Trail Making Test A and B

Am I allowed to say “Go” or “Go ahead” when administering this test? It seems as though it is unclear when to start with some participants.

Yes, that is allowed, assuming the subject is ready. Otherwise, you start when they appear to begin completing the task (either planning their move or actually begin drawing the lines).


I wanted to ask if for trail making, the patient doesn’t quite touch the circle, do we count that as an error? I had one or two instances where the patient was going fast and didn’t bother directly making contact with the circle, but it is clear that they were going that direction.

Some judgement is required here as well. We want it to be standard, which is why it is important they touch the circles so that every participant is going the same distance. When you tell participants this, it will often slow them down (they may pause or go back to correct any they missed). If someone is making striking errors, mention this during the task. If they are slightly missing a few circles, mention it at the end of the test (or during the practice is even better). It would not be an error, but make note of it in the comments section.



September 12, 2015
Primary teaching affiliate
of BU School of Medicine