Cognitive Abilities Test (CAT4)

CAT4 support, downloads and userguides

Shine a light on masked capability

Based on observation alone, we know surprisingly little about a child’s capability.

We can make assumptions from attainment, monitor their behaviour, or refer to previous results – but without targeted data, we only have a snapshot in time. We don’t have the full picture.

An assessment of reasoning ability can identify where a pupil’s real strengths lie, free from the constraint of the curriculum and unencumbered by learning barriers.

Frequently Asked Questions

If you read out the test questions in the Verbal Battery then you cannot use the Standard Age Scores, because this was not how the test was administered to the standardisation sample.
If you have concerns about a student who may find the Verbal Reasoning Battery too challenging, then you should assess the student in two stages:

First, administer all four CAT batteries in the standard way. If a student has specific language difficulties, then this should be revealed in the profile of his or her scores across the four batteries. We might expect the Verbal score to be significantly lower than either the Quantitative, Non-verbal or Spatial score. (Significant in this context means a difference of 10 or more Standard Age Score points.) If this is the case, then you have independent evidence to confirm the student's difficulties in reasoning with words as compared to numbers, patterns or spatial concepts. 

Second, to isolate a specific problem with reading, you could read some of the verbal questions to the student. If their response to these questions is markedly better than on the first occasion this might isolate reading as the problem. This would suggest that the student's 'true' reasoning score is obscured by reading difficulties. In CAT4 it is recommended that students with a stanine score of 3 or below on the Verbal tests should be administered a reading test as a follow up.

It is important that the administrator follows the text set out in the administration instructions very closely. Each sub-test starts with example and practice questions; the administrator must use these to ensure that students are familiar with the test layout and question formats before they start the test. CAT is a timed test and it is vital that a stopwatch or watch or clock with a second is used to ensure the correct amount of time is given for each sub-test: for example, ten minutes for the Figure Matrices test means exactly 10 minutes, not 9.5 minutes or 10.5 minutes. Providing the administration instructions are followed accurately by the administrator, the influence of the particular administrator should be minimal.
If the digital edition is being taken, the administration instructions are given through the voiceover and the timer is part of the test so there is no need for the administrator to present the question types or time the test. However, it is still important that the administrator ensures that the testing environment is appropriate and answers any queries as necessary. 

No. It’s advisable for the same cohort to take CAT4 as close together as possible and at least within the same term. This ensures that student results can be compared with one another with confidence and teachers and administrators can obtain as accurate results as possible.

No. The CAT4 standardisation was conducted on the completion of four batteries and the reports will therefore provide the most accurate data when all four batteries are taken.
The exception to this guidance is when it is considered inappropriate to administer the verbal tests to students for whom English is an additional language.
If you’re looking for a stand-alone Verbal or Non-verbal assessment, GL Assessment offers a number of alternatives which you should consider. Tests in our reasoning series may be used with students from age 5.
No. The batteries must be taken in the order in which they were standardised. This is how they are presented in both the paper and digital editions of CAT4. The sequence is:
  • Non-verbal Reasoning
  • Verbal Reasoning
  • Quantitative Reasoning
  • Spatial Ability
It is recommended that when administering the paper tests, two or three sessions should be scheduled and a break taken between each battery.
The digital tests are in a set order and administered in three parts:
  • Part 1 – Non-verbal Reasoning
  • Part 2 – Verbal Reasoning and the first Quantitative test
  • Part 3 – the second Quantitative test and Spatial Ability

Yes, the indicators for KS2, GCSE and AS/A Levels have all been updated for CAT4.


Please see the Reports section of this website for a full description of the CAT4 reports. Briefly, there are eight core reports available for CAT4:
Group report for teachers  this includes scores for all students in the pre-defined group with analysis by battery and gender (plus by additional criteria specified by the school) and a full range of indicators depending on the level of CATadministered. An overview of students’ profiles is available from this report with a listing of which students fall into each profile. This is part of the Standard Service for paper users and is automatically available to users of digital CAT4.
Chargeable reports are:
  • Individual report for teachers this gives a more detailed analysis of an individual student with the full range of scores, indicators and a narrative description of their profile and its implications for teaching and learning.
  • Individual report for students – a student-friendly version of the teacher report explaining performance and offering advice of how the student can learn most effectively.
  • Individual report for parents – a parent-friendly version of the teacher report explaining their child’s performance and offering advice on how parents can support learning at home.
  • Summary report for senior leaders – an overview of the group’s performance that is tailored for school’s management team and Board of Governors.
  • Summary presentation for senior leaders (PowerPoint® format) – this extracts information from the Summary report for senior leaders and presents it in a short but detailed presentation that is suitable for use at management and Board meetings and for any whole school sessions relating to CAT4.
  • Excel report – exported raw/core data to facilitate further in-school analysis and uploading to the school’s management system
  • Cluster report – a version of the Summary report for senior leaders but covering several schools.

If you need to re-run the Group report for teachers in order to produce a series of reports for small groups of students such as tutor groups or you need to add in late arrivals, there is no charge.