Free Online NNAT Test Preparation: Practice NNAT Sample Questions & Tips – 2024

G&T Tests Sample Questions

In order to obtain entry into a school’s gifted and talented program, your child will be required to take the NNAT test. The gifted and talented programs tend to have extremely competitive requirements, which means that every student will need to study well in advance in order to have the best chances of passing and achieving their highest score possible. In order to help you prepare, this article will cover the NNAT test sections, helpful tips, and the best ways to prepare.

What Is the NNAT?

The NNAT, short for Naglieri Nonverbal Ability Test, is a type of aptitude assessment that measures a child’s problem-solving skills and puzzle completion abilities. The NNAT is administered to children who are in kindergarten through 12th grade. The most important thing to note regarding the NNAT is the fact that it is nonverbal. The students will not be tested on their language abilities. Instead, they will be presented with figures and shapes that usually are missing a section, and will need to be able to recognize any patterns and complete the puzzle.

The NNAT is the first hurdle your child will need to cross if they have any ambitions to attend a gifted and talented program. This test provides students with a fair chance of gaining entry into competitive programs such as this. The NNAT is a method used to rate a child’s ability to solve problems and recognize patterns, rather than just quizzing them on information that they studied in school. The NNAT will not judge your child based on their education history, physical impairment, or primary language. The use of language will be minimal, and will only include shapes that are blue and/or yellow in color.

There are currently three versions of the NNAT exam: NNAT, the NNAT-2, and the NNAT-3. The NNAT-3 is the most recently updated assessment and is likely the exam your child will be asked to take. The test is considered a group-administered test that assesses each child’s aptitude. All three versions of the NNAT test are extremely similar to each other. Each assessment will have seven different levels ranging from Level A to Level G, and each test could consist of up to four different sections. The main difference between the NNAT-3 and the traditional NNAT test is that the NNAT-3 includes 48 questions, and the traditional NNAT test only has 38 questions. Additionally, the NNAT-2 can be taken online. This information is important to keep in mind during the preparation process. Make sure that you study with material that is updated to the most current test.


What Are NNAT’s Test Sections?

Each NNAT test will be different based on the grade it is being administered to. For example, a child in kindergarten will be tested on less sections than a child in 4th grade. However, the number of questions will always remain the same; each test will ask the child 48 questions, regardless of the amount of sections. Additionally, the NNAT usually takes 30 minutes for students to complete. Each student taking the NNAT will be asked to complete one or more of the following topics:

  • Pattern Completion: A design will be displayed that will include shapes and figures. Inside of these shapes there will be some sort of pattern. One section of the figure will be removed. Then, several answer options will be listed below the picture. Each student will need to look through the answers and choose the correct response that includes the missing piece of the pattern. As the grade levels progress, so will the difficulty of the questions. For instance, a kindergartener could find a solid-colored box with an empty white square in the middle, whereas a 4th grader may find a square that is filled with smaller squares in varying colors with an empty white square in the top right corner.
  • Reasoning by Analogy: Several boxes with various shapes and figures will be displayed across columns and rows. Each of the shapes inside the boxes will be related to the other boxes in some way. The last box will be left intentionally empty. Each student will need to look up, down, and across the rows and columns to see if they can recognize the pattern between the shapes. Sometimes the pattern will be more obvious by looking across the rows, whereas other times the pattern is more recognizable by going down the columns. Once the child believes they have identified the pattern, they will need to hunt through the provided answer options and choose the shape that would fit the pattern in the empty box.
  • Serial Reasoning: Children that are entering the 1st grade will be taking the serial reasoning segment for the first time. For this section, the matrix will be very similar across the different grades. Each matrix will include 9 boxes that are spread across a 3×3 table. If the child looks to the bottom right-hand corner, they will find an empty white box. The grid of boxes will include figures that are related to each other in some way. This could look a shape that has been manipulated, or shapes that move from a triangle, to a square, to an oval. The easiest method for identifying the pattern will be different for each question. In some cases, the pattern may be more obvious by looking straight across the rows, but that may not always be the case. Each child will need to attempt to identify the relationship between the shapes, and will then be asked to choose a box from the answer options that includes a shape that would fit into the matrix.
  • Spatial Visualization: Children that are entering the 2nd grade will now be taking the spatial visualization section of the NNAT for the first time. This section is arguably the hardest part of the exam, and some students find themselves struggling to identify the correct answer. In order to feel comfortable with this section, each child will need to develop the ability to mentally manipulate figures and shapes. Some questions may include one box that has shapes attached to the outside, and the next box will have the attached shapes flipped to the inside of the box. Other questions may have several boxes filled with shapes that move in various ways around the inside of the box. Students will need to study the shapes and recognize the way that the shapes are being manipulated. As always, one box will include a partially empty or missing shape. The answer section will include several potential options, but only one of them will include a shape with a matching pattern. Again, the difficulty of the question will depend on the level of test each child is taking. However, even the lowest level spatial visualization test can prove to be difficult.


