OLSAT Test Online Preparation: Free Practice Qustions, Samples & Tips – 2024

Preparing for G&T Tests

If you have a child preparing to take the Otis-Lennon School Ability Test (OLSAT), your school is likely using the test to decide which children should be enrolled into a gifted and talented program. This article will provide you with valuable information on what the OLSAT test is and the best ways to prepare. The article covers the most up to date information about the OLSAT 8, its latest version.

What Is the OLSAT Test?

The OLSAT exam is a test developed by Pearson NNC and is an aptitude test that uses multiple-choice questions to identify U.S. children that are gifted. Many schools choose to use the OLSAT exam as a tool for admitting children into a school’s specialized program, specifically for gifted and talented programs. Not only will children need to answer the questions right, they will also be competing with other same-age children for a spot in one of these specialized programs.

The OLSAT was designed to measure each school-age child’s ability to learn, not to memorize knowledge. This means that the testing material will not cover information taught to your child in school. Rather, children will be presented with shapes, figures, numbers, words, and/or pictures that are related to each other in some way. The shapes could follow a certain pattern, words may match in definition, and numbers could follow a sequence. Typically, younger children will have the OLSAT administered to them in a one-on-one environment, whereas older children will have the OLSAT test administered in a group environment.


OLSAT Levels

Depending on the child’s age, the OLSAT will be separated into seven levels and administered to appropriate-aged children. The following table provides an overview that matches the OLSAT testing levels with each grade. You can find free practice materials in each of these pages.

OLSAT Level School Grade
Level A Pre-K and Kindergarten
Level B 1st Grade
Level C 2nd Grade
Level D 3rd Grade
Level E 4th and 4th Grade
Level F 6th, 7th, and 8th Grades
Level G 9th, 10th, 11th and 12th Grades


What Are OLSAT 8’s Test Sections?

Regardless of OLSAT levels, each test will include Verbal and Nonverbal Sections. Within each section, there will be several additional subsections that will ask questions requiring a deeper understanding of that section’s skillsets. Students will be required to complete the entire exam within 60 to 80 minutes, and each test level could include between 40 to 70 questions.

Verbal Section

Children in preschool through 2nd grade will have the test questions and instructions read to them out loud by a test proctor or teacher. Less emphasis will be placed on the Verbal Section at lower levels. However, starting in 3rd grade, students will no longer have anything read to them out loud. Instead, they will be required to read the instructions and questions to themselves in their head. No one will be talking or guiding them through test. Additionally, starting in 3rd grade, there are additional verbal subsections that must be completed by the students. The Verbal Section is split into two subcategories, including a Verbal Reasoning subcategory and a Verbal Comprehension subcategory. Both the Verbal Comprehension and Verbal Reasoning subcategories will include specific subsections that will further test the verbal knowledge of the students. Keep in mind that each grade level will only be required to complete a certain number of the following subsections:

  • Verbal Comprehension: This subcategory is used to assess each student’s ability to understand relationships between words and use those relationships to manipulate words. Children will need to be able to follow a set of directions, identify opposite meanings of words, use words to complete unfinished sentences, and arrange words in an order that formulates a sentence. Verbal Comprehension includes the following four subsections:
    • Following Directions – Requires students to listen and follow along with a set of directions.
    • Antonyms – Requires students to identify words that have opposite meanings.
    • Sentence Completion – Requires students to read an unfinished sentence and complete the sentence by choosing a reasonable word.
    • Sentence Arrangement – Requires students to organize a group of words in a way that forms a complete sentence.
  • Verbal Reasoning: This subcategory requires students to deduce word relationships and compare similarities or difference between words. Children will need to be able to use words to understand bigger pictures, infer relationships between words, understand logic scenarios, complete word matrixes, identify word categories, and infer logical conclusions. Verbal Reasoning includes the following seven subsections:
    • Aural Reasoning – Requires students to understand large scale word relationships.
    • Arithmetic Reasoning – Tests student’s problem-solving abilities using logical reasoning.
    • Logical Selection – Requires students to understand logical scenarios.
    • Word/Letter Matrix – Requires students to use patterns to complete a matrix.
    • Verbal Analogies – Requires students to identify relationships between words.
    • Verbal Classification – Students must categorize words based on their meaning to identify one that does not fit into the group.
    • Inference – Requires students to read several statements followed by an argument, and to determine if the argument is logical.

Nonverbal Section

Children in preschool through 12th grade will all be taking some variant of the Nonverbal Section on the OLSAT exam. At younger ages, children will be introduced to pictures and figures that follow some sort of analogy or pattern. Older children will start to be introduced to numbers that follow a mathematical relationship, and may require students to infer relationships between numbers. The Nonverbal Section is split into three subcategories, including a Pictorial Reasoning subcategory, a Figural Reasoning subcategory, and a Quantitative Reasoning subcategory. Similar to the Verbal Section, each grade level will only be required to complete a certain number of the following subsections:

  • Pictorial Reasoning: This subcategory is used to assess each student’s ability to identify relationships and patterns between shapes, figures, and pictures. Children will need to identify pictures that hold specific similarities and differences, while also recognizing patterns and choosing pictures that would complete a series. Pictorial Reasoning includes the following three subsections:
    • Picture Classification – Students must categorize pictures based on their similarity to identify one that does not fit into the group.
    • Picture Analogies – Requires students to identify relationships between pictures.
    • Picture Series – Requires students to understand the way a picture progresses.
  • Figural Reasoning: This subcategory is used to assess each student’s ability to infer relationships between geometric figures and shapes. Children will need to understand patterns between figures, which will allow them to fill in missing boxes or complete an incomplete pattern. Figural Reasoning includes the following four subsections:
    • Figural Classification – Students must categorize figures based on their similarity to identify one that does not fit into the group.
    • Figural Analogies – Requires students to identify relationships between figures.
    • Pattern Matrix – Requires students to use patterns to complete a matrix.
    • Figural Series – Requires students to understand the way a figure progresses.
  • Quantitative Reasoning: This subcategory is used to assess each student’s ability to discern relationships between numbers. There will be questions regarding numbers that follow a certain series, number relationships, and missing numbers in a pattern. Quantitative Reasoning includes the following three subsections:
    • Number Series – Requires students to understand the way numbers progress.
    • Number Inference – Requires students to understand relationships within number groupings.
    • Number Matrix – Requires students to use patterns to complete a matrix.


How to Read OLSAT 8’s Score Report

Students will earn points based on how many answers they respond to correctly. It is important to keep this in mind, as students will not lose points if they answer a question wrong. When you receive your child’s score report, the first number you will see is the raw score. This is the most basic and simple score, as it is just the sum of total correct answers over the sum of total possible answers. For example, if there is a total of 60 answers, and you receive a score report that says 55/60, that means your child answered 55 questions right out of a possible 60. After the raw score has been determined, it is calculated and converted into the School Ability Index (SAI) score. This score is determined by conducting a comparison of raw scores between children that are within a few months of age. The average SAI score is around 100, but the highest possible score is 150. Finally, the SAI score is normalized and converted into the Percentile Rank. This is a percentage that shows which percentile your child scored within. In most cases, children will need to receive a 97% Percentile Ranking or higher in order to be considered for a gifted and talented program.


OLSAT 8 Tips

  1. Learn the right and wrong ways to study. Many children are extremely receptive to how their parents act and feel. For instance, if you continuously remind your child how important it is to score well on the OLSAT exam, they may develop test anxiety. Rather than stressing your child out, approach studying as a fun activity. Turn studying into a play time activity, and remind your child that it does not matter how they score on the exam, so long as they tried their best. This will allow your child to feel worry-free on test day, and will allow them to take the test with an open mind.
  2. Create a consistent studying schedule, and stick to it. Some schools do not notify the parents until a week or two beforehand that their child will be taking an aptitude test like the OLSAT. However, as soon as you realize that your child will be taking the exam, you need to start studying. Create a daily schedule that dedicates a set amount of time to studying. There may be days where you or your child do not feel like studying, but you need to overcome the temptation to skip a day. The more you and your child study, the more prepared they will be to take the actual exam.
  3. Remind your child about the process of elimination. As mentioned before, there is no penalty for guessing. This means that even on difficult questions with unobvious answers, your child should still take a guess rather than skipping over the question. However, before taking a random guess, your child should use the process of elimination. The process of elimination is a tool used to cross out any answers that are obviously wrong, until your child is left with only a few reasonable answers. Then, teach your child to not overthink the question and to choose the answer that they are most drawn to. Second guessing could lead to your child answering a question wrong that they initially answered right.
  4. Prepare your child to accurately answer questions in a short amount of time. The higher levels on the OLSAT exam will include more questions with less testing time. This can be especially stressful for children that have a hard time answering questions quickly. While you are at home preparing with online practice exams, make sure that your child is aware that they cannot spend too much time on a single question. If they cannot figure out an answer, they need to choose an answer and move on. Otherwise, they will waste precious time answering a single question and may not have enough time to complete the entire test.
  5. Read every single practice exam explanation, even if the question was answered correctly. At the end of the practice test, your child may be ready to jump out of their seat and move onto something more enjoyable. However, at the end of every practice test, your child will receive detailed explanations that cover every single question. These explanations include vital information about what the questions are asking and can point out obscure patterns that were potentially not obvious to your child. Even if the question was answered correctly, the explanation could provide useful information that your child may need later on in the test.


