Cognitive Assessment Screening Tools

Younger woman visiting her grandmother

For patients with concerns about memory loss, especially if memory loss is affecting their ability to complete everyday activities or is getting worse with time, conduct an assessment to check their memory and problem solving skills.

The most common assessment tools are described below. If your screening detects a memory problem, refer the patient to a specialist in memory disorders or to a neuropsychologist or neurologist for further evaluation. Additional tests may be needed to determine what’s causing the patient’s memory loss and treatment will depend on what is contributing to the memory loss.


The Mini-Cog© is a 3-minute instrument that can increase detection of cognitive impairment in older adults. After brief training in both community and healthcare setting, physicians can use the screening tool effectively. It consists of two components, a 3-item recall test for memory and a simply recorded scored clock drawing test.
Learn More About the Mini-Cog© and How To Administer the Screening Test


The Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) is a cognitive screening test deigned to help health professionals detect mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease among their patients. It is a straight-forward screening tool that helps diagnosis patients and develop an appropriate follow-up and treatment plan. The MoCA assesses several cognitive domains and is a proven cognitive screening tool for many illnesses , including:

  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Huntington’s disease
  • Lewy Body
  • ALS
  • And more
Learn More About the MoCA Test

Mini-Mental State Examination

The Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) is a 30-point test used to measure thinking ability or cognitive impairment and to screen for dementia. It is also used to estimate the severity and progression of cognitive impairment and to follow the course of cognitive changes in an individual over time, making it an effective way to document an individual’s response to treatment.
Learn More About the Mini-Mental State Examination