Shine a light on masked capability

The information on this page will help you to administer CAT4 and to understand and use the data it provides. There is further reading about the standardisation process for the assessment and links to the support page for our online testing platform, Testwise.

How to use CAT4

CAT4 is a standardised assessment of reasoning ability. It is important to select the correct level for the students being tested, and to follow the administration guidance to ensure an accurate result.

Links to resources: 

Online Testing




Support contact details

For technical enquiries please

call +44 (0) 330 123 5375
or email

Frequently Asked Questions

If I read out the CAT Verbal Battery questions to students, will this invalidate the test?

If you read out the test questions in the Verbal Battery then you cannot use the Standard Age Scores, because this was not how the test was administered to the standardisation sample.
If you have concerns about a student who may find the Verbal Reasoning Battery too challenging, then you should assess the student in two stages:

First, administer all four CAT batteries in the standard way. If a student has specific language difficulties, then this should be revealed in the profile of his or her scores across the four batteries. We might expect the Verbal score to be significantly lower than either the Quantitative, Non-verbal or Spatial score. (Significant in this context means a difference of 10 or more Standard Age Score points.) If this is the case, then you have independent evidence to confirm the student's difficulties in reasoning with words as compared to numbers, patterns or spatial concepts. 

Second, to isolate a specific problem with reading, you could read some of the verbal questions to the student. If their response to these questions is markedly better than on the first occasion this might isolate reading as the problem. This would suggest that the student's 'true' reasoning score is obscured by reading difficulties. In CAT4 it is recommended that students with a stanine score of 3 or below on the Verbal tests should be administered a reading test as a follow up.

How reliant is CAT on the quality of the administrator explaining and supervising the test?

It is important that the administrator follows the text set out in the administration instructions very closely. Each sub-test starts with example and practice questions; the administrator must use these to ensure that students are familiar with the test layout and question formats before they start the test. CAT is a timed test and it is vital that a stopwatch or watch or clock with a second is used to ensure the correct amount of time is given for each sub-test: for example, ten minutes for the Figure Matrices test means exactly 10 minutes, not 9.5 minutes or 10.5 minutes. Providing the administration instructions are followed accurately by the administrator, the influence of the particular administrator should be minimal.
If the digital edition is being taken, the administration instructions are given through the voiceover and the timer is part of the test so there is no need for the administrator to present the question types or time the test. However, it is still important that the administrator ensures that the testing environment is appropriate and answers any queries as necessary. 

Can I spread the administration of CAT4 across a cohort over the same academic year?

No. It’s advisable for the same cohort to take CAT4 as close together as possible and at least within the same term. This ensures that student results can be compared with one another with confidence and teachers and administrators can obtain as accurate results as possible.

Can I administer just one or two batteries?

No. The CAT4 standardisation was conducted on the completion of four batteries and the reports will therefore provide the most accurate data when all four batteries are taken.
The exception to this guidance is when it is considered inappropriate to administer the verbal tests to students for whom English is an additional language.
If you’re looking for a stand-alone Verbal or Non-verbal assessment, GL Assessment offers a number of alternatives which you should consider. Tests in our reasoning series may be used with students from age 5.

Can the CAT4 batteries be taken in any order?

No. The batteries must be taken in the order in which they were standardised. This is how they are presented in both the paper and digital editions of CAT4. The sequence is:
  • Non-verbal Reasoning
  • Verbal Reasoning
  • Quantitative Reasoning
  • Spatial Ability
It is recommended that when administering the paper tests, two or three sessions should be scheduled and a break taken between each battery.
The digital tests are in a set order and administered in three parts:
  • Part 1 – Non-verbal Reasoning
  • Part 2 – Verbal Reasoning and the first Quantitative test
  • Part 3 – the second Quantitative test and Spatial Ability

Does CAT4 have new indicators?

Yes, the indicators for KS2, GCSE and AS/A Levels have all been updated for CAT4.


I am a new user and need guidance on which reports I need.

Please see the Reports section of this website for a full description of the CAT4 reports. Briefly, there are eight core reports available for CAT4:
Group report for teachers  this includes scores for all students in the pre-defined group with analysis by battery and gender (plus by additional criteria specified by the school) and a full range of indicators depending on the level of CATadministered. An overview of students’ profiles is available from this report with a listing of which students fall into each profile. This is part of the Standard Service for paper users and is automatically available to users of digital CAT4.
Chargeable reports are:
  • Individual report for teachers this gives a more detailed analysis of an individual student with the full range of scores, indicators and a narrative description of their profile and its implications for teaching and learning.
  • Individual report for students – a student-friendly version of the teacher report explaining performance and offering advice of how the student can learn most effectively.
  • Individual report for parents – a parent-friendly version of the teacher report explaining their child’s performance and offering advice on how parents can support learning at home.
  • Summary report for senior leaders – an overview of the group’s performance that is tailored for school’s management team and Board of Governors.
  • Summary presentation for senior leaders (PowerPoint® format) – this extracts information from the Summary report for senior leaders and presents it in a short but detailed presentation that is suitable for use at management and Board meetings and for any whole school sessions relating to CAT4.
  • Excel report – exported raw/core data to facilitate further in-school analysis and uploading to the school’s management system
  • Cluster report – a version of the Summary report for senior leaders but covering several schools.

I have the Group report for teachers for my Year 7 cohort but I need to generate further versions by Tutor Group. How do I do this and is there a charge?

If you need to re-run the Group report for teachers in order to produce a series of reports for small groups of students such as tutor groups or you need to add in late arrivals, there is no charge.


Using the data from CAT4

Effective use of the data from CAT4 allows schools to personalise teaching and learning, set realistic but challenging targets and identify where interventions are needed.

The combination reports bring together data from CAT4 and other assessments to add context to students’ attainment and progress.

GEMS Wellington case study


ISCS case study webinar


Technical Information

The links below provide information about the standardisation process , the reliability of the test and how to explain the test to parents.

Links to resources: