Aged and young adults were tested by category cued recall after learning with category cues (CCR) or with item cues (ICR). CCR was about twice ICR for both aged and young adults. The aged recalled less than the young and did not benefit as much from greater encoding specificity and deeper processing in CCR. ICR and CCR were correlated, so that expected CCR can be predicted from ICR. The regression of CCR on ICR was linear for young adults, but was piecewise linear for the aged, showing that the relationship between ICR and CCR was not uniform for the aged adults. Lower than expected CCR by a subset of aged without clinical dementia may be a sign of preclinical dementia.