Core Abilities Assessment – Free Practice Questions, Answers, and Tips

Hi there, and welcome to the ultimate candidate guide for the Core Abilities Assessment (CAA). Here you’ll find all the tools and advice to prepare for and improve your score on this test:

1. Test content breakdown with examples
2. Free, timed practice test
3. Prep courses to maximize your score potential
4. Our team’s assistance in any question you may have

Core Abilities Assessment Content & Format

The test is published and owned by Pearson. Before we dive deep into each section, here’s the gist:

  • 20 multiple choice questions, 15 minutes
  • 6 verbal analogies
  • 7 numerical calculations
  • 7 abstract reasoning shape series
  • Calculators are not allowed
  • You can skip and go back to previous questions

Numerical Reasoning

This section includes seven (7) questions and you cannot use a calculator. As in any cognitive ability assessment, this section requires the most preparation time. Arithmetic calculations (division, subtraction, multiplication, addition) are simple concepts, but in a timed test, a question can eat up 50 seconds of your time if you don’t solve it effectively. The CAA takes advantage of this, turning seemingly simple concepts into mind-boggling riddles.

core abilities assessment numerical reasoning

In order to succeed in this section, you must master these basic topics:

  1. Four basic operations
  2. Decimals
  3. Rounding and estimations
  4. Multiplication tables
  5. Number series
  6. Percentages
  7. Powers & roots

Let’s look at an example to show how a simple question can ruin your score because of the amount of time you’ll spend on it:


We’re asked to divide 6.02 by 0.04. When was the last time you were asked to calculate something like this on scrap paper, without the use of a calculator and in less than one minute?!

Verbal Reasoning

This section includes six (6) word analogies. The format of the analogy is a bit confusing:

….. is to energy as saturated is to…..


That is, two words are missing and they are from separate pairs. In most cognitive ability tests, an analogy is presented in a way that one pair of words is given:

Vigorous is to energy as saturated is to….


And the candidate is only asked to find one word. Thus, the verbal analogies on the Core Abilities Assessment are more difficult and time-consuming.  However, with enough practice and solving strategies, one can master this format as well.

Abstract Reasoning

This section includes six (6) of the popular shape series question style. Lesson 6 in my free prep course reviews this question type and also provides a list of free practice resources on the internet with which you can train. 



Core Abilities Assessment Free Practice Test

Take my quiz that includes 10 questions and lasts 7.5 minutes, to get a feel of what the real CAA test by Pearson would be like.

Upon submission, you’ll get a score report that will break down your performance in each section and will compare you to the general population of test-takers who’ve taken this quiz before. You’ll also get a chance to read the explanations per question and to grab some time-saving tips.

CAA Score Report Structure

You can see a real score report on the Pearson website.

You’ll notice that the report shows the raw score a percentile score, which changes according to the norm group you’ll be benchmarked against. In the example below, the candidate scored in the 62nd percentile of the population of UK Working Adults.

core abilities assessment score report sample 2


Generally speaking, 10 correct answers out of 20 will put you in the 50th percentile, i.e. the average score.

If you hit 15 correct out of 20, you’ll be in the 77th percentile of the Working Adults norm group. This is considered a good score, as it’s above average.

core abilities assessment score report sample 1


Raw score Percentile score Meaning
18-20 91st and above Well above average
13-17 71st-90th above average

Frequently Asked Questions

Are there any official practice questions provided by Pearson?

Yes, there are. Here’s the link to the page that has a link to the sample questions:

Which types of jobs are suitable for this assessment?

According to Pearson, the Core Abilities Assessment is suitable for entry to mid-level positions.

Can I take the test on my mobile phone?

I’d recommend that you take the test on a big screen. Using a mobile phone can be detrimental to your score due to the small screen size. 

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Disclaimer: 12MINPREP is not affiliated nor belongs to Pearson which are the owners of the Core Abilities  Assessment. This website solely provides information on how to prepare for cognitive ability tests.