BCS70 – Age 42 – APU Vocabulary Test

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The 1970 British Cohort Study (BCS70) assessed their cohort members (CMs) during the study’s age 42 sweep using the Applied Psychology Unit (APU) Vocabulary Test.

Details on this measure and the data collected from the CMs are outlined in the table below.


Domain:Verbal (vocabulary)
Measures:Vocabulary
Meaning of words
Word knowledge
CHC:Gc (Crystallised ability)
Administrative method:Timed conditions; CAPI and paper
Procedure:There were 20 words in the test. Each word was followed by a multiple-choice list of 5 words from which the respondent picked the word with the same meaning as the original word. The test got progressively harder.
Duration: 4 minutes
Link to questionnaire:https://cls.ucl.ac.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/BCS70_Mainstage_FULL_QUESTIONNAIRE_final.pdf (opens in new tab)
Scoring:20 items; 1 point for each correct response, 0 for incorrect or not attempted
Item-level variable(s):B9VQ1A - B9VSQ20
Total score/derived variable(s):B9VSCORE
B9VSCORB (banded variable)
Age of CM (months):Mean = 509.35, SD = 2.76, Range = 500 - 517
Descriptives:Raw score
N = 9,433
Range = 0 - 20
Mean = 12.60
SD = 3.71
(click image to enlarge)
Other sweep and/or cohort:BCS70 – Age 16 – APU Vocabulary Test (original version - 75 items)
MCS – Age 14 – APU Vocabulary Test (shortened version - 20 items)
Source:Shortened version (20 of original 75 items) of Closs, S. J. (1976). APU vocabulary test (multiple choice format, 1986). Kent: Hodder and Stoughton Educational Ltd.
Technical resources:Levy P & Goldstein H. (1984). Tests in Education: a book of critical reviews. London: Academic Press.
Reference examples:Sullivan, A. & Brown, M. (2015). Vocabulary from adolescence to middle age. Longitudinal and Life Course Studies 6(2), 173-89.
Cheng, H., & Furnham, A. (2019). Correlates of Adult Vocabulary Task Performance: Findings from a British Cohort. Journal of Intelligence, 7(1), 2.

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This page is part of CLOSER’s ‘A guide to the cognitive measures in five British birth cohort studies’.