11+ Non Verbal Reasoning Help from Home

Working from Home

One of the hardest things about lockdown is helping with homework. Schools are under pressure to replicate the structure and learning of a school environment remotely, and so need to provide content remotely. There is a lot to learn, and the volume of homework can at times be overwhelming. It can also be difficult to offer assistance and advice with some subjects which require specialist knowledge, such as languages, science and reasoning.

My first tip would be to accept that you can’t help with every aspect of your child’s learning! As long as students are concentrating for two or three hours per day, and getting through the majority of the work they are set, you do not need to fret. It is not realistic to expect children to work at home as they would do at school! All people can do is to try their best, in what is a trying time.

I’m going to use the example of non-verbal reasoning (as it is the sort of subject that gives most parents, and indeed some tutors, nightmares!) below, but the same method works for any challenging subject.

What Can I Do to Help?

When your child comes to you for help, they don’t need you to solve the problem for them. Don’t feel the pressure to do so, or you risk putting yourself in a challenging position and showing your worry or frustration.

Children most often reach out when they want emotional support and guidance. Show you are there to help, and that they do not need to worry. Explain that you will do the problem together, and focus on offering hints and tips that help the child approach the question rather than rushing to the answer.

Non-verbal is not something that can easily be broken down into a few pithy paragraphs. But there are three core rules I can share, which you can go through in order when approaching a new problem. Question Type: What sort of question am I attempting? If it is Odd one Out, I need to look for four similar options. If it is Series, can I track one aspect of the change?

1. Question Type: What sort of question am I attempting? If it is Odd one Out, I need to look for four similar options. If it is Series, can I track one aspect of the change?

2. The Rule of Similarities: Study the example. What is the same, and what is the different? Make a list of the similarities and differences.

3. Less is More: Focus on one aspect of the problem. Use this detail to unpick the question. Can you use it to eliminate an option?

When I teach students non-verbal reasoning via Zoom and Skype, I use animal camouflage to illustrate these examples. Take the following image. There is an animal hidden in the leaves. It is extremely difficult to spot it first time!

Animal Camouflage

Think about type: what sort of animal would be hidden here? What can I train my mind to look for?

Look for similarities: what is consistent (the leaves) and what is different (a shape, a distinct and coherent pattern).

Less is More: Can I focus on one thing? Here, can I scan the image in quadrants, to help me focus on each section?

Hint: If you get stuck, focus on the dead centre of the image…

This sort of thing – an open minded problem-solving approach – will make reasoning more fun. And, as in this example, don’t be afraid to break out into a holistic activity. Thinking about patterns in nature and our environment is excellent training for non-verbal reasoning pattern recognition.

As students get more confident, you can think about how to break down different aspects of non-verbal problems – using the formula Shape, Position, Angle, Number, Shading and Size. Using this in order, along with elimination, will enable most students to confidently approach non-verbal reasoning problems.

Animal Pattern Problems 

Here are some more animal pattern problems to solve at home. we are happy to send over more animal pattern problems! Please contact the office and we will happily send them over. Good luck! 

This one got my goat
Snow problem
Can you ‘spot’ it?