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?
As usual, let’s put the first pair into words. The shield shape flips top to bottom while the upside-down house shape becomes a triangle and 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.
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!
Go to the next Non Verbal Reasoning working example - Choosing a Shape to Complete a Set (1)