SLUMS TEST: An Overview Of Dementia & Alzheimer’s Exam

The Saint Louis University Mental Status Examination (abbr. SLUMS) is an 11-item questionnaire (exam) given to people for diagnosis of mild cognitive impairment and dementia with scores ranging from 0 to 30.

The director of the Saint Louis University’s Division of Geriatric created the SLUMS. It is built to identify people with early or mild dementia (scores 21-26) through measuring orientation, attention, memory, and executive functions.

SLUMS was created as an alternative screening test to a similar exam known as the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE); the concept was that the Mini-Mental Status Examination is not superior at identifying individuals with very early or mild Alzheimer’s symptoms. SLUMS is free for anyone to use; it is not proprietary.

The Background Of SLUMS TEST

The MMSE has been widely used in the detection of dementia since it was designed. However, the test was not effective in identifying people who have mild dementia.  In a study by Tariq, Perry, Chibnall, Tumosa, & Morley in 2006.

slums test

The SLUMS test was introduced, tested, and validated to bridge this gap. A group of aged people (mean age, 75.3, SD, 5.5) were split into 3 groups which are; mild neurocognitive functioning, normal cognitive functioning, and also dementia.

The different groups were examined using the Mini-Mental Status Examination (MMSE) and the Saint Louis University Mental Status Examination (SLUMS), and it was discovered that while both scales were invariably sensitive for identifying those people with dementia. The Saint Louis University Mental Status Examination (SLUMS) demonstrates superior capabilities when identifying the people in the mild neurocognitive disorder group.

Scoring of the SLUMS test

The SLUMS test consists of 11 item questionnaire, and measures aspects of cognition which include short-term memory, the clock drawing test, orientation, calculations, the naming of animals, attention, and recognition of geometric figures. SLUMS takes about 7 minutes to administer.

  • Scores between 0 -20 indicate dementia.
  • Scores between 21- and 26 indicate mild or early dementia.
  • Scores from 27- 30 are considered normal.

Detecting dementia earlier may lead to treatment that slows this condition or identifies the possible reversible causes of memory loss. The SLUMS exam is simple and very easy to administer. Nevertheless, just because it is simple and easy to administer does not mean that you should use it to draw immediate conclusions by individuals who are not familiar with Alzheimer’s and also diagnosing it.

SLUMS test should not be administered by just anybody other than an experienced medical professional or considered a replacement (substitute) for a full diagnostic workup for the condition of Alzheimer’s

The Advantages and Disadvantages of the SLUMS test

The advantages of the SLUMS test include its superior capabilities to the MMSE in identifying people with mild neurocognitive disorder. Also, As earlier mentioned SLUMS test is free to use, while other tests are not free.

Disadvantages include the fact that the Saint Louis University Mental Status Examination (SLUMS) test is not as widely used as the Mini-Mental Status Examination.

Here  are the download link for Slums test:




The SLUMS test is not just another tool that can complement the range of other cognitive tests, but according to statistics, it demonstrates superiority in the screening diagnosis compared to MMSE.


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