What is a neurocognitive assessment?
The neurocognitive assessment looks at your memory, attention, thinking, and other brain functions. The word neurocognitive refers to the inner workings of the brain (neuro) involved with thinking, learning, attention, and memory (cognitive).
A neurocognitive assessment starts with an interview with a neuropsychologist. A neuropsychologist is an expert in the brain and how it relates to behavior.
They will ask you questions about your thinking and learning experiences from your childhood up to today. They may ask what school was like and how things are going now. The interview will also cover your medical history, including your mental health.
Then you will have a series of tests.
Different activities will look at how well you:
- Remember things
- Focus and pay attention
- Solve problems
- Make decisions
- Use language
- Make sense of things you see
- Process information
You will use paper, pencil, and computers to take these tests. The activities may be puzzles and learning games. They often get harder as you go. It’s normal to become frustrated. The test is designed to make your brain work hard and to test your tolerance for frustration.
Some assessments take 1-2 hours. Some take place over a couple of days. Talk to your care team about the length of your test.
You will get results a few weeks after you take the test. The results will show your strengths and weaknesses. Then you and your care team can make a plan.
“When you have a better sense of what the problem is, it is easier to address it,” Mehrtens said.
In cases where neurocognitive assessment is not an option, there are other options. These include seeing a psychologist or a psychiatrist.