OLSAT® Question Type: Arithmetic Reasoning

In this post, we start with an overview of "Arithmetic Reasoning" 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 "Arithmetic Reasoning" questions during the official OLSAT® exam.

Arithmetic Reasoning: What To Expect?

The main skill tested by ‘Arithmetic Reasoning’ questions is the ability to create mathematical problems from language and to solve those problems.

These questions test a student’s ability to listen to verbal directions that require him or her to count objects, contrast quantities, and solve problems that involve addition, subtraction, multiplication and fractions with small numbers. Some of these questions assess basic mathematical concepts, while others assess more sophisticated concepts such as reasoning and solving word problems.

Pre-K students taking the OLSAT® (for admission into Kindergarten) are asked approximately three of these types of questions.

Kindergarten students taking the OLSAT® (for admission into 1st Grade) are asked approximately six of these types of questions.

Arithmetic Reasoning: Sample Question

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Arithmetic Reasoning:Tips and Strategies

  • Before trying the practice questions, try using hands-on materials (like blocks, beads or marbles) to help a student become confident with adding and subtracting. For example, you might give your student two marbles and then ask her to “add” three more marbles to the pile. Then, ask her to count how many marbles she now has. This works with subtraction, too.

  • Tell your student to look at the answer options while you ask the questions. Ask your student to eliminate obviously wrong answers to narrow down the answer choices.

  • Ask your student to explain why he chose a specific answer. This will help you identify where your student is stumbling, and be an opportunity to reinforce his understanding of the concept and/or calculation.
  • What's Next?

    Learn more about the different question types on the OLSAT, including Following Directions, Aural Reasoning, Analogies, 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.