How to Pass the Canadian Cognitive Ability Test (CCAT) Grade 4 in 2022
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The CCAT is similar to the Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT) used within schools in the US.
All Canadian children take it throughout all stages of their education.
It is often used to place students on gifted and talented programs.
It is not like an assessment test, which would test a child on what they have learned.
Instead, it measures a child’s intellectual ability. It focuses on analytical and problem-solving skills, rather than their specific knowledge.
There are 176 questions on the Grade 4 CCAT in total.
It consists of three batteries/sections that may be administered separately or together, depending on the school.
The full test usually takes around 90 minutes, plus time for breaks.
The three batteries are:
- Verbal – Verbal analogies, sentence completion and verbal classification
- Quantitative – Number puzzles, number series and number analogies
- Non-Verbal – Figure analysis, figure analogies and figure classification
This section assesses a student’s understanding of language structures and measures their ability to determine the relationship between words.
It also focuses on the student’s ability to use language to reason.
This section takes 30 minutes, with each subsection allocated 10 minutes each:
- Verbal analogies – Determine the relationship between a pair of words and apply it to find the missing word from a second pair.
- Sentence completion – Complete the sentence with the correct missing words.
- Verbal classification – Work out the category of the three given words and choose from the selection the word that fits within that category.
This section assesses the student’s numerical reasoning and problem-solving abilities using numbers and mathematical concepts.
30 minutes are allocated for this section.
Each of the three subsections has a different time limit – eight minutes for number puzzles, 10 minutes for number series and 12 minutes for number analogies.
- Number puzzles – Solve the equation to find the missing number.
- Number series – Determine the next number in the series, applying the correct rule or pattern.
- Number analogies – Work out the relationship between the first two pairs of numbers and apply it to find the number missing from a third pair.
This section uses diagrams and pictures in place of words. It assesses a student’s ability to problem-solve and reason without using language.
This section takes 30 minutes, with 10 minutes allocated to each subsection:
- Figure matrices – Determine the relationship between the shapes on the top row and use it to work out the missing shape from the bottom row.
- Figure classification – Work out the category of the top three figures and find the figure, from the selection, that fits within this category.
- Paper folding – A folded and pierced piece of paper will be shown; the student needs to determine which answer reflects how it will look when unfolded. This question requires using mental rotation, although the child could draw it out if they find this difficult.
1. Piglet is to pig as ______ is to cow.
1. The plant wouldn’t grow, as it ______ water.
Work out the category of these words:
1. Black, Blue, Green, Orange
1. 8 + 14 = 21 + ?
1. What is the missing number in the series?
6, 12, ?, 24, 30
1. What is the missing number?
CCAT scores will be given in two forms:
- A raw score indicates how many questions the student correctly answered out of the total
- A stanine (percentile group) score that represents students’ abilities compared to their peers
The CCAT test uses age norms and grade norms to calculate these scores, meaning that children are compared to those in the same age and grade group.
The test scores are displayed through a score report.
The Age Sections category of the score report shows three columns:
- Standard Age Score
- Stanine Test Score
- Age Percentile Rank
The Standard Age Score section shows students’ age scores. It groups students together in one-month intervals, from four years 11 months to 18 years old.
It shows a normalized and composite score for each battery assessed in the CCAT. It has an average of 100 and a standard deviation of 16.
Teachers use this score to compare the student’s scores and level of cognitive development to their peers.
In other words, a student who has a Standard Age Score of 100 on the non-verbal battery shows a typical level of cognitive development of non-verbal skills for their age group. Students with a Standard Age Score of 155 in this section have a higher level of development than the average student.
The next column in the age scores section shows the Stanine Test Score.
Stanines are groupings of percentile ranks. This is a normalized standard score scale with nine levels, from a low of one to a high of nine.
A student who obtains a stanine of nine shows a higher level of cognitive abilities and development than a student with a stanine of 6.
The final column in the age scores section displays the APR for each section and then the composite score.
This tells you the percentage of students in the same age group who scored lower than that student.
For example, if a student gets a percentile rank of 80 on the verbal battery, this means that 80% of students in the standardized sample scored below that student.
An average APR is 50.
This is a graph representation of the APR.
This section correlates to the student’s age scores.
It represents graphically the student’s scores for each of the batteries as well as the composite score.
The next section on the score report is the raw score.
This contains three sections:
- The total number of questions on the test
- How many the student attempted
- How many they scored correctly in each battery
The grade score shows the national percentile rank of students in a given grade. This is what percentage of same-age students across the country scored less than the child.
The local scores are also in this section.
They relate to the local stanine and local percentile rank, which are the student’s ranks within the specific school.
The composite score is a percentile score for all sections.
This groups all three batteries' scores to tell you where your child stands by comparison to their peers.
For example, a composite percentile score of 94 shows that your child did better in all three sections combined than 94% of other students who took the test.
A good score for the 4th-grade CCAT depends on your child’s abilities.
Generally, for stanine scores:
- 4 to 6 is considered average
- 7 to 8 is above average
- 9 is very high
Students with a score of nine will usually be considered as gifted and talented.
A sustainable studying strategy is the best way to prepare your child for the CCAT Grade 4 and ensure they get a good grade.
At the 4th grade level, children can do periods of concentrated study, but these would need to be broken up into small periods, varied and balanced against sleep, nutrition, play and exercise.
Some of the most effective proven ways to prepare for the CCAT Grade 4 test are listed below.
Practice tests are essential to performing well in any test.
These are the best ways to allow your child to become comfortable with the type of questions that will come up in the test and so prepare them for the CCAT Grade 4 test.
The CCAT Grade 4 is similar in content and scoring to the CogAT Grade 4, so you and your child may find practice resources for this test useful as well.
Number puzzles are another great way to develop their problem-solving and numerical skills.
They will improve your child’s cognitive abilities and prepare them for the problem questions they will face.
Puzzles can also be an engaging way to get your child to practice, as they can be turned into games or made fun and enjoyable in other ways.
Set aside some time each day to read with your child. Even if it's only 10 minutes, this is a good way to help them establish a habit they can take with them in life.
This will help them not only learn about the contents of what you are reading together about but also develop their verbal skills through exposing them to a wide array of vocabulary and grammar.
These books can be more difficult than the child could read on their own, because you can explain the difficult words or themes to them and test their knowledge as you go.
If you can read about subjects your child finds interesting, they will be more engaged and likely to internalize new verbal reasoning skills.
It is crucial to study for the CCAT Grade 4 test.
A steady study schedule is a proven way to succeed in an exam.
Make sure it’s well-paced, over an appropriate period of time and incorporates breaks. You and your child should not try to cram too much material into a small timeframe.
Rotate what subjects you are studying with them to give their brain a chance to be challenged in new ways and not burn out.
Test-taking strategies are great tools to teach your child for any test.
One strategy is the process of elimination – remove answers that are clearly untrue. This is especially useful for the multiple-choice questions, as eliminating certain answers will give them a greater chance of choosing the correct answer.
After using the process of elimination, there will be fewer options if the question is too hard for the child and they have to guess, making it more likely they will get it correct.
Another strategy is to scan over the whole test before beginning. This will allow the child to see how many questions they have to answer in the time and to allocate a reasonable amount of time to each.
A third strategy is to skip tricky questions to begin with and complete the easy ones first. The easy questions will take less time, after which the child can circle back to the ones they skipped.
If they are allowed to mark the test paper, they can circle the questions they skip so there is a visual cue for them to return to.
Finally, an important test-taking strategy is emotional regulation. Teaching your child how to not be overwhelmed by their emotions is important for managing the stress of taking a test, as well as being a lifelong skill.
Sacrificing sleep, exercise or nutrition for studying is a bad idea.
A balanced lifestyle with a steady and structured study timetable is the best way to ensure that your child performs well on any test and develops the resilience to deal with stress in general.
Mindfulness is a proven way to help with focus, which is crucial while studying.
Taking a few minutes to focus on breathing or doing a full-body scan can have a truly positive effect on your child’s learning.
This is also a good way to establish a healthy habit with your child.
Further, it’s a good idea to incorporate some relaxation techniques in the days leading up to the test and on the day.
This will help them sleep well and perform to the best of their ability on the day.
Deep-breathing exercises, stretching and using toys like de-stress balls can be great ways to relax your child in the lead-up to a test.
Practice is important for the CCAT Grade 4 test for multiple reasons.
First, it allows your child to get used to the format and the style of questions they will be asked.
Second, it will help them to develop the speed required to complete the test. Some students may take a while to get used to the questions, so it’s better to do this ahead of time.
It’s difficult to study for the CCAT test, as your child is not being assessed on a subject they have been taught in school.
Instead, the best way to study for the CCAT Grade 4 test is by doing practice CCAT Grade 4 tests or CogAT Grade 4 tests, as these are very similar in content and scoring.
The scoring for the CCAT Grade 4 is conducted at a central location and schools normally receive results by late April or early May of the 4th grade year.
The way parents are notified of results will vary widely in each school.
Many schools will deliver the results with a letter in mid-May or late May, but some schools may phone parents if they feel a student has received an extremely high or low score to discuss this with them.
They will often invite parents in for a meeting to discuss the options in extreme cases.
It’s important to show your child that preparation is key and to not let the stress get in the way of their performance. Make sure to do some relaxation exercises on the day of the test to beat any pre-exam nerves.
Being well-rested, getting exercise and having a healthy diet help to keep your child’s energy levels high and aid your child in staying focused for a productive study session for the CCAT Grade 4 test.