Spatial Visualization

The Cockrell School of Engineering is dedicated to the recruitment, retention and graduation of new engineers. We believe that providing testing and training in the area of spatial visualization may greatly improve the success of students in engineering and related coursework.

What is Spatial Visualization?

Research has shown that students with developed spatial visualization skills (the ability to see and think in 3-D) are more successful in engineering, chemistry and calculus courses. People can develop these skills over time with specific training and practice. Thus, you can be taught and you can learn how to ‘see’ things in 3-D, improving your success in these subjects and in your ability to problem solve. There is also research that shows a possible gender gap in spatial visualization skills, specifically in the area of mental rotation. While spatial skills are important for engineering success, they are not typically taught in high school, so you may not have had this type of instruction or practice. But don’t worry; we’re here to help you be successful!

Assessment Details

The online assessment is free and is timed (25 minutes). It consists of 30 multiple choice questions designed to see how well you can visualize the rotation of three-dimensional objects.

There are two example questions at the beginning that are not counted in your score. This will help you get a feel for how the questions are formatted. You may take the online version only once, so make sure you are in an environment where you can concentrate for the full 25 minutes. Results are delivered at orientation during your academic advising appointment. Please take your Spatial Visualization Assessment prior to attending orientation.

**We do NOT recommend taking the test using a smart phone or tablet.**

What do my results mean?

The research shows that students who score 18 or higher (at least 60%) are generally deemed to have the necessary spatial visualization skills to be successful in engineering, math, physics and chemistry courses. Students who score below 18 (less than 60%) would greatly benefit from some skill development. What the research also tells us is that individuals can dramatically improve their skills in a short amount of time and that skill improvement has been shown to improve persistence in engineering.

0-17 - Scores of 17 or lower indicate the need for additional practice in order to be successful in calculus, chemistry and engineering courses. You should DEFINITELY enroll in one of the G E 119 courses.

18 - A score of 18 indicates that you have the minimum skill level for success in calculus, chemistry and engineering courses but might CONSIDER enrolling in one of the G E 119 courses.

19-30 - A score of 19 or higher indicates that you currently have the spatial visualization skills to be successful in your calculus, chemistry and engineering courses.

Spatial Visualization Course - G E 119

4 sections of G E 119 will be offered in the fall semester at varying times. Each section will be limited to about 25 students and will only meet for the first 8 weeks of the fall semester (September - October). See more information about this course in the Fall 2017 Course Schedule.

From a student in the fall 2010 pilot program...

“Hi, I just wanted to tell you that seminar was amazing. You showed each and every step slowly so that everyone was catching up without a problem. It'll really help us all in the future. Thanks!”

Why are we doing this?

Testing and training in this area may greatly improve the success of all students in engineering-related coursework. Additionally, we are participating in the ENGAGE Project, a National Science Foundation funded study, to increase the capacity of engineering schools to retain undergraduate students.  You can read more about the project here: