Non-Verbal Reasoning (NVR) is another popular way to test a child’s problem solving skills. This test is not language based and is based on the use of pictures, symbols, patterns and shapes. There are three main types of Non-Verbal Reasoning questions but the wording of the questions will differ from school to school.

Similarities: This type will ask the child to find commonalities between pictures, patterns and symbols. They may also have to find the odd-one-out.
Sequences: Here students must find the pattern or link between a series of pictures or symbols. This may be to find the next part of a sequence or to complete a missing part of a pattern.
Analogies: This is usually a two-part question that asks children to discover the link between a pair of pictures and then apply that link to another pair. This is a test of logic.

  1. A good range of Non-Verbal Reasoning questions are available on the S6 Hub.
  2. A range of downloadable papers will soon also be available in the S6 Shop.

In addition to the S6 resources, we are also happy to recommend a few good Websites for FREE NVR games and tests:

Education quizzes
Online Dictionary
Word Drop

Tips for the VR and NVR Paper

We would recommend that children practise all of the possible question types for these papers to ensure they are familiar with the wording and requirements. It is best to work in a logical way, eliminating answers that are not possible. It is always wise to use a pencil to cross through or make notes when attempting to answer any VR question. Remember to look at all the options and not just go for the obvious answer – the correct answer may not be as simple as you think.

There are two types of formats these papers could be in: standard or multiple choice. Standard can be seen as a harder paper as the child has to think of the possible answers themselves whereas multiple choice provides the student with answers and asks them to eliminate based on logic. It is a good idea to practise both formats of papers thoroughly and use the standard format to offer a further challenge to your child. This can bolster confidence in their own ability to find answers even if they are to be taking the multiple choice exam.

We recommend that children should start preparing for the eleven plus exam about twelve to eighteen months before they are to be taking the paper. This ensures enough time to cover the amount of topics that they will learn in primary school.

The type of exams your child will take depends on the LEA of your area and individual school choices. Contact the school directly to find this out.

Practising Verbal Reasoning and Non-Verbal Reasoning at Home

We highly recommend that you get your child used to both the style and the time constraints of these tests. When practicing at home, try and stick to the following:

Before taking the test

Make sure there are no distractions and your child has a clear working environment. They should have at least two sharpened pencils, a rubber and a ruler. A glass of water and some tissues are also a good idea.

During the test

Always time your child when they take a practise test. This helps them get used to the exam conditions they will face on the day and you can chart their progress as they become better at time management. Do not start timing until you have read the instructions and they have filled in the information on the front sheet. Most tests are 50 minutes in duration. If your child does not finish within the time, draw a circle around the question they are up to and allow them to finish, making a note of how long they have actually taken. This will enable them to attempt every question on the paper. Ensure that you mark the test and go through any wrong answers with your child, helping them to understand the process that gets them to the correct answer.

Multiple Choice Tests

In multiple choice tests, answers will usually be entered on provided answer sheets. Children should get used to carefully marking off their answers as these papers are frequently marked by computer. If they make a mistake, they must rub out their incorrect answer thoroughly and mark off the correct one.

Standard Form Tests

In standard format tests, answers are usually written into a space provided in the question booklet. Answers should be written clearly and all units written down. This is particularly important in the Mathematics test. Also in Mathematics, all workings out should be shown as often marks are awarded for the process of achieving an answer as well as the answer itself. These should be legible so that the examiner can read them but also so the child can quickly review their answers at the end of the test. In English tests it is important to write quotes with quotation marks and answer in full sentences, as students are marked for the quality of their writing as well as their reading.