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Talent Search Testing - Scholastic and College Ability Test (SCAT)

The SCAT

History

Since 1985, the Center for Talented Youth has identified talented students in elementary grades using the School and College Ability Test (SCAT). In May 1996, CTY purchased all rights to the SCAT from Educational Testing Service (ETS) and entered into an agreement with Prometric to computerize the SCAT and make the test available at computer test centers.

Versions

There are three different versions of the SCAT.

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

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 his or her grade as well as 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 understanding of fundamental number operations. The quantitative questions are multiple-choice mathematical comparisons, which require a student to compare two mathematical quantities and determine which is greater. Problems are intended to measure mathematical reasoning ability and thus often do not require computation.

Scoring and Timing

Test Scoring

SCAT Scaled Scores range from 400 to 516 depending on the level the student takes. Here are the ranges:

Elementary Level
Verbal Range = 400-471
Quantitative Range = 412-477

Intermediate Level
Verbal Range = 405-487
Quantitative Range = 417-506

Advanced Level
Verbal Range = 410-496
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 who normally take that level of testing, For exmaple, 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

Scheduling

You can make an appointment with Prometric online at www.prometric.com/jhucty or by phone at 800-688-5796. The call center is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. EST on weekdays. The SCAT test fee is $60 (US only), payable by credit card or electronic check. The fee will be charged immediately. Please call or go online at least three weeks before your preferred testing date. Students must test by June 30, however, if you are interested in Summer Programs, please test as early as possible. Registration for summer courses opens in January and spaces fill quickly.

Authorization Number

You will be required to have your 9-digit SCAT Authorization Number from CTY before you call to schedule your SCAT testing appointment. If you received test registration information by mail, the testing authorization number is printed on the registration packet envelope. If you received test registration information by email, the authorization number is in the body of an email from CTY. If you’ve lost or cannot find the authorization number, you can access it by logging into MyCTY at www.ctyjhu.org/mycty/.