How to Ace The Criteria Cognitive Aptitude Test!

The process of landing on your dream job and being hired by the best companies has now become a race, where candidates have to surpass many hurdles to get the job.

While resumes and respective degrees were once enough to get you in your dream company, hiring people on the basis of cognitive aptitude tests, have now become the rage.

What is the Criteria Cognitive Aptitude Test?

The criteria Cognitive Aptitude Test (aka CCAT) is a pre-employment test that focuses on measuring a candidate’s ability to learn new skills, to solve problems, to digest and apply information, and to think critically. Companies often consider it more productive and accurate than verbal interviews.

Criteria Cognitive Aptitude Test CCAT in a Glance

Further, your score and performance in the test will tell recruiters how good you are expected to be in picking up the new role and how efficient you are likely to be within their organization.

What to Expect in the Test

The Criteria Cognitive Aptitude Test will have 50 questions, from three respective sections: (1) verbal, (2) math and logic, and (3) spatial reasoning. You will be given only 15 minutes, which means less than 20 seconds to answer each question – if you are to get them all.
Yet, luckily, there is no need for you to answer all the questions, as less than 1% of the candidates does this in the given time. Instead, focus on answering correctly as many questions as you can, to get a high score on the test.

Once the test is complete, Criteria will provide your raw score and a percentile ranking. These indicate the number of correct answered questions, and your position versus the other test takers, respectively.

Fast Facts

  • There is a total of 50 questions
  • You have to complete the test in just 15 minutes
  • Questions will be of three types: verbal, math and logic, and spatial reasoning
  • You can’t use calculators

5 Foolproof Preparation Tips

(1) Know the Instructions:  During preparation, take the time and read the instructions carefully and then plan your test strategy to score high. In any event, you should avoid wasting time on instructions during the real test – that’s what practice is for.

(2) Work On Time Management:  Don’t forget that time will be ticking down on your screen! You don’t have to answer all the questions to impress your future employer. So, don’t spend more than 20-30 seconds on any one question. Also, while the CCAT does not allow you to go back to review questions, it also doesn’t give a penalty for incorrect answers. So if you are in doubt with a question, it’s better to make an educated guess and move to the next one.

(3) Know Your Strengths:  Through practice, you will be able to identify question types that you answer more intuitively, thus faster. Try to answer all of them. More importantly, you will probably identify question types that you find to be more difficult. Some of us are slow readers, some are confused by percentages, some have a weaker command of grammar. If you encounter a question for which you know you will need to more time, mark one of the answers and move forward. It is not worth it to lose 20 seconds on a question and only then to decide to move on.

Luckily, there is no need for you to answer all the questions, as less than 1% of the candidates does this in the given time.

(4) Answer Enough Questions Correctly: “Enough” does not mean to answer all the questions of the test correctly. Only a small fraction of test takers manage to finish the test and even fewer people answer all the questions correctly. It is that difficult!

On average, people answer correctly only 24 out of 50 test questions. For the vast majority of the jobs, if you manage to get 28 correct answers out of 50, you will surely secure the next step of the recruitment process. The requested score, however, changes according to the job level you apply for.

(5) Have a CCAT Strategy to Follow During the Exam: 

  • Your absolute goal is to answer enough questions correctly – not to answer all the questions of the test correctly.
  • Make your best guess if you have to.
  • Do not spend too much time on any one particular question.

Best Resources To Prepare For the CCAT

To maximize your chances of competing with other candidates, follow a solid practice routine beforehand. Warm up your skills and practice online by following iPrep’s free and proprietary CCAT practice resources.


Practice makes perfect. Invest your time now in preparing for the test and simulate the test as many times as possible. Ample preparation should boost your skills, confidence and relieve your stress. This, in turn, will allow you to perform better under the time constraints and get you to the next recruitment-process step.