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OLSAT Test: Guide and Tips

Oct 21, 2022

The OLSAT is a multiple-choice test designed to identify highly gifted and talented children – it has multiple levels aimed at different age groups.

It uses questions that test a child’s intelligence and ability to see patterns and relationships.

This article will give you advice on where you find OLSAT practice tests and how to carry out test prep with your child.

OLSAT sample and practice questions with answers are also included. The different test levels will be broken down, and you will be shown how the OLSAT is scored – as well as how you can prepare for it.

 

What Is the OLSAT Test?


OLSAT is an acronym for Otis-Lennon School Ability Test. The purpose of the OLSAT test is to help schools decide which children get admitted into their gifted and talented programs.

It can also be used as qualifying evidence to gain entrance into high-IQ societies such as Mensa.

The test was first developed by Pearson Education back in 1979, and it has continually been peer-reviewed since then to remove any biases.

OLSAT test preparation can make a difference in how well students perform, so it’s sensible to do some research in advance.

When and where the OLSAT is used depends on the school in question – so you can speak to your child’s teacher if you want them to be put forward for it.

Trying out OLSAT practice tests can also help you determine if your child is ready to take this step.

Every child progresses at a different rate, and it’s important to acknowledge this when scheduling test-taking.

The OLSAT can be taken by children of any age – but the advice is to wait until your child is definitely ready for it, so they do not get disheartened or frustrated with the process.

 

What Is on the OLSAT Test?


Young children complete the OLSAT test and answer the questions on a one-to-one basis, with an administrator or teacher reading the questions to them.

For older students, the OLSAT is generally group administered, as they don’t usually need extra help.

The OLSAT can take between 50 and 75 minutes to complete, depending on the age group and level.

For each age or level, the OLSAT question types can be divided into two main categories:

  • Verbal
  • Non-verbal

Essentially, the OLSAT is assessing children’s skills in understanding and manipulating words, as well as whether they can see patterns and work with numbers.

OLSAT practice tests will give you an idea of exactly what is being assessed. Below you will learn more about what’s included in the verbal and non-verbal categories.

 

Verbal Section

Questions in this part of the OLSAT would be of the types seen below. Practising these types of OLSAT sample questions is advised:

  • Verbal comprehension – Following directions, antonyms, sentence completion and sentence arrangement
  • Verbal reasoning – Aural reasoning, arithmetic reasoning, logical selection, word/letter matrix, verbal analogies, verbal classification and inference

 

Non-Verbal Section

Questions in this part of the OLSAT would be of the types seen below. Practising these types of OLSAT sample questions is advised:

  • Pictorial reasoning – Picture classification, picture analogies and picture series
  • Figural reasoning – Figural classification, figural analogies, pattern matrix and figural series
  • Quantitative reasoning – Number series, numeric inference and number matrix 

 

OLSAT Test Levels


Students are assigned to an OLSAT test level that correlates with their grade. In general, the early levels are aimed at younger students, while the higher levels are for older students.

Here is an outline of the levels which is helpful when it comes to OLSAT test prep:

  • Level A: Pre-kindergarten and kindergarten
  • Level B: First grade
  • Level C: Second grade
  • Level D: Third grade
  • Level E: Fourth and fifth grades
  • Level F: Sixth, seventh and eighth grades
  • Level G: Ninth, tenth, eleventh and twelfth grades

For levels A, B and C, the teacher or administrator will read the questions to your child in a one-on-one setting. Older children are expected to be independent in answering their questions.

The table below shows how many verbal and non-verbal questions are given at each level, as well as the total amount of time available to answer these questions.

Doing OLSAT practice tests will increase your and your child’s familiarity with the different types of questions too.

 

Level of
OLSAT       

Number of
verbal questions    

Number of
non-verbal questions  

Total
questions   

Time limit
(in minutes)

A (pre-K)

16

24

40

77

A (K)

30

30

60

77

B

30

30

60

77

C

30

30

60

72

D

32

32

64

50

E

36

36

72

60

F

36

36

72

60

G

36

36

72

60

For OLSAT test prep, it’s useful to know exactly what to expect at each level. The OLSAT test levels will now be taken one by one and the topics to be found within are outlined below: 

 

Kindergarten – Level A

Questions in the verbal section cover: 

  • Following directions
  • Aural reasoning
  • Arithmetic reasoning

 Questions in the non-verbal section cover:

