Multidimensional Aptitude Battery II

The Multidimensional Aptitude Battery II (MAB-II), designed as a culture-free test of cognitive ability, was created in the 1980s by Canadian psychologist Douglas Jackson. Initial reliability and validity statistics, derived from testing more than 500 respondents ages 15-20, demonstrated that the MAB is a valid test of general intellectual functioning.

A 1984 study conducted by Dr. Jackson and Timothy Hill demonstrated that the Comprehension, Similarities, Digit Symbol and Spatial subscales could accurately mirror scores on the entire test, which led to the development of the MAB Short Form. The MAB underwent its first major revision in 1995 when some questions were replaced to enhance the test’s culture-free characteristics and to improve subscale validity.

Description of Current Version

The current version of this test, created in 1995, is known as the Multidimensional Aptitude Battery II and consists of ten seven-minute subtests encompassing Verbal and Performance skill areas. The Verbal subtests include Information, Comprehension, Arithmetic, Similarities, and Vocabulary. The Performance battery includes Digit Symbol, Picture Completion, Spatial, Picture Arrangement, and Object Assembly.

The test can be individually or group-administered either on paper or online using the SigmaSoft MAB-II software. The entire battery can be completed in approximately 100 minutes, while the Short Form takes 35 minutes.

What the MAB-II Measures

The Verbal subscales of the MAB-II were designed to measure an individual’s fund of knowledge and comprehension, numerical reasoning, and problem solving, vocabulary and certain types of abstract reasoning. The Performance subtests purport to assess spatial and perceptual reasoning, the ability to abstract information in non-verbal tasks, and various skills related to information encoding and decoding.

An item that might be found on the MAB-II is one where a 3 X 3 matrix is presented, with symbols in eight of its cells. The test taker is asked to complete the puzzle by placing the correct box in the ninth cell, choosing the answer from eight possible alternatives. This type of item tests abstract reasoning, sequencing and the ability to perceive parts-whole relationships.

The validity of the MAB-II as a measure of global intellectual functioning has been established through research but several studies indicate that the Verbal and Performance scales of the MAB-II lack construct validity. At least one author has suggested that the MAB-II should only be used to measure general intellectual ability. Another researcher demonstrated that the MAB-II overlaps significantly with the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale as a measure of global cognitive functioning but should not be used to draw conclusions regarding abilities in specific areas.

Uses of the MAB-II

The MAB-II is used to assess general intellectual ability for employment, educational planning, and law enforcement purposes. The test has been used in psychological research into the nature of intelligence and its connection to learning and behavior. MAB-II administrations need to be proctored but do not require staffing by personnel with advanced degrees. Ease of administration, choice of scoring method and flexibility in subtest choices make the MAB-II a cost-effective alternative to other tests of intellectual abilities.

Scoring the MAB-II

The MAB-II can be hand scored or computer scored. Hand scoring takes approximately ten minutes and requires the use of four scoring templates. Test scores are transferred from the test booklet to a record form and are used to generate a report that includes subtest scores, overall score, and interpretation of findings. Mail-in scoring generates the MAB-II Extended Report, which includes raw, standardized and age correlated scores and a summary page containing results of all subtests. Scores are reported as percentiles, standard scores or IQs.


The MAB-II has been found to correlate significantly to the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale and provides an easy-to-administer alternative to lengthier tests. Although the MAB was designed to be culture-free, research suggests that test performance may be hampered by a lack of reading proficiency. Results of construct validation studies thus suggest that establishing a respondent’s reading level prior to administering the MAB-II may yield the most reliable and valid test results. The short form of the MAB-II and the option to score and administer the test electronically provide a time-efficient and low-cost alternative to other measures of global cognitive ability.