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Did you know…?

The Clock-Drawing Test is a simple and fairly quick method that can help diagnose Alzheimer’s and other types of cognitive deterioration.

But what does it consist of?

Firstly, the patient is asked to draw a clock with all the hours, and the hands pointing at a specific time. Ideally, the patient would draw a sphere, place the numbers in order and have the hands pointing at said time.

However, that simple task involves various cognitive areas, such as short-term memory, understanding and planning, and thought-hand coordination.


Clock-Drawing Test examples

Moreover, there are three ways of carrying out the Clock-Drawing Test that vary in difficulty. For instance, the patient can have a blank page so that they will have to start it from scratch. Another option is to hand them a paper where the sphere has already been drawn. Lastly, they can get both an image of a clock and a blank page to copy it.

Furthermore, the Clock-Drawing Test is evaluated according to the 4 main elements in it:

  • Sphere: score goes from 0 to 2 depending on how circular or asymmetric the sphere is.
  • Numbers: score goes from 0 to 4 and takes into account the order of the numbers and their location inside or outside the sphere.
  • Hands: score goes from 0 to 4 considering their proportion, their location in the sphere and whether they are pointing at the time asked.

Generally speaking, a final score of 7 (out of 10) or below can be a sign of cognitive deterioration. If this is the result, it is always best practice to talk with a specialized doctor before making any decision.

Despite its simplicity, a large part of the scientific community agrees that this test is an efficient method of screening for cognitive difficulties.

Residential care at St. Teresa's care home
Residential care at our care home (St Teresa's, in London)