  • Figural analogies
  • Figural classification
  • Figural series
  • Picture analogies
  • Picture classification
  • Picture series
  • Pattern matrix

 

First Grade – Level B

 Questions in the verbal section cover:

  • Following directions
  • Aural reasoning
  • Arithmetic reasoning

Questions in the non-verbal section cover:

  • Figural analogies
  • Figural classification
  • Figural series
  • Picture analogies
  • Picture classification
  • Pattern matrix

 

Second Grade – Level C

Questions in the verbal section cover:

  • Following directions
  • Aural reasoning
  • Arithmetic reasoning

Questions in the non-verbal section cover:

  • Figural analogies
  • Figural classification
  • Figural series
  • Picture analogies
  • Picture classification
  • Pattern matrix

 

Third Grade – Level D

Questions in the verbal section cover:

  • Antonyms
  • Sentence completion
  • Sentence arrangement
  • Arithmetic reasoning
  • Logical selection
  • Verbal analogies
  • Verbal classification
  • Word and letter matrix

Questions in the non-verbal section cover:

  • Figural analogies
  • Figural classification
  • Figural series
  • Pattern matrix
  • Number series
  • Number inference
  • Number matrix

 

Fourth and Fifth Grades – Level E

Questions in the verbal section cover:

  • Antonyms
  • Sentence completion
  • Sentence arrangement
  • Arithmetic reasoning
  • Logical selection
  • Verbal analogies
  • Verbal classification
  • Word and letter matrix
  • Inference

Questions in the non-verbal section cover:

  • Figural analogies
  • Figural series
  • Pattern matrix
  • Number series
  • Number inference
  • Number matrix

 

Sixth, Seventh and Eight Grades – Level F

Questions in the verbal section cover:

  • Antonyms
  • Sentence completion
  • Sentence arrangement
  • Arithmetic reasoning
  • Logical selection
  • Verbal analogies
  • Verbal classification
  • Word and letter matrix
  • Inference

Questions in the non-verbal section cover:

  • Figural analogies
  • Figural series
  • Pattern matrix
  • Number series
  • Number inference
  • Number matrix

 

Ninth to Twelfth Grades – Level G

Questions in the verbal section cover:

  • Antonyms
  • Sentence completion
  • Sentence arrangement
  • Arithmetic reasoning
  • Logical selection
  • Verbal analogies
  • Verbal classification
  • Word and letter matrix
  • Inference

Questions in the non-verbal section cover:

  • Figural analogies
  • Figural series
  • Pattern matrix
  • Number series
  • Number inference
  • Number matrix

 

OLSAT Sample Questions


As with all psychometric tests, preparation and advanced knowledge can help ease nerves. 

Here are some OLSAT practice questions and answers to help with your OLSAT test prep.

It’s worth noting that on the actual test, difficult questions are mixed in with easier ones – this is so that a student’s confidence doesn’t flag when they are taking the OLSAT.

 

OLSAT Sample Question – Level A

Which letters do not match?

a) EEE
b) DDD
c) FRT
d) AAA 

The correct answer is: c)

All of the other answers have three of the same letter in a row. 

 

OLSAT Sample Question – Levels B and C

Which item doesn’t belong to the list?

a) Ring
b) T-shirt
c) Necklace
d) Earring 

The correct answer is: b)

All of the other answers are pieces of jewellery.

OLSAT Sample Questions – Levels D and E

Looking at the sentence below, if you had to rearrange it to make the most sense, what would the starting letter of the first word be?

are Bees for love their known honey of

a) Letter 'B'
b) Letter 'A'
c) Letter 'K'
d) Letter 'O'

The correct answer is: a) 

The order that makes the most sense is ‘Bees are known for their love of honey’, and the word ‘Bees’ starts with the letter ‘B’.

 

OLSAT Sample Questions – Levels F and G

Choose the answer that should come next in the pattern:

4, 12, 6, 18, 9, 27

a) 13.5
b) 15
c) 22.5
d) 16

The correct answer is: a)

The pattern is to multiply by 3 first, then take that number and divide it by 2. This is repeated as you go on.

 

How Is the OLSAT Test Scored?


Multiple scores are given when a student receives their results.

First, you will be given a raw score (the number of correct answers given in total).

Then this raw score is assessed against other children in the same age group to calculate the School Ability Index (SAI).

