What is Non Verbal Reasoning?
- April 21, 2021
- Posted by: gg-pure
- Category: Non Verbal Reasoning
Non verbal reasoning or NVR for 11 plus will test your child’s ability to understand, analyse and solve problems using visual information. What this means is that they will be given shapes, patterns, diagrams and images which they would need to analyse to identify relationships, similarities, differences and sequences between objects.
Always keep in mind that this is the subject as a whole, some exams / tests would have more of one set of questions than the other, your focus in preparing for the non-verbal reasoning test should be on your child’s core skills and techniques, and then practising those techniques. By doing that, they will be equipped to answer any type of non verbal reasoning question.
Is the verbal reasoning test different to non-verbal reasoning?
In short, yes. Now both tests look to examine your child’s critical thinking skills but they do it in two different ways. These skills aren’t taught by default in the national curriculum, but they can be learnt, and in doing so, your child can be taught how to take in information and then apply the right problem solving technique to then find the answer.
The verbal reasoning test is centered around the child’s awareness, knowledge and use of language, especially when presented with a word problem. The test itself checks their ability to look at information, take in that information and then think about similarities, differences, opposites, meanings and more. By default this requires your child to have a good grasp of the English language, its words and basic grammar.
The non verbal reasoning test is different because it hones in on how your child interprets visual data and information and therefore leans heavily on mathematical and logical processes. By looking at diagrams, images and shapes your child may be asked to identify the logical order, what the shape looks like from a different angle or the next in the sequence. They may also be asked to analyse the visual information given to them to identify the shape or pattern with the least number of similar qualities.
With all these type of questions they would need to take in the visual information, remember it and similar to verbal reasoning, apply the right problem solving techniques to come to an answer.
As you can tell, with non verbal reasoning questions there may be an element of cumulative questioning, which is that the child would need to build their understanding of previous questions and rely on them as they progress to answer the remaining questions.
What are the key non verbal reasoning skills?
Do not worry too much about how many types or the complexity of questions, what you need to do is support your child in their skill development with the aim of being able to answer most question types. Remember the questions challenge the thinking process, if you get the thinking process right, the answers to the questions would fall in to place. As a measure, here is a break down of the core skill areas:
- Processing Visual Information : As mentioned multiple times, your child will need to become familiar with identifying and understanding what graphs, shapes, diagrams as well as 3D shapes are. By exposing them early on to these things not only will they be familiar, but they will be confident in recognising what they are dealing with
- Logical Thinking : This is a skill where your child applies their reasoning through things such as process of elimination, similarities or differences and more to then come up with what they feel is a sensible solution. At the least this can be taught and a process can be followed to reach a suitable solution. This means you should support your child so they are equipped with multiple ways of looking at a situation or question, and then checking their conclusion / answer. With practice, they can only get faster.
- Spatial Awareness and Reasoning : This skill will demonstrate your child’s ability to take in limited information, step back, interpret and re-apply that information and then draw a conclusion. Most of the time spatial awareness does refer to thinking in 3D with the question being in 2D format (on paper). It’s important your child is familiar with 2D and 3D shapes, so that they can visualise how the given shape would look for example when rotated, reflected or if multiple shapes were put together. Not only do they need to know their environment, but also be able to visualise it differently.
- Thinking Systematically : This refers heavily to your child’s ability to identify patterns, sequences and to see things in order, what is causing what, relative to each other. As already highlighted they would be given information to remember, which will help them answer. Now, they won’t just be told to identify things, but also be required to predict what comes next. So, systematically, they would need to understand changes occurring between diagrams or patterns for example, and then apply the next change themselves based on that logic or system.
Can non verbal reasoning skills be learnt?
Similar to the 11 plus verbal reasoning test, non-verbal reasoning can be absolutely improved. It is a skill, not something people are just born with. Therefore, if you follow and reinforce techniques and practice then your child will become both confident and competent. Remember the first step is to learn the skill, when it comes to the questions, your child would then apply the skill.
This means they can’t apply something they don’t know so don’t jump into the deep end.
Again, as always we recommend not to burn your child out. Attain a healthy balance based on what they need for example if they are a logical thinker then maybe you just need to brush up on their spatial reasoning skills. By targeting the areas that they’re weak on and topping up their strength areas, can they go in to the tests completely ready. You don’t have to splash out heavily on text books, even though they do help. Your child may learn differently, so this may need a more visual, active or auditory approach – it doesn’t mean at all that they are incapable.
Just identify what challenges them, where they’re going wrong in the skill, advise accordingly and get a good habit, behaviour or routine going. This is important because if the learning is happening in the child’s lifestyle, then they’re more likely to be confident in it.
How can I help my child with non-verbal reasoning?
You need to first build the spatial, logical and system thinking skills by encouraging them through activities and then focus those skills regularly practising 11 plus questions and answers. Here are a few examples of activities you can do:
- Working with jigsaws, shapes and blocks
- Building 3D shapes using 2D nets
- Creating design patterns whilst identifying the consistent qualities or elements e.g. colours, shapes, marks
- Doing puzzles, sudoku, word and code breakers
- Drawing shapes from different angles
- Improving basic maths skills including times tables, ordering and number patterns
13 Non verbal reasoning Question Types
Although there has been a huge emphasis on the skills side of things, its just as important to make sure your child is applying those skills so that they can begin to see how it works and learn what to do when its not working. As with anything the first thing to do is practice, and the way to do is is addressing 11 plus non verbal reasoning questions directly. Find below a list of question types that have regularly come up in non verbal reasoning tests.
Familiarise yourself and your child with the skills so they know what to do, then familiarise them with the questions, so they know what it looks like:
|TYPE 1 : Like Shapes||Look at the shape examples given to you. Find what makes them so similar, then for the question, select one of the 5 shapes given which has the same quality|
|Odd One Out||Choose which picture is not like the others|
|Rotations||From the 5 shapes only one can be rotated to match the answer given, select which one you think is the right one.|
|3D Shapes from 2D Views|
|3D Shapes Building Blocks|