The CCAT Test

Last Updated: 11 March 2020

The CCAT (Criteria Cognitive Aptitude Test) is a psychometric test used by employers as part of the recruitment selection process.

It is primarily used in the recruitment of candidates for mid- to high-level job roles, and is widely regarded as being effective at predicting potential. As such, it is often used to make hiring decisions in combination with previous work experience, qualifications and performance at interview.


  1. What Is the CCAT Test?
  2. What to Expect From Your CCAT Test
  3. Example CCAT Test Questions
  4. How Is the CCAT Scored?
  5. How to Prepare and Pass the CCAT Test
  6. Final Thoughts
  7. Further Reading

What Is the CCAT Test?

The CCAT is a pre-employment screening solution which can be used to assess:

People demonstrating high aptitude in the CCAT test are considered to be quick learners, in comparison to those with low aptitude.

Each area is tested through a series of maths and logic, verbal, and spatial reasoning questions. Note that candidates are not permitted to use a calculator when taking the CCAT test.

The CCAT test is made up of 50 questions, although not many people (fewer than 1%) manage to complete all 50 questions within the test’s 15-minute timeframe. According to Criteria (the CCAT developer), the average test score is 24.

What to Expect From Your CCAT Test

The format of the CCAT test and limited timeframe make it challenging. For these reasons, candidates often feel intimidated at the prospect of taking the test.

If you feel worried about taking the CCAT, try to remember that most candidates taking the test are unable to complete all 50 questions within the 15-minute timescale.

The most important thing is to answer as many questions correctly as possible, which may mean making an educated guess for some questions so as to move on to the next.

If you need further practice at CCAT tests, try this practice pack from JobTestPrep, which includes a diagnostic guide and 5 full-length sample CCAT tests.

Example CCAT Test Questions

Maths and Logic Questions

This section of the CCAT test is designed to assess:

  • Basic algebra skills
  • Aptitude for defining proportions
  • Ability to work through word problems

Your score within this section will give recruiters an overview of your numerical reasoning abilities, which can be directly linked to your critical thinking and problem-solving skills.

Example Maths & Logic Question 1

A set of three numbers has an average value of 17. The first two numbers in the series are 12 and 19. Identify the third number from the list below.

a) 30
b) 23
c) 20
d) 19
e) 17

Answer: c) 20

Explanation: An average is calculated by adding up all the numbers in a set, then dividing the answer by the total amount of numbers.

You can work out the answer by using the following simple equation:

(12 + 19 + X) / 3 = 17

Multiply 17 by 3 to find out the total of (12 + 19 + X) = 51

Take 12 and 19 from 51 to find out what X should be: 51 – 12 – 19 = 20

(12 + 19 + 20) / 3 = 17

Therefore X = 20

Example Maths & Logic Question 2

It currently takes Alice 30 minutes to walk from home to school at a constant speed of 3 mph.

Alice would like to reduce her journey time from home to school to 15 minutes. How many extra miles per hour will Alice need to walk to achieve this goal?

a) 6 mph
b) 5 mph
c) 4 mph
d) 3 mph
e) 2 mph
f) 1 mph

Answer: d) 3 mph

Explanation: At her current walking pace of 3 mph, Alice currently travels a distance of 1.5 miles in 30 minutes. The formula for working this out is as follows: 

Speed = Distance / Time

In the scenario given, Alice wants to achieve a distance of 1.5 miles in 15 minutes (or 0.25 of an hour), so the following formula can be used:

Speed = 1.5 / 0.25

This means that Speed = 6, so she will need to increase her walking speed by 3 mph.

Verbal Questions

Communication is key to the majority of job roles, so recruiters will be keen to establish whether prospective candidates have the skills required to communicate effectively with their colleagues and clients.

The purpose of the CCAT test’s verbal questions is to establish:

  • Overall vocabulary
  • Knowledge of word meanings
  • Understanding of the importance of context when choosing words
  • Knowledge of how different words relate to each other

Example Verbal Question 1

Select the word which is closest to being OPPOSITE to the word in italics below:


a) resist
b) stifle
c) truncate
d) elongate
e) abdicate

Answer: c) truncate

Explanation: The definition of ‘truncate’ is to remove from or shorten something, making it the most sensible choice when identifying a word that is opposite to ‘lengthen’, which means to make something longer.

