The NNAT2 or Naglieri Test is REALLY hard!

We held an event last night in NYC where I took parents through the different types of questions children might see on the NNAT®2 (or Naglieri) test and OLSAT (or Otis-Lennon School Abilities) Test. The OLSAT has been the test given in NYC for several years, along with the Bracken Test. However, we believe that the NYC DOE is replacing the Bracken with the NNAT2 for gifted and talented qualification to its District and City-wide G&T programs. It has been announced in the NY Times, but the DOE hasn’t officially confirmed it. We expect the announcement to come in October. We do feel this will be the test, but I can’t say 100% for sure until I see it in writing on the DOE’s website.

I put together a handout with several practice questions for the NNAT2 and the OLSAT (the other test given to kids in NYC) so parents could see how challenging these tests can be. To do do well on the NNAT®2 and on certain aspects of the OLSAT, a child has to have strong visual-spatial reasoning skills (the ability to think using shapes and figures rather than words). I have always struggled with these abilities and so, even as an adult, these questions can really confuse me. Although I helped to write our practice questions for this test, I can still got confused when trying to solve them. I even made a mistake on one of the answers I selected for our handout. I wanted to share with you some of the points of my own confusion so that you will see how easily the same thing can happen to a child who is trying to figure these out.

This is called a “pattern matrix” question on the OLSAT (or “serial reasoning” on the NNAT). You’ll find questions like this on the OLSAT for children as young as kindergarteners. They begin for children in first grade on the NNAT. The child is asked, “What belongs in the empty box?” He or she must find a pattern that is occurring in both the rows and columns and determine what figure goes in the empty box to complete the pattern. I noticed that I had said that the second figure was the answer, but when I reviewed the question before my talk, I couldn’t see why the fourth answer might not be right. Finally, my partner reminded me that the center black line doesn’t change in the pattern so the second figure must be correct. Once you “get” that, it seems obvious. But until you see what the rule is, a person can really feel stumped.

This is a Reasoning By Analogy practice question for the NNAT. You find this type of question on so many tests given to young children. The child must determine the relationship that is taking place between the first and second boxes so they can determine which answer belongs in the bottom empty box. As you can see, I got this one wrong when I put the handout together. Looking at it now, knowing the answer, it seems so obvious that B is correct. The relationship happening is – # rectangles on the left, 1 more circle on the right. Since there are 3 rectangles on the left there should be 4 circles on the right. I suppose that when I was writing this handout, I lost track of what the relationship was and saw the rectangles on the left, realized there needed to be 4 on the right, but chose rectangles instead of circles. I knew I was supposed to choose circles, but I guess that I just forgot that in the moment when I selected the answer. I wanted to share this with you in to show you how easy it is for even a grown-up to get tripped up on these questions!

For 100 free practice questions, visit