Cognitive Ability Test - Free Practice Questions
David Meshulam

David, Psychometric Testing Expert at JobTestPrep.

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What do Cognitive Ability Tests Measure?

By combining questions of varying complexity from several fields with a stressful time limit, the cognitive ability test challenges the candidate's problem solving and processing speed abilities, and provides the employer with a measurement of general cognitive ability - a central component of intelligence.

Cognitive testing is such a popular hiring process tool because it is one of the most valid predictors of job success. By giving the employer a preview of a candidate’s cognitive abilities, the cognitive ability test increases the chances that the hiring process will be successful – to the benefit of the organization as well as the candidate.


What Topics are Included in Cognitive Ability Tests?

Although there is a wide variety of cognitive ability tests that differ in format and difficulty, they generally all set out to measure the same fields:

  • Numerical Reasoning – this is the broad term for number-based cognitive skill tests that range from basic math problems to complex numerical problem solving.
  • Verbal Reasoning – these cognitive tests evaluate your language comprehension through a range of English language skills, such as vocabulary, grammar, reading comprehension, and critical reasoning.
  • Deductive Reasoning – questions where you must deduce from certain rules given in a statement or argument in order to reach conclusions.
  • Logical Reasoning – these questions assess your ability to understand complicated texts and, most importantly, to utilize critical thinking skills to draw conclusions and recognize important facts.
  • Abstract Reasoning – these cognitive tests measure your ability to draw conclusions based on hidden information in symbols or matrices. You are asked to identify a missing item that completes a certain pattern of logic that you must recognize in a sample given to you.
Play cognitive ability test video abstract
cognitive ability test video abstract

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Cognitive Test Example Questions

In this section, you will find 20 cognitive ability example questions simulating those you would find in the most respected cognitive ability tests in use today. Read each question carefully and select the answer you think is correct, and then read the full answer that follows. Good luck! 


1. Verbal Analogy: find the relationship between the pair of words below, and identify the most similar relationship in the answer options.


Correct Answer
Incorrect Answer

The answer is C.

REPLETE means “full with,” and FAMISHED means “very hungry.” If a person is FAMISHED, they are not REPLETE with food. In a specific context, these two adjectives directly contradict one another.

If something is BLATANT it is very obvious, while if something is MASKED it is hidden. If something is MASKED, it is not BLATANT – these two words also directly contradict each other, and is, therefore, the correct answer.

Incorrect Answers
A – SHROUD means “to cover,” and HASTEN means “to do something quickly.” These two words do not have a strong relationship.

B – PLAUSIBLE means “reasonable,” and PLACATE means “try to please.” These two words do not have a strong relationship.

D – COMMENCE means to begin, and a person GRADUATEs upon completing a course of study. Often, GRADUATION ceremonies are referred to as COMMENCEment ceremonies. These two words are related but do not contradict one another.

E – A person who is DEPRESSED may not be SUCCESSFUL, but these two words do not directly contradict each other.


2. Number Series: identify the hidden pattern in the series of numbers below, and use it to predict the next / missing number:

8 | 3 | 9 | 10 | 17 | ?

Correct Answer
Incorrect Answer

The answer is: 25.

Answer explanation: This series is a variation of the famous Fibonacci sequence: each term equals the sum of the two previous terms minus 2.


3. Abstract Reasoning - the numbers in the figures below have the same mathematical relationship to one another.

What number should replace the question mark in the figure below?


Correct Answer
Incorrect Answer

The correct answer is: 2.

When solving this type of question it is important to understand the pattern that the three circles exhibit and the numerical relationship between them.

Focus on the quarter that the question mark appears in and check to see if there is a common relationship that repeats itself between that quarter and the other quarters of each of the circles.

In this example, the circles share the following pattern: (Top cell) minus (Diagonal-bottom-cell) = 1.

e.g. left circle: 6 (top-left) – 5 (bottom-right) = 1, 9 (top-right) – 8 (bottom-left) = 1; right circle: 0 (top-left) – (-1) (bottom-right) = 1.

According to the reasoning above the (top-left) cell – (bottom-right) cell = 1. Therefore, the (bottom-right) cell = 2.


