Criteria Cognitive Aptitude Test (CCAT)

Updated by Amy Thomas

At a glance  

Type of assessment 

Cognitive aptitude 


Critical thinking 

Problem solving 

Learning ability 

Ability to digest and apply new information 


15 minutes 


50-item, multiple-choice questionnaire 

Workplace outcomes 

Better job performance 

Reduced turnover 

Improved training outcomes 

Increased productivity 

Recommended for 

Mid to senior-level roles such as managers, sales executives, software developers, executive assistants and analysts. The CCAT is also critical for jobs that involve a great deal of training, such as an apprentice, intern or graduate roles.  



The CCAT tests an individual’s ability to solve problems, digest and apply information, learn new skills, and think critically. The CCAT provides your organization with a quick and accurate way of measuring a candidate’s cognitive aptitude (also called general intelligence), one of the most accurate predictors of job success for any position. The CCAT is one of our most popular aptitude tests and is commonly used to test for a broad range of mid- to high-level positions.  


The CCAT consists of 50 multiple-choice questions with a 15-minute time limit.   

What score ranges are available? 

The CCAT includes a series of suggested score ranges that help you understand how each candidate’s results meet the range that has been associated with successful performance in various roles. These ranges are based on large samples of prior scores from individuals applying for or occupying similar roles and are supported by multiple validation studies. 

The suggested score ranges available include:  

  • Accounting/Finance 
  • Administrative Assistant/Clerical 
  • Analyst 
  • Bookkeeper 
  • Computer Programmer 
  • Controller 
  • Customer Service Representative 
  • Finance Manager 
  • Financial Analyst/Advisor 
  • Front Desk/Receptionist  
  • Lawyer/Attorney 
  • Loan Officer 
  • Network Administrator 
  • Operations Manager  
  • Product Manager 
  • Production Manager/Supervisor 
  • Project Manager 
  • Recruiter 
  • Sales Manager 
  • Sales Representative  
  • Senior Managers/VP  
  • Store Manager 

You can create your own score ranges within the Criteria platform. We can work with you to gather and analyze results from your own organization (either from incumbents or using data from your applicant pool) to build appropriate score ranges for your roles. 


The CCAT assesses three underlying abilities that, together, provide an overall measure of a candidate’s cognitive aptitude. 

  • Spatial reasoning is the ability to visualise objects in physical space, make spatial judgments, and problem solve through object and pattern related questions. 
  • Verbal ability measures reading and comprehension of words, logic, constructive thinking and attention to detail through sentence completion, vocabulary, and word comparison questions. 
  • Math and logic measures problem solving skills, arithmetic, logic and numerical reasoning. 

Score Reports 

Each individual is given a raw score and a percentile ranking. The raw score indicates how many questions (out of 50) the individual answered correctly, while the percentile ranking is a relative performance metric that indicates how the individual scored relative to others who have taken the test. For example, a percentile ranking of 45 means that an individual scored better than 45% of the group on which the test was normed. 

Candidate Experience 

The CCAT consists of 50 multiple-choice questions with a 15-minute time limit. Most people will not complete the test, and this is by design. The assessment is measuring how quickly someone processes information. 

The CCAT is device-agnostic. This means candidates can take the test on any digital device they choose – a mobile phone, tablet, laptop or desktop – in any location and at any time. This provides a high level of flexibility and convenience for the candidate.  

Validity Information

Construct Validity: The CCAT has been shown to be highly correlated to other leading measures of cognitive aptitude. For example, in a sample of 34 individuals taking both the CCAT and Wonderlic Personnel Test (WPT), the correlation between the CCAT and the WPT was .78.

Predictive Validity: Various studies have shown that CCAT results correlate significantly with job performance for a wide variety of jobs, but it is an especially effective predictor of performance for jobs that require enhanced abilities in the areas of problem-solving, learning, critical thinking, and verbal and mathematical reasoning. Examples of jobs for which the CCAT has high predictive validity include managerial positions, software engineers and other technology workers, financial analysts, auditors, and many others.

Standardization Sample

Norms for the CCAT were developed using a sample of 985 individuals. The sample was made up of working adults aged 18 and older. These individuals were being assessed for employee selection purposes, and represented a mixture of individuals from over 50 companies whose current positions included managerial positions, technical services positions, customer service positions, and sales and sales-related positions.

The mean score for the standardization sample for the CCAT is 24.2, the median score is 24, and the standard deviation is 8.58.

Mean Scores and Standard Deviations for Various Occupational Samples

Additional resources  

About CCAT 

Get an overview of the CCAT assessment 

Sample CCAT Score Report

Sample CCAT Score Report (with score range)

View the sample reports available for the CCAT assessment 

Score Report Guide 

A guide for interpreting the CCAT Score Report 

Video: Interpreting the the score report 

Watch the video on interpreting the CCAT Score Report 

Information brief

Get detailed information including the candidate experience and validity information on the CCAT.

Case study: Near Cuts Time-to-Hire by Over 50% with Criteria

Case study: Technology call centre uses the CCAT to reduce turnover 

Case study: Consumer finance company uses CCAT to lower hiring and training costs 

Case study: Sales Reps Who Pass the CCAT and EPP Generate 7x More Revenue

Case study: SBMA reduced time spent hiring by 63% 

Case study: Schweiger Dermatology Group reduces turnover by 57% 

Case study: Consulting firm improves job performance and retention for analyst  

Case study: G&A Partners Gains Valuable Insights into their Candidates with Criteria

Case study: Technology Company Improves Performance of its Software Engineers

View case studies where the Cognitive Aptitude Test helped organizations improve their recruitment process. 

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