How to Conduct the IBM Cognitive Ability Assessment? (+5 Series Explained)

In this article, we will be discussing the IBM Cognitive Ability Assessment, its objectives, the way of conducting and we will also be looking at the importance of this cognitive assessment. Finally, we will be answering certain questions related to cognitive assessments.  

IBM Cognitive Ability Assessment

 The IBM Cognitive Ability Assessment refers to a type of test, which is administered in the form of a game and intends to measure the cognitive ability of a candidate through the use of games. 

It is an extremely unique and one-off way to measure aptitude and to gain insight into the personality traits possessed by a candidate. 

This cognitive ability game is also known by the term “cognify”. The game consists of an elimination round, where the candidates who performed poorly will be eliminated from the program and will not qualify for the next stage. 

International Business Machines Cooperation is a multinational American Company that offers multidimensional roles, offers, and positions in its varied business lines. They use a mixture of bespoke and Kenexa assessments in their recruitment process. 

Five steps are involved in the IBM job recruitment process which is as follows:

  • The online application process
  • The IBM Cognitive ability assessment
  • The IBM IPat Test.
  • A digital video interview
  • The IBM assessment center. 

The conduction process

The IBM Cognitive ability assessment aims to measure the cognitive ability of a candidate using a combination of online aptitude test and gamified solutions. There is a series of five gamified assessments that are used in this cognitive ability assessment. They are as follows:

  • Shortcuts
  • Gridlocks
  • Resemble
  • Numbubbles
  • Tally up

These games are constantly evolving and have now moved onto the realm of game-based assessments. The kinds of skills and competencies that are being tested by this assessment are similar to the standard aptitude and psychometric assessments. 


This is the first and foremost game that is to be played and solved in the IBM Cognitive ability test. In this game, the task of the candidate is to move a set of blue marbles to an area filled with stars, while minimizing the distance the blue marbles take to travel. 

In this game, you are required to use as few movements as possible. The difficulty level of the game will increase as you advance through the game. 


Gridlock refers to the second game of the IBM Cognitive ability assessment. In this game, the candidates are instructed to solve a given number of puzzles, by fitting all pieces into the grid as fast as possible. Three minutes is the allotted time to solve all the puzzles. The difficulty level of the game increases as you cross each level and proceed. 

To smartly dealing with this game, you need to use your spatial reasoning skills, which you can practice by playing the game called Tetris. 


This is the third game in the series of IBM Cognitive ability assessment. In this game, an image will be given on the left side with a set of instructions. The candidate is required to mentally rotate the image on the left side according to the instructions and reproduce the image on the right side. This game also examines the spatial skills of the candidate. 


This represents the fourth game in the assessment. In this game, the candidate is required to identify and pop a set of correct bubbles using an equation that would equal the target number presented. The candidates will be provided with the target number. Numbubbles measures the quantitative reasoning skills of the individual. 

You must possess the ability to carry out mental arithmetic operations without committing mistakes and you must be able to quickly work your way through the cases. The operations involved are basic and simple addition, subtraction, multiplication, and all digits are under ten. 

The time limit provided is nine minutes for each target and you have to pop as many bubbles as possible in the given amount of time. In this game too, the difficulty level increases as you go up the ladder.

Tally up

This game is the fifth and final part of the cognitive ability assessment. The candidates are instructed to quickly identify which of the two groups of tokens represented on the screen has higher/lower/equal value to the other. 

At the bottom side of the screen, the greater than, lesser than, and equal signs will be presented for you to choose from. Your job is to correctly identify the relationship between the two groups of tokens.

As in numbubbles, even in this game, you have to use your mental arithmetic skills to succeed.  You have to work through the problems with accuracy and as quickly as possible.

The time allotted for each screen is four seconds and the only calculation digits that are put into use include four, two, and one. The number of tokens presented on each side will increase as you solve more puzzles. 


In this article, we discussed briefly, the IBM Cognitive ability assessment, which is used to test the cognitive ability of the candidates. We saw the nature of the assessment, the other stages involved in the recruitment process, and the five gamified assessments involved in the assessment. 

FAQs: IBM Cognitive Ability Assessment

How do I pass a cognitive assessment test?

