This week, I received a note from a dad who is a member at my other website, www.TestingMom. He had been helping his son get ready for the CogAT, a test that would decide whether or not the boy would be admitted to his school’s G&T program. The school had not specified whether they would be giving CogAT Form 6 or CogAT Form 7, so they prepared for the CogAT Form 7 – the newest version of the test. The father wrote:
“Thanks for all the help. Today was the last day of the 4th grade testing. He said it went great until there was a part where he had no idea what to do…the best way he explained it was it looked like this; 7 25 + – , another one was 19 35 + -. He had 8 minutes for 20 of them and was completely lost. My 2nd grader tests in 2 weeks. How should we prepare him? Dave”
Here was my response:
“Dave, it sounds like he was given the CogAT Form 6. It’s an equation building subtest. They have to put the numbers with the plus and minus signs to reach one of the answer choices. That’s very interesting because most school districts have moved to the CogAT Form 7, which replaced CogAT Form 6 over a year and a half ago. Most sections on the CogAT Form 6 are similar to Form 7, so for the most part, your son worked with the right material. This is one of the few different parts for a 4th grader.
I would make sure to work with CogAT Form 6 for your 2nd grader just to be sure. I’m guessing if they use Form 6 for 4th grade, they may use it for 2nd grade. We do have practice materials on our site.
I’m sorry he was lost on this section. Even if he hadn’t practiced it, the teacher should have made sure the kids understood it before turning them loose on the section. Hopefully he aced everything else!”
If you learn that your child will be taking the CogAT, try to find out whether he will be given CogAT Form 6 or Form 7. Form 6 is the old Form of the test, but as you can see, schools are still using it. For kindergarteners – 2nd graders, the two tests are especially different. As kids get older, the two tests are quite similar except for two math sections. We do have practice materials for both tests at www.TestingMom.com, but it is helpful to know which group of questions to focus on.
If you cannot find out which CogAT Form your school will you, it will be important to practice questions for both tests. Otherwise, your child might be “completely lost” as Dave’s son was. This is the value of preparing your children for these kinds of tests. At least they will not lose time trying to figure out what they are supposed to do. Often, on these tests, questions are structured in a way that children have never seen before. With the type of question that Dave’s son faced for the first time when tested, they were expected to put numbers and signs together that lead to an answer choice: 5 2 4 – + might be featured with answer choices 1,11, 3, 6. The child would need to create the problem 5 + 2 – 4 and get to the answer 3. It’s not that hard – as long as you know what you are doing. By practicing, your child will have gone over each type of question and will know how to handle it. They can spend their time working the questions and showing what they know rather than struggling with instructions they don’t understand.