What do my results mean?

15 mins read

I’ve taken my digital cognitive assessment… what do my results mean?

A cognitive assessment provides insight into your cognitive differences and way of thinking.

It’s a chance to learn something about yourself and the way you experience the world.

In this guide, we break down the meaning behind the Cognassist results and how to begin the conversation with your learners.

What’s included:

  • My assessment suggests a needs assessment required, what does it mean?
  • My assessment says there has been no need identified, what does that mean?
  • What’s the difference?
  • How do I start the conversation with my learners about their results?
  • How does the assessment work?


A cognitive assessment provides insight into how your brain works. It’s a chance to learn something about yourself and the way you experience the world.

It’s not an intelligence test and it doesn’t reflect your ability to succeed or what you can contribute. It simply looks at the processes in your brain that influence your thinking and learning. Processes that your brain does without you even realising it, every day of your life.

But people react in different ways.

You might find your assessment results incredibly validating or kind of confusing.

And we want to clear up your questions and give you perspective on what your results actually mean.

This guide addresses some of the most common reactions we have to our assessment.

Hopefully our answers provide you with a different perspective on what your results actually say about you and how this knowledge can be really powerful for your personal development.

Cognassist doesn’t just offer its assessment to learners. Often, members of staff and people we work with will take it – the whole Cognassist team has taken it too.

We’re all different and learning continues throughout our lives.

We all have a unique learning journey, whether it’s formal or informal learning, YouTube, podcasts, on-the-job, off-the-job, continued personal development, raiding the library in your spare time or all of the above.

The ways we learn are so varied and it’s the same for the ways we think and process information.

Consider this assessment a new experience that can help you to understand more about your own mind. Does it meet your expectations or challenge them? Let’s find out.

My report suggests a needs assessment is required and it explains so much

If you think differently, you will be identified on our assessment and your report will suggest completing a ‘needs assessment’. Not everybody will require adaptations or additional support based on their cognitive differences, but a needs assessment can be useful to explore if there are any adaptations that you can make to improve the way you work or learn. A needs assessment can help you work smarter by exploring different ways of doing things. 

For many people, our cognitive assessment can be a very validating experience.

We’re really glad that this has provided you with a few insights that might explain some of the learning differences you’ve experienced in your work and personal life.

We want learning, whether it’s formal learning or personal development, to be a positive experience for you because it might be the case that it hasn’t always been this way.

Not everyone gets on with the traditional classroom setting of learning and some people have to work twice as hard to get where they want to be.

But there are ways to adapt education and learning to suit different people. Adaptations can include assistive technology, changing the types of resources you work with (written/visual), or changing the way you approach classes, meetings and presentations. 

Creating flexible and adaptive work and learning environments is what we’re trying to do. 

This helps to make education more flexible and increase opportunities for continual development, so that fewer people feel like they’re being let down. 

Have confidence in yourself and your abilities. Know that there are ways you can support your own learning and development through different strategies, which rely on your strengths and mitigate the negative effects of tasks you find more challenging.

Learning is a journey, and it doesn’t stop once we enter the world of work. Keep at it and don’t forget to give yourself a break when things get stressful.

It’s not always easy being human. But understanding how you think and learn can help to adapt the way you approach everyday tasks to make them a bit easier. Our reports and online content cover different practical strategies that you can apply. 

All the best from us in your journey, whatever path you take!

My report suggests a needs assessment is required and it wasn’t what I expected

If you think differently, you will be identified on our assessment and your report will suggest completing a ‘needs assessment’. This is nothing to worry about and doesn’t reflect your ability to do your job or course. Not everybody will require additional changes or additional support based on their cognitive differences, but a needs assessment can be useful to explore if there are any adaptations that you can make to improve the way you work or learn.

For some people, the results of our cognitive assessment can come as a bit of a surprise.

You might well be confused about your results. Maybe you didn’t expect to match or you’re worried it means something bad.