How to Prepare for the OLSAT Test?

No matter your child’s age, preparing for the OLSAT exam is absolutely vital. The OLSAT is not a simple aptitude test. It assesses a variety of skills and learning abilities of children. Most importantly, the information and test format will not look familiar to your child. The reason for this is because the test itself is used to identify children with special learning abilities. The goods news is, it is entirely possible to teach your child how to score well on this exam through the utilization of online practice exams. Practice exams are an exceptional way to introduce new information to your child. These exams also have the ability to provide detailed explanations to your child about the right and wrong ways to answer difficult questions. Furthermore, practice exam explanations will teach your child how to identify patterns between shapes and words, which is a skill that is essential for doing well on the OLSAT exam. Children that do not prepare for this exam will find themselves at a disadvantage when compared to their peers who studied. You can help your child study and prepare for the OLSAT exam by repeatedly practicing with online practice exams, study guides, and example questions.

What Is the OLSAT Exam?

OLSAT stands for Otis-Lennon School Ability Test and is a type of aptitude test used to assess the cognitive abilities in school-age children enrolled in preschool through 12th grade. The exam measures cognitive abilities in children and is used to determine a child’s learning ability. Children that score well on this exam are considered to be gifted and are typically enrolled into a specialized program, also known as a gifted and talented program.

Why Is It Important for My Child to Take the OLSAT Exam?

The OLSAT can be used as a tool in a variety of ways. Usually, the OLSAT is used to identify gifted children with special learning abilities that should be placed into gifted and talented programs. Children who do well on this exam are considered to have stellar cognitive abilities. Additionally, the OLSAT is a great way to learn which school sections your child may struggle with. Therefore, the OLSAT is a useful assessment for both schools and parents.

Why Does It Matter If My Child Is Admitted into a Gifted and Talented Program?

In some cases, children who learn at a faster pace may feel under-stimulated in a non-gifted program. Gifted and talented programs are designed to challenge intellectually adept children that have superior cognitive abilities. Children in gifted and talented programs can work alongside other gifted children, which will help them learn more than their peers. However, gifted and talented programs are not suitable for every child. If your child is performing well in a non-gifted and talented program, then you are not obligated to enroll them into a specialized program, even if they score well on an aptitude test. Each parent should ultimately make a decision that is best for their child.

Is the OLSAT Exam a Valid and Reliable Test?

The OLSAT exam has been assessed as a valid and reliable test. The reliability of this exam has been extensively researched, and studies have shown that if a student were to take the OLSAT exam more than once, they would likely receive the same score. This means that the results from this exam can reliably determine a child’s cognitive ability.

How many questions are on the OLSAT exam and how much time does my child have to complete it?

The OLSAT exam is split into different levels based on a child’s age. Moreover, children in different grades will be required to answer more or less questions in a certain amount of time. The questions range from 40 to 72, and the time limit has a range of 60 to 77 minutes. To learn more about the length and time limit for the different OLSAT levels, reference the following table:

OLSAT Level Verbal Questions Nonverbal Questions Total Questions Approximate Time Limit
Level A (Pre-K) 16 24 60 77 minutes
Level A (Kindergarten) 30 30 60 77 minutes
Level B (1st Grade) 30 30 60 77 minutes
Level C (2nd Grade) 30 30 60 72 minutes
Level D (3rd Grade) 32 32 64 50 minutes
Level E (4th through 5th Grade) 36 36 72 60 minutes
Level F (6th through 8th Grade) 36 36 72 60 minutes
Level G (9th through 12th Grade) 36 36 72 60 minutes


During Lower Levels of the OLSAT Exams, the Questions and Instructions Are Read to the Students. Can the Instructions and Questions Be Repeated?

The questions and instructions will only be read out loud to the students once. It is important that your child pays attention the first time, because the test proctors are not allowed to repeat the questions.

What OLSAT Score Is Required to Be Accepted into a Gifted and Talented Program?

Each school will have their own admittance requirement for a gifted and talented program. Some schools will have lower requirements, while others may require your child to score in the top 3%. Make sure you reach out to your school to learn more about admittance requirements.

Will My Child Be Penalized for Guessing If They Don’t Know the Answer?

No. OLSAT scores are determined by adding together the number of responses answered correctly. This means that students can answer questions wrong without being penalized. Students are encouraged to eliminate any answers that are obviously wrong before making a random guess.

How do I Enroll My Child to Take the OLSAT Exam?

Not every school will use the OLSAT exam for gifted and talented programs. Your school will notify you if your child is being requested to take an aptitude test. Once you have received this notification, you will also receive instructions on the testing date and enrollment criteria.