Non-verbal reasoning – Matrices.

We covered matrices in the lessons this week. We think that these are one of the more difficult NVR types to solve quickly and that’s why they have popped up in the 2014/2015 and 2016 CEM papers.

We teach several different methods to help solve a nine-squared matrix:

  • Is it a visual pattern? Look over the matrix as a whole and see if forms an image or picture, remember this will usually involve symmetry.


  • Is it a sequence? If the missing box is located in the first four squares, start at the bottom-right square and work up, moving backwards along the rows. If the missing box is located in the last four squares, start at the top-left square and work forwards along the rows.


  • Is it simply a case of 3 different shapes but with different shading?


  • Is it where two boxes added together make the third box?


  • Look for shaded/unshaded
  • Number of sides in the shapes
  • Alternating shapes/symbols
  • Lines – straight/curved/dashed/thin
  • Position with the box
  • Direction/rotation
  • Size
  • Horizontal/vertical/diagonal shading or lines


  • NVR is quite tight for time in the CEM tests so it is vital that the children guess and move on if they can’t solve a question quickly. We are teaching the children that if they need to guess, they should look at the answers first and try and identify perhaps two pictures which are very similar, then try and make an educated guess from there. This illustrates the technique: NVR Grids

With so many variations of NVR, it is difficult to cover each and every type, so we continue to focus on the ones we feel are most likely to appear in the test and we have provided parents with NVR workbooks with which to work with their children at home.

This week’s homework is here: Week 36 Leap Homework