NVR - Relationships Between Symbols (2)

Example– On the left of the row are two shapes with an arrow between them. Decide how they are related. The third shape is related to one of the remaining shapes in the same way. Which of the shapes goes with the third in the same way as the second goes with the first?


Make sure that you are thinking in terms of words rather than shapes, so that you can make sense of the problem and be able to teach it. Lucky people can just ‘see’ the answers but if you’re one of these people don’t forget that your child needs techniques to learn from and cannot be expected to just ‘get it’.

Let’s go through the words needed to explain this question, starting with the specifics for the first pairing and then going on to make general instructions which we can follow for the second pairing. The big arrow rotates ninety degrees anticlockwise, the triangle flips top to bottom (in the horizontal axis) and the circle becomes three very small, black circles under the arrow.

If we now generalise, it comes out as follows:

Main shape rotates ninety degrees left, higher shape flips top to bottom, lower shape becomes three small black shapes below main shape.

This can be used as the template to answer the question. It can, of course, be used to answer ANY question with a similar pattern and if your child is not too sure of the way it works, it would be good for him or her to create their own third shape to make their own second pair of symbols. This provides reinforcement, allows the child to think that they are in control of the questions and removes the mystery of the question-setter. A child can set these questions – as long as they think!

So, let’s go back to the third symbol we’ve been given. Apply the generalised explanation, replacing general terms with specific ones. It should look like this:

Parallelogram rotates ninety degrees left, pentagon flips top to bottom, diamond becomes three small black diamonds below parallelogram.

Now we’ve got this we can look to eliminate answers or pick the right one immediately if the child is capable of doing so. The tricky element here is the parallelogram rotating as some children cannot visualise which way it should be facing after a rotation. This is where the earlier tip about giving children cut-out shapes to play with proves useful.

The correct answer, as I’m sure you have gathered, is ‘a’. Answer ‘d’ was a fair bet but was not an accurate rotation of the parallelogram, while ‘e’ was a good bet except for the diamonds being replaced with circles, which appeared in the first pair but have no connection with the second pair. Make sure your child knows it’s the PROCESS that is important in the first pair, not the symbols.

Go to the next Non Verbal Reasoning working example - Relationships Between Symbols (3)

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