Studies of neurocognitive function in patients with schizophrenia use widely variable assessment techniques. Clinical trials assessing the cognitive enhancing effect of new medications have used neurocognitive assessment batteries that differed in content, length and administration procedures. The Brief Assessment of Cognition in Schizophrenia (BACS) is a newly developed instrument that assesses the aspects of cognition found to be most impaired and most strongly correlated with outcome in patients with schizophrenia. The BACS requires less than 35 min to complete in patients with schizophrenia, yields a high completion rate in these patients, and has high reliability. The BACS was found to be as sensitive to cognitive impairment in patients with schizophrenia as a standard battery of tests that required over 2 h to administer. Compared to healthy controls matched for age and parental education, patients with schizophrenia performed 1.49 standard deviations lower on a composite score calculated from the BACS and 1.61 standard deviations lower on a composite score calculated from the standard battery. The BACS composite scores were highly correlated with the standard battery composite scores in patients (r=0.76) and healthy controls (r=0.90). These psychometric properties make the BACS a promising tool for assessing cognition repeatedly in patients with schizophrenia, especially in clinical trials of cognitive enhancement.