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The Cognitive Abilities Test Third Edition (CAT3) is the most widely used test of reasoning ability in the UK

The Cognitive Abilities Test Third Edition (CAT3) is a standardised assessment that helps identify pupils’ strengths, weaknesses and learning preferences, providing accurate, reliable and objective assessment data that is essential to the shaping of an individual’s learning. CAT3 is not about knowledge recall and requires no preparation, offering all pupils the same opportunity to show their underlying ability. Aimed at pupils between 7 years and 6 months to 17+ years, CAT3 is available in both paper and digital formats and can be administered individually or as a group test.

We have recently published a fourth edition of our Cognitive Abilities Test. Find out more about CAT4.

CAT3 measures the three principle areas of reasoning – verbal, non-verbal and quantitative – as well as an element of spatial ability, allowing teachers and SENCOs to test the full range within an entire class or year.

Rich data provided by CAT3 gives a comprehensive profile of pupils’ reasoning abilities, producing standardised scores for each of the three abilities. This data can be used to build an understanding of an individual’s potential and learning style and to inform the development of effective teaching and learning programmes and interventions. Pupils will benefit through more effective target-setting that ensures the right degree of challenge. The CAT3 results are also invaluable for providing feedback directly to pupils and their parents, as well as governors and school administrators.

Why use CAT3?

  • Provides indicators of outcomes at Key Stages 2, 3 and 4, 30 GCSEs, 11 AS/A level subject indicators and Scottish Standard Grades 3 Int 1 and 5 Int 2
  • Identifies a pupil’s individual strengths, needs and learning preferences, providing you with a complete profile of their ability
  • Monitors trends or changes in the ability profile of an intake over time, allowing you to measure the added value that your school achieves
  • Standardised scores allow you to compare your pupils’ results along with group/class comparisons
  • Informs target-setting, the development of individual learning plans and aids the implementation of more timely intervention strategies
  • Provides a sound basis for comparisons over time.


Teacher Guide Pack contains:
Administration Manual, Technical Manual, Pupil Booklets (one for each level) and a sample Answer Sheet.

*This product can be purchased by schools only

This product is for use in schools only and can only be purchased by schools.  Parents and home users cannot buy this product - if you add it to your basket your order will not be fulfilled.  Find out more or see full terms and conditions.

A quick guide to CAT3 levels

The following table shows the recommended levels to use for different year groups.

CAT3 Level Standardised Age Group England and Wales Northern Ireland Scotland
Level A 7:06-9:11 Y4 P5 P5
Level B 8:06-10:11 Y5 P6 P6
Level C 9:06-11:11 Y6 P7 P7
Level D 10:06-12:11 Y7 F1 S1
Level E 11:06-13:11 Y8 F2 S2
Level F 12:06-14:11 Y9 F3 S3
Level G 13:06-15:11 Y10 F4 S4
Level H 14:06-17:00+ Y11+ F5+ S5+

There are a few exceptional situations in which a school or college may choose to use a lower or higher level of CAT3 with a group of students.  Examples include: a selective school testing highly able pupils where the next level up may be used; or a school/college with a predominantly less able intake, where the next level down may be appropriate.  It must be emphasised that such cases are the exception rather than the rule.