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Modified Wisconsin Card Sorting Test®

David J. Schretlen, PhD, ABPP

Quickly assesses perseveration and abstract reasoning in adults
Paper and pencil, E-Manual
Age range:
18 years to 90 years
7–10 minutes; 2–3 minutes to score
Qualification level:
All qualifications for Level B plus an advanced professional degree that provides appropriate training in the administration and interpretation of psychological tests, or license or certification from an agency that requires appropriate training and experience in the ethical and competent use of psychological tests. Close

A Modified and Quicker WCST Using a 48-Card Deck


The M-WCST is a modification of the original Wisconsin Card Sorting Test that eliminates all cards from the original 128-card deck that share more than one attribute with a stimulus card. The resulting 48-card deck is used along with four stimulus cards to assess perseveration and abstract reasoning with minimal client frustration.

Features and benefits

  • Because the administration and scoring is simpler than the original version, impaired and elderly adults can more easily understand the directions and complete the task.
  • Takes less time to administer than the WCST and can be scored in just 2-3 minutes.
  • Eliminates the illogical possibility of scoring correct responses as perseverative—all perseverative responses are classified as errors.
  • Four scores are provided: Number of Categories Correct, Number of Perseverative Errors, Number of Total Errors, and Percent of Perseverative Errors. An Executive Function Composite score can also be calculated.
  • Co-normed with the tests included in the Calibrated Neuropsychological Normative System (CNNS); age-, sex-, and education-based norms are provided.
  • Sensitive to executive deficits and impaired problem solving.
  • Highly sensitive to executive dysfunction in schizophrenia, with an effect size (Cohen’s d) of approximately 1.1—a marginal improvement over the original WCST.
  • Shows excellent sensitivity to impaired problem solving and perseverative reasoning in individuals with many other neurological conditions, including Parkinson’s disease, chronic alcoholism, subcortical vascular dementia, and mild cognitive impairment.
  • Has been found to detect executive deficits in individuals with bipolar disorder and major depression and in individuals genetically at risk of developing schizophrenia.
  • The Number of Categories Correct score has been shown to distinguish clinical patients from healthy controls. The Number of Categories Correct score and the Number of Perseverative Errors score have been found to distinguish patients with Alzheimer’s-type dementia from healthy elderly adults.