Non Verbal Reasoning

Non Verbal Reasoning (NVR) tests are found at many stages of life. They're often used by private secondary schools in the UK as part of their entrance tests. They're also used in adult life in many interview situations; sometimes NVR style questions are adapted to form aptitude tests for specific careers. They're a type of question that can be difficult to understand at first but which repays studying. I often find that my younger students pick them up more easily than the older ones!

What Is Non Verbal Reasoning?

Some of my students call NVR "picture puzzles" and that's certainly a good way of identifying them. Rather than numbers (numeric reasoning) or words (verbal reasoning) they're based on pictures or diagrams. However you don't have to be artistic to master them. The puzzles may be presented pictorially but the skills being tested are logical ones.

Practice really is the key. Try and do as many as possible so that your brain gets used to how they work and all the sneaky variations that problem setters like to include.

Unlike some subjects there's no set curriculum for non-verbal reasoning. Anything and everything might appear in the tests. However there are a number of common types of question that appear frequently. These include:

With all NVR problems, try to avoid being too complicated. If you tried hard enough you could probably find a justification for almost any answer, but the simplest solution is usually the best choice. A well set NVR question should, like a well set crossword clue, have an answer that is obvious once you spot it.