Naglieri Nonverbal Ability Test Prep: 9 Keys to Success


One half of the NYC Gifted and Talented exam, the Naglieri Nonverbal Ability Test (NNAT), is a key determinant of admission to NYC’s fiercely-competitive city-wide programs. To gain a spot in the most popular schools, such as the Anderson school, NEST+m, or Brooklyn School of Inquiry, your child needs to score in the top one-percent of all pre-K students.

Unlike the Otis-Lennon School Ability Test (OLSAT), which we explore in depth here, the NNAT focuses on your child’s general, and non-lingual, abilities.

The NNAT aims to uncover talents buried beneath socioeconomic, language, or physical barriers. Therefore, the NNAT focuses on questions designed around simple shapes, logical-insights, analogy, and pattern recognition.

This article will provide you with key information to help you get started with your child's Naglieri Nonverbal Ability test prep. To find out more about the NNAT, read our in-depth article on the test.


We recommend that your child begin preparation for this test weeks, or even months, before s/he opens his or her exam booklet and starts the official NNAT test. Read on to discover ten ways to prepare your son or daughter for success:


Testing anxiety typically stems from one of five main causes:  a fear of failure, an aversion to the unknown, a lack of preparation, a prior bad experience and a tendency towards procrastination.  This is true for tests ranging from the pre-K NNAT to college-preparatory exams like the SAT. Familiarizing your preschooler with the test weeks, or even months, ahead of time lessens the chance that he or she will get upset on exam day or not have the stamina and perseverance to complete the process. By devoting time to practice tests and studying, your child will stand a much better chance of getting a high score. The more prepared he or she is for the NNAT, the more comfortable the testing room experience will be.


Pre-schoolers don’t need to know they are prepping for an important test.   Although you can always help your child internalize the value of doing well and ‘sticking’ with a process, it’s important to not make test preparation a high-stress or high-stakes situation. Remember to emphasize the depths of your love no matter what results from the test.


When you look back at your favorite courses, does nostalgia conjure images of hours spent studying? Do you giggle as you recall all those hours you dedicated to rote memorization? Of course not! Most people remember the fun class activities and dynamic lectures that truly set their favorite courses apart. The same logic applies even for your preschooler. Make your NNAT test preparation fun and you will encourage your child to enjoy the challenges set before them. You could work NNAT practice into origami, jigsaw puzzles, and even reasoning-based computer games. If you make learning enjoyable, you might not have to schedule it at all! Read about five ways to add some excitement to your Naglieri Nonverbal Ability Test preparation.


Throwing a dart at a typical multiple-choice question, gives you a 25-percent change of getting the right answer. To improve your child’s success rate on the NNAT, always ask your child to explain the answer to you. Whether they get the answer right, or wrong, parents should ask their pre-K child to explain the logic behind their selection. This helps reinforce lessons learned previously and better illustrates your kid’s strengths and weaknesses. In addition, this process of justification helps your child to better understand their knee jerk instinctual responses.



For your child to gain a desirable score, they need to understand and get familiarized with the four different types of questions on the NNAT. The four types are outlined below:

• SPATIAL VISUALIZATION: In these types of questions, a child will be presented with items that will transform, invert, or rotate across a series of rows and columns. They must then determine the pattern to predict the next item in the sequence. Please read about why these questions leave so many stumped, and learn test prep tips on how to help your child tackle them.

• SERIAL REASONING: These problems ask your child to understand relationships between items across rows and columns. They must then extend the rules of that relationship to figure out the missing piece. Read more about this problem type, including strategies that get help your child answer them correctly.

• PATTERN COMPLETION: To find the correct answer, your child must figure out what part of a design is missing. Look here to see some pattern completion sample questions plus tips on how to solve them.

• REASONING BY ANALOGY: Test takers must determine the relationships between different shapes and figures. You can read more about this subset of questions and discover some tips to help your child figure them out.

Would you like to start practicing with some questions? If so, download NNAT questions by clicking the button below:


It’s statistically impossible for every child to be number one. We suggest you determine a set of well-grounded and realistic goals for practice time. For example, commit to 8-10 hours of Naglieri Nonverbal Ability test preparation over a time period of 6-8 weeks. Have your child do practice questions from workbooks for 15 minutes every other day, and eventually work up to ½ an hour every other day. As you get nearer the test, let your child work through a few practice tests in a situation that mimics actual testing conditions. Take breaks as you work, and switch around tasks and skill-building exercises so your preschooler stays interested. If you would like to get started with some practice questions, click the button below.


While knowing your material is the best way to ace a test, great exam takers utilize a variety of simple strategies to boost their scores. Everyone gets stumped. Maybe it’s a ‘aural reasoning’ OLSAT question with an incredibly large amount of information your preschooler must remember. Maybe your child can’t figure out a particularly complex pattern in a ‘reasoning by analogy’ NNAT question. That’s okay! Just spend some time teaching your child what to do when the right answer isn’t apparent, including the technique called “process of elimination”. If your child does not know the right answer, they might know which answers are wrong. Teach them the value of eliminating these answers first. After all, if you eliminate one incorrect answer, you boost your probability of guessing the correct one by 8.3 percent.


Henry Ford said it best: “If you think you can do a thing or think you can't do a thing, you’re right.” To lessen your child’s likelihood of failure on test day, you must work to give them a confidence boost. You can do this in a variety of ways outside typical Naglieri Nonverbal Ability Test preparation. Be certain to praise your child for a job well done, and the effort they make in tackling a tough problem. In addition to positive reinforcement, research suggests the following items can help develop your child’s self-assurance: using lucky charms, making a list of your child’s past successes, encouraging proper posture, and making use of music during study time.


Whether it’s brushing their teeth, or getting a full eight hours, reinforcing healthy habits boosts your child’s chances of a high score come exam time. In fact, a study of over 600 students concluded the following: “The grades of students who slept seven hours each night during the exam period were nearly 10 percent higher than those of students who got less sleep.” In addition, just like soldiers, your preschooler marches on their stomach. Make certain to feed them healthy breakfasts chock-full of brain-boosters like proteins and fresh fruit. However, you must be careful to avoid sweets and bread-based items. Sweets and flour-heavy foods take a lot of time and energy to process and can leave your child feeling sluggish. The better they feel, the better they’ll do.


At Origins Tutoring, we believe that preparation for the NYC Gifted and Talented test does not have to be daunting and exasperating; instead, it can represent an important opportunity along a student’s path to learning mastery. Indeed, the perspectives and abilities acquired during preparation provide a foundation that can last throughout a student’s school career.

Our two-track approach to mastering content and improving test-taking skills means that students will not only thoroughly understand the fundamental concepts and skills tested by the NYC Gifted and Talented test, but they will also excel in using essential techniques to improve attitude, endurance and focus.

Our students hone their independent thinking skills while developing a resilient mindset so they can perform on test day in a powerful, resourceful, creative and calm manner. Each student in our program receives the undivided attention and expertise of a dynamic and experienced coach who provides the framework to support each student on his unique path to becoming a master learner.

Please call 917.287.7927 now for a complimentary consultation to discuss how we can help your child achieve his or her personal best on the NYC Gifted and Talented test.


This article has provided you with information on Naglieri Nonverbal Ability test preparation. Find out more about the OLSAT, which is the assessment used in the other half of the NYC Gifted and Talented test.