Criteria Cognitive Aptitude Test (CCAT): The Definitive Guide
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Shlomik, CCAT test expert at JobTestPrep.

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A Comprehensive Guide to the Criteria Cognitive Aptitude Test

What to Expect on the Actual Test?

The CCAT includes 50 verbal reasoning, spatial reasoning (abstract), and math and logic questions to be answered in 15 minutes, leaving only 18 seconds per question.

But what is the exact order of the question types? Which questions should you expect at the beginning and which ones are last?

JobTestPrep analyzed dozens of CCAT demo versions provided by Criteria (the test provider), as well as documentation made by previous test-takers.

The image below shows a detailed breakdown of the actual exam's questions so that you’ll know exactly what to expect and eliminate the element of surprise:

CCAT 50 Questions Breakdown

Each of the 4 main question types is made up of several different subjects:

  • Numerical Reasoning - The CCAT math questions are comprised of basic math, word problems, number series, graphs & tables, and ratios.
  • Verbal Reasoning - The CCAT verbal questions include analogies, synonym / antonyms, sentence completions, attention to detail, and vocabulary questions. 
  • Spatial Reasoning and Logical Reasoning - The CCAT spatial reasoning questions include shape series, matrices, and odd-one-out. The Logical questions include syllogisms and seating arrangements. 

Although the questions are challenging enough on their own, the time-limit is probably the most challenging element of the CCAT. To make sure you answer questions both efficiently and correctly, meticulous practice is the way to go.

The CCAT measures your critical thinking, problem-solving skills, and core cognitive ability. Other pre-employment assessments that measure similar abilities are the Wonderlic test and the PI Cognitive Assessment.

CCAT Sample Questions 

In this section, we will go over real test questions from our CCAT preparation pack.

Read the question carefully, and choose the correct answer to reveal the full answer.

Verbal Reasoning Practice Question

VAULT is to GOLD as:

Correct Answer
Incorrect Answer

The correct answer is (C) - SCABBARD is to SWORD

When solving analogy questions, first notice the relation the given pair of words maintain, than find another pair of words in the answer-options that maintain the same relation.

In this question, one can see that the relation between the given pair of words is that a VAULT protects GOLD.
It is advisable to start solving the question by eliminating the answer-options that do not maintain the relation found between the given pair of words.

To choose correctly, it is most helpful to create a sentence containing the given pair of words and their relation, and try to implement this sentence on the answer-options' pairs and see which one fits best, technically and logically.

Aim for the sentence to be as accurate as possible.

A good sentence describing the relation between the given pair of words is: 'A VAULT is designed to protect GOLD.' Now, implement this sentence on the answer-options:

Answer-option (A) - PEACOCK is to FEATHER - 'A PEACOCK is designed to protect FEATHER.' This answer-option can be immediately eliminated as the words-pair doesn't fit the sentence, and therefore, do not maintain the relation defined above.

Answer-option (B) - RECYCLE BIN is to BOTTLES - 'A RECYCLE BIN is designed to protect BOTTLES.' This answer-option can be immediately eliminated as the words-pair doesn't fit the sentence, and therefore, doesn't maintain the relation defined above.

Answer-option (C) - SCABBARD is to SWORD - 'A SCABBARD is designed to protect SWORD.' This answer-option fits the sentence perfectly and maintain the relation established above: A VAULT is designed to protect GOLD just as a SCABBARD is designed to protect a SWORD. Therefore, answer-option (C) is correct.

Answer-option (D) - OPHTHALMOLOGIST is to EYEGLASSES - 'An OPHTHALMOLOGIST is designed to protect EYEGLASSES.' This answer-option can be immediately eliminated as the words-pair doesn't fit the sentence, and therefore, it does not maintain the relation defined above.

Answer-option (E) - COCOA BEAN is to CHOCOLATE - 'A COCOA BEAN is designed to protect CHOCOLATE.' This answer-option can be immediately eliminated as the words-pair doesn't fit the sentence, and therefore, it does not maintain the relation defined above.