NNAT Test Levels

As previously mentioned, different grades will take different parts of the exam. Each grade will also be assigned a different test level. For example, a child in kindergarten will be taking the NNAT Level A exam, and a child in 1st grade will be taking the NNAT Level B exam. You can use this chart as a reference:

Topic\Grade K
(Level A)
1st (Level B) 2nd (Level C) 3rd-4th (Level D) 5th-6th
(Level E)
7th-9th (Level F) 10th-12th (Level G)
Pattern Completion
Reasoning by Analogy
Serial Reasoning
Spatial Visualization



How to Read NNAT’s Score Report

After the completion of the entire NNAT exam, the scores will be calculated and sent to you in the mail. Each parent should receive their child’s scores within 2 to 3 months. The NNAT score report will show you in detail how your child did on the exam. Each score report will be divided into three scoring sections.

  • Raw Score: The initial score listed on the NNAT score report will be your child’s raw score. This is the most rudimentary score, as it is simply the number of correct answers over the number of total questions. As previously mentioned, each NNAT test will be comprised of 48 questions, regardless of the child’s grade. Therefore, a child who answered 46 out of 48 questions correctly will receive a raw score of 46/48.
  • Naglieri Ability Index (NAI): Now that the initial raw score has been evaluated and determined, it will be normalized and transformed into the NAI score. This just means that every child’s raw score will be compared with other same-age children’s raw scores. The highest possible NAI score is 160, but in general 68% of children will receive an average NAI score of 100. The reason for this is because of the normalization of NAI scores, so that the average student will achieve a score between 84 to 116.
  • Percentile Rank: The ultimate and final score of the NNAT score report is the percentile rank. This score will be displayed in a percentage and will be the score that determines eligibility for gifted and talented programs. The NAI scores will once again be compared with other children’s NAI scores nationwide. Then, each child will be awarded a percentage based on how well they did in comparison with other children. Thus, a child who receive a percentile rank of 40% performed better than or equal to 40% of same-age students that took the NNAT test.

Please keep in mind that each school will have different gifted and talented program entry requirements. Therefore, one school may have lower standards than others. In some schools, an 85% percentile rank is an adequate score to be considered for the program. However, other schools may be more competitive, and may require at least a 90% percentile rank in order to be considered. In most school districts, children that achieve a percentile rank between 85% and 92% are qualified to receive a portfolio review. This means that your child will undergo a screening that looks through additional information about your child.

Additionally, each state and city will have their own requirements, and may have your child take more than one test. For example, in Houston, NNAT scores are transformed into a point system and are responsible for half of the application points needed to be admitted into their Vanguard gifted and talented program. However, New York City requires their students to take a different type of exam known as the NYC Gifted and Talented Test. Not only does this test include questions from the NNAT, but it also includes questions from the OLSAT. Both sections are equal in weight, and students will be required to score a percentile rank of 97% in order to be considered for placement into a gifted and talented program.



  1. Focus on single sections of a pattern, rather than the shape as a whole. It is easy to become overwhelmed with the intricacy of patterns within shapes. Do not let test anxiety affect your child. Teach them how to focus on a single section of a pattern, such as the upper corner of a square. Try to have them notice how that corner of the square is manipulated across the matrix. This well help your child narrow down the answer choices and will make complex patterns a little easier to comprehend.
  2. Learn common pattern characteristics, and then show them to your child. If you expect your child to be able to recognize patterns, you need to make sure you understand them first. Familiarize yourself with common pattern characteristics by using practice exams online. You will notice pattern trends, such as colors that repeatedly change, or the way that shapes consistently rotate. Choose several patterns that you notice on a regular basis. Then, point out the pattern to your child and explain to them how you were able to recognize the pattern.
  3. Pay special attention to pattern measurements. In some cases, you may be presented with several answer options that seem to match the matrix pattern. In these instances, you need to be aware of the measurements in the patterns. This means that if there are two lines than run vertically down the box, try to notice the spacing between the two lines. This will help you figure out the pattern, as the answers are likely to include tiny spacing manipulations, where one answer will include two lines that are spaced slightly more apart than another answer.
  4. Do not leave questions unanswered. If you do not know the answer, you need to take a guess. The NNAT is scored based on the questions that were answered correctly rather than how many were answered right/wrong. Thus, if your child guesses, it will not adversely affect them. Before your child marks a random answer, they should practice the process of elimination. This can be done by looking through each individual answer and eliminating any answers that obviously do not fit into the matrix pattern. This method will usually help your child narrow down the answer choices to 2 or 3 feasible possibilities. Once you have eliminated any impossible answers, have your child go with their initial instinct and choose the answer they feel strongest about.
  5. If your child becomes bored of online studying materials, take a break and use resources commonly found around your house. Sometimes children need a break, and that is okay. If you notice your child becoming easily irritated or struggling to focus during the practice exam, distract them by playing games. Point to an object in your house that includes a design with a pattern. Common objects include rugs, bed sheets, and pictures. Identify a pattern and ask your child to tell you what they think the pattern is. Another option would be to solve an easy puzzle. This well help your child piece together clues and will keep their mind sharp.


