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NVR Progression - Fill in the Blank (1)

Example – pick one of the five boxes on the right to fit in the blank box in the progression.


Technique tip 1:

Here is one of the most important tips I ever impart – and it really can prove crucial to some children. To save a lot of confusion over the shapes, positions and directions, put the symbols into words. We’ll talk more about this later but for now it’ll help us to talk about the position of the circle as this is the only thing that changes in the diagram.

The white circle appears in the top right of the first box, then the bottom right in the second box and so on. If you try to visualise each box transposed one on top of the other it sometimes helps. Imagining them over the top of each other would make the movement of the circle even clearer. So, we now need to pick the correct answer – and here’s another top tip. If you can do so, ignore the possible answers and try to work it out yourself. This is a very helpful thing to do if you are getting the hang of the problems and are coping with them well inside the given time limits. If you are struggling, it’s not as useful as there are other ways which I will explain later which will enable you to get more marks.

So we’ve been looking at the boxes, thinking about where the white circle goes. It moves around the corners of the box in a clockwise direction and must end up in the top right hand corner in the blank box.

Technique tip 2:

Once we’ve got an idea of what we must have in the answer but aren’t sure of the exact one, we need to remove some of the possibilities. Anything that you are sure cannot be the correct answer can have a single line drawn through the LETTER in pencil. The reason we don’t draw a line through the whole symbol is that if there is a mistake made it is then potentially difficult to see what was written under the lines you’ve drawn over the symbol. I’ve seen it hinder children in the past – encourage them to cross out the letter under the symbol, not the symbol itself. If an error is made, an eraser should be a quick solution so discourage your child from ‘scrubbing out’ the letters. Time is a critical issue in non-verbal testing.

Our answer cannot be (a) because the circle is in the wrong position. Cross out the letter (a). The answer cannot be (e) because there is a black circle in the corner, not a white one. Cross out the letter (e). Now we scan for other things and hopefully you’ll have discounted (b) as the centre shape is wrong, while (d) contains two white circles and we only need one. If your child finds it helpful to cross out each symbol that can’t be the answer as he or she goes along then don’t discourage them – when they feel more comfortable they will stop doing so but still have the technique in mind for the tough ones where it remains necessary.

We have shown by two methods that the answer must be (c). We have shown it by working it out in our heads and then searching for the box that contains the image we know must be right, and we have shown it by the process of elimination. Sometimes the latter is the only way of working something out but you must encourage your child to remain flexible in their approach. Don’t discourage them from doing something which is working!

Go to the next Non Verbal Reasoning working example - Progression - Fill in the Blank (2)

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