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CAT 4 Guidance

Coláiste Mhuire - Cognitive Abilities Test 4(CAT4) Information Sheet

What is CAT 4?

The Cognitive Abilities Test 4 (CAT4) is an assessment tool designed to measure a student's
cognitive abilities in four key areas. These are:

- Verbal Reasoning
- Quantitative Reasoning
- Non Verbal Reasoning
-Spatial Ability.


These assessments provide insights into learning preferences, problem-solving skills, and potential academic achievements. Results can be used to help decide which subjects best suit a student's learning potential.

n.b: Many subjects overlap with more than one learning area.

Examples include: Business =Verbal, Quantitative and Non Verbal, Biology = Verbal and Non Verbal.

Also, if students have lower Verbal ability they may misinterpret questions and fail to answer correctly which can impact all subjects.

Tests Explained


  • Verbal Reasoning –“thinking with words”. This is the ability to express ideas and reason through words and is essential in subjects with a high language content and in any subject where exam questions have a high verbal content. This result is often used to determine a student's potential in essay-writing subjects like English and History.


  • Numerical (Quantitative Reasoning) - “thinking with numbers”. This involves working out

the relationship between numbers in a sequence. This result will generally indicate the ability
to problem solve and use numerical reasoning and arithmetic, skills applicable well
beyond mathematics.


  • Non-verbal Reasoning – “thinking with shapes” measures a student's ability to generalise

information and solve problems using visual and abstract reasoning rather than relying fully
on language skills. These skills are important in a wide range of school subjects,
including maths and science-based subjects and the test is most similar to a typical IQ test.


  • Spatial Ability – “thinking with shapes and space”. It is the capacity to think and draw

conclusions in three dimensions, needed for many STEM and practical subjects, but not easily
measured by other datasets.

Matching Learning Areas with Subjects

Learning Area Leaving Cert Subjects that Compliment this area:

Verbal: Learning with Words: English, Languages, History, Religion, Geography, Home Economics, Business, Biology.

Quantitative: Learning with Numbers: Maths, Accountancy, Physics, Economics, Business

Non-verbal: Learning with Shapes and Patterns: Chemistry, Physics, Biology, Business, Music, PE,

Spatial: Learning with Shapes and 3-Dimensional Space Construction: Art, DCG/TG, Engineering, PE, Chemistry.

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