4. Deductive Reasoning - These cognitive test questions measure your ability to analyze sentences and reach a logical conclusion. Some of the questions are numerical, and some are verbal, and the conclusion is generally reached by applying general rules.

If the first two statements are true, is the final statement true?

Most snakes are green.
Most snakes are quick.

At least one snake is both green and quick.

Correct Answer
Incorrect Answer

The correct answer is A - Yes.

The way to solve this type of question is to examine the ratios and see if there could be an overlap between the two groups - if most of the snakes are green and most of the snakes are quick, we can deduce that there has to be at least one green snake that is also quick.

This happens because the subgroups of "green" and "quick" each constitute more than 50% of the entire snake population (most of the snakes means more than 50%) and consequently must overlap.



5. Numerical Reasoning:
Percentages and Word Problems. Percentage problems can take the form of word problems and are usually structured in the following way: "(this) is (a percentage) of (that)", which translates to = (to a decimal) × (that)".

If there are 32 students in the classroom and 12.5% of them own at least one pet, how many students do not own any pets?



Correct Answer
Incorrect Answer

The correct answer is 28.

It helps to memorize the most common fractions that represent each type of percentages/decimals.

For example:
1\4 = 0.25 = 25%
1\8 = 0.125 = 12.5%

If there are 32 students in the class and only 12.5% of them own at least one pet then all that is left is to divide 32\8 to know that 4 students own a pet and 28 do not.


6. Verbal Reasoning: Vocabulary

Clout most closely means -

Correct Answer
Incorrect Answer

The correct answer is prestige.
The word clout has two meanings: (1) A heavy blow, especially with the hand (2) The power to influence, usually regarding politics or business.
Prestige is close in meaning to the second definition of clout and is therefore the correct answer.


7. Numerical Reasoning: Word Problems

Shelley has 7 dresses, 8 pairs of shoes, and 7 necklaces. If she wears one combination of clothes per day. How many days can she go without wearing the same outfit?


Correct Answer
Incorrect Answer

The answer is 392. 

This is a classic combinations question. In order to solve the problem, you must figure the correct number of choices in each category. We have 3 categories:
Dresses= a choice between 7 options.
Shoes = a choice between 8 options.
Necklaces = a choice between 7 options.

The overall number of combinations equals to a multiplication of the number of options within each category: 7*7*8=392


8. Verbal Reasoning: Synonym / Antonym

IMPERIOUS is the opposite of:


Correct Answer
Incorrect Answer

The correct answer is subservient.

Imperious means "domineering in a haughty manner; dictatorial; overbearing," so the antonym is subservient. Arrogant is a similar word but not a synonym. Quiet, stormy, and gloomy are not related.

Therefore, the correct answer is subservient.


Questions 2-8 are the type of cognitive questions you will face in the Wonderlic Test. For a full length Wonderlic practice test, click here



9. Abstract Reasoning - Spatial  

Which of the following boxes should replace the question mark (?) to complete the pattern?


cognitive ability test spatial


Correct Answer
Incorrect Answer

The arrows move 90 degrees counterclockwise, and the colors change between black, grey and white in cycles of three.

Based on the progression of the arrows, the following arrow in the series must be gray and pointing downwards.

10. Logical Reasoning - Syllogisms are a type of deductive reasoning where a conclusion is drawn from two premises provided to you in the question. 

Assume the first two statements are true:

All athletes are hard workers.

Alice is not an athlete.

Alice is not a hard worker.

Is the final statement:

Uncertain based on the information provided
Correct Answer
Incorrect Answer

You can deduce from the first statement that all athletes are hard workers, but you do not have any information about non-athletes.

Therefore, according to the second statement, you cannot conclude anything regarding Alice, who is not an athlete.

The final statement is uncertain.

11. Numerical reasoning - Word Problems

In a popular music station, songs are played fully and uninterrupted (i.e., no commercial breaks).
The popular music broadcast "Hits All Around Us" lasts 2 hours and 15 minutes, in which two-song lengths are played – songs that last 3 minutes and songs that last 6 minutes.

How many songs will be played during the broadcast?

