Cognitive Ability Test

Last updated: September 1, 2020

What Does Cognitive Ability Test Mean?

A cognitive ability test is a test that measures a person's intellectual capacity, or intelligence, for various different skills. Some factors measured in a cognitive ability test may test a person's spatial reasoning, verbal, general intelligence, memory, or numerical capabilities. Cognitive ability tests are often administered to prospective employees in an attempt to objectively measure their ability to complete job specific tasks.


WorkplaceTesting Explains Cognitive Ability Test

A cognitive ability test is a pre-work test that attempts to allow the employer to test a prospective employee's ability to complete specific job tasks by testing similar mental skills. For example, it is accountants might be tested with numerical reasoning while someone assembling parts of a machine might be tested in spacial reasoning. Certain jobs might require a worker to make many decisions throughout the day between several possible options or have a large number of possible problem solving events throughout a workday. Cognitive ability tests hope to give a basic indication of the person's capacities for a specific job's requirements.

However, there is also some debate about the effectiveness of cognitive ability tests. One of the main criticisms is that performance on cognitive ability tests does not necessarily correlate to performance for a job. Also, many believe that these tests are unfairly influenced by environment, gender, race, and other factors that cannot be reliably factored in to the tests. As such, employers should use caution in deciding which tests to be administered and how the results are interpreted.


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