Criteria CCAT Test: The Definitive Preparation Guide [2023]
Arbel TSA CBT Test Expert

Arbel, CCAT test expert at JobTestPrep.

Have a question? Contact me at: ask_arbel@jobtestprep.com


What is the Criteria Cognitive Aptitude Test?

The CCAT is a cognitive ability test that measures your critical thinking and problem solving skills using 50 verbal reasoning, spatial reasoning (abstract), math, and logic questions. These questions must be answered within a 15 minute time limit, leaving only 18 seconds per question. 

What makes the Criteria Cognitive Aptitude Test so challenging is the combination of two elements. First and foremost is the time limit, which is there to measure your ability to solve problems under pressure. The ticking clock can make even simple questions challenging, and as the test progresses the pressure will mount - this is why time management needs to be one of your top priorities. 

The second element is of course the questions themselves, which alternate between four topics and grow in difficulty as the test progresses and your time grows shorter. This means you need to adapt seamlessly to the question's topic and difficulty - moving from a intermediate word problem to a hard spatial reasoning question for example.

The CCAT is taken on Criteria's On Demand Assessment platform, a designated testing platform for all of Criteria's assessments. 

Check the following video to see the most common question types that appear on the test and how to solve them efficiently:

 

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What is a Cognitive Aptitude Test?

A cognitive aptitude test measures arguably the most essential aspects of the human mind. Cognition is the process that allows you to perceive reality, or in other words to analyze the information that you encounter every moment.

Cognitive tests are used for a variety of reasons, from doctors identifying cognitive impairment to companies or universities selecting the right candidates for professional or educational purposes.


In our case, the Criteria Cognitive Aptitude Test is used to measure cognitive aptitude in candidates for a variety of positions, specifically verbal, numerical, logical, and abstract reasoning abilities.

There are numerous cognitive ability tests that differ question type, difficulty and format – leading tests include CognifyPI, Wonderlic, & P&G. 


What is a Good CCAT Score?


Although the passing score on the Criteria Cognitive Aptitude Test largely depends on the position you are applying for, there are certain scores that will all but guarantee that you pass.
Answering 31 questions correctly (this number is known as your raw score) will typically put you above the top 20th percentile score of those who took the CCAT, and this is considered a relatively good score.

A raw score of forty questions right out of 50 will put you among the top percentile scores of any list of candidates, and an excellent chance of landing the job.


For more information on this subject, visit our CCAT scores page.


Is the CCAT Hard?


The Criteria Cognitive Aptitude Test is highly challenging due to two main reasons:

  • The time pressure – with only 15 minutes to answer 50 questions, you will have 18 seconds on average per question.
  • The questions grow in difficulty as the test progresses, meaning that without knowing how to manage your time well, you can easily find yourself trying to answer the hardest questions with very little time.

Early in the test, you might get a simple question such as this one:

 

Which of the following is the smallest value?

0.45
0.054
0.09
0.05
0.101
Correct Answer
Incorrect Answer

From largest to smallest: 0.45>0.101>0.09>0.054>0.05

Later in the test you might face more tricky and time consuming questions like this one:

 

What would be the next group of letters in the following series?

zone … ynnd … xmnc … wlnb ?

vkmc
akna
vkna
vnna
ajna
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.


The CCAT Question Order

Questions in the Criteria Cognitive Aptitude Test always appear in the same order, and using this information in your prep can help in many ways, such as significantly reducing the element of surprise. 

CCAT Questions Order

As you can see in the image above, the CCAT jumps between the four question types frequently, meaning that your problem solving skills need to be sharp and ready to adapt to the new topic as it arrives. Let's break down the CCAT's structure:

Numerical Reasoning questions appear 16-17 times in the test, comprising a third of the questions. This category includes questions like number series, word problems, and others.

Verbal Reasoning questions appear 17 times in the CCAT, comprising a third if the questions. It includes questions such as analogies,  attention to detail., and more

Spatial Reasoning questions make up about a fifth of the questions, appearing 11 times. These question include shape series, odd one out, and others. 

Logical Reasoning questions only appear five or six times in the CCAT, and measure your critical thinking.  

In JobTestPrep's practice pack, the CCAT practice tests are given the exact same order as the real test - allowing you to get the closest simulation of the real test available. 

Check our Free CCAT Practice Test to get an idea of what you will be facing, or our CCAT Study Guide PDF for a printable version.


 

CCAT Numerical Reasoning Questions

The CCAT math questions include basic math, word problems, number series, graphs and tables, and ratios. 

CCAT Math Sample Question

A home appliance store has recently seen an increase in TV sales. Having noticed this, the store manager decides to raise the TV price by 25% in order to increase the store's profits. If the original price of a TV was 140$, how many could be bought post-raise for 4,200$?

40
34
25
30
24
Correct Answer
Incorrect Answer


You are not permitted to use a calculator when taking the CCAT. Therefore, avoid using it while practicing. Instead, try to make calculations on scrap paper or, even better, use shortcut solving techniques (and save precious time).

