"Set" questions are perhaps the most basic type of non verbal reasoning question. They're all about pattern recognition, an essential skill in many areas of life and at the heart of many NVR tests.

In "set" questions you are given a number of pictures or shapes and asked to choose another one that best goes with them. So to solve the question you need to find a common feature that all the shapes in the question have and which is shared by one and only one of the possible answers.

Here's a simple example: which picture in the second line goes best with those in the first line?

Sets 1
The answer here is 'D', the spoon, because all the items in the top row are related to eating and drinking.

Pictures are sometimes used for juniors, tests for older children and adults more often use abstract shapes. Try this one:

Sets 2
The answer here is 'A'. All the shapes on the first row are made with four lines.

Counting is often a key - when in doubt, count everything! Also look out for colours and symmetry.

Sometimes different elements work together, for example:

Sets 3
Here the number of black squares is equal to the number of intersections, the number of times the lines cross. The actual number of lines doesn't matter. So the answer is B.

Finally, here's a more complicated example:

Sets 4
The pattern here is that each picture has exactly one white circle and the same number of black squares as lines. In this case the way the lines, squares and circles are arranged doesn't matter. So the answer is 'A'.

Pattern recognition is at the heart of much non-verbal reasoning. It's a skill worth practising.