44 at most
23 at least
15 at least
42 at most
24 at least
Correct Answer
Incorrect Answer

Two hours and 15 minutes are 135 minutes in total.

The most songs that can be played are 45 (45 songs X 3 minutes each = 135 minutes).

The last songs that can be played are 23 (22 songs X 6 minutes each + 1 song X 3 minutes = 132 + 3 = 135)

12. Verbal Reasoning - sentence completion. Choose the word that, when inserted in the sentence to replace the blank, best fits the meaning of the sentence.

Electronic information and automated systems are essential to ____ all major federal operations.

Correct Answer
Incorrect Answer

The sentence refers to electronic information that is fundamental to (something) all major federal operations. The sentence's general idea implies that electronic information is essential to practically / nearly / almost all primary federal operations.

Therefore, the only word accurately reflecting that meaning in the sentence's context is "virtually".

13. Abstract Reasoning - these types of cognitive questions require finding hidden patterns or rules in shapes. There are many types of abstract reasoning questions in cognitive tests, in which you need to pay attention to different elements. In the following question, you must pay attention to shape and movement. 

Which of the following boxes should replace the question mark (?) to complete the pattern?

cognitive ability test abstract reasoning 2


Correct Answer
Incorrect Answer

In this series, alternating vertical lines or vertical chains of circles are added to each figure, depending on the previous figure.

The middle circle in the vertical chain is always black. Since the last figure in the series contained an additional vertical chain of circles, the next figure should include an additional vertical line.

The figure appearing in answer option A is the only one that fits.

 14. Letter Series - What would be the next group of letters in the following series?

zone --> ynnd --> xmnc --> wlnb --> ?

Correct Answer
Incorrect Answer

The pattern in this question is that all the letters move one letter backward in the alphabet except the letter "n" which stays constant.  Therefore the answer is vkna.


Tip - at first glance, this type of cognitive ability question seems confusing. It is in fact no different than a number series! To help you solve these questions quickly, write down the ABC with a corresponding number beneath each letter (A-1, B-2 etc.). This will help you identify the pattern.  

Cognitive question examples 9-14 are the type of questions you will encounter in the CCAT Test. To practice more questions, try our Free CCAT Practice Test.

15. Logical Reasoning - In the following question you will be presented with a fact and a pursuant conclusion. It is up to you to decide if the conclusion can be proven or not. 

FACTS: If Jason is late to the meeting, Kevin will have to work late. Lois will not cook dinner for Kevin unless Kevin gets home from work on time. If Lois does not cook dinner for Kevin, Kevin will order pizza for dinner. Lois cooked dinner for Kevin.

CONCLUSION: Jason was late to the meeting.

The facts prove the conclusion
The facts disprove the conclusion
The facts neither prove nor disprove the conclusion
Correct Answer
Incorrect Answer

The facts disprove the conclusion 

If Jason is late to the meeting then Kevin will not get home from work on time because he will have to work late. Lois will cook dinner for Kevin only if Kevin gets home from work on time Thus, if Lois cooked dinner for Kevin, Jason could not have come late to the meeting.

16. Verbal Reasoning - Odd One Out. In this type of cognitive question, you need to select the word that stands out in regard to its meaning.

Which word does not belong on this list?

Correct Answer
Incorrect Answer

The correct answer is archaic 

Archaic is a word used to describe something that belongs to an earlier period of time, while the other words are used to describe sad and gloomy states of mind or facial expressions. 

17. Abstract Reasoning - Odd One Out

Choose the odd one out:

cognitive ability abstract sample


Correct Answer
Incorrect Answer

The correct answer is C.

The logic: In all of the options except for option three, there is a vertical line which separates these boxes into two, equal, symmetrical halves which mirror one another. If these boxes were pieces of paper which were folded vertically, the items in the boxes would be matching and perfectly identical. The right and left halves are mirror-images of one another. This is not the case for option three. In option 3, there is no mirroring effect between the halves. Both hearts have to be either on the top or on the box's bottom for there to be symmetry.

You have probably noticed that the amount, shape and color of the items are insignificant features and are simply distracters.