Go to our CCAT math questions guide for free CCAT practice test questions prep tips.


CCAT Verbal Reasoning Questions

The CCAT verbal questions include analogies, synonym / antonyms, sentence completions, attention to detail, and vocabulary questions. 

CCAT Verbal Reasoning Sample Question

VAULT is to GOLD as:

PEACOCK is to FEATHER
RECYCLING BIN is to BOTTLES
SCABBARD is to SWORD
OPTHALMOLOGIST is to EYEGLASSES
COCOA BEAN is to CHOCOLATE
Correct Answer
Incorrect Answer

In analogy questions, first notice the relation the given pair of words maintain, then find another pair of words in the answer options that have the same relation.

In this question, the relation between the given pair of words is that a VAULT protects GOLD.

Eliminate the answer options that don't maintain the relationship found between the given pair of words.

To choose correctly, create a sentence containing the given pair of words and their relation and try to implement this sentence on the other answers to which one fits best.


Visit our CCAT verbal questions page for more sample questions for each question type and helpful practice tips.


CCAT Spatial Reasoning Questions

The CCAT spatial reasoning (abstract) questions include shape series, matrices, and odd-one-out.

CCAT Abstract Reasoning Sample Question

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

CCAT Spatial Reasoning Sample Question

 

A
B
C
D
E
Correct Answer
Incorrect Answer

Every column contains two shapes. The left column contains a triangle and a circle, the middle column contains a circle and a square, and the right column contains a square and a triangle. Down the column, one shape increases in size while another shape decreases in size.

Take a look at the right column.

The triangle becomes progressively smaller as the square becomes progressively bigger. Therefore, the answer option will have a small triangle inside a large square. Eliminate answer-option D, since it is missing a large square.

Additionally, in each row, each shape of the same size is of a different color. In the bottom row, there is a small, white circle and a small, black square. Therefore, the answer option will contain a small, gray triangle. You can eliminate answer options B and E.

Furthermore, in the bottom row, there is a large, black triangle, and a large gray, circle. Therefore, the answer option will contain a large, white square. Eliminate answer option C and you are left with answer option A as the correct answer.


Check our CCAT spatial reasoning questions guide for additional practice questions and solving tips for each question type.


CCAT Logic Questions

The CCAT logical questions include syllogisms and seating arrangements and measure your ability to think critically. 

CCAT Logical Reasoning Sample Question

In a restaurant's pantry there are seven kinds of fruit - figs, guavas, honeydews, kiwis, mangos, nectarines and papayas. The restaurant's chef has to pick exactly four different kinds of fruit out of the seven to make a fruit salad. The selected fruits must meet the following conditions:

Papaya can be selected only if kiwi is selected.
Fig can be selected only if nectarine is selected.
Either mango or nectarine must be selected but not both.
Either papaya or honeydew must be selected but not both.


If the salad does not contain kiwi, then which one of the following fruits must be part of the salad? 

Mano
Nectarine
Honeydew
Papaya
Fig
Correct Answer
Incorrect Answer

If the salad does not contain Kiwi, then it cannot contain Papaya, since Papaya can be selected only if Kiwi is selected (~K → ~P).

Since either Papaya or Honeydew, but not both, must be selected (P H), then Honeydew must be a part of the salad.
Note: If derivatives were derived correctly, then this question is solved quickly and easily (derivative: ~K → H).


Go to our CCAT logic questions page for additional sample questions with full explanations and solving tips.

To take our free CCAT practice test that includes 20 questions covering math, verbal, abstract, and logic questions, visit this page on our site.


4 CCAT Tips to Help You Score Higher

  1. Work fast in the beginning and slow down later

    The questions in the CCAT assessment increase in difficulty throughout the test, so try to leave yourself some extra time for the more tricky questions towards the end. 
  2. Watch out for avoidable errors

    While working fast on the first questions could help give you the competitive edge you need, it can also lead to unnecessary mistakes - so take a second to review your answer before moving on. 
  3. 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. In these cases, the best option is to guess and move on. You only have 15 minutes, so good time management is one of the most vital tools you will gain with the full CCAT Prep Pack.
  4. Don't worry if you don't solve all 50 questions

    Surprisingly, you are not expected to solve all 50 questions. Less than 1% of the population does. It's better to spend a bit more time on each question and get 40 questions right than speed through 50 questions and only get 30 correct.

 

Check our CCAT FAQ page to get answers to the most common questions asked by CCAT test-takers.


Should You Prepare for the CCAT Test?

The answer is definitely YES.

When standing in front of any mentally challenging task, especially one that has a major impact on your future as a pre-employment test, it is absolutely essential to prepare.

