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11+ Non-Verbal Reasoning Analogies | Flipping
This article looks at "flipping" shapes - or does it...?

NVR - Relationships Between Symbols (4)

Welcome to the fourth and final exam illustration in this section of our 11+ Non-Verbal Reasoning course, all about Relationships Between Symbols. Like the first three, it’s to do with Analogies style questions.

In the previous illustrations we looked at analogies formed by size, number, shading, movement and rotation. This final one looks at analogies formed in a similar way to rotation shapes – ones made by flipping shapes (or does it? Read on to find out!).

How Are These Kinds of Question Posed in The Exam?

These are posed in exactly the same way as other Analogies questions. As you will remember, candidates are shown three shapes or patterns. The first two are related in some way, and children have to pick the shape or pattern which is related in the same way to the third.

Flipping is just another method examiners use to create these kinds of question. The question will look exactly the same – only the technique used to solve it is different. Let’s look at an example:


On the left 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?


Okay then, how do we work out the answer? As usual, let’s put the first pair into words – not too difficult in this case, as there are only three changes:

  1. The shield shape flips top to bottom
  2. The upside-down house shape becomes a triangle
  3. The circle becomes a square

Now, let’s try to employ this logic to the second pair:

The trapezium needs to be flipped top to bottom, meaning the only possible answer is ‘c’. Alarm bells should now be ringing – too easy, something’s wrong! If you check the smaller shapes in ‘c’ they don’t follow the same pattern as the first pair – the circle gets smaller and the upside-down house shape gets bigger, whereas in the first pair there is no connection at all. Okay, now what?

At this point it’s important to remember that the flipping of some shapes can look the same as rotating them one hundred and eighty degrees. If you look at the shield, this is the case. However, the trapezium shape doesn’t work the same way, so rather than assuming it’s flipping top to bottom we had better assume it’s rotating through one hundred and eighty degrees.

Let’s go back to the question – if the rotation is made, the trapezium should end up looking like the one in ‘a’ and ‘e’. Now we can look at the middle-sized shape – both are squares so let’s discount that. The small shape in the target shape should be a triangle. How can we tell this? There is no direct connection between the internal shapes in the first pair but, if we look at the shapes that the first two become we see what is needed. Upside-down house shape becomes a triangle, circle becomes a square. Applying this logic, as it’s the only thing available to us, we get the triangle in the middle of our target shape, surrounded by a larger square.

Technique Tip

If you get an answer which is too easy, then the likelihood is it’s wrong. Children should be aware that they cannot just carry through one element of the question, find only one possible answer, and assume it’s correct. They have to at least skim through other elements of the question to check that they haven’t made a careless mistake.

As I demonstrated previously, the question setters are trying to catch careless people out and it’s not often that they’ll leave a correct option which is so totally different from the remainder. Children should be encouraged to watch out for the trick answers as much as the trick questions!

Sample Tests

Now you have worked your way through this whole section. It’s time to put what you have learned to the test! Follow the links below to the 8 quizzes on the Education Quizzes website. There you will find a total of 80 Analogies questions. Let your child work their way though. If they have any problems, help them out by teaching them the techniques you’ve learned in this section. If they go into their exam armed with the knowledge of how to tackle these questions, then they are already halfway there.

Analogies 1

Analogies 2

Analogies 3

Analogies 4

Analogies 5

Analogies 6

Analogies 7

Analogies 8

So, now we’ve looked at Analogies, what’s next? Well, in the next section we look at similarities and differences between shapes. These come in two styles of question, which we’ll look at in detail. See you there!

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