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How to Pass the OLSAT Test Levels E and F in 2022

How to Pass the OLSAT Test Levels E and F in 2022

Updated April 26, 2022

By Nikki Dale
Nikki Dale

What Are the OLSAT Levels E and F?

The OLSAT Otis-Lennon School Ability Test (OLSAT) is a multiple-choice test that is used to assess children for gifted and talented programs or to support an application for specialized schools.

The OLSAT is split into different levels: A through to G. Each level is aimed at a different age group:

- Level E is administered to students in 4th and 5th grade (9–11 years old)

  • Level F is for students in 6th, 7th and 8th grade (11–14 years old)

The Level E and F tests are together in this article, as they have the same number of questions on the same topics, split into verbal and non-verbal.

From Level E, the assessments are different from the previous levels – they are designed to reflect the learning potential and maturity of the students from the 4th grade, including deep analytical skills and more sophisticated problems.

With previous levels, questions on the OLSAT are more about following directions and questions based on pictures, with verbal instructions used.

What Do the Tests Assess?

The OLSAT Levels E and Level F are based on questions that assess aptitude rather than intelligence – the test aims to provide an idea of what a student is capable of, rather than what they have learned in school so far.

The assessment evaluates a student based on their reasoning and critical thinking skills by using questions that draw out examples of memory and the ability to see patterns and relationships.

The test is taken in a group setting and can be completed online or using pencil-and-paper.

What Type of Questions to Expect

There are 72 multiple-choice questions on the OLSAT Levels E and F, with 36 verbal and 36 non-verbal, and a time limit of 60 minutes.

As this is a test for potential rather than learned knowledge, students will not be able to take any tools into the test area, regardless of whether they are taking the test via paper and pencil or online.

In previous levels, aimed at the younger students, some of the questions might be read out in a one-on-one setting, but from Level E the child is responsible for reading and completing the exam on their own.

How Is the OLSAT Scored?

There are three stages to the scoring system on the OLSAT.

The first is the raw score, which is a simple representation of the number of correct answers in each section.

The maximum score is 60, with 30 from the verbal section and 30 from the non-verbal section. The OLSAT is not negatively marked, which means there are no penalties like a point being taken away for a wrong answer.

The second part is the School Ability Index (SAI). This score is calculated by comparing the raw score to other same-aged children’s scores to find where they rank.

The SAI has a maximum score of 150 and an average score of 100, with a standard deviation of 16.

The final score of the OLSAT is the percentile score, which compares the students in the same grade and age group against each other.

This is shown as a percentage, so if a child scores in the 76th percentile, it means that they have performed better than 76% of their cohort.

It is difficult to pinpoint what a good score might be – the requirements for each gifted and talented program or specialized school will vary.

But it is generally accepted that a score that is two standard deviations from the mean in the SAI (so 132 or above) is the minimum requirement. This equates to a score in the 97th percentile or above.

OLSAT Level E and Level F Sample Questions

Verbal Comprehension

Verbal comprehension questions assess the student on their ability to understand words and manipulate them in different contexts.


These are vocabulary-based questions, asking the student to identify words that have opposite meanings, which is considered harder than identifying synonyms.

Antonyms Example Question

1. Which word is an antonym of ‘soft’?

a) Gentle
b) Hard
c) Kind
d) Tall

The correct answer is: b)

The other words are either synonyms or unrelated.

Sentence Completion

In these questions, the student needs to select the word that completes the sentence in a correct and meaningful way that makes sense.

Sentence Completion Example Question

1. Complete this sentence: The quick red fox ___ over the lazy brown dog.

a) Slept
b) John
c) Beautiful
d) Jumped

The correct answer is: d)

Jumped is the only word that would make the sentence complete in a sensible way.

Sentence Arrangement

This is a similar type of question to the sentence completion, but instead of inserting a single missing word to make a sensible sentence, here the sentence needs to be put together in the right order.

Sentence Arrangement Example Question

1. Rearrange the words to fit the sentence in the right places:

It ______ a beautiful, ______ ______. All was still and ______.

a) Silent
b) Was
c) Morning
d) Warm

The correct order is: b) Was, d) Warm, c) Morning, then a) Silent.

Verbal Reasoning

Verbal reasoning is about deducing relationships, making comparisons and drawing conclusions with language.

Arithmetic Reasoning

Although this type of problem includes numbers, it is not focused on the computational ability of the student – more about their ability to use numbers to draw conclusions.

Arithmetic Reasoning Example Question

1. Amy, Laura and Sarah want to share some candy equally, and there are 12 pieces in total. How much do they get each?

a) 3
b) 6
c) 12
d) 4

The correct answer is: d)

The math involves a simple calculation, but the presentation as a word problem makes it a bit more challenging.

Logical Selection

In the logical selection section, the student needs to complete a statement or a sentence using simple logic.

Logical Selection Example Question

1. The animal has soft fur, but it has needle-sharp claws. Some types have been domesticated and are common house pets, but many live wild and can be found in zoos.

a) The animal is a cat
b) The animal is a giraffe
c) The animal is a bear
d) The animal is a lizard

The correct answer is: a)

A cat is the only animal that fits all the points in the sentences given.

This sort of question requires basic knowledge about the world but mostly relies on understanding the question and using that knowledge logically.

Word and Letter Matrix

Presented as a 3 x 3 square, the matrix has eight related words or letters that form a pattern both horizontally and vertically.

The student needs to use this pattern to find the missing item in the matrix.

Word and Letter Matrix Example Question

1. Fill in the missing word in the matrix below:

OLSAT levels E & F: Grid of words, fill in the missing word in the center
OLSAT levels E & F: Grid of words, fill in the missing word in the center

a) Tin
b) Win
c) Wan
d) Kin

The correct answer is: b)

'Win' follows the pattern of the other words in the middle column.

Verbal Analogies

The student is presented with a pair of words that are related to each other in the same way and must find a second pair in the multiple-choice options that are related in the same way.

Verbal Analogies Example Question

1. Up is to down as warm is to:

a) Far
b) Near
c) Cold
d) Hot

The correct answer is: c)

This is because the first pair of words are antonyms.

Verbal Classification

Classifying words by what makes them the same is what this question is looking for – by asking the student to spot the odd word out from a group.

These questions test whether the student understands how words are classified; the student must show this by selecting the odd word out.

Verbal Classification Example Question

1. Which is the odd word out of the group below?

a) Wheel
b) Axle
c) Engine
d) Bed

The correct answer is: d)

All the other words are parts of a vehicle.


Inference is the skill of reaching a conclusion based on a syllogismthe student is given basic propositions and needs to follow the logic to infer the correct answer.

Inference Example Question

1. Anne, Laura and Amanda own horses, and Amanda has the most. If Anne has two horses, we know for certain that:

a) Laura also has two horses
b) Amanda has seven horses
c) Amanda has more than two horses
d) Amanda has no horses

The correct answer is: c)

According to the logic of the syllogism, the answer has to be c) because this is the only statement that is certainly true.

Figural Reasoning

What is being assessed in the figural reasoning section of the OLSAT is determining relationships between geometric figures by understanding patterns, figure manipulation and working in a spatial context.

Figural Analogies

Figural analogies are like verbal analogies but without words – if A is to B as C is to D, what is D?

In these questions, students needs to pick the missing figure.

Figural Analogies Example Question

1. Considering that Figure 1 is to Figure 2 as Figure 3 is to Figure 4, choose what should be Figure 4.

OLSAT levels E & F: If a is to b then c is to...?
OLSAT levels E & F: If a is to b then c is to...?

The correct answer is: b)

From figure 1 to figure 2, the left-most shape goes to the bottom, the top-most shape goes to the middle, and the right-most shape goes to the top.

Therefore, the answer is b), as this is the same rearrangement of figure 3.

How to Pass the OLSAT Test Level E and F
How to Pass the OLSAT Test Level E and F

Pattern Matrix

In a similar way to the word and letter matrix in the verbal section, the pattern matrix is made up of a box, measuring 3 x 3, with a missing item.

Spotting the pattern used helps the student choose the right answer from the multiple-choice options.

Pattern Matrix Example Question

1. Consider the matrix below. Choose which figure goes in the space.

OLSAT levels E & F: Which figure fits the pattern and goes in the missing space?
OLSAT levels E & F: Which figure fits the pattern and goes in the missing space?

The correct answer is: a)

This fits the patterns of the other two rows.

Figural Series

The student will be presented with a series of four geometric shapes and will need to predict what the fifth shape will be, using the rule or pattern they have logically derived.

Figural Series Example Question

1. Select what the fifth shape in this series will be from the options.

OLSAT level E & F: Select what the fifth shape in this series will be from the options.
OLSAT level E & F: Select what the fifth shape in this series will be from the options.

The correct answer is: a)

In the question group of shapes, the first figure is flipped vertically to make the second, then rotated anticlockwise 45° to make the third.

The third image had been flipped vertically to make the fourth, meaning the fifth image requires it to be rotated anticlockwise 45°.

Quantitative Reasoning

This section of questions focuses on the student’s understanding of the relationship between numbers, including using functions and making inferences.

Number Series

In a number series question, the student will need to find the missing item in a sequence of numbers using the logical rule laid out by the other numbers. This is similar to the figural series question above.

Number Series Example Question

1. Find the missing number in the following series:

2, 5, 9, 14, ?

a) 22
b) 20
c) 18
d) 15

The correct answer is: b)

All the numbers in the sequence are linked through the addition of one more than the last: 2 + 3 = 5, 5 + 4 = 9 and 9 + 5 = 14, therefore 14 + 6 = 20.

Numerical Inference

Working with numbers and number groupings, a student needs to demonstrate an understanding of relationships and how to find them to correctly choose the missing number in a group or sequence.

Numerical Inference Example Question

1. These two groups of numbers go together by following the same rule. Find the missing number.

1, 9
3, 7
1, 81
?, 49

a) 7
b) 9
c) 12
d) 3

The correct answer is: b)

Each number in the second grid is the square of the equivalent number in the first grid.

Number Matrix

By discovering the pattern that governs the sequence in the 3 x 3 grid, a student will find that the number matrix questions are similar to other matrix questions – but these use digits instead of words or shapes.

Number Matrix Example Question

1. Fill in the missing number from the grid.

OLSAT levels E & F: Grid of numbers, fill in the missing number in the center
OLSAT levels E & F: Grid of numbers, fill in the missing number in the center

a) 5
b) 9
c) 18
d) 7

The correct answer is: d)

Considering the rows, each entry adds three to the one to the left of it and, considering the columns, each entry subtracts four from the one above it. Seven is the only number that fits.

How to Prepare for the OLSAT Level E and F

Practice Papers

Facing tests can be nerve-wracking, but one way to help your child feel more confident is through practice.

Seeing what the structure will be and what the questions will look like is bound to help them feel more secure.

Practice papers also help you to decide where any revision needs to be focused, by showing you and your child where they are struggling.

Go Through the First Few Questions With Your Child

Introducing different ways to answer questions is a great way to support your child in their revision.

You can go through the first couple of questions with them, talking about the importance of reading the question thoroughly so you understand it before starting.

Be Positive About the Test and Not Knowing the Answers

There are likely going to be questions that your child does not know the answer to – and there will probably be questions that you don’t know the answer to, as well.

This is fine, and it is important that you are positive about the whole experience rather than putting too much pressure on your child to do well.

All you can ask of them is to try their best.

Go Through the Answers Together and Discuss

Practice tests will have answers available, so you can go through your child’s tests with them and discuss where they are doing well.

You can also talk through anything they find challenging, so you can look for new strategies and make a study plan to improve their chances at scoring highly.

Encourage Your Child to Create a Study Plan

Although helping your child to study seems like a great idea – and it is – it is also important that your child takes the initiative to study independently.

Making study a normal part of the day, through developing a study plan will help it feel less stressful and will avoid the feeling of ‘cramming’ just before the assessment.

Teach Practice Tips

Every child learns differently, and your child will have developed problem-solving skills through education that you can reinforce at home.

As the OLSAT Levels E and F are multiple-choice tests, one of the techniques you could help your child with is elimination – deciding which answers are definitely incorrect.

Think about other techniques that are generally helpful when solving problems or puzzles, and see if you can find ways to encourage your child to use them in everyday life.

Make Sure Your Child Is Getting Enough Rest and Nutrition

Healthy children perform at their best – and you can help ensure that they are getting all the nutrition and sleep they need.

Regular meals, plenty of water to drink and a regular bedtime are all important to the overall health of your child, as well as their performance.

Frequently Asked Questions

No, the OLSAT is not an IQ test.

However, it does correlate to some important studies in intelligence factors, mostly regarding potential and aptitude.

It is a type of aptitude test that measures the way your child thinks more than what they know.

It is a nationally standardized and norm-referenced assessment that demonstrates how a child will perform in the future, rather than being based on what they have been taught in school.

There are two sections on the OLSAT Level E and the OLSAT Level F.

In the verbal section, questions cover verbal comprehension and verbal reasoning, while the non-verbal section covers figural reasoning and quantitative reasoning.

All the questions are multiple-choice.

A ‘good’ score on the OLSAT is difficult to quantify, as this can change depending on the gifted and talented program or specialized school that has been applied to.

Most programs look for the top 2-3% of students, so a score of 97th percentile or above is considered to be good enough.

This is an aptitude assessment, rather than something that is a snapshot of learning – and you can help them do as well as they can with practice.

Your child is allowed to prepare for the OLSAT Levels E and F.

You can help your child do well on the OLSAT Level E and Level F through encouragement and practice.

Online practice papers help to provide familiarity with the structure and type of questions, as well as signposting the right areas for revision.

You can be supportive and make sure that your child gets enough sleep and eats well, too.

There is no negative marking on the OLSAT, which means that your child will not get a negative mark if they get an answer wrong.

This means that your child can guess if they are not confident of an answer – it will give them more chance of getting it right than leaving it blank.

Final Thoughts

The OLSAT Levels E and the OLSAT Level F are used as a standardized way of assessing a student on their general mental aptitude, logical thinking and problem solving – and this is why they are a reliable part of the application process for some specialist schools and gifted and talented programs.

The OLSAT can be prepared for – students should learn the type of questions that they are going to face in the assessment using practice papers.

This will not only ensure that they are familiar with the structure, but will also help them make the most of their revision time to perform at their absolute best.

Crucially, parents must remember that this can be an incredibly stressful time, even for high-achieving students, so encouragement, love and support are really important throughout their revision and test-taking.