But it definitely doesn’t.

Less than 10% of people score in the typical range across all 9 domains in our assessment, we really do all think differently! 

As we go through life, we constantly learn new skills and find ways to manage ourselves and deal with various challenges. And people cope in different ways.

Some people can adapt the ways they work naturally, finding their own rhythm and strategies while working outside their comfort zone. And for some people, they’re not sure where to start, feel overwhelmed and often blame themselves for not being able to do things as well as others.

But everyone’s cognition is different. We all rely on our strengths and either avoid or learn to cope with tasks we find more challenging. 

Some people are great at adapting, they are often high functioning and self-driven people. You may have developed your own adaptations and strategies to support the way you think and learn. However, it’s important to remember that other people, including our colleagues and learners, may be early on in this journey. 

No one is free from the fundamentally challenging experience of being a human.

Some people feel more prepared for the working world when they get there than others, and we build a perception of ourselves based on our experiences.

You may not think that you struggle in certain areas because your experience says otherwise, and you may have developed your own tools and strategies for certain tasks.

But we’re talking about the fundamental processes in your brain.

The way you naturally process information and the world around you. We encourage everybody to use this as an opportunity to learn more about how we all process information and explore what it means for you. If you have developed useful tools and strategies, you can share them with your learners and colleagues that may currently need that support. 

If you weren’t expecting the results in your report, that’s ok.

It can be hard to get an objective idea of how we process information because we simply don’t know what other people’s experiences are like, which is why we use carefully developed scientific tools to explore it. 

We all think differently. We all find certain things more challenging. And we all make mistakes.

This idea that learning differences make us more or less capable is a stereotype that we want to break down.

Our CEO has a First class degree, started four businesses from scratch and he’s dyslexic. He didn’t have this success despite his dyslexia, his dyslexia helped him to succeed.

And the same can be said for Einstein, Leonardo Da Vinci, Whoopi Goldberg, George Washington and Cher – we could go on.

Understanding how you think and learn in a new way can be an empowering experience. One where you’re able to embrace your strengths and be aware of the areas you find more challenging.

It gives you a framework to make more informed decisions about your own progress and how you choose to direct your energies.

We hope it starts a journey of self-discovery that cuts through all the noise out there and gives you a real, scientifically accurate view into your own mind.

My report suggests a needs assessment is required and I don’t think I need support

Not everybody who we suggest completes a needs assessment will need support. A needs assessment can be useful to explore this very question, whether you need it or not. You may well have developed your own strategies and tools that adapt to the way you think and learn whether you’re aware of them or not. However, it’s important to remember that not everyone will eb at the same stage in their journey and you want to consider how exams to high stress situations might impact you without support. 

Cognassist’s support is also probably different to what you’re imagining.

It’s not a question of intelligence or your ability to progress through education, but more about how you can adapt your systems, tools and processes to improve the way you work. Different ways of thinking require different approaches. 

Cognassist provides support that is directed by the complexity and needs of different course levels, from level 1 right up to level 7 qualifications. That’s entry level right through to degree apprenticeships and Master’s level of study. 

We want to make education, no matter your level of study, more flexible and responsive to give everyone a more personalised experience and help people build the skills they need to succeed.

Our focus is on helping you to develop the skills and behaviours that employers are looking for. We provide practical strategies that can help you to navigate different situations, ideas and key skills related to your qualification and career goals.

These strategies can be anything from how to build positive relationships with recruitment agencies to how to declutter the mind during periods of uncertainty.

Education is essentially about preparing us for adult life, but we live in a culture that’s constantly changing.

And no matter how well prepared you are, there will always be new challenges and unfamiliar situations to overcome throughout your life.

Helping you to deal with this uncertainty is what we do at Cognassist.

Our strategy modules  are designed to give you the confidence and resilience to approach difficult or uncertain situations and tasks in a way that works for you.