 18. Numerical Reasoning - Word Problems

When a smartphone is connected to a charger the battery charge increases by 4.5% per minute. When applications are in use the battery decreases by 3% per 2.5 minutes.

What is the percentage of charging rate per minute if the phone is connected to a charger while several applications are in use?

Correct Answer
Incorrect Answer

The correct answer is 3.3%.

In order to tackle this question we will first need to understand that there are two opposite "forces" in this question - charging and discharging (i.e. application usage) of the battery. The charger works in a "positive direction" and the applications in a "negative direction".
Now we can address the given information:
Charger's work rate: 4.5/1 (4.5% charge per minute)
Applications' work rate: -3/2.5 = -1.2/1 (1.2% discharge per minute)
Thus, the total charging rate ("sum of forces"): 4.5/1 – 1.2/1 = 3.3/1, meaning: 3.3% per minute.

19. Logical Reasoning


Most technicians work on the first floor.
All accountants work on the second floor.
No secretaries work on the third floor.

Conclusion: Rose, a technician, works on the third floor.


If the assumptions are true, is the conclusion:

Cannot be determined based on the given information
Correct Answer
Incorrect Answer

According to the first assumption, most technicians work on the first floor. This means that there is at least one technician who does not work on the first floor. Thus, Rose may or may not work on the third floor.

Therefore, the conclusion Cannot be determined based on the information

20. Abstract Reasoning - Next in Series

 Which block completes the following sequence:

Predictive Index Cognitive Assessment Abstract Reasoning 1


Predictive Index Cognitive Assessment answer 1


Correct Answer
Incorrect Answer

The correct answer is D.

The two black sections of the circle move around it clockwise in a different pattern: the section on the upper left side of the circle moves two sections each step. The second section (upper right side in the first frame) stays in the same spot for a step and then moves two sections in the next two steps.
When the two sections land on the same spot, they appear as one, such as in the third frame.

In the next frame of the sequence, the first section should appear on the upper right side of the circle, so answers (A), (B), and (E) can be ruled out. The second section should stay where it is, which leaves the answer (D).

 Cognitive questions 15-20 are the types of questions commonly found in the PI cognitive assessment. To practice more questions like these, try our free Predictive Index Practice Test.

Prepare for your Cognitive Ability Test

Cognitive tests present two major obstacles: short time frames, and questions that include known tricks and distracters. Luckily, you can overcome these two obstacles with the right practice.

JobTestPrep's cognitive test preparation packs offer a comprehensive review of all the question types seen on contemporary employers' cognitive ability tests. Practicing the full range of numerical, verbal, deductive, spatial, and logical reasoning questions under strict time frames can greatly assist in improving your scores.

We also provide detailed answer explanations, helping you to understand the logic behind each question. Furthermore, our insightful score reports can help you assess your own cognitive abilities, strengths, and weaknesses.

Start preparing today with one of our specialized prep packs!


Tips to Help You Pass Your Cognitive Test

Cognitive tests can be daunting, and the stress that accompanies them due to the high stakes that are involved can make them even more so. However, there are a number of tips and hacks that can help you improve your cognitive test score before even beginning to practice!


            • Don't waste too much time on one question.
              There will always be a question that you don't get and find yourself wasting time on. You've been asked what placate means and you don't remember? The best option is to guess and move on. Good time management is one of the most vital tools you will gain with our cognitive ability practice. 
            • Read the instructions carefully.
              Reading the instructions for each cognitive test question will help ensure you are not missing any important details, and keep you from missing out on points you had in the bag.
            • Guess!

              Given that an incorrect answer yields the same 1-point reduction from your cognitive ability score, it is best to not leave any questions unanswered and try guessing instead. This strategy is great in helping you earn as many points as you can, rather than losing points for leaving questions blank.

            • Use scrap paper. 

              The questions in cognitive tests are built to overload your brain. Using a piece of scrap paper to make calculations or visualize a tricky abstract reasoning question can make a big difference.

