CogAT (Cognitive Abilities Test) Level C
The suggestions below are for the typical gifted child taking CogAT Level C or D in fifth grade. If your child has areas of particular strength or weakness then you may wish to adjust up or down a level. If you'd like recommendations for your situation please email or phone with some information about your child and we'd be happy to make suggestions.
For most able fifth graders children Building Thinking Skills Level 3 Figural and Verbal, Becoming a Problem Solving Genius and Orbiting with Logic will be the place to start.
Add other titles depending on your child's relative strengths and weaknesses in the different areas of testing, what they'd enjoy doing and what you've got time for. For each of the titles below you can get more information including a look inside at sample pages by clicking on "more info" after the brief product description.
The CogAT is a test of reasoning skills. It’s not like a spelling or a math test where if you know the words or the facts you can get 100% and there is little advantage is learning more difficult words or practicing more difficult math problems. There is no defined curriculum for the CogAT. An average child in fifth grade would not be expected to be able to answer the most difficult questions on the CogAT. That's why the list below includes titles that are notionally for higher grades. A child who has prepared at this higher level is more likely to be able to answer the most difficult questions on the test.
Building Thinking Skills is our number one recommendation. If you have a very able child they should be ready for some, if not all, of the activities in Building Thinking Skills Level 3. Remember that by definition your gifted child has cognitive abilities two or more years ahead of those of their peers. Your able child should be ready to learn the material in Building Thinking Skills Level 3.
Building Thinking Skills Level 2 is a Gr 4-6 product covering verbal and nonverbal reasoning. If the sample exercises from Building Thinking Skills Level 3 look too difficult then begin with Level 2. Expect your highly capable child to move through the material rapidly.
For the quantitative battery we have a number of suggestions depending on how good your child is at math and at puzzles. The quantitative analysis battery in the CogAT is not about math per se but rather about understanding quantitative relationships and how numbers can be manipulated.
Becoming a Problem Solving Genius will get your child thinking about math in different ways and prepare them for the type of thinking they will need to do to solve CogAT problems. Patterns in Mathematics will help with number sequencing, one of the subtests in the Quantitative Battery. Quick Think Math is a collection of math problems for a child who needs a general brush up on math concepts.
Logic is important for any multiple choice testing. Orbiting with Logic contains a variety of logic problems. Another option is Mind Benders. These are deductive logic puzzles. This is the skill you use in multi-choice testing to eliminate (a) and (b) as impossible even though you don’t know the answer thereby improving the chance of guessing correctly. They are also great for practicing the type of reading required for multi-choice testing where every word matters. Many able children skim read. For testing they need to practice slowing down and taking account of every word. Book 3 would be a good place to start but we have titles above and below this in difficulty. There are 8 titles in the Mind Benders series.
We have additional titles for areas where many students need more work. Visual Discrimination complements Building Thinking Skills Figural with many problems like those in the Non-Verbal Battery.
Verbal analogies is an area where many students benefit from more work. The last chapter of Building Thinking Skills Verbal covers verbal analogies but the Think Analogies (book) or Thinkanalogy Puzzles (software) provide many more examples. Think Analogies explains how different types of analogies work in detail and provides more examples. This is particularly important for children who do not have American English as their first language. They may miss some subtleties in verbal analogies without additional practice. Thinkanalogy Puzzles (software) is entirely analogy exercises. The problems in the book and software are different so you can use both.
Finally we've included a vocabulary title and a traditional test preparation titles in the list below. If your child hasn't had a lot of experience taking standardized tests it can be helpful to expose them to this prior to testing. Gruber's Essential Guide to Test Taking reviews test taking in general and all the general knowledge and skills a child should have.
Our GATE Test Prep Bundle for Grade 5 is an easy purchase choice. It contains our most highly recommended titles. It also includes a vocabulary book and a grammar title. While grammar is not tested for in the CogAT many gifted children rush to finish and make silly errors. The series Editor in Chief can help teach a child how to slow down and pay attention to the details when it is important.