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How to answer the NVR questions in the 11+ (Blog series 1 - identifying relationships in images)

Updated: May 18, 2023

Our blog series on how to answer the Non-Verbal Reasoning (NVR) questions in the 11+ will take you through the eight main types of questions pupils will receive, with an examples of how to work out the answers.

Non-Verbal Reasoning involves the ability to analyse and interpret images and identify patterns and sequences. These Spatial Reasoning skills form a vital part of the secondary transfer test (11 plus). NVR is not taught in schools, and puts pupils who do not practice these questions at a disadvantage.

Our blog begins with Identifying relationships in images. In these questions pupils will see a number of images and will need to recognise the relationships between the images, and then answer questions based on these relationships.

We will be looking at two main question types;

1. Odd one out

2. Complete the pair

Odd one out

In these questions pupils are asked to select the one figure which is most unlike the other four.

In this example, four of the figures are white, and one is black. Hence the image which is most unlike the others is B.

Your turn (answers are at the bottom of the page)

Complete the pair

In these questions pupils are given two images on the left of a colon, with an arrow between them. Pupils need to identify how the second shape relates to the first (in this example it has been rotated 180o). After this there is a third shape, then an arrow, and then 5 answer options. Pupils need to follow the same pattern of the first images in the second image to come to the correct answer.

If we were to rotate our arrow 180o (without altering the size of it) then the answer would be B.

Your turn (answers are at the bottom of the page)


Q1. A – the answer is A because in the images B to E the number of white dots equals the number of lines underneath the image. For example, B has 3 white dots and 3 lines, C has 2 white dots and 2 lines, etc. It is only A which does not follow this pattern, and as such is the most unlike the others.

Q2. D – the answer is D because in all of the images (except D) the shape created on the end of each line is replicated in the middle, although downsized. However in D, the shape has altered from a rectangle to a square, and as such is the most unlike the others.

Q3. A – in this question the shape on the left transforms into the shape on the right by; 1. Rotating 90o, 2. The end arrow changing from black to white, and 3. The inside shape changing from dotted to clear. If we follow all of these steps when looking at our image, we come to the answer A.

Q4. B – in this questions our shape on the left transforms into the shape on the right by; 1. Reducing the number of shapes on the inside from three to two, 2. Adding an additional black shape on the top, and 3. The shapes in the middle being situated at the bottom of the big shape. When we follow this pattern with our shape we arrive at B as the answer.

Please note that these are really simplified examples of the questions pupils will receive on the 11+. We have a wealth of experience of assisting pupils prepare for all aspects of the secondary transfer test (11+), including NVR.

For more information about how we can help your child as they prepare to take the 11+ in Buckinghamshire please contact us at, or call us on 01296 931078.

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