CogAT® Verbal Questions: Explanation, Sample Questions & Tips!

In this post, we start with an overview of the "verbal" section or battery of the Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT), which includes 3 question types.

We provide links to sample questions and strategies for each of these 3 question types.

We also provide more general tips and strategies that students can use to perform successfully on the verbal section of the official CogAT® test.

The verbal battery is one of three subtests on the CogAT. The other two batteries assess nonverbal and quantitative skills.

Verbal Question Types: What To Expect

The verbal battery on the CogAT is designed to measure a student’s vocabulary, memory, ability to solve verbal problems, and ability to determine word relationships.

This verbal battery has three subtests, which vary depending on age.

Type Level
Sentence Completion From a list of five choices, students must select the word that most logically completes the provided sentence by filling in a blank.
Picture/Verbal Classifications Students are given a list of three words/pictures that have something in common. From a list of five choices, the student must choose the word/picture that is similar to the others in the same way.
Picture/Verbal Analogies Students are given a pair of words/pictures that has a specific relationship, along with a third word/picture. They must then choose the answer choice that is related to the third word/picture in the same way that the provided word pair is related.

Number of Questions for each Age Group/Level

Verbal Battery
Sentence Completion Verbal/Picture Classifications Verbal/Picture Analogies
Level 5/6 14 14 14
Level 7 (1st) 16 16 16
Level 8 (2nd) 18 18 18
Level 9 (3rd) 20 20 22
Level 10 (4th) 20 20 24
Level 11(5th) 20 20 24
Level 12 (6th) 20 20 24
Level 13-18 (7th-12th) 20 20 24

The CogAT Form 7 levels reflect the age of the student taking the test, so, for example, Level 5/6 is taken by five and six year olds in Kindergarten, and Level 9 is taken by nine year olds in third grade (and so on).

We recommend asking your school/school district which level of test is used for gifted or classroom assessments, and also checking if all three batteries (or just one or two batteries/sub-tests) are given.

Children taking the Level 5/6 through Level 8 test do not need to be able to read, as the test only contains images and figures, and any words are read aloud by an administrator.

Note that Lower level subtests (K-2) use Picture Classification, and Picture Analogies, whereas older students are tested on Verbal Classification, and Verbal Analogies.

Verbal Questions: Tips and Strategies

To perform successfully on the verbal battery, your student will need vocabulary and memory skills, as well as the ability to determine word relationships and logically complete sentences.

The best way to sharpen vocabulary and sentence completion skills is through extensive reading. If you have enough time before the test, encourage your child to read a set amount of minutes or pages each day. You can also use flash cards to teach roots, prefixes, and suffixes, and talk to your child about using context clues to determine word meaning. Teach your child word relationship concepts like synonyms, antonyms, and whole-part. Discuss relationships between words and ideas in everyday life.

Younger children need to be fluent in visual vocabulary. Take trips to the zoo, farm, store, aquarium, library to help your child learn about and see vocabulary in context. For more ideas on how to help younger children build vocabulary, check our article that contains supplemental 'test-prep' activities that help promote a wide vocabulary and build critical thinking skills in kids.

You will also want to have your child work through practice questions to become familiar with the content they will see on the exam. Have your child explain how she arrived at her answers. This way, you can correct misconceptions and offer alternative approaches to the questions. Even if the answer is correct, you can reinforce her strategies and thinking skills.

Encourage your child to eliminate obviously wrong answers by drawing a line through them. If your child ends up needing to make a guess, it will at least be an educated guess with a higher probability of being correct.

CogAT Verbal Sample Questions

Try sample questions from every question type on the CogAT verbal battery:

Sentence Completion

Picture/Verbal Classifications

Picture/Verbal Analogies

What's Next?

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

Check out additional sample questions and learn more about the other sections on the CogAT, including the nonverbal battery, and on the quantitative battery.

If you think you need more information and guidance about the CogAT, take a look at our ultimate guide on this 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.