Types of Cognitive Ability Tests

While cognitive ability tests generally measure similar fields, they can vary significantly in length, time limit, and difficulty. Below are some of the most popular cognitive tests being used today, click on the link to learn more about how each one measures cognitive abilities:

  • Wonderlic – also known as the Wonderlic Personnel Test-Revised (WPT-R), this cognitive test pits you against 50 multiple-choice questions that must be completed in 12 minutes - meaning processing speed and time management are particularly important.
  • Criteria Cognitive Aptitude Test (CCAT) – a cognitive test that measures a candidate's cognitive aptitude, problem-solving abilities, skill-learning capabilities, and critical thinking. It consists of 50 questions and has a 15-minute time limit.
  • Predictive Index (PI) Cognitive Assessment – formerly known as the Professional Learning Indicator (PLI), this is a 12-minute cognitive test comprised of 50 questions. The PLI is given to potential hires to test for skills not easily found on a resume or during an interview and measures your capacity to solve problems, learn, and adapt in the workplace.
  • The Universal Cognitive Aptitude Test (UCAT) is a job application assessment that measures your critical thinking, problem-solving, analytical, and mathematical abilities. It consists of 40 questions, and you are given 20 minutes to complete it. Unlike the CCAT exam, the UCAT excludes verbal reasoning and verbal ability sections.
  • The Revelian Cognitive Ability Test (RCAT), previously known as Onetest, assesses three areas: verbal, numerical, and abstract reasoning. The test's difficulty increases as you proceed. You have 20 minutes to answer its 51 questions.
  • SHL Tests - SHL is a longtime giant of psychometric testing, with a set of recognized, well-validated assessments. Most common among them are the SHL Numerical, SHL Verbal, SHL Inductive, and SHL Deductive tests. These four are sometimes grouped together to create the SHL General Ability Test. Other cognitive assessments include the SHL Calculation Test, SHL Checking Test, and SHL Mechanical Comprehension.
  • The Caliper Assessment, commonly referred to as the Caliper Profile, is a pre-employment test designed to measure the alignment of your personality traits and cognitive skills with the demands of the job you're seeking. It's frequently used for senior, managerial, and leadership positions. 
    Try free Caliper test questions
  • Procter and Gamble Assessment - this cognitive abilities test is adaptive (changes in difficulty based on your answers) and fully interactive. It measures a number of cognitive abilities such as spatial orientation and memory, as well as personality traits through a personality test a situational judgment test. 
  • Pymetrics - The Pymetrics games test comprises a set of twelve activities crafted to evaluate your personality traits and cognitive abilities. The primary hurdle of the Pymetrics assessment lies in grasping the intended result of each test, along with the aspects being gauged and rated.
  • Free IBEW Practice - The IBEW Aptitude Test stands as a notably demanding cognitive assessment, mandatory for aspiring licensed electricians to successfully clear.
  • The Hogan Business Reasoning Inventory- a cognitive test, typically used to assess reasoning and decision-making skills for senior positions. 
  • Aon Assessments - Aon’s assessment tests are unique in their interface, gamified assessments, and their particular ways of evaluating your competencies, abilities, characteristics, and behavioral tendencies required in the workplace.
  • Mercer Mettl Test - assessing cognitive abilities, technical skills, and personality traits. With adaptive testing, it adjusts question difficulty based on your responses, offering precise insights for job applications and personal development.

Many tests include cognitive ability sections along with other topics. You can find army-related cognitive ability sample questions on our Free ASVAB Practice and Free AFOQT Practice Test

While not a cognitive test, interviews play a significant part in the hiring process for most employers. The most notorious one is the pre-recorded video interview.

Cognitive Ability Test Scores

Cognitive tests measure your cognitive abilities - but how are the scores used to decide which candidate gets the job?

There are two main scoring methods to compare cognitive ability scores:

Relative score - your score is placed on a bell curve along with the scores of other candidates so that your score is compared to theirs and a certain cutoff point is decided. For example, an employer might decide that only the top 10% of the scores move on to the next step of the hiring process. 

Absolute score - a threshold is set by the employer in advance, and your cognitive ability score needs to pass it. For example, getting more than 30 questions right in the Wonderlic Test

For more scoring methods, you can observe our ASVAB Scores guide.

CCAT, Wonderlic, Predictive Index, and the tests mentioned on this page are not affiliated with JobTestPrep or this site in any way.
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