Why? 3 Reasons:

  • Reduce anxiety - becoming familiar with the CCAT test format, content, and structure in advance allows you to show up more relaxed, with realistic expectations and hands-on experience with the test, That, in turn, results in less stress and better performance.
  • The little, valuable advantage - on the higher end of the CCAT test scores, any additional correct answer can make a major difference. Two or three extra answers may be the difference between a 90th percentile (a reasonably good score) and a 98th percentile (an astounding score).
  • Time, and time again - as we have stated previously, time is the greatest challenge of the CCAT test. Coping with this challenge is what practicing for the CCAT is (mostly) all about. Quick-solving techniques and time-management skills are acquired only with practice.

And that leads us to the only CCAT practice that actually gets you these three advantages - accurate prep.


The Importance of Accurate CCAT Prep

As we have previously mentioned, the CCAT is a cognitive ability test – a test intended to measure your learning and problem-solving abilities. Scientific research has shown that practicing cognitive ability tests (and cognitive tasks in general) is effective only when simulating the actual task at hand.

This means that practicing with generic practice material covering required skills for the CCAT will have very little effect (if any) on your success.

On the other hand, practicing the actual cognitive tasks of the CCAT, with the same test format and 15 minutes time cap, will have a major effect on your success.


Why Choose JobTestPrep As Your CCAT Test Prep Resource?

JobTestPrep has been researching the Criteria Cognitive Aptitude Test since 2016, and it's the first test prep company that has provided preparation materials for this exam. Here are a few other reasons that might help you decide:

  • The full-length practice simulations were not made by guesswork. They are almost identical to the actual exam (with small differences due to copyrights) as they are based on official demo versions provided by Criteria Corp and thousands of reviews from our customers (since 2016).
  • The explanations for each practice question were created and reviewed by psychometric test instructors and tutors, to ensure that each explanation is clear and helpful.
  • The practice pack was updated in 2022, to improve the learning experience and make it as useful as possible. Many candidates feel their test-taking skills are rusty. So, we created practice sessions that gradually increase in difficulty level, so that you build your abilities and confidence as you go.
  • JobTestPrep was founded in 1992, and it's here to stay. We provide our customers with 24/7 customer service (phone and email) and a money-back guarantee if the exam differs from our practice simulations.

Cognitive Ability Tests

Cognitive ability tests such as the CCAT test come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and might differ in their format, length, difficulty, and time given.

Despite the differences between them, cognitive ability tests all measure the same main areas that reflect the candidates capabilities: verbal reasoning, numerical reasoning, logical reasoning, and abstract reasoning. The cognitive ability tests are multiple choice, usually have a tight time (15 minutes in the CCAT), and contain between 20-50 questions of varying difficulty. 

The reason cognitive ability tests have become such popular tools in the hiring process of many leading employers is that they are excellent predictors of future job success. This is because the areas that are measured can indicate a candidate's ability to solve problems and think critically. Just like the CCAT test, cognitive ability tests need to be prepared for extensively. 

At JobTestPrep, we have created free cognitive ability practice tests especially designed to match the most popular test providers formats - to help you sharpen your skills and save time when answering these challenging tests.

Check out our free Wonderlic Practice Test, Predictive Index Cognitive Ability Practice Test, and General Cognitive Ability Practice Test - all complete with full answers and solving tips. 


Hirebridge Cognitive Assessment 

Hirebridge is a leading applicant tracking platform, and a partner of Criteria Corp, the CCAT test providers. The combination of the advanced Hirebridge technology and Criteria's psychometric test expertise is a central factor to the CCAT test being one of the leading cognitive ability assessments available. 


CCAT Scores Guide

The following are the raw score ranges given by Criteria Corp., the Criteria Cognitive Ability Test creator. This will help you better understand what should be your desired passing score. CCAT's raw scores are calculated as the number of questions you answer correctly.

Job Title Score Range
Sales Representative 21-35
Sales Manager 23-37
Senior Manager / VP 29-42
Software Engineer 23-40
Project Manager 22-37
Product Manager 26-41
Analyst 26-42

The full list of positions can be found in this official sample report

To get a more in-depth understanding of the CCAT scores (including the CCAT average scores, percentile score, and more), check out the full CCAT Scores Guide.


Which Employers Use the CCAT?

Here are some of the leading employers who use the CCAT pre-employment test in their hiring process:

  • Vista Equity Partners - this company is perhaps the biggest CCAT exam enthusiast, and every employee of Vista Equity Partners or any of its dozens of subsidiaries is required to take the test. 
  • Crossover – the Texan tech company is another major employer using the assessment in its hiring process.
  • Lambda School – The online coding school that allows students to defer tuition until employment uses the test to screen candidates.

Most companies give you only one chance to pass the test, so it’s not recommended to take it unprepared.


About the Author:

 

author
Arbel is JobTestPrep's CCAT specialist. He has over 15 years' experience working as a psychometric test instructor and has led JobTestPrep's efforts to provide thousands of CCAT test-takers with the most accurate online prep possible since 2016. You can contact him at

Read more about Arbel's courses.

 

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