Example Verbal Question 2

Choose the word which best fits into the following sentence:

‘Her behaviour was  ____________________, especially considering the circumstances.’
a) adjusted
b) dishonest
c) observance
d) exemplary
e) fluid

Answer: d) exemplary

Explanation: For this sentence, you are looking for a word that could describe her behaviour. The phrase ‘especially considering the circumstances’ suggests it is a positive word. Therefore the best fit is ‘exemplary’.

Spatial Reasoning Questions

Answering these questions may seem like an unusual way for employers to assess whether you are the right candidate for a job role. However, your answers will help recruiters to identify some vital skills, such as:

  • Your ability to problem-solve
  • How you learn and use new information
  • How you perceive images and shapes

Example Spatial Reasoning Question 1

Study the series of images below. Which one does not belong with the others?

Answer: b)

Explanation: In this question, the test-taker is expected to identify the outlier in the series. To solve it, you will need to study each image carefully, making a mental note of what the images have in common.

In this case, each image includes a circle, a square and a star – except for image b). This image does not include a star, so it is the odd one out.

Example Spatial Reasoning Question 2

Study the images below. Which option (a to d) fits best into the empty box?

Answer: c)
Explanation: There are four rules to take note of before selecting your answer:

  • Rule 1: The pattern is moving top row, left to right; down to the middle row, right to left; down to the bottom row, left to right.
  • Rule 2: The blue arrow is moving 45 degrees clockwise.
  • Rule 3: The star is moving from corner to corner anticlockwise every other square, alternating with moving to the middle.
  • Rule 4: The circle is moving 90 degrees around the blue arrow and alternating between white and black.

Taking each of the above rules into account, the correct answer is image c).

How Is the CCAT Scored?

On completion of the test, employers will receive information on your raw score (this is the total number of questions you managed to answer correctly) and your percentile (this tells them your performance in relation to other people taking the same test).

For example, if you achieve a percentile score of 55, this indicates that you performed better than 55% of other people taking the test.

Note that your raw score is not affected by the number of questions you answer incorrectly – so if you find yourself stuck, it is best to choose an answer and move on to the next question.

How to Prepare and Pass the CCAT Test

  • Put in the practice. Many online resources offer CCAT test practice and other preparation resources. Accessing these will give you a good idea of how the CCAT test questions are structured and what to expect on the day of your actual test. It will also help you to improve your time management and have the confidence to move forward to the next question if you are feeling stuck. Wr recommend this practice pack from JobTestPrep, which includes 5 full-length sample CCAT tests covering all the question types.

  • Read the instructions. Time taken to read the instructions is not counted towards the 15-minute time limit for the CCAT test. That means you can take as long as you need to carefully read through and digest them.

  • Prioritise sleep the night before your test. Sleep is vital to good test performance, so make sure you do everything you can to get a good night’s rest beforehand. If possible, it’s best to avoid completing any practice tests the night before or the morning of the test.

  • Manage your time effectively. With just 15 minutes to work your way through 50 questions, you can only afford to allocate a maximum of 20 seconds to each if you want to try answering every single one. Don’t forget, recruiters won’t be expecting you to answer every question. Even so, if you find yourself spending more than a minute on an individual question, it’s probably best to hazard a guess and move forward to the next one.

  • Be aware of your strengths and weaknesses. Very few people perform equally well in the verbal and maths sections. If you already know that you are better with words than you are with numbers, allow yourself the opportunity to answer as many questions that you are comfortable with as possible. For example, if you consider yourself to be a maths whizz but you’re stuck on a verbal question, it is sensible to make an educated guess and move forward to a question you have a better chance of answering correctly.

Final Thoughts

Your CCAT result is only one of many elements that a recruiter is likely to consider when deciding whether to hire you. Make it your strategy to put in adequate preparation time for the CCAT test by completing plenty of practice tests and working on any areas you are not performing strongly in.

When it comes to taking the test, schedule this at the time of day you feel you perform best. Ensure that you will have no distractions and don’t forget to read the test instructions carefully before getting started.

Further Reading

You might also be interested in these other WikiJob articles:

Spatial Awareness Test

All About Aptitude Tests

Problem Solving Skills

Critical Thinking Tests

What Are Psychometric Tests?