Instructions for the Mini-Cog Test



the Mini-Cog test is a 3-minute instrument to screen for cognitive impairment in older adults in the primary care setting. The Mini-Cog uses a three-item recall test for memory and a simply scored clock-drawing test (CDT). The latter serves as an “informative distractor,” helping to clarify scores when the memory recall score is intermediate. The Mini-Cog was as effective as or better than established screening tests in both an epidemiologic survey in a mainstream sample and a multi-ethnic, multilingual population comprising many individuals of low socioeconomic status and education level. In comparative tests, the Mini-Cog was at least twice as fast as the Mini-Mental State Examination. The Mini-Cog is less affected by subject ethnicity, language, and education, and can detect a variety of different dementias. Moreover, the Mini-Cog detects many people with mild cognitive impairment (cognitive impairment too mild to meet diagnostic criteria for dementia).


Scoring (see figure 1)


1 point for each recalled word


Score clock drawing as Normal (the patient places the correct time and the clock appears grossly normal) or Abnormal





0                                           Positive for cognitive impairment

1-2             Abnormal CDT then positive for cognitive impairment

1-2             Normal CDT then negative for cognitive impairment

    3                Negative screen for dementia (no need to score CDT)









Borson S. The mini-cog: a cognitive “vitals signs” measure for dementia screening in multi-lingual elderly  Int J Geriatr Psychiatry 2000; 15(11):1021.