What Parents should know

Many secondary schools use CAT (Cognitive Abilities Tests) as an entrance exam. The CAT tests measure aptitude and general intelligence to help understand how well a student can learn – in particular they are designed to test three different areas: verbal skills; quantitative (number) skills, and non-verbal thinking or in others words thinking in shapes and space.

What’s the difference between SATs and CATs

Many secondary schools use CATs since they believe that even if a child doesn’t have much knowledge of the subjects having the ability to learn is more important. Some secondary schools ignore SATs completely finding them a “crude method” and would rather understand more about a child’s underlying abilities.

A child’s potential is a better indicator on what they could achieve and how they learn best. The results can also be used to provide the child with the optimum delivery of material at a pace best suited to them.

Preparing for CAT Tests

Although CAT tests do not test any particular material or knowledge so its difficult to “learn” how to answer the questions, there is benefit in introducing the format of the questions and the delivery method. Familiarity with the format and style will help to reduce the “cognitive load” place on the child and although there is no official assessment body it may be a good idea to run through the practice exams on this website. Click here to try one.