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How to Compare a Mini Mental State Exam (MMSE) Score to a St. Louis University Memory Status Exam (SLUMS)

My students and I recently published a paper comparing the MMSE and SLUMs cognitive and dementia screening tools. To download the paper, go to:


Practitioners have long relied upon the Mini Mental Status Exam (MMSE) to quickly assess cognitive functioning in older adults. The Saint Louis University Mental Status (SLUMS) exam possesses many potential psychometric advantages, however data on the relationship between scores on the SLUMS and MMSE has yet to be established. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to establish comparative norms between the MMSE and the SLUMS examinations. The current study hypothesized that participants would score lower on the SLUMS than the MMSE, with adults exhibiting higher levels of cognitive reserve, as measured by educational attainment, having a greater difference between the test scores. A total of 118 individuals (96 female, 21 male) with an age range from 41 to 96 (M=80.03, SD=8.71) with an average educational attainment of 14.97 years (SD= 2.68), completed both tests. Results indicate a significant difference between the mean SLUMS and MMSE scores (p<.001), as well as a significant difference between those in assisted and independent living environments (p<.001). The evidence did not support the cognitive reserve hypothesis. Implications and suggestions for future research will be discussed.

Recommended Citation

Buckingham, Devan N.; Mackor, Katie M.; Miller, Ryan M.; Pullam, Nehala N.; Molloy, Kristoffer N.; Grigsby, Chelsey C.; Kopel, Jesse L.; Graves, Amanda K.; and Winningham, Robert G. (2013) “Comparing the Cognitive Screening Tools: MMSE and SLUMS,” PURE Insights: Vol. 2: Iss. 1, Article 3.
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To learn more, go to: