What Comes Next?

In Non Verbal Reasoning tests "What comes next?" is another form of pattern recognition question. However unlike set or odd one out questions you're looking for a pattern in the way things change.

The simplest type of this question is simply a repeated sequence with no deeper logic, for example:

What Next 1
Here the shapes go square, circle, square, circle... and so on. So the answer is 'D'. Personally I think these sort of questions are a bit unfair, they're almost too easy; I keep looking for something more subtle. However they do crop up so you need to be ready for them. Sometimes the answer really is as simple as it seems.

A more reasonable simple example is this one:

What Next 2
Here we simply add a new horizontal line each time so the answer is B. As with many NVR questions, it's always counting everything! As well as adding and taking things away, look for changes of orientation, shape and colour. Try this one:

What Next 3
Here the rule is "rotate the picture clockwise, change the colour of the circle and add another line". So the answer is C. The more difficult questions often involve multiple elements in this way.

Even if you can't solve the puzzle completely you can try to eliminate some answers to improve your chances of guessing correctly. In the example above you might spot that the colour of the circle changes every time. That means you can eliminate A and E immediately - if you have to guess, you know it will be B, C or D. So now you have a one in three chance of guessing correctly instead of only one in five.