CogAT® Question Type: Number Puzzle Sample & Tips

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

Number Puzzle questions are part of the quantitative battery on the CogAT. Number Series and Number Analogies are the other two subtests in this battery.

Number Puzzles Questions: What To Expect?

This subtest requires students to solve simple mathematical equations in order to make the amounts on either side of the equal sign the same.

K-2 students are provided with pictures that represent math problems.

How Many Questions To Expect on The Test?

The amount of number puzzles questions on the test depends on the age of the student and the test level, as shown by the table below.

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

Number Puzzles: Sample Question

CogAT Level 10 Number Puzzle Question

2 + 10 = ? X 4

A. 12

B. 3

C. 2

D. 8

E. 5

Correct Answer: B

Explanation: The first two numbers add up to 12 (10+2). Therefore, we need to find a number (to insert instead of the question mark) that multiplies with 4 to create a total of 12.

The only number that can be multiplied by 4 to make 12 is 3. Therefore, B is the correct answer.

CogAT Level 5/6 Number Puzzle Question

Correct answer: A

In the truck on the top row, there are 10 balls. In the truck on the bottom row, there are four balls in one compartment and two balls in another.

Your child needs to figure out how many balls are needed in the compartment with the question mark so that both trucks  (top and bottom row), have the same amount of  balls.

We can see that four balls are needed in order to make a total of 10 balls in the truck on the bottom row, because 4 balls from one compartment plus 2 balls from the other compartment results in a total of 6 balls (4+2=6), and we need four more balls in the train to have 10 balls in total (6+4=10).

The only answer that shows 4 balls is option A.

Number Puzzles:Tips and Strategies

This question type requires your child to solve basic math equations, so practice with numbers and problem solving is essential.

Make sure your child understands the meaning of “equal,” since the object is to supply the missing piece of information that will make two provided equations equal to one another. Buy a workbook that focuses on basic mathematical skills like addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.

Practicing multiplication facts could help improve your child’s accuracy and speed. You can also teach your child to approach the question by “plugging in” the answer choices and solving to see if the result is equal to the other equation in the question.

Of course, it is also important to work with practice questions in order to familiarize your child with the content and structure of the actual test.

Ask her to explain her reasoning for each question that she answers. This will allow you to praise and reinforce strong problem solving skills for correct answers and address misconceptions for incorrect answers.

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 quantitative question types on the CoGAT, including Number Series, and Number Analogies.

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