We provide multiple suggestions in each module, personalised to your cognitive profile. And you pick one or two that could work for you, meaning you can choose the approach you take.

You receive these strategy modules every month for the full duration of your course, and they are matched to your level of study so you can gain more relevant skills.

This is an opportunity to learn more about yourself and make better decisions throughout your learning and work. Try it out first and see what you think.

And if it helps, others like you already rate us. From 173,882 learner responses, 89% would apply the skill they learned to their work and study, and 98% of the same number found their strategy useful.

You could join them, and we hope you do.

My report suggests no need was identified but I thought there would be

If you thought our assessment would identify differences in certain areas but it didn’t, don’t worry. We are just the first stop on your journey and there are still ways that you can be supported.

It’s important to know that our assessment focuses on specific areas of cognition. It is possible that there are other tasks you may find challenging that we simply don’t measure.

Human cognition is incredibly complex and the best model that defines human thinking capabilities is the Cattell-Horn-Carroll Theory of Cognitive Abilities. The reason why we mention this model is because it identifies over 70 domains that are involved in wider cognitive processes.

But no cognitive assessment in the world measures all of these domains.

A full assessment by an educational psychologist is likely to have around 12 or 15 tasks, and possibly fewer if they want to measure something specific like memory or attention.

We have chosen nine domains that consulting neuropsychologists and educational psychologists consider to be vital to effective learning. We wanted to create an accessible assessment that wasn’t overwhelming but provides a good starting point for ways to improve and personalise learning.

Our assessment is not a diagnosis tool. Many of our cognitive tasks are used in the diagnostic process but further investigation and context is needed to make a formal diagnosis if this is relevant. If you think you should be receiving specific support with your learning and development, then you should absolutely talk to your course leaders or employers – they are there to help.

Learning differences or difficulties affect people differently, and there are multiple ways to measure a single domain.

To put this into context, if an educational psychologist is assessing dyslexia, they would use multiple tasks measuring language processing. Someone who has dyslexia won’t score low on all of these tasks.

We have chosen some of the most common and comprehensively researched tasks available for each domain, but there is a small possibility that you will perform well in the task we have chosen but not in others measuring the same type of processing.

If you have had a previous diagnosis or received support at school, don’t be afraid to be open about your needs.

All education providers are serious about driving inclusion and starting these conversations is really important to your sense of wellbeing and confidence in your own abilities and what you can bring to both learning and work.

And even if our system doesn’t suggest a needs assessment, our assessment can still provide valuable insight into where your strengths lie. Maybe they were strengths you didn’t know you had, and you can develop these to help you face the everyday challenges of learning and work.

There’s a lot you can offer. You don’t need us to tell you that.

My report didn’t suggest a needs assessment, will I still receive support?

You won’t have direct access to Cognassist but a core part of quality education is ensuring there is robust support available to all learners.

Your education provider will want you to have the best experience while you’re studying with them. If you feel like you want more support, talk to your tutors or course contacts about what going on and ask what they can do.

Having these conversations is really important to your wellbeing and enjoyment of your course, so don’t be afraid to talk about it. And you’ll be surprised about how quickly people will jump into action for you!

My report didn’t suggest a needs assessment, but can you still explain my results to me?

We encourage all companies using Cognassist to discuss the results of our assessment with everyone who takes it, whether their results suggest a needs assessment or not.

This is chance to learn more about yourself and it’s an opportunity we don’t want you to miss.

If you haven’t received your cognitive diversity report or discussed your result with anyone yet, we recommend asking your course leader or primary tutor for this information. If you’re not sure who to contact about this, you can email us at support@cognassist.com and we’ll help you out.

Our cognitive abilities exist on various spectrums.

And even if you don’t require adaptations or support, you will likely still have areas where you’re stronger and tasks you find more challenging.

This is your unique brain and you can still explore different ways to approach learning based on how you think.

If you want to know more about our assessment and cognitive domains, you can check out our handy guide to cognition and learning.

