CogAT® Question Type:Sentence Completion

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

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

Sentence Completion Questions: What To Expect?

With these questions students will have to “fill in the blank(s).” The answer options outline a number of words that could be used to complete a given sentence.

However, students must choose the words that create a complete, logical sentence.

The sentence completion battery is optional for younger children. If it is used, the question is read aloud by an administrator and the child must pick the correct answer from a series of pictures.

How Many Sentence Completion Questions Are On The Test?

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

Sentence Completion
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

Sentence Completion Examples:

Sample Question: CogAT Level 11 Question (5th Grade)

Correct Answer: E

For this question, the key is figuring out which answer options contains words which will both work in the context of the sentence. The only answer with two words that fit clearly in the blanks is E.

Sample Question: CogAT Level 5/6 Question (Kindergarten)

Cogat 5-6 Sentence Completions.png

Correct Answer: B

For this question, the student must listen carefully to the sentence read aloud in order to understand and recall the list of items (a snack bar, two books, a pencil) that Scott puts in his backpack.

The only picture showing the items described in the sentence is option B.

Option C has one pencil and a snack bar, but only one book. Option A has a snack bar,  but only one book and five pencils.  Both of these are incorrect descriptions of the items in the backpack.

Sentence Completion:Tips and Strategies

For older students, it is helpful to physically write down the provided words as they try to arrange the sentence.

Students are typically given five letters and asked to select the first letter of the last word of the sentence. For this reason, advise your student to write out the sentence correctly and circle the final word.

We suggest also instructing your student to read over the sentence once or twice in his head, or even mouth the words silently to himself to ensure the sentence “sounds right” and makes sense.

For younger students, tell your child to "listen carefully" before reading the question. Although your child will only hear the question once in actual testing conditions, during prep sessions it is helpful to repeat this directive. It will help your child learn the skill of paying attention and focusing on what is being said when questions are read aloud to him/her.

Tips for students of all ages:

Probe incorrect answers to determine where your student’s thought process went wrong and attempt to correct errors in reasoning.

Discuss why the right answers are correct to reinforce solid reasoning.

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 Picture/Verbal Classifications, 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.