How to Pass the OLSAT Test Levels E and F in 2022
Updated October 26, 2022
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
1. Which word is an antonym of ‘soft’?
1. Complete this sentence:
The quick red fox ______ over the lazy brown dog.
1. Rearrange the words to fit the sentence in the right places:
It ______ a beautiful, ______ ______. All was still and ______.
Verbal reasoning is about deducing relationships, making comparisons and drawing conclusions with language.
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.
1. Amy, Laura and Sarah want to share some candy equally, and there are 12 pieces in total. How much do they get each?
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
1. Fill in the missing word in the matrix below:
1. 'Up' is to 'down' as 'warm' is to:
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.
1. Which is the odd word out of the group below?
Inference is the skill of reaching a conclusion based on a syllogism – the student is given basic propositions and needs to follow the logic to infer the correct answer.
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
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 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.
1. Considering that Figure 1 is to Figure 2 as Figure 3 is to Figure 4, choose what should be Figure 4.
1. Consider the matrix below. Choose which figure goes in the space.
1. Select what the fifth shape in this series will be from the options.
This section of questions focuses on the student’s understanding of the relationship between numbers, including using functions and making inferences.
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.
1. Find the missing number in the following series:
2, 5, 9, 14, ?
1. These two groups of numbers go together by following the same rule. Find the missing number.
1. Fill in the missing number from the grid.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.