Cognitive Ability Testing

Please find below links to both the registration and cancellation forms for the cognitive ability testing (CAT).

Below is also a FAQ document related to the CAT testing process.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact the admissions team at Rivers Academy via email:


Registration form:

Cancellation form:


Cognitive Ability Test - Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’S)




Why does my child need to sit a Cognitive Ability Test?


It’s important to understand that this is not a 'pass or fail' test.
The results of the test are used to allocate each student applicant to one of three ability bands: Low, Middle and High. Due to our increasing popularity as a first choice secondary school, we have had to introduce a Cognitive Ability Test as part of our admission process. The purpose of the test is to be able to assign your child to an ability band.  There is no fee for this test.


Cognitive Ability Test covers the following:

  • Verbal reasoning (includes ideas through words & ideas)
  • Non-verbal reasoning
  • Spatial awareness to be able to think and draw conclusions
  • Numerical reasoning


Does every child sit the test, regardless of their circumstances?             


The test is NOT compulsory for children: 

Who are looked after or have been previously looked after whose statement of Special Educational Needs (SEN) or Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) names the Academy to sit the test. However, it is strongly recommended that they do sit it as the test will enable appropriate interventions and support to be readily available from the start of term. Any student with identified Special Educational Needs will be provided with support in the test in line with usual examination arrangements. Otherwise, all student applicants to the Academy will be required to sit the Cognitive Ability Test.




What happens if my child is ill on the day they are booked in to be tested?


Any student ill on the day of the test will be provided with an opportunity (where possible) to sit the test on an alternative day, provided the illness is supported by an official medical note.  Please email to notify us so that we can amend the booking.



What happens if my child cannot attend on any of the formal test dates?


Any student who applies for a place at the Academy on time without having sat the test will be offered the opportunity to sit the test before the final place allocations are made in March 2019.


How does the school decide the cut-off from one ability band to another?


The percentage of places available in each band will be determined by the profile of the national distribution of ability. This will be determined by GL Assessment, who administers the test. Parents will be informed of the test results in due course.

The percentages of places in each band will vary from year to year. However, as a guide, the national ability profile for 2018 entry was: 

Low ability: 23%   Middle ability: 54%   High ability: 23%.    






How will I know what dates the tests are taking place?

CAT testing for Oak Hill & Oriel pupils will be arranged to take place at each of the respective Academies.  For all other applicants, CAT testing sessions have been arranged for the following dates and times to take place at Rivers Academy.

These must be pre-booked as only limited spaces are available.  Please visit the Academy website, you will be asked to register and book your child via the on-line booking system. 


Please note the test will take approximately 2.5 hours (including breaks) and will be done on a computer.


Further details relating to the admissions policy can be found at