But if you’d rather skip ahead, you can jump to the part about understanding the cognitive domains we measure.

We wish you all the best in your learning journey!

What’s the difference between ‘needs assessment required’ and ‘no need identified’?

Our assessment relies on internationally recognised thresholds to decide whether someone should have access to our platform and the strategy modules we provide.

We suggest people review the way they work, depending on their responses during the assessment and how challenging they find each task, which reflect certain cognitive measures.

Needs assessment required means that our assessment has identified one or more areas where you may notice certain tasks are more challenging.

Differences in learning are to be expected and whatever learning journey people are on, it’s important they’re given the best support. Access to Cognassist is prioritised for these individuals but we always recommend that tutors share our modules with other learners who don’t use Cognassist monthly.

No need identified means that you don’t meet this threshold and the support you require may be less specific. But it doesn’t mean that you won’t require support or adaptations at all.

If you feel like you’re struggling with your learning, reach out to someone you feel comfortable talking to.

We guarantee you that they will want to help you and will be happy to talk about the best way to approach and overcome any challenges you’re having.

Whether we suggest a needs assessment or not, your cognitive diversity report is yours to keep, and you can use it to help guide your learning journey and rely on your strengths.

How do I start the conversation with learners about their results?

It’s easy to feel like this is a hard conversation with learners. After all, it’s personal information and requires respectful treatment.
But it’s also an opportunity to really connect with your learners, help them to open up about themselves and feel reassured that they’re getting the best support from you.

We ask all tutors to take the assessment themselves. This is your greatest asset. You’ve experienced the same thing that the learner has, and you can share your experience with them.

Straight away, you can ask them what they thought of the assessment. Did they find it hard, easy, confusing or fun? Whatever their initial feeling, you can respond to that, reassure them and talk to them about how you felt after the assessment yourself. Relate your experience to the learner, tell them what you found hard, easy, confusing or fun.

This is a process of getting to know your learners, as much as it is about them getting to know themselves and their cognitive profile. You can take a look at the different reactions we’ve talked to on this page to find different ways of putting their results into context. What it actually means for them and how they can use this information throughout their lives, not just during their programme.

Your role here is so important.

You want the learner to leave feeling empowered and engaged by this new information and curious about the strategies they will receive. How these will build on the learner’s core curriculum to provide a personalised experience. And help them in their career, giving them a much more rounded understanding of the skills, knowledge and behaviours they will gain.

We’ll let you in on a secret.

Our Science Communications Manager here at Cognassist, Helen, used to write the strategy modules for learners. And as she was writing them, she found her own advice incredibly useful. These strategies provided her with a new perspective and helpful tips that she still uses in her work today.

It’s not always the case that education also provides learners with key soft skills that are related to, but separate from, their course. Ones that look a specific scenarios in study and working life to provide potential answers and support on what to do and how to make better decisions.

These strategies look at skills like critical thinking, managing your workload, responsible decision making, improving wellbeing at work and more.

Learners don’t want to feel like they’re being given extra work that they have to do on top of their other commitments. They need to understand the personal benefits listed above and how this is all part of their journey to achieving their qualifications and career goals.

If it’s baked into your onboarding process and is consistently discussed throughout the learner’s programme, they will start to see the benefits themselves but they need you to help them take the first step.

How does the assessment work?

If you’re curious to know more about the science behind our assessment, the domains we measure and the history behind cognitive science and assessments, you can read our guide on cognition and learning.

But if you’d rather take a short cut, we’ll let you skip right to the end and look at how cognitive assessments work.

And that’s it from us.

Hopefully you can use this knowledge to benefit your learning and development throughout your life and have constructive conversations around inclusivity and supporting people in different ways.

If you still have questions, please feel free to get in touch with us directly at support@cognassist.com.

And if your organisation isn’t already in touch with us, you might want to get to know our product a bit more and book a demo below – and you’ll get to try out the assessment for yourself too!