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11 Plus Non-verbal Reasoning

11 plus Non-verbal reasoning questions (NVR) are designed to test a child’s ability to work out problems regardless of their knowledge of English. The questions use abstract figures which require the child to work out similarities in sequences of shapes or codes.

To be successful in a non-verbal reasoning test a child will need to:

  • Be able to see how objects relate to each other
  • Apply logical deduction skills
  • Understand maths concepts such as symmetry and rotation

Each question will usually have a sequence of 3 – 5 shapes and the child is required to find the shape that best completes the sequence.

There are numerous elements in each non verbal reasoning question such as the outline shape, the fill, the direction of the shape. The shape may rotate, be inverted, have different layers, increase or decrease in size. Some also require basic counting skills.

Non-verbal reasoning requires good spatial awareness and it is a skill that some children will have naturally. For those who do not it is still possible to learn good technique by being highly disciplined and systematic, isolating each element of the sequence or pattern in turn in order to rule out the options one-by-one.

Besides using formal practice materials there are numerous activities that can help to develop a child’s spatial awareness, visual ability and non-verbal reasoning skills. Jigsaws, model-making kits, interlocking puzzles, and visual logic games such as Nine Men’s Morris and Sudoku are all useful and can relieve the tedium of formal practice.