What is GAT – Part 2


What is in the General Ability Test, or GAT? ~ Part 2

Does it need to be so ‘mysterious’?

General Ability Test or commonly known as the GAT is taken by the Primary 3 children who have successfully cleared the first round of the GEP or the Screening Round, held in August every year. The GAT is held in October every year as part of GEP’s Selection Round. There are two general ability tests to be cleared – English & Math.

English – GAT

The English-GAT is a series of word reasoning puzzles. These puzzles are believed to be an effective way of testing a child’s potential, not just learned ability. However, learned ability does play an important part in this paper. Even though many of these question types test your child’s logical deduction skills or their ability to decipher codes, the English-GAT will require a good vocabulary and also strong Math skills. Strangely but truly, the English-GAT also encompasses Maths questions.

Some children simply have the ‘natural’ ability when it comes to English-GAT, even if they have never seen or tried them before. The fact is these children also tend to be very keen on many types of word puzzles – crosswords, word searches, word games, Scrabble etc. If you can encourage your child to enjoy these activities, they make for good informal preparation for the English-GAT.

In any instance, if your child is not one of the lucky few, it is still possible to become very adept at the English-GAT simply by learning the techniques required to solve the puzzles. Mere preparation will not enable a child who is not innately intelligent to qualify. An analogy sometimes used is that of doing the crossword puzzles – If you do the crossword every day you become familiar with how the authors think and you can see the solutions more quickly. However, if you do not possess a good vocabulary prior, you will not know the answers to the clues.

Math – GAT

For the Math-GAT, problem solving questions are based around pictures, diagrams and geometric shapes. There are no words, rather, the questions use drawings, shapes or codes, and your child will need to work out sequences, similarities and differences between these figures, rotation, mirroring, direction, symmetry or break the code. There are many possible combinations to present to your child. The purpose of the Math-GAT is designed to find out how your child can use critical thinking and logic to solve problems, and is an indication of his or her mathematical capabilities and powers of deduction. Using the Math-GAT, the Gifted Education Department can get a truer picture of your child’s potential and intelligence as compared to their learned ability, which is easily tested in the accompanying Math paper.

To do well for the Math – GAT paper, your child needs to be good – and quick – and have good spatial awareness. Spatial awareness is the understanding of the relation of objects to each other, even when positions are changed. To top it off, good visual acuity – that is, acuteness of vision together with good interpretation by the brain – is a much needed vital skill. Such a skill comes more naturally to some children and adults than to others. However, we find that the younger the child is, the more natural the child can handle such questions, possibly due to the ‘lesser clustering’ in the brain. Nevertheless, for those who find these questions not second nature to them, the required skills – spatial awareness and spatial acuity – can still be improved with good coaching.

You can also boost Math-GAT skills by

playing games like spot the differences between pictures

playing Sudoku

developing spatial awareness and understanding of how shapes are interconnected using blocks and Lego sets

drawing shapes and getting your child to draw their mirror images, cutting folded papers then opening them to see how they look like

Your Child will become a NATURAL THINKER with us in our Analytical Critical Thinking programme!

Read What exactly is the General Ability Test or GAT? ~ Part 1 

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