Montreal Cognitive Assessment
Administration and Scoring Instructions
The Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) was designed as a rapid screening instrument for mild cognitive
It assesses different cognitive domains: attention and concentration, executive functions,
memory, language, visuoconstructional skills, conceptual thinking, calculations, and orientation. Time to
administer the MoCA is approximately 10 minutes. The total possible score is 30 points; a score of 26 or
above is considered normal.
1. Alternating Trail Making:
Administration: The examiner instructs the subject: "Please draw a line, going from a
number to a letter in ascending order. Begin here [point to (1)] and draw a line from 1 then to A
then to 2 and so on. End here [point to (E)]."
Scoring: Allocate one point if the subject successfully draws the following pattern:
1 −A- 2- B- 3- C- 4- D- 5- E, without drawing any lines that cross. Any error that is not immediately
self-corrected earns a score of 0.
2. Visuoconstructional Skills (Cube):
Administration: The examiner gives the following instructions, pointing to the cube: “Copy
this drawing as accurately as you can, in the space below”.
Scoring: One point is allocated for a correctly executed drawing.
• Drawing must be three-dimensional
• All lines are drawn
• No line is added
• Lines are relatively parallel and their length is similar (rectangular prisms are
A point is not assigned if any of the above-criteria are not met.
3. Visuoconstructional Skills (Clock):
Administration: Indicate the right third of the space and give the following instructions:
“Draw a clock. Put in all the numbers and set the time to 10 after 11”.
Scoring: One point is allocated for each of the following three criteria:
Contour (1 pt.): the clock face must be a circle with only minor distortion
acceptable (e.g., slight imperfection on closing the circle);
Numbers (1 pt.): all clock numbers must be present with no additional numbers;
numbers must be in the correct order and placed in the approximate quadrants on the
clock face; Roman numerals are acceptable; numbers can be placed outside the
Hands (1 pt.): there must be two hands jointly indicating the correct time; the hour
hand must be clearly shorter than the minute hand; hands must be centred within the
clock face with their junction close to the clock centre.
A point is not assigned for a given element if any of the above-criteria are not met.
MoCA Version November 12, 2004
© Z. Nasreddine MD
Administration: Beginning on the left, point to each figure and say: “Tell me the name of
Scoring: One point each is given for the following responses: (1) camel or dromedary, (2)
lion, (3) rhinoceros or rhino.
Administration: The examiner reads a list of 5 words at a rate of one per second, giving the
following instructions: “This is a memory test. I am going to read a list of words that you will
have to remember now and later on. Listen carefully. When I am through, tell me as many
words as you can remember. It doesn’t matter in what order you say them”. Mark a check
in the allocated space for each word the subject produces on this first trial. When the subject indicates
that (s)he has finished (has recalled all words), or can recall no more words, read the list a second
time with the following instructions: “I am going to read the same list for a second time. Try to
remember and tell me as many words as you can, including words you said the first time.” Put a
check in the allocated space for each word the subject recalls after the second trial.
At the end of the second trial, inform the subject that (s)he will be asked to recall these words
again by saying, “I will ask you to recall those words again at the end of the test.”
Scoring: No points are given for Trials One and Two.
Forward Digit Span: Administration: Give the following instruction: “I am going to say
some numbers and when I am through, repeat them to me exactly as I said them”. Read the five
number sequence at a rate of one digit per second.
Backward Digit Span: Administration: Give the following instruction: “Now I am going to
say some more numbers, but when I am through you must repeat them to me in the backwards
order.” Read the three number sequence at a rate of one digit per second.
Scoring: Allocate one point for each sequence correctly repeated, (N.B.: the correct response
for the backwards trial is 2-4-7).
Vigilance: Administration: The examiner reads the list of letters at a rate of one per second,
after giving the following instruction: “I am going to read a sequence of letters. Every time I say the
letter A, tap your hand once. If I say a different letter, do not tap your hand”.
Scoring: Give one point if there is zero to one errors (an error is a tap on a wrong letter or a
failure to tap on letter A).
MoCA Version November 12, 2004
© Z. Nasreddine MD
Serial 7s: Administration: The examiner gives the following instruction: “Now, I will ask
you to count by subtracting seven from 100, and then, keep subtracting seven from your answer until
I tell you to stop.” Give this instruction twice if necessary.
