How to Ace the Criteria Cognitive Aptitude Test (CCAT)
Jan 29, 2021
free ccat study guide

Our goal is to make Lambda School accessible to anyone who is ready to change their life. Our programs cover a lot of ground in a short period of time. While we follow the principle of mastery-based progression, it’s important that the students we admit are able to keep up with the pace and apply what they learn at Lambda School and on the job.

To ensure that our students have the best chance of successfully completing the program and getting hired, we require all applicants to complete the Criteria Cognitive Aptitude Test (CCAT) as the third step in the admissions process. The Criteria Cognitive Aptitude Test (CCAT) – also sometimes referred to as “Criteria Corp” – is an aptitude test that measures an individual’s ability to solve problems, digest and apply information, learn new skills, and think critically.

Success on this aptitude test is twice as predictive of success as an interview, three times as predictive as experience, and four times as predictive as education level. In short, if you do well on the CCAT, it’s likely that you will do well at Lambda.

5 things to know about passing the CCAT

  1. The Criteria Corp test consists of 50 items and you must answer as many questions as possible in the 15 minute time limit – very few people complete all 50 questions. Lambda School applicants must answer at least 23 questions correctly to proceed to the next phase of the admissions process.
  2. There are three kinds of questions on the CCAT – verbal, spatial reasoning, math, and logic. It’s not common for people to have equal strengths in math and verbal reasoning – most people are stronger in one or the other. Even if you don’t know the answer, guessing and moving to the next question is better than leaving it blank.
  3. Each applicant who takes the CCAT is given a raw score and a percentile ranking. Lambda School does not share these scores with applicants. Your raw score is how many questions out of 50 that you answered correctly. The percentile ranking shows your score as it relates to other people who have taken the test. Only your raw score will be used to determine whether you proceed to the next phase of the Lambda application process.
  4. Applicants need a raw score of 23 to be eligible for admission. If you're unable to pass the entrance exam the first time, you'll be able to re-apply and try again after a 3-month waiting period. This gives you plenty of time to study before you reapply.
  5. Lambda School is committed to providing reasonable accommodations for qualified individuals with disabilities. If you need assistance or an accommodation due to a disability, you may contact us at admissions@lambdaschool.com. For qualified individuals, the Criteria Corp test may be extended to 1.5x the usual length to provide more time for completion. Additionally, a few of the Criteria Corp tests are screen reader friendly.

5 Tips for Success on the Lambda School entrance test

  1. Focus on your strengths. Most people do not have equal math and verbal skills, so spend the majority of the 15 minutes you have answering questions in the subject you’re best at. Are you a numbers person who can easily do mental math? Focus the majority of your efforts on the Math and Spatial Reasoning sections and give the Verbal questions your best guess without spending too much time agonizing over the answer. And if you’re a big reader who can name 10 synonyms for any given word, focus your time on the Verbal section and devote your remaining minutes to doing your best on the Math and Spatial Reasoning questions.
  2. Keep an eye on the clock. Remember that you only have 15 minutes to answer as many questions as possible, so try to spend only 20 seconds on each question. Can’t figure out the answer in 20 seconds? Make your best guess and move on. You’ll need to answer 23 questions correctly to proceed to the next phase of the admissions process, so use the time wisely.
  3. Read the instructions. One of the easiest mistakes to make on the CCAT is not reading the instructions for each question. Give yourself the best chance for a high score by carefully reading each question, especially in the section you’re strongest at.
  4. Prepare well. Feeling your best will also help you perform your best, so before you begin the exam, take a few minutes to have a snack, drink some water, and use the restroom. You won’t want to be distracted by a grumbling stomach while you’re trying to focus.
  5. Do your best. Remember that most people do not answer all 50 questions in the allotted time. The key to success is to take the CCAT in a quiet place where you can relax and do your best work. And remember – if you don’t receive a passing score the first time, you can retake the exam in three months.

Ready to start prepping to ace the CCAT? Download our free CCAT study guide, which includes tips for success, sample questions, and additional resources.

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