Top Tips – NVR

Top Tips: NVR

For children and adults alike, the first glance through a non-verbal reasoning (NVR) textbook can be rather daunting! It’s a subject not often taught in schools, and many children will encounter it for the first time as they start their 11+ journey. Some will take to it like Venus to a tennis court, and some will find it a little more tricky – but never fear, Newell Tuition is here! Our talented tutors will always do their best to guide your children through the bits they find most difficult during their sessions, but it’s well worth knowing some tips and tricks to help them when they’re stuck with homework, doing some revision, or learning independently. We’ve compiled a list of our top tips to turn your prospective problem-solver into an NVR superstar.

1 – Five golden rules

This is the most important one. The things you need to look out for to solve every single NVR question that has ever been (painstakingly) drawn can be condensed into five little categories. Eat them. Sleep them. Breathe them. Learn them off by heart. When you do, finding the answers to those tricky little shapes will be a piece of pie chart.


-Has the shape flipped or rotated?


-Has the shape changed size, shape, or shading?


-Is there a line of symmetry?


-Is there anything you need to count (such as sides of shapes, amount of shapes, arrowheads, etc)?


-Has anything changed position, and, if so, how?


As you work through a question, eliminate the answers that you know are wrong as you go. In many questions, you will end up with two possible answers that look very similar – look carefully at these remaining options until you spot the difference, and then you can easily decide which answer is correct!

3 – One step at a time

You’ll often find in NVR that there are lots of different things going on at once in a single problem. Don’t let that baffle you! Simply concentrate on one element of the problem at a time, eliminating wrongs answers as you find them, and you’ll find the correct answer in no time!

4 – →It’s rude to point! ←

Don’t be fooled by arrows! If you see an arrow in a problem, check which way it is pointing (up, down, left, right), check what it is pointing AT, check how man arrowheads or tail-feathers it has, and if it’s curved, check whether it’s pointing clockwise or anticlockwise.

5 – It’s (not) complicated

Always look for the most simple explanation for every problem. Don’t over-complicate anything. If the reasoning for your answer is something like ‘the sum of the sides times-ed by ten and divided by the square root of 125 is always a multiple of three‘, you’re probably being a bit dramatic. Refer back to the FIVE GOLDEN RULES for a more sensible approach.