Every Question Helps You Learn

Join Us
Leading Streak Today
Your Streak Today
Leading Streak Today
Your Streak Today
11+ Non-Verbal Reasoning Codes | Unknown
Here we look at codes using letters whose meaning is not known.

NVR - Looking at a Shape and Making a Code (3)

This third illustration will complete this section looking at Codes questions in the 11+ Non-verbal reasoning exam. It’s also the last one in this series, so well done if you’ve read them all.

So far, we have shown you how questions involving flipping shapes, adding lines, using shading and rotation shapes are formed, and given you some handy tips on how to answer them. In this third lesson, we shall be looking at something a little bit more complicated – codes made up of letters not shown in any of the example shapes, and different shapes which have duplicate codes.

How Are These Kinds of Question Posed in The Exam?

You will remember from the previous two lessons that these questions involve a group of shapes and symbols which have corresponding code letters which describe them. Another shape is given to the candidates and they must choose which code should go with that one.

The difference between the questions in this particular method of forming codes, is that we may be faced with finding a letter which has not been shown in any of the sample codes, or shown two different shapes which have the same code as each other.

Let’s show you some examples so you can see what I mean, starting with three letter codes:

Example One

Decide on the meaning of the code on the left. Each letter means something and can be determined by looking at the symbols. Then look at the test shape and decide which of the given code letters is an accurate description of it.


The key to answering these questions of course, is finding the similar codes. So, let’s look initially at the second letter – ‘M’ or ‘N’:

The first and third shape have the code letter ‘M’ and they are both black with a white shape inside. As the second shape is not, and has the code letter ‘N’, we can be confident that we are correct. The test shape is not similar to either of these so should have a new code letter – the options available suggest it should be ‘O’.

The next thing we look at is the second set of similar code letters. The first and second shapes have the letter ‘X’ and they both have a triangle in the middle. As the final shape contains a circle and has the code ‘Y’, the test shape’s diamond inside suggest another new code letter – ‘Z’.

The remaining element of the puzzle must be solved as there are two possible answers which end with the code ‘OZ’. The test shape is a parallelogram and that is the same as the third shape, which has the initial code letter ‘C’. As the other shapes are different and have different initial code letters, it is safe to assume that we are looking for the code ‘C’.

Our overall answer must contain the code letters ‘C’, ‘O’ and ‘Z’, which is answer ‘e’.

Technique Tip

Don’t be put off by the lack of anything similar in the test shape. In the above question there was nothing with a diamond in the middle amongst the first shapes. Don’t panic – you can always use code letters which are not on the originals, as long as you are sure that you’ve got the right element of the puzzle. Also, if you find an answer code letter which appears in only one answer it will not be terribly likely to be right, as it would give you the chance to solve the question too easily!

Let’s look at another example question:

Example Two

Decide on the meaning of the code on the left. Each letter means something and can be determined by looking at the symbols. Then look at the test shape and decide which of the given code letters is an accurate description of it.


This question is quite straightforward, although it does introduce a rarity – two different shapes which share the same code letters. The first two shapes are both ‘AJ’ and we cannot know which characteristic of the shapes relate to which element of the code. We therefore need to look at something else to determine the answer.

The third and fourth shapes have both got the code letter ‘B’. They are different shapes and the arrows point in different directions in each shape, but the two arrows in each shape point the same way as each other. This ties in with the other information from the other shapes as they are not coded ‘B’ and do not have both arrows pointing the same way. The test shape is like the latter so must have the code ‘A’.

The second letter must therefore refer to the overall shape, as the direction the arrows face is always different. This means the test shape has a code of ‘K’. The whole code is therefore ‘AK’, or answer ‘b’.

Sample Tests

That completes this section of the course on Codes. We’ve learned several ways that these can be formed: rotation of shapes, and adding lines or shading to them. We’ve also dealt with different shapes that have the same code, or shapes whose codes include letters not seen in the example shapes. Armed with all that information, and the techniques we’ve taught you for dealing with each type, you should no be able to confidently answer every question in our Codes quizzes, and indeed, in the 11+ Non-Verbal Reasoning exam.

We have 14 quizzes on this topic. Show them to your child and see how they get on. If at any point they seem to be struggling, teach them the tips you’ve learned here, and they’ll soon get the hang of them.

For your convenience, here are some links to our quizzes:

Code Breaker 1

Code Breaker 2

Code Breaker 3

Code Breaker 4

Code Breaker 5

Code Breaker 6

Code Breaker 7

Shapes and Letters 1

Shapes and Letters 2

Shapes and Letters 3

Shapes and Letters 4

Shapes and Letters 5

Shapes and Letters 6

Shapes and Letters 7

So, now you’ve completed this set of 11+ Non-Verbal Reasoning exam illustrations. You’ve learned about the different types of question to be found there and, more importantly, how to answer them quickly and efficiently. All that now remains to be said is, good luck!

© Copyright 2016-2024 - Education Quizzes
Work Innovate Ltd - Design | Development | Marketing