Cognitive Abilities Tests (CATs) are designed to monitor a child’s performance and are often used to help schools decide which classes students should be placed in. CATs are marked assessments and can have a significant impact on a child’s academic future. It’s inevitable then that parents are keen for their child to perform well in these tests. We’ve put together this post as a guide for parents on what they can do to help their child improve their CAT scores.
These assessments are often taken annually, usually towards the beginning or end of the academic year. If your child is to perform well, they’ll need to start studying ahead of the test date. Of course, in order to improve a CAT4 score, your child needs to have something to compare against. At Pretest Plus, we publish online CAT4 practice tests to help children familiarise themselves with the content, format and style of the assessments.
In order to monitor your child’s progress before their actual assessment, we’d encourage them firstly to take one of our CAT4 practice tests. Once they’ve spent some time improving each assessed area of the exam, we’d encourage them to take another of our practice tests to see how they’ve improved ahead of their actual CAT4 exam.
CAT4 Verbal Reasoning
The verbal reasoning part of the CAT4 exam requires your child to solve problems using words. One of the most effective ways to help your child prepare for the VR section of the exam is to work on expanding their vocabulary. Encourage them to read books that they wouldn’t normally pick up, so that they get used to seeing varied vocabulary. Similarly, giving them spelling tests and playing word games can help engage them in vocabulary building exercises that will help them improve their performance in the exam.
If your child doesn’t already have one, encourage them to keep a ‘vocabulary book’. When they come across new words when reading, or in conversations, encourage them to write them down in their book. As their list grows, they can review these words, equipping themselves with a whole new vocabulary.
CAT4 Non-Verbal Reasoning
The non-verbal reasoning part of the CAT4 assessment requires your child to solve problems using shapes and patterns, rather than with words. Typical non-verbal reasoning questions include matrices and identifying similarities.
One of the best ways your child can improve their non-verbal reasoning skills is to practise answering typical NVR exam questions like those found in our CAT practice tests and courses. The non-verbal modules in our papers reflect the types of questions that your child will be asked in the CAT non-verbal reasoning test. With a little practice, your child will be able to identify patterns within shapes, explain their similarities and differences and understand how each shape’s position corresponds to the overall pattern.
CAT4 Quantitative Reasoning
Like the non-verbal reasoning section, the quantitative reasoning part of the CAT assesses a child’s ability to solve problems using maths concepts. The QR part of the test asks questions based on sequences and relationships between numbers.
Preparing for the quantitative reasoning part of the exam can be more challenging than the other elements. However, we’d recommend that you help your child improve their arithmetic as well as their ability to identify patterns and relationships between numbers. The better your child becomes at developing strategies to arrive at an answer quickly, the easier they’ll find quantitative reasoning questions.
CAT4 Spatial Reasoning
The spatial reasoning part of the CAT assesses your child’s ability to identify shapes and how they change. A typical spatial reasoning question might focus on recognising target shapes or visualising how unfolded pieces of paper would look.
An effective way of improving your child’s spatial reasoning in the CAT is to encourage them to play games with shapes. Lego, for example, is a great tool for helping children understand how shapes interact with each other. Similarly, the game Tetris, can help improve a child’s understanding of shape manipulation.
You can also try drawing several shapes on paper and asking your child to recreate their mirror image. If your child struggles with this exercise, you can get them to hold up a mirror to the original image, or fold the shape in half to see how these correspond.
Take Online Practice CAT Tests
At Pretest Plus, we believe that the more familiar a child is with the individual elements of the CAT exam, the more confident they’ll feel and the better they’ll perform. Our online practice CAT4 tests and courses are designed to familiarise students with the general format, style and content of the exam.
Practice tests: Each module is marked automatically and is then available for review with answers and explanations provided for every question. We also provide comparative ranking statistics on a per module basis so you can quickly identify your child’s strengths and weaknesses.
Video courses: Each course consists of a series of lessons that go through each question type in great detail, providing step-by-step explanations and techniques to help your child recognise the underlying patterns to look out for. They cover every possible question type that could come up in the CAT4 test.
CAT TESTS AND COURSES
CAT4 Practice Test 1
CAT4 Practice Test 2
CAT4 Practice Test 3
CAT4 Practice Test 4
CAT4 Quantitative Reasoning Video Course
CAT4 Non-Verbal Reasoning Video Course
CAT4 Spatial Reasoning Video Course
CAT4 Verbal Reasoning Video Course
Get 10% off orders of two products or more. Use the code ppdiscount at checkout.
Please note that Pretest Plus is an independent publisher of practice tests and not affiliated with or endorsed by publishers of the CAT or any other pretest publisher.
Year 7 CATs: Everything Parents Need to Know