CogAT® Question Type: Classification Explanation, Sample & Tips

In this post, we start with an overview of "Picture/Verbal Classifications" question types. We also provide a sample question, accompanied by tips and strategies that every student can use to perform successfully on "Picture/Verbal Classifications" questions during the official CogAT® exam.

Picture/Verbal Classifications questions are part of the verbal battery on the CogAT. Sentence Completion, and Picture/Verbal Analogies are the other two subtests in this battery.

Picture/Verbal Classifications Questions: What To Expect?

Students are given a list of three words that have something in common. From a list of five choices, the student must choose the word that is similar to the others in the same way.

K-2 students are given a series of three pictures that are in some way similar. The student then selects a picture from the answer choices that is like to the other three.

How Many Picture/Verbal Classifications Questions Are On The Test?

The amount of picture/verbal Classifications questions on the test depends on the age of the student and the test level, as shown by the table below.

Picture/Verbal Classifications
Level Number of Questions Grade Level
Approximate Age
Level 5/6 14 Kindergarten 5/6 Years
Level 7 16 1st Grade 7 Years
Level 8 18 2nd Grade 8 Years
Level 9 20 3rd Grade 9 Years
Level 10 20 4th Grade 10 Years
Level 11 20 5th Grade 11 Years
Level 12 20 6th Grade 12 Years
Level 13-18 20 7th-12th Grade 13-18 Years

Picture/Verbal Classifications Examples

CogAT Level 11 Sample Question

Which word goes with the three words below?

 chair   sofa   recliner

 a. table  b. bench   c. lamp  d.sit  e. living room

Correct Answer: B

Each of the words in this question are items that can be sat upon. Since you cannot sit on a table, living room or lamp, B is the correct answer. A student might associate 'living room' or 'sit' with the items (chair, sofa, recliner) but these are tangential associations and not the correct kind of categorical association the question is looking for.

CogAT Level 5/6 Sample Question

 Level 5/6 Picture Classification Example question

Level 5/6 Picture Classification Example question

Correct Answer: A

In the top row, the three pictures go together because all of them are objects that use wheels to move.

Your child needs to find the picture among the answer options that goes together with the pictures in the top row.

Option B and C are incorrect because the objects in the pictures (a hot air balloon and a boat) do not use wheels.

Option A is correct as this is the only object that uses wheels to move.

Picture/Verbal Classifications:Tips and Strategies

  • For verbal classifications, ask your student, “What do most of these words have in common? Which word doesn’t fit?” Like analogies, answering these questions requires an understanding of the relationship between words. Practice finding similarities and describing the relationship between words and concepts with your student in real-life situations.

  • For pictoral classification questions, encourage your student to expand on his knowledge of a category in a question. Ask him to name other objects that share the same characteristics and belong to a specific category.

  • Remind your student that if he’s stuck on a question during the test, he should move on to easier questions without wasting too much time. Advise him to make an educated guess, remind himself, “I can do this,” and head to the next question.

  • Encourage your student to carefully consider all the answer options before selecting one. Ask her to eliminate obviously wrong answers to narrow down the answer choices.

  • Ask your student to explain why she chose a specific answer. This will help you identify where your student is stumbling or provide the opportunity to reinforce understanding of a category and the object/s that can “belong” to it.
  • What's Next?

    Help your child become familiar with the questions on this challenging exam by downloading a free CogAT practice test.

    Learn more about other verbal question types on the CoGAT, including Sentence Completion, and Picture/Verbal Analogies.

    Also see critical teaching tips that cover other areas of the CogAT, including the nonverbal battery, and the quantitative battery.

    If you think you need more information and guidance about the CogAT, check out our ultimate guide on the test, and our in-depth article on CogAT scores.

    Also, learn everything you need to know about other tests that measure a child’s potential to learn in school, like the NNAT or the OLSAT.