According to the Society of Human Resource Management, the average cost-per-hire for a new management candidate is $4,129. To cut down on hiring costs and screen for specific character traits in management and executive candidates, many employers have turned to Criteria Cognitive Aptitude Tests (CCAT).
High CCAT Scores = New Job
If you are serious about scoring high on your CCAT, try our recommended CCAT Prep Course/Practice Tests
What is the CCAT?
Research studies have shown that cognitive aptitude is a better predictor of job performance than interviews, education level, or previous job experience. Criteria Corporation, an SaaS assessment company, started by two Psychology PhDs, used predictive science to create a cognitive aptitude test for organizations to make better talent decisions.
The CCAT measures an individual's aptitude or ability to solve problems, digest and apply information, learn new skills, and think critically.
Recommended Study Resources for the Criteria Cognitive Aptitude Test
Candidates who work through review material, practice tests, and the types of questions they will be working on can perform well on the test.
There are no officially sanctioned CCAT practice tests because this is a pre-employment aptitude test administered by employers who have paid for the HireSelect platform during the job application process.
CCAT practice tests and Study resources
CCAT Content Outline
The CCAT exam consists of 50 questions covering three subjects and is 15 minutes long.
Spatial (Abstract) Reasoning questions assess your ability to reason using fluid information such as abstract shapes and figures to arrive at conclusions based on just a few examples. You will need to evaluate the shape and structure of each figure, mentally rotate the shape, and find the missing element. Spatial reasoning questions show how well you can learn and make use of new information to solve problems.
- Shape Sequence. Will be shown a series of 3-5 elements, representing a meaningful sequence. You must identify the next element in the series.
- Odd One Out. You will be shown five elements; each element may either be a single shape or several shapes assembled. Your goal is to identify the item with one feature that can distinguish it from the rest of the elements and mark it.
- Matrix Completion. You will be shown a 3-by-3 matrix of figural elements. One of the elements will be missing, and you need to find the missing element within the answers.
Math and Logic. These questions are not an assessment of your basic math skills. It is a test of your ability to quickly work with numerical and logical information to find a solution for a problem, which directly relates to your ability to think critically and solve problems in the real world. You can use a pencil and paper when working out the answers, but calculators are not allowed.
- Direct Calculations. These are straightforward basic math questions.
- Math Word Problems. You are asked to read the question, translate it into a mathematical problem, and solve the problem.
- Table/Chart Problems. You are asked to examine information in the form of a table or a chart and solve a mathematical problem.
- Number/Letter Series. You are shown a sequence of numbers or a sequence of batches of letters. Your goal is to determine which option is the next number, letter, or batch of numbers or letters in the series.
- Critical Thinking. These questions assess your ability to critically evaluate syllogisms and decide whether they are true or false.
Verbal. These types of questions are not an assessment of your reading and writing proficiency. They are a test of your vocabulary level, which reflects your general education level and your ability to communicate clearly. The verbal test section has four types of questions:
- Word Analogies. You are shown a pair of words B. Your goal is to identify the relationship between the words and find the pair of answers that contain the same relationship as the original pair.
- Sentence Completion. You are shown a sentence that includes one or two words missing. You are asked to complete the sentence with the correct word/s.
- Antonyms. You look for the word that is most nearly the opposite of a given word.
- Attention to Detail. You are shown several pairs of names, addresses, companies, etc. You are asked to count how many pairs are identical and how many are different.
HOW CAN I BEST PREPARE FOR THE CCAT EXAM?
- Develop some time-saving methods to complete the entire exam.
- None of the CCAT questions are complicated, but answering 50 questions in 15 minutes can be extremely difficult and stressful.
- While you are practicing, re-examine the questions and ask yourself how you could answer them a bit faster.
- Focus on your strengths, and learn to earn points easily.
- A passing score of 28 is necessary for most positions. To be a top-tier candidate you will need a passing score of at least 32 for most jobs. It is essential to get the correct answer on as many questions as possible within the allotted exam time.
- Focus on questions that are easier to answer quickly and correctly and let go of items requiring greater and longer attention.
- Take a break between exam preparation sessions before approaching your real test.
- If you take a significant break between preparation sessions, in which you rest and refresh yourself, you can get back and continue to improve in the next preparation session. Take some time, let everything sink in, take a revitalizing break, and only then approach the test.
- Learn what is required of you in each type of question.
- The instructions you get in the CCAT may sometimes be a bit confusing or unclear. One of your critical goals during preparation should be to understand what is required of you in each type of question.
- Prepare under “real test” conditions.
- Practice full-length tests and apply all the test limitations. This process will make many stress-inducing elements of the test much less intimidating.
- Invest in a professional CCAT prep course
- If scoring high on the CCAT is important to you, you should invest in a professional prep course
- Our recommended CCAT prep course is the JobTestPrep CCAT prep course
Administration of the CCAT
The CCAT is part of Criteria’s HireSelect platform for employers. Employers administer the test to prospective employees via computer.
Requirements to take the CCAT
The CCAT is administered only to prospective employees at organizations that have purchased the HireSelect platform from Criteria. After you take the Criteria Cognitive Aptitude Test, your exam results and profile report can be accessed immediately by the company you applied to.
Your exam results will be compared to the HireSelect database, and to the results of the other candidates applying for the position you are after. This information gives the recruiter the information they need to determine which profile best matches the job position for which they are hiring.
The first page of your score report shows your raw score and percentile ranking.
Raw CCAT Score
When you finish taking a Criteria Cognitive Aptitude Test, your raw score is tabulated from the number of questions you answered correctly. No points are taken off for choosing the wrong answer. If your raw score is 30, you have correctly answered 30 out of 50 questions.
The raw score is converted into a percentile score, which is a comparison of you to the other candidates who completed the test. The average score on the CCAT is 24 out of 50. If you score 24, your score will be higher than 50% of the population of candidates who took the test before you.
Source: Criteria Corp
The CCAT passing score depends on the position to which you apply. The CCAT average score is 24 correct questions out of 50, and less than 10% of people answer more than 35 questions correctly. Answering 42 questions correctly will put you on the top scale for ANY job the CCAT tests.
For higher paying jobs such as software engineering, banking, and management, one should strive to answer correctly 30 out of 50 to be considered a top candidate. However, other jobs may require an average or even slightly below-average scores.
When do you receive CCAT scores?
CCAT scores are tabulated immediately, and your prospective employer will receive a detailed report within moments of your completing the test.
The second page of your score report shows your raw scores and percentile ranks for each of the three test sections and suggested score ranges for specific types of positions.
Your prospective employer also receives separate scores for each of the three sections. The scores obtained in these three categories are percentiles. If you scored a 24 in math and logic, 62 in verbal, and 58 in spatial reasoning:
- You scored better than 24% of other test-takers in math and logic.
- You scored better than 62% of other test-takers in verbal.
- You scored better than 58% of other test-takers in spatial reasoning.
A sample score report from Criterion can be viewed here.
Suggested CCAT Scores By Position
|Position||Low Score||High Score|
|Customer Service Representative||18||32|
Source: Criteria Corp.
FAQs about the CCAT
Is the Criteria Cognitive Aptitude Test a test of IQ?
No, the CCAT is not a test of IQ. An IQ test measures intelligence, while the CCAT measures the skills that employees will need to perform on the job.
What Employers Use the CCAT in the Hiring Process?
Criteria Corp does not give out a specific list of customers who make use of the CCAT, but basic research on Google provides many search suggestions that include the names of some known employers:
- Vista Equity