What is the CCAT?
Criteria Corp, the publisher of the CCAT, is an assessment organisation based in Los Angeles. Established in 2006 by two PhDs who wanted to make science a part of the hiring process, Criteria Corp has now delivered over 25 million tests in 60 countries.
The Criteria Cognitive Aptitude Test (CCAT) measures the critical thinking, problem-solving skills and learning ability of candidates, typically as part of the application process for mid- to high-level jobs across various sectors.
Most jobs require some level of problem-solving or critical thinking skills on a daily basis, so it makes sense that prospective employers are interested in assessing them in the recruitment process.
The CCAT has a simple format: 50 questions to be answered in 15 minutes. For the candidate, CCAT is a very fast series of questions that vary between maths and logic, verbal reasoning and spatial reasoning, drawing on a bank of thousands of potential items.
According to research, cognitive ability has been shown to be the most powerful predictor of performance on the job, across variety of jobs, industries and management levels. The CCAT pre-employment test results correlate significantly with overall job performance.
CCAT verbal questions
Verbal reasoning is important in any role – whether customer-facing or working alongside colleagues and management, having a good grasp of the meaning of words as well as their relationship to each other and to their context is important.
In the verbal reasoning questions, you can expect to be tested on your overall vocabulary.
As with other question types throughout the CCAT, you will not have long to answer these questions. Whether you need to find the right word to insert into a sentence or choose a word that is the opposite of that in the question, aim to be quick.
Sample verbal question
Which of the following would best replace the word ‘relocate’ in the last sentence of the first paragraph below?
- A) Develop
- B) Assist
- C) Move
- D) Study
Answer: C) Move is correct, as to relocate means to move (in this instance the implication is that if you are willing to move for a job then there are more opportunities for you in this sector).
CCAT math and logic questions
The math and logic section of the CCAT pre-employment aptitude tests basic algebra and your ability to solve word problems. The mathematics in the assessment is simple; however the questions can include proportions, averages and percentages, requiring quick mental calculation.
In the CCAT, you cannot take a calculator. This means that you need quick arithmetic – and when under pressure, this can be difficult.
Questions in the math and logic sections might include word problems, basic algebra or finding averages of number sets.
Sample math and logic question
What was the highest number of students in any country that continued studying?
- A) 595
- B) 656
- C) 672
- D) 681
Answer: B). To find the answer you must work out the total number of students studying by interpreting the percentages:
41% = 0.41
1600 x 0.41 = 656
1650 x 0.36 = 594
1700 x 0.35 = 595
CCAT spatial reasoning questions
Spatial reasoning – manipulating shapes, spotting rules and using logic to complete a pattern – might seem unnecessary for many roles. The idea is that aptitude here means you are more likely to learn well, making use of new information correctly.
In the spatial reasoning questions, you might be asked to find the odd one out, or complete the pattern. You will need to use your imagination to turn images upside down, add the next in the series, find the outlier or recognise rules.
Which of the boxes comes next in the sequence?
Answer: D). The pentagon moves within the quadrants in an anti-clockwise direction with each turn. The half circle remains in the top left quadrant for two turns and then moves into the bottom-right quadrant for one turn. The diamond appears on every alternate turn, alternating from the bottom left to right quadrant.
Which employers use CCATs?
As previously mentioned, the CCAT combines simple administration and scientific knowledge to find the right candidates for roles that require effective problem-solving and critical thinking.
Some of the best-known brands that use CCAT as part of their application process include Smuckers, the Marines and Beachbody. The CCAT is regularly adopted by HR professionals recruiting for high-level roles in tech, banking, real estate and even nursing.