Recruiters want the brightest employees for their companies, but spotting actual potential among the sea of applicants is a challenging task. To attract the top candidates, companies progressively invest more time and money in their hiring processes.

A scientifically verified approach with data-based insights can ensure a straightforward recruitment process. With significant investments, financial or otherwise, a recruiter with a well-defined plan on how and when to use evaluation tools can assure smooth and effective hiring.

They understand that predicting how an applicant will perform is an essential component of hiring. However, the tricky job is to figure out how to do this. How do you tell if a candidate is capable of making sound decisions under extreme pressure? How can you determine if they have the necessary problem-solving abilities? Cognitive ability tests are the answers to all these questions and more.

Before we delve into the nitty-gritty of why and how cognitive ability assessments are the need of the hour for every organization, it is of utmost significance to answer a fundamental question: “what is a cognitive ability test?”.

What is a Cognitive Ability Test?

Defined as the general cognitive capacity, cognitive ability is the ability to plan, solve problems, think abstractly, comprehend complex ideas, and learn experientially. It is commonly considered a valuable predictor of job performance. Cognitive ability tests measure cognitive competencies that include: 

  • Memory retention ability
  • Attention & error detection ability
  • Spatial ability
  • Logical reasoning
  • Verbal reasoning
  • Numerical reasoning

Such aptitude assessments comprise questions designed to assess applicants’ potential to use cognitive skills to solve complex problems or acquire new knowledge.

How Can You Test Cognitive Ability?

Learning from experiences, comprehending various concepts, and processing information are all part of human intelligence. All of these activities lead to a person gaining knowledge and putting it to good use. Cognitive and emotional intelligence are different types that make up human intelligence. However, recruiters face difficulty categorizing candidates based on their abilities while considering all aspects of intelligence. Therefore, various cognitive tests have been devised to help identify potential candidates for a task:

  • Verbal Ability Test 

To assess the candidates’ language and comprehension abilities, as well as their communication and working skills

  • Numerical Reasoning Test

To assess the candidate’s ability to work quickly with numbers which helps in problem solving

  • Spatial Reasoning Test

To assess a candidates’ ability to visualize two and three-dimensional objects while keeping track of their spatial distribution

  • Inductive  Reasoning Test

To measure candidates’ inductive reasoning i.e. their ability to identify sequence of patterns through a series of questions based on different views

  • Deductive Reasoning Test 

To evaluate candidates’ ability to deduce logically and find a solution using available information

  • Attention & Error Detection Test 

To examine candidates’ ability to remain focused on multiple stimuli and spot errors in patterns.

  • Memory Retention Test 

To assess candidates’ ability to memorize information for a short duration

How Can You Administer a Cognitive Ability Test?

To ensure increased productivity and less turnover, businesses must make wise hiring decisions. Misfits for the job can have a negative impact on the organization, wreak havoc on performance management initiatives, and waste time and money on training and development. Cognitive ability assessments are valuable tools for overcoming such obstacles and assisting HR personnel in reducing lead times and identifying the best candidates for the firm.

Employers must carefully pick valid, accurate, reasonable, and unbiased tests and properly conduct them for the selection process. To accomplish this, they must do the following before implementing a cognitive ability test:

  • Determine which tests are the most appropriate for the job.
  • Create a competency model to use a combination of tests to measure the knowledge, skills, abilities, and other traits required to do a good job. 
  • Administer and track the test.

Why is Cognitive Ability Assessment Important?

Several advantages make using cognitive ability tests highly relevant in the recruitment process. These include:

  • Reducing onboarding time due to the focused approach
  • Identifying potential candidates with accurate insights
  • Providing a holistic assessment by examining different competencies
  • Exercising effective screening with detailed results
  • Enhancing the ease to conduct and scale the test
  • Improving the quality of hiring leading to organizational success
  • Ability to customize as per assessment needs


Having understood cognitive ability assessments and their relevance in the current business landscape, it is critical to put the knowledge to use. Discover Assessments, the world’s first gamified assessment platforms, have an array of competency-specific assessment solutions driven by statistical data insights.

While measuring intelligence, these tests help you define the cluster of abilities and skills directly related to the job role. Our well-crafted aptitude tests ensure a thorough evaluation with insightful results. In addition, our practical cognitive ability tests measure core brain skills, such as attention, memory and speed, fulfilling the needs of the hiring process and empowering recruiters in every possible way.

Cognitive Ability Test – FAQs

What does a cognitive ability test measure? 

Cognitive ability measures the level of application of logical thinking, quantitative reasoning, language proficiency etc

What are cognitive tests examples? 

Numerical reasoning, deductive reasoning, inductive reasoning, English language proficiency etc

What is a good cognitive ability test score? 

This depends on the role being applied for. High scores are generally considered to be good. However, for junior positions, even a middle level score may be good enough.

What is the Cognitive Ability Test?

Cognitive ability test is a tool used to measure the cognitive ability of individuals like memory retention ability, attention and error detection ability, numerical reasoning ability etc