CogAT Verbal Battery: Question Types & Sample Questions

The Verbal 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 Kindergarten Picture Classification Free Sample

What is the CogAT Verbal Battery?

The CogAT, or Cognitive Abilities Test, is a multiple-choice assessment that is often used to assess students for gifted and talented programs. The CogAT consists of three sections, called batteries: the Nonverbal Battery, the Verbal Battery, and the Quantitative Battery.


The Verbal Battery is designed to assess a child’s verbal reasoning skills. For grades K-2 (Levels 5/6-8), all questions are entirely picture-based, as reading and writing abilities are not tested in younger students. Sentence Completion questions will be read aloud by the instructor, and students will have to listen closely in order to answer the question. For grades 3 and up (Levels 9-17/18), all questions are in a more traditional verbal format. 


The Verbal Battery contains three unique question types: Picture/Verbal Analogies, Picture/Verbal Classification, and Sentence Completion. Let’s take a look at each one in more detail below.

Picture/Verbal Analogies

Picture Analogies questions are found on the CogAT for grades K-2. You will be presented a 2 x 2 matrix with two pictures in the top row, and one picture in the bottom row. Your child will have to figure out the relationship present in the top row, and then figure out what picture goes in the bottom row. 


Verbal Analogies are simple comparisons between two words. You will be presented with a pair of words that go together in a certain way, followed by a single word. You will then have to figure out what word goes with the third word to complete the analogy. 


Quick Tip: Don’t look at the answer choices. Do your best to figure out how the first pair goes together, and once you have figured that out, look at the answer choices to find the one that fits best. 

Picture/Verbal Analogies Sample Questions

Picture Analogies - Level 5/6-8

CogAT 1st Grade Picture Analogies Free Sample

Answer: The correct answer is the snowflake. In the top row, the first picture is of a brick wall. The second picture is a single brick. Brick walls are made up of many bricks.


The bottom row should follow the same pattern. The first picture shows a snowman. The correct answer will be something that a snowman is made of, making the snowflake the right answer.

Verbal Analogies - Level 9-17/18

Decrease → Increase : Shallow →


a. Grow

b. Water

c. Deep

d. Wide

e. Reduce


Answer: The correct answer is deep. The first pair of words, decrease and increase, are opposites. The word decrease means to make something smaller, and the word increase means to make something larger. 

The second pair of words should follow the same pattern. The first word is shallow, meaning the next word must have the opposite meaning, making deep the correct answer. 

For detailed Picture/Verbal Analogies lessons and practice questions, check out our full CogAT courses.

Picture/Verbal Classification

Picture Classification questions are found on the CogAT for grades K-2. These questions will present you with three pictures. You will have to figure out how they go together, and then pick a picture from the answer choices that also goes together with them. 


Verbal Classification questions are found on the CogAT for grades 3 and up. These questions will present you with three words. You will have to figure out how they go together, and then pick a word from the answer choices that also goes together with them. 



Quick Tip: Once you have figured out what the three words have in common, be sure to pick a word that goes together with them, and not a word that describes the three. For example, if the three words are apple, orange, and banana, the word fruit would be incorrect, as this is a word that describes the three original words, but does not go together with them. The correct answer would be another fruit, such as pear or mango


Picture/Verbal Classification Sample Questions

Picture Classification - Level 5/6-8

CogAT 1st Grade Picture Classification Free Sample

Answer: The correct answer is the shark. These are all animals that live in the water.


Verbal Classification - Level 9-17/18

The three words in the top row are like each other in some way. Which word from the choices below goes best with the words in the top row?


Root    Branch    Leaf


a. Plant

b. Tree

c. Trunk

d. Soil

e. Bird


Answer: The correct answer is trunk. The three words in the top row are all parts of a tree, so the correct answer must also be a part of a tree. The word tree is incorrect since it is not itself a part of a tree. 

For detailed Picture/Verbal Classification lessons and practice questions, check out our full CogAT courses.

Sentence Completion

For grades K-2, Sentence Completion questions will test your child’s abilities to listen carefully and follow instructions. Your child will only see the answer choices in front of them, and the teacher will read the question aloud. It’s important that they pay attention, because they won’t be able to answer the questions correctly without understanding the instructions.  


For grades 3 and up, Sentence Completion questions are standard fill in the blank questions. Your child will be presented with sentences that will be missing one or two words, and they will have to choose the correct word(s) from the answer choices to complete the sentence. 



Quick Tip: For students in grades K-2, it’s important to listen for key directional words like next to, above, below, and behind. Hearing these important words will be the difference between answering a question right or getting it wrong. 


For students in grades 3 and up, look for linking words, such as and, but, although, and however. These words will often link together two parts of a longer sentence, and will give you a better idea for what the missing word will be. 

Sentence Completion Sample Questions

Sentence Completion - Level 5/6-8

CogAT Kindergarten Sentence Completion Free Sample

Answer: The correct answer is the picture that has a cat in the middle, with one dog to its left, and one dog to its right.

Sentence Completion - Level 9-17/18

Amanda finally found a _____ to the problem that would make everyone happy.


a. cause

b. drawback

c. reward

d. solution

e. source


Answer: The correct answer is solution. By reading through the sentence, it is clear that Amanda was able to find something that would help solve the problem for everyone. The word solution means a way of solving a problem, making it the correct answer.

For detailed Sentence Completion 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.