What is the CAT 4?

CAT 4 stands for Cognitive Abilities Test (Edition 4). This is a set of tests popular with schools in the UK for analysing a child’s knowledge and learning potential.

Who has to take the CAT 4?

Students applying to some UK schools will need to take the CAT 4. Several international schools in Hong Kong also use the CAT 4 as part of their admissions process. Students aged 6 to 17 may need to sit the CAT 4 depending on which schools they apply to.

What is in the CAT 4?

The CAT 4 is designed to test a candidate’s verbal, non-verbal, mathematical, and spatial reasoning. It is not tied to a particular syllabus or curriculum. Questions are rarely similar to those seen in school exams, so students may find them harder to understand and answer. This is to assess the child’s problem solving ability and get an indication of overall intelligence.

What is the structure of the CAT 4?

There are three parts to the CAT 4 as below:

  • Part 1:
  • Figure Classification
  • Figure Matrices
  • Part 2:
  • Verbal Classification
  • Verbal Analogies
  • Number Analogies
  • Part 3:
  • Number Series
  • Figure Recognition
  • Figure Analysis

For each part, the candidate is usually allowed 45 minutes to answer as many questions as they can.

Is non-verbal reasoning just maths?

Non-verbal reasoning is NOT the same as maths. Mathematical ability is measured in the CAT 4 by ‘number analogies’ and ‘number series’. Non-verbal reasoning is to do with shapes and pictorial information.

What are spatial reasoning and non-verbal reasoning?

Spatial reasoning is the ability to understand and infer information about objects in three dimensions. In the CAT 4, the sections on ‘figure recognition’ and ‘figure analysis’ make up the spatial reasoning part of the test.

Non-verbal reasoning is slightly different. It is the ability to understand information and solve problems based purely on visual information. This is usually pictures of shapes, instead of numbers or words. In the CAT 4, this non-verbal reasoning section includes ‘figure classification’ and ‘figure matrices’.

Non-verbal reasoning and spatial reasoning are very similar. Because of this, they can be easily confused. The main difference is that spatial reasoning requires the candidate to mentally manipulate the object in question to predict how it might transform. Spatial reasoning also has a greater focus on 3D shapes.

Can spatial and non-verbal ability be improved?

Improving your score on the CAT 4 can be difficult. This is because the CAT 4 is not drawn from a particular curriculum. It also does not feature normal academic questions. For spatial and non-verbal reasoning, it may be helpful to become more familiar with shapes and geometric concepts. Aside from that, some good tips we have are explaining the questions out loud, and doing lots of practice on relevant question types.

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