Winning Revision Methods for the 11+ Non Verbal Reasoning Exam


  1. What is non verbal reasoning?
  2. What is non verbal reasoning test 11+?
  3. How can I help my child with non verbal reasoning?

Does your child need to do the 11+ non verbal reasoning exam? Contrary to popular belief, this exam is a lot of fun to prepare for. Let us show you the best revision methods and how your kid can own this test to get into the school they want.



What is non verbal reasoning?


Non verbal reasoning is all about problem-solving using critical thinking. It involves problems that require visual reasoning and logic to solve them. 🧠

How to do non verbal reasoning

Successfully completing non verbal reasoning problems is only partly helped by having a good understanding of maths. It also deals with patterns, spatial recognition, and analysing visual information. Non verbal reasoning tests can be a good indicator of intelligence and schools, universities, and employers often use these tests as part of their application processes.

Would you pass a non verbal reasoning test?

Whether or not you would pass a non verbal reasoning test depends on how your brain works and how much practice you have. People who regularly do puzzles and use brain training apps will usually be faster at completing these exams and know what is being asked of them.

Some people (kids included) are naturally gifted in this area and can look at one of these problems and instantly know which is the odd pattern out, or the next shape in the sequence, etc. 

Since non verbal reasoning isn’t based on any single subject it’s really a test of aptitude. The only way to improve your skills is to practise. If you want to see whether or not you’d pass the 11+ non verbal reasoning test, we’re going to share some practice papers after which you could work on with your kid.


What is non verbal reasoning test 11+?


The 11+ non verbal reasoning test can be used in entrance exams to schools. Non verbal reasoning isn’t usually taught in schools so the 11+ non verbal reasoning test is one way to differentiate between already talented students. 🎓

Not all schools that require an 11+ test will include the 11+ non verbal reasoning paper so check with the school your child is applying to first. If the 11+ non verbal reasoning test is involved, there are a number of ways you can help to prepare your child for it. 

How do you do 11 non verbal reasoning?

The 11+ non verbal reasoning tests change every year but there are some key elements your child can expect to be tested on. The best way that they can do well on the test is by practising as many non verbal reasoning problems beforehand. Luckily, this is a really fun test to “study” for as many kids find these types of problems fun, if not challenging.

Let’s look at what topics you can help your child prepare for, then what practice exercises they should be doing and other tips on boosting their 11+ non verbal reasoning skills.

What are the topics in non verbal reasoning?

The main topics your kid can expect in an 11+ non verbal reasoning test are:

  • Identifying the next shape in a sequence
  • Breaking the code with numbers or symbols
  • Choosing the odd shape (or group of shapes) out
  • Shape analogies
  • Folded paper problems


How can I help my child with non verbal reasoning?


Since 11+ non verbal reasoning isn’t academic, it requires a different approach to “study”. The main aim is to expose your child to as many different types of problems found on the 11+ non verbal reasoning exam as possible. 💫

While part of the challenge in preparing for this test is the ambiguity (your child will not have a non verbal reasoning textbook they used at school), this is part of the beauty of it too. Everyone is in the same boat. What can help set your kid apart from the rest is practice… lots of it.  

Revision exercises for 11+ non verbal reasoning

If your child isn’t usually one for puzzles, there are some fun and interactive apps that will get them hooked in no time (e.g. Sudoku and Tetris). If your child is studious and loves working their way through workbooks then buy them some brain training puzzle books and reward them along the way, either for the number of days in a row they practice or for each page completed. 

It’s hugely beneficial to give them as many 11+ non verbal reasoning practice exams too. This will boost their confidence before they walk into the exam and speed up their response time. 

11 plus non verbal reasoning papers PDF

Here is an excellent 11+ non verbal reasoning guide from Birmingham Grammar School. The comprehensive PDF will walk you through what equipment is allowed in the test, how to answer questions, and examples of questions that can appear on the exam. 

Non verbal reasoning test 11 plus free online

You’ll have to search for free 11+ non verbal reasoning tests or past papers but you can find them online. 

Start with this test, which comes with the answers at the end of the paper. It has 35 questions and covers a good selection of 11+ non verbal reasoning problems. 

Non verbal reasoning past papers could be conducted by exam board GL or CEM. There are differences between how these two exam boards write non verbal reasoning papers, so we’ve linked to samples relating to both boards below:

GL Non Verbal Reasoning Sample paper 1

GL Non Verbal Reasoning Sample paper 2

GL Non Verbal Reasoning Sample paper 3

CEM Non Verbal Reasoning Sample paper 1

CEM Answers for Sample paper 1


It’s worth noting that CEM does not promote nor produce any practice papers of their own. Familiarisation material is provided by CEM to the schools who use them, which can provide an idea of how the tests look.

CEM however, provides practice materials for a fee online plus they have free familiarisation materials.

Hire a dedicated 11+ non verbal reasoning tutor

An easy way to motivate your child and a fast way to practice content is through an 11+ non verbal reasoning tutor. By hiring a specialist tutor, your kid will have access to more practice material and have some very enjoyable classes along the way too. 

At GoStudent, we have dedicated 11+ non verbal reasoning tutors who can explain the questions in an entertaining and interesting manner so your child will walk into the exam feeling confident. Why not see for yourself and book a free trial class to get your kid excited and prepared?