Patient and Family Education

Understanding My BCAT Score
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The Full BCAT

The BCAT can be administered by a qualified healthcare professional to assess memory and cognitive functioning. Our on-line scoring program provides three scores: a total score, a specific memory score, and an executive functions score. Our program produces a report that helps interpret these scores and describes some ways of enhancing cognitive functioning, depending on your cognitive performance. These would include such things as whether medications, cognitive exercises, and residential supports might be helpful.

The total score indicates your general cognitive level of functioning.  This score will provide an indication of where your general cognitive functioning is in terms of a continuum between “normal” and “dementia.” The BCAT will indicate a specific stage of cognitive functioning.  There are score ranges for normal, Mild Cognitive Impairment (this is called “MCI” and typically indicates a specific cognitive problem but not a broad problem), and dementia. Please keep in mind that the BCAT is just one indicator of cognitive functioning.  An actual cognitive diagnosis should be made by a qualified healthcare professional after careful consideration of a number of factors.

The memory score focuses on your ability to make new memories. This does not take into account whether you can recall events from the distant past (like your childhood). It does provide information about your current memory for everyday functioning. So, your ability to remember to take medications, arrive on time for a medical appointment, and similar everyday tasks are what this score attempts to indicates. The memory score is not absolute, but estimates your memory skills.

The skills referred to as “executive functions” are thought of as the brain’s “command and control” center. Practical judgment, reasoning, problem-solving and other “executive” abilities are examples. The executive functions score measures these skills. Like with the memory score, the executive functions score does not provide an absolute analysis, but instead yields a good estimate of your ability to manage everyday activities and tasks.

The BCAT Short Form (BCAT-SF)

Your healthcare professional may choose to administer an abbreviated version of the BCAT. There are clinical situations in which a very brief cognitive assessment can be helpful in determining if a patient is having cognitive problems. The BCAT-SF can be administered in about three minutes. This instrument can also be scored using one of our on-line test reports. It will provide a good indication if a patient has a significant memory or cognitive problem. However, it will not provide as much information as the full BCAT. Some providers give the short form first, and may choose to give the full BCAT if the short form indicates the need for more information.