Collaborative Academic Testing Service


Frequently Asked Questions

Why use CATS?

CATS testing is a valuable component of the admissions process because the testing is conducted in a one-on-one session with a licensed psychologist who is experienced in working with young children.  Children at pre-school and kindergarten ages are often able to demonstrate their abilities more effectively in an individualized session than in a group testing format.  Children usually enjoy the testing session because activities are varied and age-appropriate.  The length of the session depends on the child’s age but generally lasts from 30 minutes (three-year-old’s) to 60 minutes.  Results of the evaluation are sent to participating schools to which the child is applying.  Parents receive a summary of the evaluation results.

CATS has the capability of expanding to serve the needs of additional schools and older applicants.  The goal of the association is to ease the burden of the application process on both schools and families, while providing quality evaluations for applicants.

What if my child is applying to a school not listed on your registration form? 

The schools listed on the registration form are our contract schools and we use them for information purposes on scheduling the appointment.  In order to comply with privacy requirements, we can not release the scores to any school without a signed consent/authorization form.  You will be asked to complete the consent/authorization to release results on the day of testing in the presence of the tester.  At that time you can list all of the schools you want to receive the results.  If you wish to add additional schools later, please see below.

How long will the testing last?

The session usually lasts around 30 minutes for three-year-old children, 40-60 minutes for four- to seven-year-olds, and 50-80 minutes for eight- to twelve-year-olds. The length of the session depends on the pace set by the child and tester and is not indicative of the child’s performance on the test.

Make sure your child gets a good night’s sleep and eats a healthy breakfast.  Approach the testing in a relaxed manner while letting them know that they will be meeting with a teacher-type person who regularly works with children.  Most children enjoy the one-on-one attention and enjoy the variety of tasks presented to them.  It is not helpful to tell your child that a person will be “playing games” with them as this often leads to disappointment when games are not offered. 

Children tend to perform optimally when they have a relaxed morning leading to the testing time. If they are currently in school, we recommend that they not go to class the morning of the testing session. We also recommend that they not play video games just prior to the session, because doing so often makes it more difficult for them to transition to the evaluation.

Tutoring is strongly discouraged.  Previous exposure to the test materials invalidates test results and may lead to disqualification for your child.

How can I prepare my child for the test?

All testing sessions are held at the psychologist’s private office.  You will be given directions to the office once your child has been assigned a testing time.

Where will the testing session take place?

Upon receipt of the registration form, the applicant is assigned a test date, time, and tester.  Emails notifying parents of this information are usually sent out within three business days but not before September 1st.

When will I be notified of my child’s test date?

If at all possible, please try to keep the assigned date.  If you must reschedule, e-mail the CATS office as soon as possible to arrange a different time.  Please see Withdrawal and Rescheduling Policies for the fee schedule.

What if the assigned date does not work for our child?

Please email the CATS office and call the tester’s office (at the phone number provided in your appointment letter) to notify them of the illness.  All rescheduling must go through the CATS main office.  Individual testers will not reschedule your child’s appointment.

What if my child becomes ill on the morning of the test?

Many preschool-aged children are shy with strangers.  All of the testers are highly experienced in working with young children.  The tester will spend as much time as is needed to establish rapport in the waiting room before asking the child to go to the testing room.  If your child refuses to accompany the tester to the testing room, arrangements can be made to reschedule the testing appointment. A $60 fee is charged for such rescheduling on weekdays and a $120 fee will be charged on Saturdays.

What if my child is shy and does not want to accompany the tester to the testing room?

Should I be concerned if my child displays significant variability in his/her composite test scores?

Children display a variety of strength/ weakness patterns; parents should not assume that a difference in composite scores is indicative of a learning problem.  In fact, we expect that over a quarter of each year’s applicants will display a significant difference in overall scores.

When do the schools receive the test results?

The schools to which your child is applying will receive the test results within three weeks of your child’s test date or sooner if the school is approaching admission deadlines.

CATS has a sliding scale fee based on income levels. If you would like to apply for financial assistance to help cover costs of the fee, please contact the Pamela Woodiel in the CATS office at 

How do we apply for financial aid to cover the $290 registration fee?

What if we have decided to apply to additional schools and would like the CATS report sent to the newly-added schools?

Please complete the Authorization to Release CATS Evaluation to Third Party form and mail it or email it to the CATS office. Note that an administrative fee of $10 will apply to each school that is not contracted with CATS and other professionals.

In order to get a copy of a previous year’s summary report, please complete the Request for copy of prior year’s evaluation results form and mail to the CATS office with the processing fee.  The fee is $10 for reports from the prior two school years and $25 for reports from a year greater than two school years.

We have lost our copy of the parent report from a previous year.  How do we obtain a copy?