Skip Navigation

School and College Ability Test (SCAT)

The SCAT

CTY uses three levels of the SCAT:

Students in grades 2-3 take the Elementary SCAT designed for students in grades 4-5.
Students in grades 4-5 take the Intermediate SCAT designed for students in grades 6-8.
Students in grades 6 and above take the Advanced SCAT designed for students in grades 9-12.

Because this is an above-grade-level test, after the test, you’ll receive information that shows how your child’s score compares to that of students in the higher grades for whom the test questions were originally designed.

Test Format

The SCAT has two sections, verbal and quantitative. Each section contains 55 questions, including five unidentified experimental items that do not count toward the student’s score.

Verbal Section

The verbal section measures a student’s understanding of the meaning of words and verbal reasoning ability. Verbal questions are multiple-choice analogies, which require a student to choose the best pair of words to complete an analogy. Often, there may appear to be more than one answer that fits the analogy, but the correct answer is the one that best completes the analogy.

Quantitative Section

The quantitative section measures a student’s mathematical reasoning ability and thus often does not require computation. The quantitative questions are multiple-choice mathematical comparisons, which require a student to compare two mathematical quantities and determine which is greater, whether the two values are equal, or for the older students, if enough information is given to determine an answer at all.

Scoring and Timing

Test Scoring

SCAT Scaled Scores range from 401 to 514 depending on the level the student takes. Here are the ranges:

Elementary Level
Verbal Range = 401-471
Quantitative Range = 412-475

Intermediate Level
Verbal Range = 405-482
Quantitative Range = 419-506

Advanced Level
Verbal Range = 410-494
Quantitative Range = 424-514

This scaled score is based on the number of questions the student answers correctly out of the 50 scored questions in each section.

SCAT percentiles are used to compare students to the older population to whom the student will be compared. For example, Grade 2 students are compared to a general population of 4th graders and so on, as detailed below.

Grade 2 is compared to Grade 4
Grade 3 to Grade 5
Grade 4 to Grade 6
Grade 5 to Grade 8
Grade 6 to Grade 9
Grade 7 to Grade 12
Grade 8 to Grade 12

Test Timing and Breaks

The two sections, each 22 minutes long, are separated by a 10-minute break. The break is optional and student-directed. In other words, the test center administrator will not start and end the break. It is the student's responsibility to return to the test on time. If students take any other breaks during the test, timing will continue. Your appointment time will be 90 minutes but the test itself usually takes less than one hour.

Screen Shots

SCAT test screen shots

Click on the following links to see what the actual test looks like:

Sample Questions

Sample SCAT Questions

The purpose of these samples is to provide students a chance to familiarize themselves with the question format. Some of the questions on the actual test will be more difficult, some will be less difficult, and the actual test will cover more topics. CTY does not provide a list of topics to be covered in the test.There will be more questions on the computerized test and more time will be allotted. The actual test will be delivered via computer at a Prometric Test Center.

To administer the samples to your child you should first print out the questions. Make sure your child has scrap paper for the math section. Use a clock or watch to time each section of the test (5 minutes per section). The answers are on the last page.

Grades 2-3

Grades 4-5

Grade 6 and Older

Testing Tips

These are general tips for taking the SCAT:

  • Don’t panic, even if you don’t have a clue. Remember, this is a test designed for older students and you are not expected to know all the answers.
  • If you start to panic--relax physically. Close your eyes for a few seconds and concentrate on your breathing.
  • If you get stuck on a question, go ahead and take your best guess. You must answer each question before you move to the next question, so don’t spend too much time on any one question. In multiple-choice questions, eliminate the obviously wrong choices first, then, carefully consider the remaining ones. Be sure to read ALL the choices before you choose your answer.
  • On the SCAT there is no penalty for wrong answers, so guessing is OK. Items are of equal value, so the more correct answers you give, the higher your score. If you find you don’t have enough time to finish, use the last minute in each sub-section to make guesses to make sure you finish section.
  • If time permits, use the Previous button and go back and check your answers.
  • First impressions count. In rechecking your answers, change an answer ONLY if you are CERTAIN that your first answer was incorrect. First impressions (initial guesses) are often correct.
  • Finally, be confident, and good luck!

Register to Test

You must first register with CTY to obtain an eligibility number before you can register to test. If you are a student in grades 2-8 and have already applied to the current academic year Talent Search, you are eligible to take the SCAT. To obtain your nine-digit eligibility number log in to your MyCTY account. You may also call CTY at 410-735-6278 or email ctyinfo@jhu.edu (include child's name and address). The eligibility number must be used before June 30, 2017. Students may take the SCAT two times during any single academic year. 

NOTE: Special testing accommodations are available for students with disabilities. Please visit the Disabilities web page for more information.