A third of the questions in our six full CCAT practice tests are verbal reasoning questions, and with 14 additional practice tests, our PrepPack has you covered. It will improve your ability to answer analogy, synonym / antonym, and sentence completion questions quickly and accurately, while also broadening your vocabulary. 

Abstract Reasoning Practice Question

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

ccat test abstract reasoning


Correct Answer
Incorrect Answer

The correct answer is A.

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.


Logical Reasoning Practice 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? 

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).

The correct answer is (C).


In addition to around 100 Abstract/Spatial and Logical reasoning practice questions in our CCAT practice tests, we offer 31 additional specialized practice tests for every type of question.

With our PrepPack, your ability to identify patterns in abstract information will grow so that spatial reasoning questions immediately become less intimidating. The abundant practice and thorough explanations you will get for the Logical Reasoning section will help you solve syllogism, letter series, and seating arrangement questions both quickly and efficiently. 


Numerical Reasoning Practice 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$, how many could be bought post-raise for 4,200$?

Correct Answer
Incorrect Answer

The correct answer is (E) – 24

According to the question, a TV screen's original price was $140. You are told that all TV screens' prices raised by 25%. Therefore, first, you need to calculate the new TV screen's prices using the formula:

New value = Old value*(% change + % old value)/100
Old value = Original TV screen's price = $140
% change = 25%, since the TV screens' prices went up by 25%
% old value is always 100%, since calculating the 'New value' is done in relation to it. In this case, it refers to the % of original TV screen's price, since the calculation of the 'New value' – new TV screen's price is done in relation to its original value.

Insert the given data:
New TV screen's price = 140*[(25 + 100)/100] = 140*125/100 = 14*125/10 = 14*25/2 = 7*25 = 7*20 + 7*5 = 140 + 35 = $175
Now, you are asked to calculate how many TV screens could be bought with $4,200.

Calculate that by dividing $4,200 by $175:
The number of TV screens that could be bought with $4,200 = 4,200/175
Cancel both nominator and denominator by 5:
The number of TV screens that could be bought with $4,200 = 840/35 = 168/7 = 24

24 TV screens could be bought, post-raise, for $4,200.


A third of the questions in the six CCAT practice tests we offer are numerical reasoning questions, and with dozens of additional practice tests and study guides, your numerical reasoning skills will be on point.

Our PrepPack will help you brush up your math skills, and teach you how to solve word problems and number series with ease, while also showing you how to quickly extract the relevant information from graphs and tables.

Check out this video we've made that goes over additional common question types and other information you'll find useful:

Play CCAT video

How to Prepare for the Test

The CCAT aptitude test pits you against a variety of challenging questions, and with a very tight time-limit to consider, it's easy to get overwhelmed and miss out on the score you're aiming for.

That's why JobTestPrep created three effective practice options that any candidate would find helpful:

  • Free CCAT Practice Test - 24 questions with full explanations, tips, and hacks.
  • CCAT Questions and Answers PDF - Printable version with sample questions, useful explanations, and inside tips.
  • Full CCAT Preparation Pack - 6 years of research and 23,000+ customer feedback packed into one thorough prep course. It includes full-length, timed simulation tests, additional practice exercises, study guides, and everything you need to ace the CCAT.

 See how the preparation pack looks inside:


Play Video preview image

CCAT Scores Guide

The following are the raw score ranges given by Criteria Corp., creator of the Criteria Cognitive Ability Test. This will help you better understand what should be your desired score.

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


CCAT Raw Score

We Analyzed the CCAT Scores of 23,139 of Our Customers - Here's What We Discovered

The average CCAT score on JobTestPrep's first full-length simulation was 26, slightly above the average of the actual test.

As the customers progressed and took more full-length simulations, their scores improved gradually.

The average score on the last simulation was 33 (a 27% improvement), which places them in the top 20% for almost any position.

Average CCAT Scores on JobTestPrep's Practice Pack

To get a more in-depth understanding of the CCAT scores (including the CCAT average score, passing scores, 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:

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

 Other companies that use the assessment are:

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

About the Author:

Shlomik is JobTestPrep's CCAT Test specialist. He has a vast experience in instructional design and deep knowledge of pre-employment assessment tests. Shlomik 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 Shlomik's courses.


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