While taking a cognitive test, make sure you don’t waste time on one particular question or ponder over it more than needed. Usually, cognitive ability tests are conducted for a short, with each question allowed with a specific time slot. Hence, keep track of the time allowed and attend to each question accordingly. period

Typically, you will only be getting around half to one minute for each question. Choose the questions to which you know the answers in the beginning and spare the lengthy and difficult ones for another time. This way you can save time and buy more time to solve the hard questions. Do not strive for perfection. Instead, strive for excellence. 

Answer the questions that are more familiar to you and follow the pattern, until you are left with the questions which are on the tougher side. Keep an eye on the penalty for wrong answers and decide to skip or guess the answers for questions, accordingly. In case, there are no penalties, you can confidently go ahead and take your wild guesses. 

Preparation is an equally important factor. Make sure you invest enough time practicing previous question papers and sharpening your cognitive thinking skills. Simulate tests as much as possible and take online cognitive mock tests for gaining some insight into the nature of questions.

What is a good score on the PI cognitive assessment?

The given scale for a cognitive assessment scoring is a hundred to four- hundred and fifty, and the average score is two hundred and fifty. This is equivalent to a raw score of approximately 20/50. Each score falls into a percentile that demonstrates how your score compares to the score of the other test-takers in terms of percentage. The PI cognitive assessment is made up of fifty questions and the total time usually provided is twelve minutes. It consists of three categories, comprising verbal, numeric, and abstract reasoning. This test is used to measure the general cognitive ability of an individual and the ability to learn and assimilate information quickly. 

What are the eight essential cognitive skills?

The eight most important cognitive skills are as follows:
Sustained attention: sustained attention refers to the ability to listen, attend, and pay focused concentration to the task at hand for a given period. This skill is especially important to learn new information and retrieve it when required.

Information processing: this skill defines how quickly an individual can process information that he/she receives from their surroundings. This is a central aspect of IQ. this skill is a problematic one for children with attention deficit issues. 

Response inhibition: response inhibition is the ability of an individual to keep away their attention from distractions in the environment. People with good response inhibition will be able to persistently maintain their focus on the task at hand, without getting affected by the distractions. 

Multiple simultaneous attention:  this skill refers to the ability to multitask. An individual with a good level of this skill will be able to move their attention forwards and backward among two or more activities, without disruptions in any one of them. It requires efficient planning and the creation of an apt strategy to follow through. 

Working memory: working memory refers t the ability to remember a piece of instant information and store the information in memory, long enough to perform a particular task with the stored information. Working memory is similar to a notepad where we note down quick information for later use. For instance, we quickly note down a phone number or memorize it for quick reference and later use it for a later purpose. 

Pattern recognition: pattern recognition can be termed as a special skill of the brain. It refers to the ability of an individual to recognize patterns and also predict the continuation of the pattern logically and rationally. Pattern recognition and inductive thinking form the foundation for scientific experimenting and inquiry. 

Category information: this skill refer to the ability to organize concepts, patterns, information, and skills into categories of their kind and create a cognitive basis for applying, analyzing, and evaluating those skills and concepts. These categories form the basis for language and words. 

Cognitive flexibility and control: cognitive flexibility is the ability to change your mind, in time of requirement. This skill is required to adapt to new ways of thinking and modifying your core beliefs. 

How do I improve my cognitive skills?

To improve your cognitive skills, you need to change your mindset and your attitude towards perceiving cognitive thinking as a beginning step. You may also need to incorporate some lifestyle changes and sharpen your ability to focus better.

Here are some tips you could use:

Keep your goals aligned towards growth
Try to maintain physical activity and well-being
Gain awareness of your emotional functioning and coping
Eat healthily
Get enough mindful and restorative sleep. 

Is cognitive ability the same as IQ?

Intelligent quotient or IQ  usually refers to a score on a test that rates your cognitive ability as compared to the rest of the population. They are designed to test your mental ability to understand concepts and solve problems of various kinds. 

What part of the brain controls cognitive activities?

The cognitive and motor functions of an individual are controlled by brian areas which include the frontal lobe, cerebellum, and the basal ganglia that interact together to influence the control and regulation of the executive functions and movement. This is also required for the prediction and anticipation of the movement of others.  These functions are important for the daily functioning of an individual. 


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