Non-Verbal Reasoning Codes – How to Answer

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Our year 4 and year 5 11+ students have recently been learning how codes questions work in Non-Verbal Reasoning. There are a few techniques you can use to answer these types of questions more quickly and more accurately.

The first thing to do is look at the different position numbers and find shapes which have the same letter in the same position number. For example the following question has 3 letter positions, each of which represent a different element of the shape.

We can see that the first and second shape both have the letter ‘A’ in the first position. We must then look at these shapes and see what element they have in common with each other. In this case the only thing they have in common is the fact that they both have a dot inside the main shape. ‘A’ stands for dot. Therefore ‘B’ (a different letter in the same position) must represent a shape having no dot.

At this point we look at our question shape to see whether it has a dot or not. It does, meaning the first letter of our answer is ‘A’.

It is best to fill this in as soon as you have worked out this element rather than trying to work out all three letters at once at the end.

Are there any more positions with the same letter in both?

In this case the answer is yes. Shape 1 and shape 3 both have ‘X’ as the letter in position number 2. What element do shape 1 and shape 2 have in common? They both have a border. ‘X’ must stand for border and ‘Y’ must stand for no border.

Our question doesn’t have a border so it’s second letter will be ‘Y’. Again fill this in as soon as you find it.

Now in most cases there will be a position number where all the letters are different. It is always best to leave this until the end as we have already ruled out some of the elements of the shapes.

In our question, the 3rd position is where all of the letters are different. What is different about all 3 shapes? The shapes themselves. So ‘N’ must stand for square, ‘M’ must stand for star and ‘L’ must stand for pentagon.

Our question shape is a pentagon so the 3rd letter will be ‘L’.

See if you can work out the answer to the question in the second picture. Comment with your answers.

To learn more about these question types as well as others you can refer to RTG Non-Verbal Reasoning Book 1 as well as practice questions and learn about Non-Verbal Reasoning from the ground up.

For more difficult questions as well as practice papers see RTG Non-Verbal Reasoning Book 2.

Non-Verbal Reasoning Book 1

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