Like a typical IQ test, this SAI always has an average mean of 100 – independent of the age of the student.

Most children who take the OLSAT test score an SAI between 85 and 115.

To qualify for gifted programs, most students would need to score around or above 130, so in the top 2%.

To help with calculating where your child scores, a percentile ranking is provided for the student too (comparing them against all the others in their age group and grade).

For example, if a student scores in the 95th percentile, they scored as highly as – or more than – 95% of students in the same category of age/grade.

There is no penalty for students to guess answers if they are unsure of the correct one, so encourage them to always try.

Tell them to avoid the answers that seem unlikely and then to guess between the rest of the options, especially if they are running short on time.

There is no pass or fail mark for the OLSAT – this isn’t always the case for aptitude tests.

Getting results may take a long time for each student too – so don’t worry if it takes a couple of months to hear back.

To build your child’s confidence, doing a lot of OLSAT test prep in advance is crucial.

 

OLSAT Test Prep


In terms of what you can do in advance, the most important thing is to do plenty of OLSAT practice tests with a variety of sample questions.

This will help your child and prepare them for what they will face on the test day.

Here are some more specific tips:

 

Understand the Test Format and Purpose

It’s helpful to keep in mind what is being tested with the OLSAT and why.

Children will be more inclined to take things seriously and find self-motivation if they understand why these kinds of tests are important.

It also helps to role-model things like detail orientation and attention; teaching your child to sit still and focus for long periods is a skill that will serve them well in life as well during their OLSAT test prep.

 

Take Practice Tests Online

Taking online OLSAT tests will help your child get used to the format and build their confidence.

It’s crucial that you get them used to the idea of being timed – so online tests will particularly help that aspect. 

The online OLSAT practice tests and sample questions can also remind or prompt them to answer all the questions and not to leave any blank.

 

Identify Strengths and Weaknesses

The more knowledgeable you are regarding your child’s strengths and weaknesses, the better informed you will be when it comes to working out where to focus your energy during the OLSAT practice tests.

It can really help to keep on top of your child’s academic work so you can see things clearly, as well as speak to your children’s various teachers.

 

Do Puzzles

Making OLSAT test prep fun is important to ensure your child enjoys the process. Children prefer to learn through play. 

Doing puzzles or games to help them prepare means they are more likely to relish trying sample questions and taking the OLSAT, rather than seeing it as a burden.

Certainly, as a parent, you should try not to put too much pressure on your child, as this can backfire and lead to OLSAT test fatigue or generalized burnout.

 

Rest and Eat Well

All kids are different but rest and sleep matter to everyone. Work out which foods, rewards and practice rhythms work best for your child.

Try not to do too much the night before the OLSAT test. Show your child good sleep hygiene and healthy behaviours so they can mimic you.

You can also help your child learn breathing techniques to help stay focused if they get nervous while taking the OLSAT.

 

Frequently Asked Questions


What is the OLSAT test?

OLSAT is an acronym for Otis-Lennon School Ability Test. The purpose of the OLSAT test is to help schools decide which children get admission into their high-level programs.

It can also be used as qualifying evidence to gain entrance into high-IQ societies such as Mensa.

The OLSAT is a multiple-choice test designed to identify highly gifted and talented children – it has multiple levels aimed at different age groups.

The questions assess a child’s intelligence and ability to see patterns and relationships.

 

Where can you prepare for the OLSAT test?

Taking online OLSAT tests will help your child get used to the format and build their confidence.

In terms of what you can do in advance, the most important thing is to do plenty of OLSAT practice tests with a variety of sample questions.

This will help your child and prepare them for what they will face on the test day.

It’s essential that you get your child used to the idea of being timed – so taking online tests will help that aspect particularly.

 

How many questions are on the OLSAT test?

The OLSAT has between 40 and 72 questions. They can take between 50 and 77 minutes to complete.

Both the number of questions and time given depend on the age group and level. 

For example, the youngest students have 40 questions to answer in a time slot of 77 minutes.

Kindergarteners have 20 more questions to answer in the same time limit of 77 minutes.

For each age or level, the OLSAT question types can be divided into two main categories – verbal and nonverbal, and there are equal numbers of each question for all but the pre-K level.

 

Is the OLSAT test hard to pass?

The OLSAT aims to find the students who are most capable and intelligent, so it is designed to be difficult to get a high score. 

