ObjectiveTo derive norms for the Mini Mental State Examination (MMSE) based on age, gender and level of formal education among the elderly in Sri Lanka.MethodA validated Sinhalese version of the MMSE was administered to people aged 55 years and above residing in 14 randomly selected elders' homes. Effects of age, gender and level of formal education on MMSE scores were compared using multiple linear regression analysis.ResultsA total of 446 subjects [male/female = 136/320] formed the final sample. Level of education and gender exerted a significant influence on MMSE scores, but not age. The median and 10th percentile scores on the Sinhalese MMSE for the education groups were as follows: education 5 years = 24 and 16, respectively.ConclusionThe findings confirm the influence of level of education on MMSE scores among the elderly living in care homes in Sri Lanka, and suggest that education stratified cut-off scores should be used while screening for cognitive impairment in this population. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.