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Non-verbal reasoning: Introduction to counting

The very first thing you should do when youre faced with a non-verbal
reasoning (NVR) question is count. As your confidence with NVR
grows youll be looking at shapes shading, rotation and more, but
counting should always be your first find-the-solution strategy.

What should you count? It will depend on the

figures youre looking at, of course, but start with...
The number of sides

The number of shapes enclosed

The number of arrows

The number of discrete shapes that you can observe

The number of vertices/edges on each shape

The number of dots and / or lines on the shape

The number of lines of symmetry

Sometimes youll find it easy to

decide what to count:

Once youve counted,

always remember to
check if the numbers
are odd or even and if
theres a pattern.

Each of these shapes

has four sides except
the pentagon, so thats
the odd one out.

Remember to count items of different colours and note how they change.
In some sequences items are ADDED or SUBTRACTED, so youll need to
understand whats changing in the sequence to work out how it would
continue. For example, the next correct circle in this sequence is b,
because the number of black dots grows sequentially by one as
the number of white dots decreases by one.

Some questions expect you to relate what youve counted to something

given as part of the question. For example, a triangle might have the
letter C enclosed in it. By counting the number of sides of the
shape 3 you could relate it to C, the third letter of the alphabet.
In a sequence, you might see:

Can you identify the odd shape out? Its the hexagon, where the correct
enclosed letter would be F (the sixth letter of the alphabet, as it has six sides).


Put what youve learned into practice! Can you find the one shape that
doesnt belong to each group?


Each of the figures is made up of an

even number of dotted lines (four,
four, two, four) except figure E,
which is made up of an odd number
of dotted lines (five).

Each of the figures has one fewer

black dot nestled inside it than the
number of small black shapes at the
bottom of it, except shape B (3 dots
and 2 shapes).

Each of the figures is a composite

of one larger shape and two smaller
ones, arranged in different ways. The
exception is figure C, which is only made
up of two shapes.

Each of the figures is made up of

two identical lines apart from figure
C, which is three lines arranged in an
overlapping pattern.

Each of the figures is made up of

a larger shape and smaller shape
nesting inside it. Figure E has two
nesting shapes instead of one.

Count the number of vertices on

each shape: 4, 5, 3, 7, 9. Only figure
A has an even number of vertices.

Count the number of arrows

enclosed in each figure. There are
three arrows in every figure except
C, which only has two.

Each figure encloses a number which

represents its number of sides:
three (triangle), six (hexagon), four
(rectangle), 0 (circle; circles have one
curved edge and no sides). Figure C, a
square, should have a number 4 in it.