OLSAT® Question Type: Analogies

In this post, we will start with an overview of "Analogies" question types, including what skills they measure and how many of these question types are on the OLSAT test. We also provide a sample question, accompanied by tips and strategies to help your student perform successfully on "Analogies" questions during the official OLSAT® exam.

Analogies: What To Expect?

‘Analogies’ questions measure a student’s ability to reason his or her way through non-language based scenarios.

A student is presented with a 4-box matrix and must identify a relationship between two pictures (or two geometric figures) in the first row. The student needs to apply this rule to the second row and choose which object - from the answer choices - completes this second row relationship in the same way.

The OLSAT ® Level A contain two types of analogy questions: picture analogies and figural analogies.

Picture Analogies

To master picture analogies, a student needs to have general background knowledge, a good visual vocabulary, and an understanding/recognition of the following relationships:

  • Part/whole (or reverse: whole/part)
  • Object/function (or reverse: function/object)
  • Agent (person or animal)/location, (or reverse: location/agent (person or animal)
  • Agent (person or animal)/object, (or reverse: object/agent (person or animal)
  • Agent (person or animal)/action, (or reverse: action/ agent (person or animal)
  • Change in quantity, size
  • Familial -- having to do with family.

  • Figural Analogies

    To succeed on figural analogy questions, student need to understand several key concepts, including geometric concepts such as rotational symmetry, line symmetry, parts of a whole, and opposites.

    Pre-K students taking the OLSAT® (for admission into Kindergarten) and Kindergarten students taking the OLSAT® (for admission into 1st Grade) are asked approximately 12 of these types of questions (five picture analogies questions and seven figural analogies questions).

    Analogies: Sample Question

     ANSWER: B

    ANSWER: B

    Analogies:Tips and Strategies

  • Encourage your student to carefully consider all the answer options before selecting one. Ask your student to eliminate obviously wrong answers to narrow down the answer choices.

  • On challenging figural analogy questions, a student will have to pay close attention to several aspects of the design (e.g: color, shape, direction) at the same time. With these questions, encourage your student to isolate one element (e.g: outer shape, inner shape/s) at a time and identify how it changes.

  • If your student is challenged by these items, ask specific questions to guide him and to help him articulate his reasoning:

    Ask: “How do the objects relate to each other in the first row? Do you see a pattern or relationship? “Can you guess what the missing object should be in the second row?” Do you see your prediction in the answer choices?


  • What's Next?

    Learn more about the different question types on the OLSAT, including Following Directions, Aural Reasoning, Arithmetic Reasoning,Classifications, Series and Pattern Matrices.

    If you think you need more information and guidance about the OLSAT, check out our in-depth article on the test, as well as our posts on the verbal and non-verbal section.

    Also, learn everything you need to know about other tests that measure a child’s potential to learn in school, like the NNAT2.