Cognitive Ability Test

Cognitive ability tests are pre-employment assessments given to graduates and job-seekers during the interview process. Designed to test for basic fluid intelligence, these online exams test how well applicants solve problems, make connections, recognise patterns, and speak precisely.

Large companies use cognitive assessment tests as screening tools when hiring new employees to eliminate unqualified candidates and single out top talent. Because resumes look more or less alike, these tests act as equalisers allowing you to separate yourself from the competition and catch the attention of the manager.

What Is a Cognitive Test?

Cognitive tests are basic intelligence tests designed to test both fluid and crystallised intelligence. Not only will you be asked to answer questions about abstract patterns and shapes, but you’ll also be asked to define words and solve basic math problems.

While cognitive aptitude tests generally are pretty straightforward, they can be very tricky. Below you’ll find a quick list of questions you can expect to see on the exam.

Verbal Reasoning:

Numerical Reasoning:
->Basic Arithmetic
->Ratios & Percentages
->Word Problems
->Number Series

Abstract Reasoning:


Why Do I Need to Take a Cognitive Ability Assessment?

Large companies lose hundreds of thousands of dollars to poor hires and lazy employees. They invest in the hiring process because they know that a little time and effort spent during the recruitment process will pay off later.

According to research, intelligence is directly linked to professional success. Smarter employees learn new skills more quickly and can handle a larger workload. While personality and hard work are important too, intelligence is extremely important in the workplace.

How to Prepare for a Cognitive Test Online?

In order to prepare for a cognitive test online, you should complete some timed practice tests. When you’re finished with the test, go back and review your answers. Think about how you could answer each of the questions more efficiently. Is there a shortcut?

Should you have been looking at something you missed? The questions on cognitive ability tests are repetitive, so if you practice solving each kind of question, you shouldn’t have any surprises on test day.

Tips for Cognitive Thinking Questions:

Before you head out to the assessment centre, make sure to read our best tips for answering cognitive assessment questions.

1. Shortcuts are Key: This test is as much about your skills as it is about your efficiency. Cognitive exams have very strict time limits, and once time is up, it’s up. If you cannot work quickly, then you’ll fail even if you’re very intelligent. That’s why speed is the name of the game when it comes to cognitive assessment tests. Make sure that you’re familiar with the type of questions you’ll encounter on the test and that you know the quickest route to the answer.
2. Keep it Simple: If you’re answering an analogy or a logic question, try to keep it simple. Use only the information given to you in the question and nothing else. If you extrapolate or read between the lines, you might bring in irrelevant, distracting information.
3. Skip Around: When analysing number series, remember that sometimes there are two rules which apply to every other number. That is to say that one rule might apply to the first, third, and fifth number while the second rule applies to the second, fourth, and sixth numbers. If the numbers look like they’re jumping around randomly, this is probably the case.

The Most Common Cognitive Reasoning Tests:

-> Wonderlic Assessment Tests
->Criteria Cognitive Aptitude Test (CCAT)
->PI Learning Indicator (PLI)

Final Thoughts on Cognitive Thinking Tests:

Most clever people assume that they’re already smart and that they don’t need to study for an intelligence exam. After all, if intelligence is innate, what’s the point of studying? However, that couldn’t be further from the truth. If you’re intelligent but you don’t know how to apply your knowledge, you won’t go very far. You’ll need to practice solving cognitive thinking questions ahead of time to make sure you’re fully prepared.

Looking to start right away? Click on our questions tab to try our cognitive test sample questions.