How to Prepare for the NNAT Test?

Regardless of the amount of times your child has taken the NNAT, it will never become easier, due to the increasing difficulty that comes with entering a new school grade. Moreover, even if your child typically does well in school, or has mastered a language from a young age, it does not mean that they will do well on the NNAT assessment. This type of exam is nonverbal, which is different than the exams your child usually takes in school. In most cases, the types of questions asked on the test and the layout of the exam will be new for many students.

One simple way to eliminate any confusion about the test layout is to use practice exams that can be found online. Practice exams will not only help your child become accustomed to the format of the exam, but they will also include sample questions, which are extremely valuable. Sample questions that come with explanations will certainly teach you and your child about how the questions are worded and how to answer each question correctly. More importantly, you and your child should start preparing for the NNAT months in advance. It is recommended that you begin studying either daily or every other day at least 2 to 3 months in advance. You need to make sure you have adequate enough time to cover the wide range of material, as well as nail down any trouble sections.

When you complete a practice exam, you will usually be provided with your results as well as a report that breaks down your child’s performance. Practice exams are essential in identifying areas of weakness that need improvement. Subsequently, practice exams can be retaken as many times as you wish. You can retake the same test everyday until you feel that your child has mastered a certain topic. If you feel like your child has completely grasped the pattern completion topic, you can choose to only take tests that cover the other topics, such as spatial reasoning. Practice exams give you the freedom and the capability to set your own schedule and learn at your own pace. Study materials like practice exams will teach your child everything they need to know about the real NNAT assessment, and will aide them in achieving a high percentile rank.

Free NNAT Practice Questions

Based on your grade level select the relevant free practice materials:


Why Should I Care about My Child Being Admitted into a Gifted and Talented Program?

If your child scores well on the NNAT test, that means that they typically learn different than other students. They may need to learn at a quicker pace than their peers, and if they do not, their learning potential could be held back. If you have a child that you believe should be enrolled into a gifted program, the first thing you need to do is have them take a nonverbal ability test, such as the NNAT.


My Child Is the Youngest in Their Class, Will They Be Competing with Children That Are a Year Older than Them?

No, your child’s scores will only be compared and evaluated with children that are within 3 months of age. Even though your child will be taking a grade-based test, they will not be competing with older children in their class.


Where Do I Sign Up to Have My Child Take the NNAT Assessment?

There is not a set day that the NNAT assessment is administered. Typically, your school district will provide you with information regarding the registration process.


I’ve Heard of the OLSAT, but Never the NNAT. What Makes These Two Tests Different?

OLSAT stands for Otis-Lennon School Ability Test and is also a type of test that assesses a child’s learning ability. Whereas the NNAT is completely nonverbal, the OLSAT is both nonverbal and verbal. Additionally, the OLSAT could include 21 different sections, while the NNAT will only have up to 4.


Is There Any Advantage to Taking a Nonverbal Test Over a Verbal Test?

Absolutely. This is an ideal test for any child who is just starting to learn English, or for children that are limited in their academic abilities. Just because a child is skilled in English does not mean they are gifted. Nonverbal tests provide a fair playing ground for children who come from various backgrounds.


My Child Has Excellent Verbal Skills. Does This Mean They Will Also Do Well with Nonverbal Skills?

Children who have stronger verbal skills do tend to achieve higher scores on these types of nonverbal tests. However, that is not always the case. It is entirely possible for a child with weaker verbal skills to score extremely high on nonverbal assessments.


My Child Does Not like to Study. How Can I Convince Them to Pay Attention While Studying for the NNAT?

Most online preparation material is child-friendly, meaning the material will be both engaging and fun for the child. Instead of telling your child that they will be studying, you could try explaining to them that the practice exams are actually a game. Try to make the learning process fun.