Example – pick one of the five boxes on the right to fit in the blank box in the progression.
Now the quick amongst you may immediately see what the progression is here but, for the majority of people, it will not be obvious. It’s time to take a look at the list of what to look for.
The fourth box seems to be an end to a sequence which then restarts with box five. Whatever fits in the empty box does not necessarily have to relate to the octagon in the final box; it might just be that the octagon is the start of the sequence all over again. Now, what did you pick from the list of possible ideas to explore? There seems to be no connection between the first and second shape of the progression as one is regular and the next is irregular. However, count the number of sides. You will find that the first shape has eight sides, the next has seven, the next has six and that suggests that the empty one should have a five-sided shape in it. The only five-sided shape available as an answer is (d). This must be our answer.
The really tricky variant of this problem...
Imagine the five-sided shape was not an available answer and was replaced by a heptagon (a seven-sided figure). Now what would the answer be?
You are looking for patterns and series, so let’s write the numbers of sides of the shapes in the progression in a row:
Can you see that, although we wanted to put a ‘5’ into the blank space when we had that as an option, the series could be completed with a ‘7’ instead? Think about the symmetry that would create – start at 8 and count down, only to count back up to the starting point again. Tricky, but the sort of thing that they could put in to pick out the real brain-boxes! Hopefully you’ll have noticed the way that numbers and symbols can be interchanged in these questions. Abstract shapes are awkward but numbers are easier to deal with.
Go to the next Non Verbal Reasoning working example - Progression - Fill in the Blank (4)