Cognitive Levels

All computer-based examinations (CCA, CCS, CCS-P, RHIT, RHIA, CHPS, CHDA, CDIP) consist of four-option, multiple-choice questions written at three different cognitive levels: recall, application, and analysis. These levels represent an organized way to identify the performance that practitioners will utilize on the job. An explanation of the three cognitive levels is provided below:

Cognitive Level


Performance Required

Recall (RE)

Primarily measuring memory.

Identify terms, specific facts, methods, procedures, basic concepts, basic theories, principles, and processes.

Application (AP)

To measure simple interpretation of limited data.

Apply concepts and principles to new situations; recognize relationships among data; apply laws and theories to practical situations; calculate solutions to mathematical problems; interpret charts and translate graphic data; classify items; interpret information.

Analysis (AN)

To measure the application of knowledge to solving a specific problem and the assembly of various elements into a meaningful whole.

Select an appropriate solution for responsive action; revise policy, procedure, or plan; evaluate a solution, case scenario, report, or plan; compare solutions, plans, ideas, or aspects of a problem; evaluate information or a situation; perform multiple calculations to arrive at one answer.