Recall Score (Total Possible Score: 0-3)

  • 1 point for each word correctly recalled without prompt

Clock Drawing Score (Total Possible Score: 0-2)

  • 2 points for a normal clock or 0 (zero) points for an abnormal clock drawing.
  • A normal clock must include all numbers (1-12), each only once, in the correct order and direction (clockwise).
  • There must also be two hands present, one pointing to the 11 and one pointing to 2.
  • Hand length is not scored in the Mini-Cog© algorithm.

Some people might ask why the Mini-Cog© clock drawing component does not include a score of 1.

The goal was to identify clock drawings that would be seen as ”normal” or ”not normal” by most people. In other words, the clock drawing score of 0 or 2 reflects a simple pass or fail standard.

The tool was developed to make it very easy to score by people who have no prior experience in cognitive assessment, and its scoring was designed to eliminate most of the ambiguity found in more detailed scoring systems. There are many other ways to score a clock drawing, but the specialized knowledge and skill required for accurate interpretation makes them more difficult to apply consistently in real-world situations.

Interpreting the Mini-Cog© Score (Total Possible Score: 0-5)

  • Add the 3-item recall and clock drawing scores together. 

A total score of 0, 1, or 2 indicates higher likelihood of clinically important cognitive impairment. A total score of 3, 4, or 5 indicates lower likelihood of dementia but does not rule out some degree of cognitive impairment.

The Mini-Cog© is not a diagnostic test for dementia or other forms of cognitive impairment. Diagnosis of brain disorders that cause cognitive impairment requires more in-depth cognitive and medical examinations.

Sharing Mini-Cog© Results
Individuals whose scores suggest potential for impairment should see a qualified health care professional. If screening is done outside a health care setting, an appropriate referral should be made. If completed as part of a routine primary care exam, screening should be followed by a conversation about what should happen next, such as meeting with a trusted partner, recommending specific additional tests, and/or making connections for additional services.

NOTE: If a person has a normal Mini-Cog score but reports concern about memory or thinking, this should always be taken seriously and followed up with more detailed assessment.

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