Types Of Cognitive Abilities Tests

Last Updated on October 7, 2023 by Editorial Team

Cognition is an important function of the brain that helps us analyze and acquire knowledge and put it to use. This ability is present in individuals in varying degrees. Some courses in the academic field, and also, a few career choices require candidates with well-pronounced cognitive abilities. That is why cognitive ability testing has become an important part of the admissions and recruitment process. These are useful for predicting performance levels and deciding the instructional methods[1]

Why is a cognitive ability test needed?

A cognitive ability test makes sense in both academic life and the life beyond it. In academic spheres, the tests to assess cognitive ability help ascertain various capabilities of the students[2], such as:

  • Reasoning Ability
  • Ease of grasping new knowledge and adding more to current skill set
  • Verbal and mathematical ability
  • Problem-solving skills

Based on the findings of cognitive ability tests, the teachers and parents may understand the aptitude and interest of any student in any specific branch of study.

Cognitive capabilities testing is not limited to life at the campus only. These tests have become assessment tools for employers too. Emergent technologies’ use, modes of working and presenting ideas, and the need to be multi-talented require employers to ascertain that workers fit the ever-changing conditions at work. Hence, the hiring process involves conducting tests of various types. Let’s take a look at all the types of cognitive ability tests used by recruiters.

What do these cover?

Broadly speaking, the cognitive ability tests cover assessment methods that help determine abilities pertaining to learning, working, analyzing, and using information. A few of the prominent classifications of these tests and their brief descriptions are[3]:

  • Verbal reasoning: Mostly comprising reading comprehension testing, the aim of this test is to ascertain the candidate’s ability to understand and extract information from the written text and put it to use as instructed.
  • Numeric calculation and reasoning ability: In this test, the candidate is checked for proficiency in understanding numeric relationships and doing number-crunching with required ease.
  • Learning agility: How easily and readily the candidates can acquire newer skills and improve their learning is checked from the learning agility tests.
  • Spatial reasoning ability: This ability refers to the ease of visualizing and manipulating objects like a row or a pile of objects to create more formations from them. It is required for fields like architecture, computer-aided modeling, etc.
  • Visual reasoning: How easily the candidates can assess the visual inputs and create the relevant information source needed to accomplish job requirements are assessed with this test.
  • Perceptual fluency and accuracy: The candidates’ ease with learning how to process information and rearticulate it for work objectives is tested with this type of cognitive ability test.

A few specialized cognitive ability assessment procedures

A few specialized cognitive ability assessment methods that comprise a few or most of the tests mentioned above are in vogue. The purpose of developing these specialized tests is to match the candidates with the relevant jobs in the most precise manner. Examples are:

1. McQuaig Mental Agility Test

This test[4] comprises a check of verbal understanding, reasoning, and mathematical ability. It is a time-pressed test where the candidates need to solve a variety of questions in a given time period. The tests indicate the ease and perfection with which the candidates can perform various operations, and make correct decisions required for the jobs.

Official Link

2. Thomas International General Intelligence Assessment

Thomas International General Intelligence Assessment[5] is registered with the British Psychological Society. This assessment procedure is multi-faceted and tests the candidates’ proficiency on various grounds. The assessors can find out problem-solving skills, ease of adapting to the job, and identification of potential to lead and initiate change in an organization with this test. When required to predict the possibility of job success, this test proves its utility.

Official Link

3. Revelian (Now Criteria) Cognitive Ability Tests

Revelian (now Criteria) cognitive ability tests are games-based and focus on determining the cognitive aptitude of the candidates[6]. These tests simplify the process of picking the possible top performers and assign them the roles of responsibility accordingly. It is a diversified test that comprises checking abstract reasoning ability apart from verbal and numeric.

The test is designed by an Australian organization engaged in skill management programs and has a conspicuous global reach. The tests’ structure comprises mini-games, solving timed questions and quizzes, pattern identification questions, etc. The main characteristics assessed by this cognitive testing system are:

  • Cognitive competency
  • Situation handling ease
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Interpersonal relationship management

This test is quite appropriate for checking the person’s ability to lead the team and manage responsibilities.

Official Link

4. Wonderlic Personnel Test

Several jobs have their specific IQ requirements. Wonderlic Personnel test scores have become a proven proficiency indicator. Apart from giving the best tool to recruiters to assess the candidates’ intelligence and analytical abilities, it offers a concrete ranking method to help self-assessors know their eligibility for various jobs[7]. There is a complete list of job profiles and related assessment scores available that helps simplify the eligibility determination process.

The Wonderlic assessment method is employed by schools to counsel students on correct career choices. Businesses armed forces, and even the NFL approve the use of Wonderlic assessment procedures to recognize and assess the individuals’ potential.

Official Link

Final thoughts

Cognitive ability and intelligence are loosely related terms. While an intelligent person shows the ability to learn new ideas, reason, and question correctly, cognitive ability shows how smoothly the person applies the learnings. The cognitive aptitude tests or ability assessments clear the air for both the learners and the teachers in schools and help recruiters, too, to have the right candidate for jobs.

Changing work conditions and newer ways of attaining knowledge at schools and higher institutes make it imperative to carry out cognitive ability assessments to ascertain fitness. These determiners can also help design IEP goals in a learner-centric way.


  1. John E Hunter,Cognitive ability, cognitive aptitudes, job knowledge, and job performance, Journal of Vocational Behavior, Volume 29, Issue 3, 1986, Pages 340-362, ISSN 0001-8791, https://doi.org/10.1016/0001-8791(86)90013-8.
  2. Finn, A. S., Kraft, M. A., West, M. R., Leonard, J. A., Bish, C. E., Martin, R. E., Sheridan, M. A., Gabrieli, C. F., & Gabrieli, J. D. (2014). Cognitive skills, student achievement tests, and schools. Psychological science25(3), 736–744. https://doi.org/10.1177/0956797613516008
  3. H. (2021, June 23). The Ultimate Guide To Cognitive Ability Assessments. Harver. https://harver.com/blog/cognitive-ability-assessments/
  4. Psychometriq. (2021, November 29). McQuaig Mental Agility Test in PDF 2022. https://www.psychometriq.com/mcquaig-mental-agility-test/
  5. AptitudeTests.org. (2021, May 10). Thomas International. Online Psychometric and Aptitude Tests Explained. https://www.aptitudetests.org/thomas-international/
  6. Landers, Richard & Armstrong, Michael & Collmus, Andrew & Mujcic, Salih & Blaik, Jason. (2021). Theory-driven Game-based Assessment of General Cognitive Ability: Design Theory, Measurement, Prediction of Performance, and Test Fairness. Journal of Applied Psychology. 10.1037/apl0000954.
  7. McKelvie, S. J. (1989). The Wonderlic Personnel Test: Reliability and Validity in an Academic Setting. Psychological Reports, 65(1), 161–162. https://doi.org/10.2466/pr0.1989.65.1.161

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