Student Advice


Ben Maples  · Oct 26th 2021

So how do schools begin to judge the cognitive abilities of their students? Well, it’s not just by recommendations from your junior schools.


When joining school in Year 7, your school needs to get an idea of which sets you should be in. For the most part, schools tend to go by your examination results and place you from there, however, your CATS Test could move you up or down in the sets depending on how you do.

It is also common for schools to retest students in Year 9 as well, just to see how you’ve progressed and see if there is anything else that they can do to help you out, should you need it.

CATS Test Year 7

What are CATS Tests?

CATS Tests are Cognitive Abilities Tests (sometimes known as a CogAT and previously known as the Lorge-Thorndike Intelligence Test), these are tests that test the general intelligence of a student and see your aptitude within certain subjects.

The CATS Test is a great way to test your aptitude in certain subjects. For instance, you may not have sat Citizenship before, therefore, a CATS Test is a good way of judging how you would be suited to this particular subject.

The CATS Tests are broken up into three different sections:

  • Verbal Reasoning: Thinking with words
  • Quantitative Reasoning: Thinking with numbers
  • Non-verbal Reasoning: Thinking with shapes

CATS Tests are sometimes used for students in primary school as well, though it is a more common phenomenon among secondary school students.

The CATS Tests are required by all schools and students cannot be exempt from sitting them as they are used for standard testing purposes.

Can you revise for CATS Tests?

It is possible to find past papers online, but CATS Test revision is a bit pointless really as the exam itself is a test of your views and opinions and a general test of your intelligence, so revision isn’t that easy.

How many times do you sit the CATS Test?

This all depends on the school you're at. Many schools only test students once, whereas others have been known to test students in Year 9. Technically speaking, you should sit the exam in Year 7 and in Year 9.

When do I get my test results?

This too depends on the school that you attend, but it is known for a lot of schools to never give the results out. The test is more for the school’s benefit rather than your own, so for the most part, it is not really all that important for you to receive the results, but some schools may send the results to you or teachers will tell you your results.

CATS Test Year 9

What is a good score to get on the CATS?

The score is set into three separate tiers for students and has two different sections that correspond to the overall ranking of the results.

Tier Minimum CAT Score Minimum Sectional Score
Top Tier 200+ 80-85
Middle Tier 120 40-50
Low Tier 100 30-40

These tiers correspond to the score you received and are a good way for schools and teachers to decide on the overall sets that you will be in for your school time.

You have to remember that when you are in school, you will likely not sit all of the subjects that you will sit in secondary school.

How long is each section?

As we said above, there are three sections for the CATS Test, Quantitative, Verbal and Non-Verbal. You may not sit all three sections at once, some schools may do this, others may not.

The test also has special dispensations in place for those that may have any disabilities.

Section No. of Questions Time Time for those with disabilities
Quantitative Reasoning 34 60 mins 80 mins
Verbal Reasoning 34 60 mins 80 mins
Non-Verbal Reasoning 32 60 mins 80 mins

Those with disabilities will also have the added option of being able to have aids from assistants if they need it as well, concessions will always be made.

Do universities ever do CATS Tests?

No, universities do not offer CATS Tests. Universities may offer psychological tests of some kind to monitor students or as a way of being able to filter the application process.

Technically speaking, you should sit the exam in Year 7 and in Year 9.

The University of Cambridge have their own CAT Test, but it's different from the test we’re speaking about here. At Cambridge, the test is called the Cambridge Admissions Test (sometimes referred to as the Classics Admissions Test) and is often applied by the University of Oxford as well.

CATS Test Year 5

How are CATS different from SATS?

SATS Exams are exams that are done at the end of your Key Stages in Infant and Junior school. SATS Exams are designed to decide your overall sets for when you move into secondary school.

This may seem confusing, as it may seem as though CATS Tests are useless in this regard, but SATS are used to determine your suitability in certain subjects, such as English, Mathematics and the three Science subjects.

The CATS Tests are used as a good way of determining your placement in other subjects such as Citizenship or Music. Also, the CATS Tests are used as a means of evaluating your placement within certain sets.

For instance, you may find yourself in the bottom set for Mathematics, however, your CATS Test may lead the school to change your set and move you into the middle or upper sets.

Universities do not offer CATS Tests.

Do universities take your CATS Scores into account?

They do not. Universities need to know more about you by seeing what your A Level results are like or your college work, like a BTEC.

Your CATS results are purely for your school’s usage and they are not relevant to anything else you do, they do not impact anything else, not even your T Levels.

The CATS Tests are required by all schools and students cannot be exempt from sitting them as they are used for standard testing purposes. It is not uncommon to see schools update the overall structure of the test, especially since the test has seen a lot of change since its inception in 1954, when it was known as the Lorge-Thorndike Intelligence Test.

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