OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the discriminative and diagnostic values of neuropsychological tests for identifying schizophrenia patients. METHODS: A cross-sectional study with 36 male schizophrenia outpatients and 72 healthy matched volunteers was carried out. Participants underwent the following neuropsychological tests: Wisconsin Card Sorting test, Verbal Fluency, Stroop test, Mini Mental State Examination, and Spatial Recognition Span. Sensitivity and specificity estimated the diagnostic value of tests with cutoffs obtained using Receiver Operating Characteristic curves. The latent class model (diagnosis of schizophrenia) was used as gold standard. RESULTS: Although patients presented lower scores in most tests, the highest canonical function for the discriminant analysis was 0.57 (Verbal Fluency M). The best sensitivity and specificity were obtained in the Verbal Fluency M test (75 and 65, respectively). CONCLUSIONS: The neuropsychological tests showed moderate diagnostic value for the identification of schizophrenia patients. These findings suggested that the cognitive impairment measured by these tests might not be homogeneous among schizophrenia patients.