NNAT®2 Question Type: Reasoning by Analogy

In this post, we start with an overview of "Reasoning by Analogy" question types. We also provide a sample question, accompanied by test prep tips and strategies that every student can use to perform successfully on "Reasoning by Analogy" questions during the official NNAT-2® exam.

Reasoning by Analogy Questions: What To Expect?

With this question type, the child is presented with a matrix of 4-6 boxes containing objects, usually geometric shapes.

To solve the problem, the child must determine how the object changes as it moves across the row and down the column in the matrix. The question may require that the student pay close attention to several aspects of the design (e.g: shading, color, shape) at the same time.

Reasoning by Analogy Sample Question

 ANSWER: 4

ANSWER: 4

Reasoning by Analogy Questions: Test Prep Tips

When you first start working on 'Reasoning by Analogy' practice questions with your child, before each question, say to him or her:

“Look at the picture. A piece is missing where you see the question mark. Show me the piece that is missing in the answer choices.”

After a few questions, your child will probably not need this prompt and will spontaneously point to or mark an answer.

Additional Strategies:

Make sure your student knows key concepts that come up in these types of questions, including geometric concepts such as rotational symmetry, line symmetry, parts of a whole. If your student is finding these items difficult, encourage her to discover the pattern by looking in each direction (horizontally and vertically).

  • Ask: “How do the objects change in the first row? Do you see a pattern?Do the objects change in the same way in the second row? The third row?”

  • Ask: “How do the objects change in the first column? Do you see a pat-tern? Do the objects change in the same way in the second column? The third column?”


  • Encourage your student to isolate one element (e.g: outer shape, inner shape/s) and identify how it changes:

  • Is the color/shading of the element changing as it moves?

  • Is the element changing positions as it moves? Does it move up or down? Clockwise or counter-clockwise? Does it end up in the opposite (mirror) position?

  • Does the element disappear and appear again as it move along the row/ column? Does it get bigger or smaller?


  • Encourage your student to make a prediction for the missing object and compare the description with the answer choices.

    What's Next?

    Learn more about the different question types on the NNAT®2, including Pattern Completion, Serial Reasoning, and Spatial Visualization.