Scoring: This item is scored out of 3 points. Give no (0) points for no correct
subtractions, 1 point for one correction subtraction, 2 points for two-to-three correct subtractions,
and 3 points if the participant successfully makes four or five correct subtractions. Count each
correct subtraction of 7 beginning at 100. Each subtraction is evaluated independently; that is, if
the participant responds with an incorrect number but continues to correctly subtract 7 from it,
give a point for each correct subtraction. For example, a participant may respond “92 – 85 – 78 –
71 – 64” where the “92” is incorrect, but all subsequent numbers are subtracted correctly. This is
one error and the item would be given a score of 3.
7. Sentence repetition:
Administration: The examiner gives the following instructions: “I am going to read you a
sentence. Repeat it after me, exactly as I say it [pause]: I only know that John is the one to help
today.” Following the response, say: “Now I am going to read you another sentence. Repeat it after
me, exactly as I say it [pause]: The cat always hid under the couch when dogs were in the room.”
Scoring: Allocate 1 point for each sentence correctly repeated. Repetition must be exact. Be
alert for errors that are omissions (e.g., omitting "only", "always") and substitutions/additions (e.g.,
"John is the one who helped today;" substituting "hides" for "hid", altering plurals, etc.).
8. Verbal fluency:
Administration: The examiner gives the following instruction: “Tell me as many words as
you can think of that begin with a certain letter of the alphabet that I will tell you in a moment. You
can say any kind of word you want, except for proper nouns (like Bob or Boston), numbers, or words
that begin with the same sound but have a different suffix, for example, love, lover, loving. I will tell
you to stop after one minute. Are you ready? [Pause] Now, tell me as many words as you can think of
that begin with the letter F. [time for 60 sec]. Stop.”
Scoring: Allocate one point if the subject generates 11 words or more in 60 sec. Record the
subject’s response in the bottom or side margins.
Administration: The examiner asks the subject to explain what each pair of words has in
common, starting with the example: “Tell me how an orange and a banana are alike”. If the subject
answers in a concrete manner, then say only one additional time: “Tell me another way in which
those items are alike”. If the subject does not give the appropriate response (fruit), say, “Yes, and
they are also both fruit.” Do not give any additional instructions or clarification.
After the practice trial, say: “Now, tell me how a train and a bicycle are alike”. Following
the response, administer the second trial, saying: “Now tell me how a ruler and a watch are alike”.
Do not give any additional instructions or prompts.
MoCA Version November 12, 2004
© Z. Nasreddine MD
Scoring: Only the last two item pairs are scored. Give 1 point to each item pair correctly answered.
The following responses are acceptable:
Train-bicycle = means of transportation, means of travelling, you take trips in both;
Ruler-watch = measuring instruments, used to measure.
The following responses are not acceptable: Train-bicycle = they have wheels; Ruler-watch = they
10. Delayed recall:
Administration: The examiner gives the following instruction: “I read some words to you
earlier, which I asked you to remember. Tell me as many of those words as you can remember. Make
a check mark (3) for each of the words correctly recalled spontaneously without any cues, in the
Scoring: Allocate 1 point for each word recalled freely without any cues.
Following the delayed free recall trial, prompt the subject with the semantic category cue provided
below for any word not recalled. Make a check mark (3) in the allocated space if the subject
remembered the word with the help of a category or multiple-choice cue. Prompt all non-recalled
words in this manner. If the subject does not recall the word after the category cue, give him/her a
multiple choice trial, using the following example instruction, “Which of the following words do you
think it was, NOSE, FACE, or HAND?”
Use the following category and/or multiple-choice cues for each word, when appropriate:
FACE: category cue: part of the body multiple choice: nose, face, hand
VELVET: category cue: type of fabric multiple choice: denim, cotton, velvet
CHURCH: category cue: type of building multiple choice: church, school, hospital
DAISY: category cue: type of flower multiple choice: rose, daisy, tulip
RED: category cue: a colour multiple choice: red, blue, green
Scoring: No points are allocated for words recalled with a cue. A cue is used for clinical
information purposes only and can give the test interpreter additional information about the type of
memory disorder. For memory deficits due to retrieval failures, performance can be improved with a
cue. For memory deficits due to encoding failures, performance does not improve with a cue.
Administration: The examiner gives the following instructions: “Tell me the date today”. If
the subject does not give a complete answer, then prompt accordingly by saying: “Tell me the [year,
month, exact date, and day of the week].” Then say: “Now, tell me the name of this place, and
which city it is in.”
Scoring: Give one point for each item correctly answered. The subject must tell the exact
date and the exact place (name of hospital, clinic, office). No points are allocated if subject makes an
error of one day for the day and date.
TOTAL SCORE: Sum all subscores listed on the right-hand side. Add one point for an individual
who has 12 years or fewer of formal education, for a possible maximum of 30 points. A