What is the point of non-verbal reasoning?

non verbal reasoning for 11 plus

That's a very good question and I was asked it by one of my tutees last year. The main reason I gave him was that it accounts for 20% of the marks in the CEM 11 plus test. For most children that's all non-verbal reasoning (NVR) is good for. Ironically, for this particular boy, his experience with NVR might be quite useful as he would like to become an airline pilot and NVR involves, among other things, being good at interpreting diagrams and symbols which are upside-down - a skill that I imagine would be quite useful for a pilot.

Non-verbal reasoning tests are similar to IQ tests and, as the name suggests, are a way of testing reasoning skills without using words. This should ensure that children who do not have English as a first language or do not have a wide vocabulary are not disadvantaged. Non-verbal reasoning questions are multiple choice and involve the child selecting a diagram which completes a series or a pattern, is an odd one out of a group of symbols or has something in common with a group of symbols. Other questions involve selecting a code which represents a particular pattern. Although NVR is supposed to test innate intelligence and to therefore be "un-tutorable" I have incontrovertible evidence that this is not the case as I have seen the NVR scores of my tutees increase dramatically after tuition. Some of the things to look out for in NVR questions are reflection (in either the horizontal or vertical plane), rotation (clockwise or anti-clockwise by 45, 90, or 180 degrees), similarities or differences in numbers of different elements.

Unfortunately Roots 2 Success does not currently produce NVR practice materials, but there is a range of materials available in bookshops. If you purchase any, ensure that the answer booklet provides explanations as to why a particular answer is correct. Some NVR questions are extremely difficult and obscure so your child should not feel discouraged if he or she is unable to score over 80% in a NVR test. Any child who can score 100% in a typical NVR 11 plus test should go straight to university to study mathematics or engineering and miss out secondary school altogether!