In this post, we start with an overview of "Inferences" question types. We also provide a sample question, accompanied by tips and strategies that every student can use to perform successfully on "Inferences" questions during the official OLSAT® exam.
Inferences: What To Expect?
Students will be provided an argument or scenario and, based on the information provided, must discern an appropriate conclusion. These questions rely on a student’s ability to evaluate which parts of the provided information are absolutely necessary for reaching the correct conclusion.
The number of inferences questions on the test depends on the age of the student and the test level.For example, 4th and 5th grade students taking the OLSAT®Level E (for admission into 5th and 6th grade) are asked approximately four of these types of questions.
Verbal Inferences: Sample Question
Tim, John, and Henry all collect trains. John has more trains than Tim or Henry. If John has five trains, we know for certain that:
A. Tim has zero trains
B. Tim and Henry both have three trains
C. All of the boys like to play with trains
D. Tim and Henry have fewer than five trains
E. John stole some of Henry’s trains
Correct Answer: D
After reading this question, we know for certain that, because John has five action figures and because Tim and Henry have less than him, this must mean that Tim and Henry have fewer than five action figures. Though answer options A and B are possible, we cannot be certain based on the information given. Additionally, C and E are based on assumptions but not on information in the question, so these are also incorrect.
Inferences:Tips and Strategies
Many of the inference questions involve logic puzzles and math concepts, which can actually be fun for many children. Consider finding a book of logic puzzles for your student that she can do “for fun” while still learning test-taking concepts.
After your student has worked with logic puzzles and basic number concepts like less, more, addition, and subtraction, have her begin completing some practice questions. For inference questions, it can help students to write or diagram information as they think.
After your student has answered each practice question, discuss how she arrived at the answer, whether it was correct or incorrect. For correct answers, you are reinforcing the process of sound logic. For incorrect answers, you can help your student figure out where she went wrong and how to avoid this on future questions.
Instruct your student to narrow down answer choices by eliminating obviously wrong answers, including any choices that cannot be proven using the provided information. If she gets stuck, she should make an educated guess and continue on to the next question.
Learn more about other verbal reasoning question types on the OLSAT, including Aural Reasoning, Word/Letter Matrix, Verbal Analogies, Logical Selection, Verbal Classifications, and Arithmetic Reasoning.
Also try some sample questions and see critical teaching tips that cover other areas of the OLSAT, including the sections on verbal comprehension, pictoral reasoning, figural reasoning, and quantitative reasoning.