OLSAT® Question Type: Number Series

In this post, we start with an overview of "Number Series" question types. We also provide a sample question, accompanied by tips and strategies that every student can use to perform successfully on "Number Series" questions during the official OLSAT® exam.

Number Series: What To Expect?

Students must examine a sequence of numbers and determine a pattern that governs those numbers. They will then apply that pattern in order to predict what comes next.

The amount of these 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 six of these types of questions.

Number Series: Sample Question

number series sample question

number series sample question

Correct Answer: D

In this series, letters and two-digit numbers alternate, with 17 being the last number just before the question mark. This means that the missing term that follows must bea letter. Therefore, we can eliminate choices B and E, which are numbers.

If we separate the numbers from letters, we see that while the numbers grow by 1, the letters progress by skipping every other letter starting from D. Therefore, the letter that comes after L must be N. The correct answer is choice D.

Number Series: Tips and Strategies

To correctly answer these questions, your child will need the ability to identify patterns in a sequence of numbers or letters and supply the missing item.

Because your child may not have much formal academic experience with this question type, it is important to practice working with these questions beforehand. It may be helpful to model how to approach the questions for your child. Read the question aloud, and then do a “think-aloud,” talking through your thought process as you solve the problem. As your child completes questions, have him explain how he arrived at the answer. If the answer is correct, this will reinforce his logical reasoning skills. If the answer is incorrect, this gives you the opportunity to correct misconceptions and suggest a better approach.

You can also find workbooks or games related to number patterns and sequences to help your child further practice test concepts in an engaging manner. Tell your child not to panic if he struggles on the test. Instead, make an educated guess, take a deep breath, and move on to avoid wasting precious time.

What's Next?

Learn more about other quantitative reasoning question types on the OLSAT, including number matrix questions, and numeric inference questions.

Also try some sample questions and see critical teaching tips that cover other areas of the OLSAT, including the sections on verbal comprehension, verbal reasoning, pictoral reasoning, and figural reasoning.

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 NNAT or the COGAT.