Doing OLSAT practice tests is invaluable in helping with test preparation.

OLSAT tests can be hard, so getting a chance to practice in advance will build their confidence and ensure that your child has the right tools for success.

It’s worth noting that, on the actual test, difficult questions are mixed in with easier ones – this is so students’ confidence doesn’t flag during the OLSAT.

 

What is the purpose of the OLSAT test?

The point of the OLSAT test is to ensure that schools have enough unbiased data to determine which of their children are allowed into their gifted and talented programs.

The OLSAT can also be used as evidence to show qualifying intelligence for certain high IQ societies such as Mensa.

The OLSAT has several levels which are all aimed at different age groups.

To identify highly gifted students, it asks questions that determine a child’s ability to see patterns and relationships in images and data.

 

Can you fail the OLSAT test?

There is no pass or fail mark for the OLSAT. It aims to find the students who are most capable and intelligent, so it is designed to be difficult to get a high score.

The OLSAT can be taken by children of any age – but the advice is to wait until your child is definitely ready for it, so they do not get disheartened or frustrated with the process.

Getting results may take a long time for each student too – so don’t worry if it takes a couple of months to hear back.

To build your child’s confidence, having done a lot of OLSAT test prep in advance is crucial.

 

Where can I find more sample questions for the OLSAT test?

It’s a great idea to do plenty of sample OLSAT test questions. These will help your child get familiar with intelligence tests so they perform highly on the day.

You can find OLSAT practice tests with sample questions to practice on and build confidence.

When you are preparing your children, make sure you are working to time.

The added pressure of mimicking test conditions means they will get used to working while being supervised also.

 

What is a good score for the OLSAT test?

To qualify for most gifted programs, students would need to score an SAI (School Ability Index) around or above 130, i.e. in the top 2%.

To help with calculating where your child scores, a percentile ranking is provided too (comparing them against all the others in their age group and grade).

For example, if a student scores in the 98th percentile, they scored as highly as – or more than – 98% of students in the same category of age/grade.

There is no pass or fail mark for the OLSAT. The OLSAT aims to find the students who are most capable and intelligent, so it is designed to be difficult to get a high score.

 

Can you retake the OLSAT test?

Your child is allowed to retake the OLSAT, depending on the discretion of the testing school.

There is no standardized test day for the OLSAT, so you need to check with your child’s school district.

Ask when they normally administer the test and when the next available date is.

It is best to be sure your child is ready, though, before putting them through the rigorous process again. Children of any age can take the OLSAT.

If they take it too many times, they may get disheartened or annoyed with test-taking though, so it’s best to wait until they feel confident in getting a high score.

 

How much time do you get to take the OLSAT test?

The OLSAT can take between 50 to 77 minutes to complete, depending on the age group and level. Older kids are expected to work fast when compared to younger ones.

The very youngest students – pre-K aged – get 40 questions to answer in 77 minutes.

Kindergarteners, however, have 20 more questions to answer. They have that same time limit of 77 minutes.

The key factors change depending on the level being attempted.

It is generally advised to spread the time given in the OLSAT test equally between the two types of questions.

 

Where can I find a complete study guide for the OLSAT test?

It’s worth asking teachers and other parents for test resources and study guides that they found useful.

Doing lots of sample or online tests can help children get used to the OLSAT format and build their skill level.

To prepare in advance, make sure you get your children to do plenty of OLSAT practice tests.

Get your children to work under timed conditions and under close supervision so that feels comfortable for them.

 

What kind of questions are on the OLSAT test?

For each age or level, the OLSAT question types can be divided into two main categories – verbal and non-verbal.

Essentially the OLSAT test is assessing children’s skills in understanding and manipulating words, as well as whether they can see patterns and work with numbers.

OLSAT practice tests will give you an idea of exactly what is being assessed, but broadly the topics are verbal comprehension, verbal reasoning, pictorial reasoning, figural reasoning and quantitative reasoning.

 

Final Thoughts


The OLSAT is an intelligence test designed to help schools target their gifted and talented programs to the right students.

If you would like your child to be considered for one of these, you can help them to do plenty of OLSAT test prep to get a score in the top 2%.

Doing OLSAT practice tests is invaluable in helping with test preparation.

OLSAT tests can be hard, so getting a chance to practice in advance will build confidence and ensure that your children have the right tools for success.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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