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11+ Non-verbal Reasoning

11+ Non-verbal Reasoning Sample Paper



What is the non-verbal reasoning test?


Non-verbal reasoning test is a key part of most secondary school selection and 11+ exams, as well as Year 7 CATs – but your child won’t necessarily be taught the skill at school.


Non-verbal reasoning tests are problem-solving based around pictures, diagrams and shapes, rather than words and are designed to see how your child can use critical thinking and logic to solve problems. They are an indication of their mathematical capabilities and powers of deduction. From this, the theory is that the examining body can get a picture of your child’s potential and intelligence, rather than their learned ability.



The type of questions are in a non-verbal reasoning test


The questions in a non-verbal reasoning test are based around mathematical concepts such symmetry, rotation, mirroring, shape, size and direction, and involve diagrams rather than words. Typical questions include:


  • Spotting the odd shape out (e.g. a four-sided shape in a group of three-sided shapes)
  • Working out what a shape would look like when folded
  • Identifying the mirror image of a given shape
  • Working out the next diagram in a sequence (for example a series of rectangles divided into squares, where the first has one square shaded, the second has two, the third has three, and so on)
  • Finding two identical shapes in a series of five shapes
  • Identifying what a shape would look like when rotated by 90 degrees
  • Generally, each question has a series of three to five shapes.



Skills needed for the non-verbal reasoning tests


Non-verbal reasoning is really a test of your child’s maths skills. They need to have a good understanding of mathematical concepts such as symmetry, rotation, direction and shape. It’s also important that they have a good grasp of the basic principles of maths. They need to be good – and quick – at addition and subtraction, know all their number bonds and times tables, and have good spatial awareness.


Non-verbal reasoning requires good visual acuity (acuteness of vision combined with good interpretation by the brain), which is a skill that comes more naturally to some people than to others. The key is to be disciplined and systematic, and to look at each element in the sequence in turn, ruling out options as you go along.



To get more advise and help on preparing your child for the 11+ Verbal Reasoning Test contact us or visit our Tuition Centre.