help to relax their children and reduce overall stress levels.

This means that children go into the tests feeling more relaxed and are generally able to cope better under pressure.

Revision free time ideas can include a movie night with popcorn and snacks, a family walk in the park or countryside, or a games night.

Frequently Asked Questions

The CCAT (Canadian Cognitive Abilities Test) for Grade 3 is a test that is used to determine the learning ability of a child, and is usually used as part of the qualification process for entering a gifted and talented program at school.

It is a 90-minute test that is completed using paper and pencil, and usually administered in a group setting.

To pass the CCAT assessment, the best thing to do is lots of preparation and practice.

You can work with your child on cognitive development games, take practice papers like those at TestPrepOnline, and establish good practice in reading widely and completing math and logic challenges.

The best way to prepare for the CCAT is to know exactly what is to come in the assessment – and you can do that using guides like this one as well as the prep packs available at TestPrepOnline.

These resources will introduce you to all the information that you need to know to be able to guide your child to achieving the best score in the test.

There are three scores created following completion of the CCAT:

  • Age Percentile Rank – This compares the scores of children of the same age. If your child scored in the 85th percentile, that means they scored higher than 85% of test takers of the same age.
  • Grade Percentile Rank – This compares scores of children in the same grade (in the same way as above).
  • Stanine – This simple score places the child’s score on a scale of 0–9, with 9 being the highest.

Usually, the top 20% of children are determined to have a ‘good’ score, but you cannot fail the CCAT.

Knowing the type of questions that are on the CCAT will help you to determine the best study plan for your child.

While the questions are not based on things they have learned in school – they are cognitive ability questions – improvements can be made on the skills they need.

You can study using the range of materials available at TestPrepOnline, which includes detailed descriptions of all the questions and practice tests.

The three subject areas that are tested on the CCAT include:

  • Verbal Battery – Verbal Classification, Sentence Completion, Verbal Analogies.
  • Quantitative Battery – Number Analogies, Number Series, Equation Building.
  • Non-Verbal Battery – Figure Analogies, Figure Classification, Paper Folding/Figure Analysis.

The average score for the CCAT in terms of raw score (number of questions correct) is 100, which equates to a stanine of 4–6.

Typically, students who are accepted for a gifted and talented program will be expected to have scored in the top 20% for their age and grade.

Studying for the CCAT has many benefits, including the obvious one of helping your child achieve a higher score in the test.

Taking practice tests will not only provide familiarity with the test environment and get them used to answering the questions under timed conditions, but it will also highlight if there are any areas in their cognitive abilities that need support, which can be achieved through studying.

The CCAT is delivered as a group assessment, usually taken in school time.

It is a pencil-and-paper assessment that consists of 170 questions, split into three main batteries that last around 30 minutes each.

In some schools, the test will be completed in one sitting, while others might allow breaks between each battery.

Final Thoughts

As a parent, carer or teacher, it can be difficult to watch children undergoing tests, especially if you know that they tend to be anxious about them.

The most important thing to do is maintain open communication about any worries or anxieties that they may have.

Completing practice questions may help to build confidence and avoid too much unnecessary stress, as children will be able to gain some knowledge of what to expect.