Example – On the left are two figures that have something in common. Which of the remaining five figures is most like the figures on the left?
This is at the easy end of things so I won’t spend a long time explaining the problem. It’s obvious that there are four sides to each shape in the first pair and all of the second set appear to have the same. However, shape ‘c’ has rounded corners so that seems improbable as an answer. The only other thing that the first shapes have in common is that they are both squares, albeit one is turned on its side. Of the second set of shapes, only ‘d’ is a square. The answer can’t be ‘b’ as it does not have the key properties of a square – four ninety degree angles. Also, ‘e’ lacks another key element of a square – all lines must be the same length. The answer is ‘d’.
A variant on this is the idea of some shapes being 'regular' and you get asked to find others. A regular shape has sides of the same length and angles of the same number of degrees. A square is regular; an equilateral triangle is regular. A rectangle, having longer sides and shorter sides, is not. We associate hexagons and other polygons with being regular but, of course, any six-sided figure is a hexagon, it just isn't regular. In the example above, only answer 'd' is regular; shape 'b' has similar side lengths but different angles while 'e' has similar angles but varying side lengths.
Example 2 – on the left are two figures that have something in common. Which of the remaining five figures is most like the figures on the left?
Again, it’s a good idea to decide what the first two symbols have in common before starting. Firstly, each main shape is dashed and has three shapes inside, one of which is black. The position of the black shape is not the same so is not relevant. There is no shape in common between the two symbols so appear random. However, there is a small version of the main shape in each of the symbols; this is drawn with a solid outline and is flipped top to bottom.
Now we have some details of what is required and what isn’t, we can discount some answers. Answer ‘b’ has a dotted outline rather than a dashed one – encourage your child to look for the main things first as they might fail to see the wood for the trees. Answer ‘c’ has no black shape in so is not right.
Finally we have to look at the more subtle similarities between the initial shapes. We need to have a flipped-over version of the main shape inside it, with a solid outline. The heart shape ‘a’ has a small heart in it but it isn’t flipped over. The main shape of ‘d’ does not reappear in the inside of ‘d’. This means the answer must be ‘e’ – indeed there is a trapezium inside the main shape and it is upside-down compared to that main shape.
Go to the next Non Verbal Reasoning working example - Looking at a Shape and Making a Code (1)