Chosen by primary and secondary schools for its proven accuracy in delivering insights that curriculum tests can’t, CAT4 is taken by two thirds of secondary schools in Ireland each year. It’s one of the world’s leading tests of reasoning abilities for children aged 6-17+ years.

Measuring the four main types of ability known to make a difference to learning and achievement, CAT4 provides an independent perspective on potential pupil achievement, with reliable information for each child that will help identify where to provide extra support or set more challenging targets.

CAT4 also provides subject indicators when used in either third year, transition year or fifth year for Leaving Certificate subjects, helping you give informed guidance at this crucial time.

Given schools have been closed for the majority of students for a number of months this year, CAT4 can provide you with valuable baselining and transition data as schools reopen, with national benchmarks for levels D, E, F and G.

How can CAT4 make a difference to you?

CAT4 questions answered

What does CAT4 do?

CAT4 provides a rounded profile of pupil ability so you can target support, provide the right level of challenge and make informed decisions about pupils’ progress. It measures strengths and weaknesses across four batteries:

Verbal Reasoning – the ability to express ideas and reason through words is essential to subjects with a high language content, and the most obvious skill picked up by traditional assessment.

Non-verbal Reasoning – problem-solving using pictures and diagrams; skills which are important in a wide range of school subjects, including maths and science-based subjects.

Spatial Reasoning – the capacity to think and draw conclusions in three dimensions, needed for many STEM subjects, but not easily measured by other datasets.

Quantitative Reasoning – the ability to use numerical skills to solve problems, applicable well beyond mathematics.

Why use CAT4?

CAT4 has been standardised on 6,500 pupils aged 10-17 years in schools in Ireland, which means that you can see how your pupils compare to others across the country.

What does CAT4 tell you?

The true potential of pupils, flagging where hidden factors are affecting performance. A range of easy-to-follow individual and group reports provide a more complete picture than curriculum tests can provide by themselves. They’re benchmarked against national performance and include Leaving Certificate indicators (with CAT4 Levels F and G).

How do I use CAT4?

CAT4 can be taken online or on paper at any point in the academic year. And because the data is robust it supports feedback and planning discussions with senior leaders, pupils and parents.

CAT4 Young Learners (a shorter, paper-based version of CAT4 adapted for young children) is available for children aged 6 – 8 years.

CAT4 is available for children aged 6 – 17+ years and comes in seven different levels of difficulty. Each comprises three tests of 45 minutes each; 2 hours 15 minutes in total.

Who uses CAT4?

Secondary schools in Ireland already choose CAT4 to assess 1st year pupils and later, at either 3rd/TY or 5th year.

Primary schools in Ireland use CAT4 with 2nd or 3rd classes to help understand pupils’ wider abilities before they move up to the senior classes.

Age range

CAT4 level

England & Wales


Northern Ireland

Republic of Ireland

6:00 - 7:11




Y3 (P3)

1st class





Y4 (P4)

2nd class





Y4 (P4)

2nd class

7:06 - 9:11




Y5 (P5)

3rd class





Y6 (P6)

4th class

9:06 – 11:11




Y7 (P7)

5th class

10:06 – 12:11




Y8 (F1)

End of 5th class/ 6th class

11:06 – 13:11




Y9 (F2)

End of 6th class/ 1st Year

12:06 – 15:11


Y9 & Y10

S3 & S4

Y10 & Y11 (F3 & F4)

2nd and 3rd Year

14:06 – 17:00+



S5 & S6

Y12+ (F5+)

4th/TY/5th Year


Note: only levels D to G have Irish norms. 

Using CAT4 from transition to GCSEs

"We've found kids with amazing potential that we wouldn't have known about without CAT4."