OLSAT® Question Type: Series

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

Series: What To Expect?

Series questions measure a student’s ability to predict, according to a rule, a missing element in a series of pictures or figures.

The OLSAT ® contain two types of series questions: picture series and figural series.

Picture series

In picture series questions, students must examine a sequence of objects and identify/predict the object that comes next in the sequence according to the underlying pattern.

Picture series questions test students ability to identify how one or more physical property or attribute (e.g., quantity, size, weight, state (eg:liquid/solid), age, etc..) changes over time across the sequence.

Changes include an element or object that is added or removed, that becomes larger or smaller, increases or decreases in quantity, or becomes older or younger,etc.

Figural series

In figural series questions, a student must look at a sequence of geometric figures, discern a pattern within the sequence, and predict the ‘next’ drawing/shape in the sequence.

Figural series questions test a student’s ability to identify how one or more physical property or attribute (e.g., quantity, shape, size, direction, etc..) changes over time across the sequence.

Changes can include objects or elements getting bigger or smaller, increasing or decreasing in quantity, and/or combining, inverting, or rotating across rows, etc.

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

Kindergarten students taking the OLSAT® (for admission into 1st Grade) are asked approximately four of these types of questions (three picture series questions and one figural series question).

Series: Sample Question



Series:Tips and Strategies

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

  • Ask your child to explain what is happening in the series, and why he or she chose a specific answer. This will help your understand where your child needs support in understanding how the sequence progresses.

  • Encourage your student to visualize -- observe, imagine and keep track of -- the changes in the shapes or pictures as they move and then draw what she predicts she might see in the empty box.

  • If your student is challenged with a figural series question, encourage him to isolate one element (e.g: outer shape, inner shape/s) and identify how it changes as it moves along the row.

  • What's Next?

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