Example – On the left of each of the rows 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?
What can you make of the connections between the first two symbols? The word version of this should read something like this:
The trapezium on the left becomes the main shape. The rectangle on the right becomes small and is central in the target shape with the shading of the trapezium. The internal lines of the rectangle are repeated in the target shape while the crosses appear on the outside of the target shape.
Now, let’s do the same as we did in the last example and generalise it so that we can see what is required:
Left shape becomes the main shape; right shape becomes small and inside main one with same shading as the left shape; internal lines of right shape become internal lines of main one and internal symbols of right shape go to the outside of main shape.
It’s complicated but if you deal with it one at a time it’s a lot less intimidating. When you follow the ‘instructions’ that we’ve just created, you end up describing shape ‘d’. All the other possibilities are wrong in some way and some deliberately make reference to the first pairing, trying to persuade the careless that there has to be some connection between the objects in the first pair and the objects in the second pair. As stated before, it’s the process that’s important, not the symbols.
I find that crossing out the wrong options is not the only good way to deal with the answers in this style of question. If your child is getting through the questions at pace then don’t worry but I like to use a physical approach using my fingers. I say the first connection I see between the first pair in my head and apply it to the second pair. This is likely to rule out one of the options. I point my fingers to the remaining four options (or however many are left.) Next, I go to another connection between the first two symbols and apply the same process to the second pair. This need only be applied to the remaining symbols that my fingers are pointing to; if any of them do not fit the pattern then I simply remove my finger from them and continue this process until I’m left with just one symbol. Many children really appreciate having a physical element to the process and research suggests that physical movement can enhance a child’s understanding. An alternative is to cover up each ‘wrong’ answer with a finger and you are then left with just one correct answer.
Go to the next Non Verbal Reasoning working example - Relationships Between Symbols (4)