CogAT Nonverbal Battery: Question Types & Sample Questions

The Nonverbal Battery is one of three sections found on the CogAT. Learn about the question types found in this section, try some free sample questions, and learn how Elm Academy can help your child be prepared for test day.

CogAT Nonverbal Sample Question

What is the CogAT Nonverbal Battery?

The CogAT, or Cognitive Abilities Test, is a popular test frequently used to assess students for gifted and talented programs. The test is made up of three sections, called batteries: the Nonverbal Battery, the Verbal Battery, and the Quantitative Battery.


The Nonverbal Battery is designed to assess a child’s spatial reasoning skills, as well as their ability to detect patterns. All questions are made up of various shapes and figures, and, as the name suggests, are completely nonverbal. This means there are no written instructions or clues, and your child will have to be able to look at the figures presented in a question and figure out how to answer it.


The Nonverbal Battery contains three unique question types: Figure Matrices, Figure Classification, and Paper Folding. Let’s take a look at each one in more detail below.

Figure Matrices

Figure Matrices questions will present you with a 2 x 2 matrix that has two shapes in the top row, and one shape in the bottom row, with the last box empty. Your child will have to figure out how the pictures in the top row go together, and then figure out what picture completes the matrix by filling in the empty square on the bottom.


Quick Tip: The important thing when solving these questions is to look for a pattern in the top row. Once you have found the pattern, look at the bottom row and choose the answer choice that best fits that pattern.

Figure Matrices Sample Question

CogAT 3rd Grade Figure Matrices Free Sample

Answer: The correct answer is the fourth option. In the top row, there are 3 shapes in the first box: a large blue triangle, a smaller grey square, and an even smaller black circle. The same 3 shapes appear in the second box, but with a few changes. First, the triangle has switched from being the largest shape to the smallest shape. Second, the circle has switched from being the smallest shape to the largest. Third, the triangle is now upside down. The grey square does not change.


The bottom row should follow the same pattern. The first box has a large black pentagon, a smaller white trapezoid, and an even smaller grey plus sign. The correct answer will show these 3 shapes changing in the same way the shapes changed in the top row. First, the large black pentagon will become the smallest shape. Second, the plus sign will become the largest shape. Third, the pentagon will flip upside down. The white trapezoid does not change.


For detailed Figure Matrices lessons and practice questions, check out our full CogAT courses.

Figure Classification

Figure Classification questions will present your child with three figures. They will have to figure out how they go together, and then choose the figure from the answer choices that goes together with them.


Quick Tip: Try figuring out how the three figures in the question go together before answering the question. It’s best to try to find the pattern first before looking at the answer choices, as they may confuse you if you can’t immediately find the correct answer. Once you’ve detected a pattern, look at the answer choices and see if there’s an option that fits.

Figure Classification Sample Question

CogAT 3rd Grade Figure Classification Free Sample

Answer: The correct answer is the blue heart with the arrow. All of these shapes have an arrow as part of the shape.


For detailed Figure Classification lessons and practice questions, check out our full CogAT courses.

Paper Folding

Paper Folding questions are the most unique question type found on the CogAT. In these questions, you will be shown a piece of paper being folded. Then, some shapes will be cut from the paper. You will have to figure out what the paper will look like when it’s unfolded.


Quick Tip: Every time the paper is unfolded, the number of shapes will double. If the paper is folded once and one shape is cut out, there will be two shapes when it is unfolded. If it is folded once and two shapes are cut out, then there will be four shapes when it is unfolded.

Paper Folding

CogAT Kindergarten Paper Folding Free Sample

Answer: The correct answer is the first option. The paper is folded in half once vertically, then a heart is cut out. When it is unfolded, there will be 2 hearts on either side of where the paper was folded with a little space in between them.


For detailed Paper Folding lessons and practice questions, check out our full CogAT courses.

Free CogAT Practice

Try out our free sample courses, which include lesson excerpts from our full courses, and a short CogAT quiz that includes one question from each specific question type found on the CogAT.

CogAT Practice Tests & Preparation

For a more comprehensive practice experience, check out our full CogAT courses, which include a parent guide, detailed lessons for each question type found on the CogAT, 9 quizzes, and a full-length CogAT practice test.

Daniela B
Daniela B
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Great experience! My son who is 10 y.o. and gifted in math, enjoyed practicing all tests (verbal, quantitative, and non verbal). He had fun going through the lessons and quizzes (especially the long quizzes at the end of each category) over one weekend prior to taking the real CogAT tests at his school the very next week. He was well prepared and very excited to take the real tests. He was the only one who actually finished the real CogAT nonverbal test (the hardest, in my opinion) in his testing group at school. I loved how the lessons were structured and easy to follow. I highly recommend this program. Being prepared makes a big difference even for highly gifted children as my son.
Elizabeth Gleinser
Elizabeth Gleinser
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As a tutor, I have used this course as a resource to prepare students. I would highly recommend, one of the best resources I’ve seen for this type of test. The curriculum is well-designed, clear strategies and a good amount of practice problems. I would recommend this to other tutors to supplement resources as well as to parents working with their children.
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I have used several books and online courses to prepare my child for the CogAT and this one is hands down the best. The lessons included on how to answer the questions are very thoughtful and helpful. I would recommend this course to any parent looking to prepare their child for the CogAT.
Jacob B
Jacob B
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This course was very helpful for my son. Lots of practice questions. I liked that there were quizzes for all the question styles.
Natalie Mudoka
Natalie Mudoka
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The best course out there for OLSAT. It has the correct amount of difficulty to challenge a child’s thought process and diverse questions to hone different reasoning skills. I had 8 days to prepare my child for GATE testing and this last minute prep was more than sufficient to get her to the finish line. I highly recommend it for all children irrespective of whether they are testing for a GATE program or not.