Take the SAGE test to spot early signs of dementia or Alzheimer's

. Photo: Ohio State University

A 15-minute test conducted at home can indicate early signs of mental decline that might be the first glimmer of Alzheimer's disease or dementia.

US researchers who asked more than 1,000 people aged 50 and older to take the self-adminstered Sage test found that 28% had cognitive impairment, a mild loss of mental functioning.

The results closely matched those from detailed diagnostic tests carried out by experts.

While the Self-Administered Gerocognitive Exam (SAGE) test cannot diagnose patients' problems, it gives doctors a "baseline" of mental function so that progressive changes can be tracked over time.

Try the test yourself - you'll need a pen and to print out this page:

1. From memory, what is today's date?

Date_________ Month________ Year____________

2. Name the following pictures (spelling is not important):

. Credit: Ohio State University

3. How are a bicycle and a train similar? Write down how they are both alike. They are.... what?


4. How many 5p coins would it take to pay 35p?


5. You are buying £1.95 of groceries. How much change should you receive from a £5 note?


6. Memory test - remember these instructions. Do later only after completing the test.

At the bottom of the last page write "I am finished" on the blank line provided.

7. Copy this picture

. Credit: Ohio State University

8. Drawing test

  • Draw the face of a clock and write in the numbers
  • Position the hands for 5 minutes past 11
  • On the clock, label 'L' for the long hand and 'S' for the short hand
Draw the clock in the space above.

9. Write down the name of 12 different animals (spelling is not important)

1 _______________________

2 _______________________

3 _______________________

4 _______________________

5 _______________________

6 _______________________

7 _______________________

8 _______________________

9 _______________________

10 _______________________

11 _______________________

12 _______________________

Look at this example, then go to question 10

. Credit: Ohio State University

10. Do the following

Draw a line from one circle to another starting at 1 and alternating numbers and letters in order before anding at F (1 to A to 2 to B and so on).

. Credit: Ohio State University

Look at this example, then go to question 11**

  • Beginning with 6 squares
  • Cross out 1 line (marked with an X)
  • Leaving 5 squares
  • Each line must be part of a complete square (no extra lines)
. Credit: Ohio State University

11. Solve the following problem

  • Beginning with 5 squares
  • Cross out 3 lines (mark with an X)
  • Leaving 4 squares
  • Each line must be part of a complete square (no extra lines)
. Credit: Ohio State University

12. Have you finished?


If you struggled with the test, take the paper to your GP.

Remember that SAGE (test) does not diagnose any specific condition.

The results of SAGE will not tell you if you have Alzheimer's disease, mini-strokes or any number of other disorders.

But the results can help your doctor know if further evaluation is necessary.

– Ohio State University

Other examples of the SAGE test can be downloaded here, here, here and here.