CAT4 Singapore Hong Kong

CAT4 Tests: Everything You Need to Know

What is CAT4?

CAT4 stands for Cognitive Abilities Tests which focus on four areas: verbal, non-verbal, quantitative and spatial. The CAT4 test is designed for schools, teachers and students to better grasp reasoning skills and make a strong prediction on academic potential and future success in school and national exams. The CAT4 does not assess content knowledge from traditional school subjects. Instead, it tests how a student thinks, reasons, solves problems and makes connections with unfamiliar material. Therefore, it is a useful tool employed by schools to support students in their admissions process.

CAT4 is commonly used by selective schools as a way to identify which set students should fall in once admitted as they can appropriately tailor the level of challenge and pace of schoolwork. These mental puzzle-like tests can be thought of as an equivalent to an IQ test for adults.

So, can you study for these tests?

Yes and no. As they are not content based, revision cramming will not help. However, building up the skills required and exposure to this form of testing is key. At British Tutors, your tutor will be trained in teaching the strategic skills necessary to excel in the CAT4.

Hong Kong/Singapore Tuition for CAT4

Schools including Kellett and Harrow in Hong Kong, Dulwich College Singapore, Marlborough College Malaysia as well as certain selective schools in the UK use CAT4 testing for admissions. It is unlikely that students will have seen these types of tests before so tuition is highly beneficial. We recommend as much exposure and familiarity as possible as this will go a long way when the admissions process begins. Furthermore, the exposure will give your child time to acclimatise to this way of testing which will help them avoid any overwhelm when they sit the exam.

The types of reasoning skills we develop are applicable to all corners of education and lead to overall success at school. You can ask for CAT4 practice to be incorporated in your tuition to help your child achieve an all-rounded skillset when it comes to their learning.

How is CAT4 conducted?

The CAT4 is conducted online and is a multiple-choice test. There is only one correct answer for each question given. It covers four areas (verbal, non-verbal, quantitative and spatial) which are split into eight further sections. Each section is timed and can vary between 8-10 minutes. The four areas of the test are weighted equally.

Children taking the test at a school will all be faced with the same questions as CAT4 is non-adaptive. All the questions are standardised and there are no marks lost for incorrect answers, only marks given for questions answered right. This means that your child is encouraged to attempt every question. If they are unsure, they can guess from one of the multiple-choice options. If they have any time spare at the end of a module, they should go back and check if they missed any questions.

It is important to note that the test is age-specific and categorised into ‘levels’. At ages 11 plus, your child will be taking a level C or D test.

Level A: ages 8–9

Level B: ages 9–10

Level C: ages 10–11

Level D: ages 11–12

Level E: ages 12–13

Level F: ages 13–15

Level G: ages 15+

Depending on the school you are applying to, the scheduling of the test can change. Common times tend to be between October and January for Year 6 students sitting the 11 plus, or in September for Year 7 children who need to be allocated a set during term time.

How is CAT4 structured?

1. Verbal

The verbal reasoning portion of the test focusses on words and word patterns and is divided into Verbal Classification and Verbal Analogies. For example, a student may be presented with a group of words and instructed to single out the word that does not belong to the category. These questions are asking the student to think about how the words are connected and what the relationship is between them.

2. Non-Verbal

The non-verbal reasoning portion of the test focusses on reasoning with numbers, shapes and patterns and is divided into Figure Classification and Figure Matrices. A student may be asked what number or shape comes next in a sequence. This requires the student to look at similar features of numerical and geometrical data.

3. Quantitative

The quantitative portion of the test focusses on reasoning shapes and their design and is divided into Number Series and Number Analogies. These tasks may involve finding the missing pair to a number, for example.

4. Spacial

The spacial portion involves manipulating shapes mentally and working with net shapes. This part of the test is divided into Figure Analysis and Figure Recognition. A student will need to demonstrate the ability to construct a mental image of a shape in transformed states. This may be turning it 90 degrees or imagining the shape of paper if folded, for example. Again, the student needs to find which shape completes a pattern or matches another.

What is the best way to prepare for CAT4?

At British Tutors, we ensure our students are prepared, whether that be through bespoke one-on-one tuition or through extra efforts at home. Here are a few tips on how to prepare your children to develop their reasoning skills:

1. Online platforms

British Tutors work closely with adaptive learning tools and have a discount code for some great online platforms. You can find many online resources which allow you to purchase mock tests. Make sure to contact your tutor or the British Tutors office in Hong Kong/Singapore for our recommendation.

2. Tuition

A few hours of practice a week in the lead up to tests will go a long way to improve performance. Your tutor can add useful insights on strategic tactics and gamify the revision. Your tutor will also be able to slowly increase the level of difficulty so that the right foundations can be laid and the formats familiarised.

3. Vocabulary

Increasing a child’s vocabulary will vastly improve their results, especially when it comes to the verbal reasoning section of CAT4. There are many wonderful vocabulary apps for children to learn a new word every day.

Alternatively, they can use a dictionary at home to pick out new words to learn. A top British Tutors tip is to write as many new words with their definitions as possible and place them around your house in places your child will see. Every time they open their cupboard, look in the mirror or open the fridge, they will be expanding their lexicon!

More ideas include mini spelling tests, playing word games, reading books in new genres, and keeping a vocabulary log. Just ask your tutor for more creative ideas!

4. Spacial play

Your children may appreciate this one most! Spacial play, such as using Lego blocks or Meccano can help your child get in the habit of how shapes connect. Many engaging exercises can be done at home with simple materials too. How about using a mirror and trying to trace a shape without directly looking at it? Or seeing how many shapes you can create when you fold a piece of paper?

5. Tetris

Everyone loves Tetris as it is the perfect puzzle. This game can be downloaded on any phone and offers great practice for the spatial portion of CAT4. It’s timed too!

6. Student Becomes Teacher

This is a great technique that many of our team members at British Tutors use. See if your child can have a go creating some of their own reasoning questions for their friends or family to try out. This will encourage them to understand what the questions are asking for and familiarise themselves with the layout.

British Tutors has a team of professional tutors waiting to provide their warm support and academic expertise to those sitting cognitive ability tests in Hong Kong, Singapore and the UK. Contact us today to arrange for one of our tutors to tailor a plan just for you!

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