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Neuropsychological Tests

How It Feels

You might feel nervous if you know your ability to think is being judged by the person giving you the tests. The tests are meant to test your limits, so don't be discouraged if they seem hard.

You may get tired, because the tests can take several hours.

If you are being checked for a health condition, such as Alzheimer's disease, you may be afraid of what the tests will show.


Your doctor may not be able to find the cause of your symptoms, because some problems are hard to diagnose. Also, other tests may be needed to accurately diagnose your problem.


Test results give your doctor an overall picture of how well you are able to think, reason, and remember. Your doctor may discuss some results with you right away. Complete results may not be available for several weeks.

Testing can also identify mood or emotional problems.

Many conditions can change the results of a neuropsychological test. For example, depression can slow your thinking. But your doctor will consider your other symptoms when looking at the test results.

What Affects the Test

You may not be able to have the tests or the results may not be helpful if:

  • You aren't able to cooperate with and trust your doctor.
  • You don't make your best effort to do well on the tests.
  • You are in too much pain to do your best.
  • You use certain medicines, alcohol, or illegal drugs.
  • You have trouble reading, writing, or understanding English.

What To Think About

This type of testing can cost $1,000 or more, and your insurance may not cover it.

Testing can answer questions you may have about your future, such as:

  • Can I live alone?
  • Is it safe for me to drive?
  • Do I need to change jobs?

Another type of psychological testing is mental health assessment. It focuses more on your emotions and behavior, while neuropsychological testing focuses more on your ability to think, reason, and remember. To learn more, see the topic Mental Health Assessment.

Other Works Consulted

  • Sadock BJ, Sadock VA (2007). Clinical neuropsychological testing. In Kaplan and Sadock’s Synopsis of Psychiatry: Behavioral Sciences/Clinical Psychiatry, 10th ed., pp. 178–189. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.

  • Weiner MF, Lipton AM, eds. (2003). The Dementias: Diagnosis, Treatment, and Research, 3rd ed. Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Publishing.

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerAnne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerWilliam H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
Last RevisedNovember 29, 2011

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: November 29, 2011
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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