What is the Otis-Lennon School Ability Test (OLSAT) and How to Prepare

What is the Otis-Lennon School Ability Test and How to Prepare

What is the OLSAT test?

OLSAT is divided into three main sections; Verbal, Nonverbal, and Figural Reasoning. The written sections contain questions on verbal comprehension and verbal reasoning, while the non-verbal sections include questions on visual reasoning, figural reasoning, and numerical reasoning. The verbal and non-verbal sections are also accessible in separate formats as required per schools and school district needs.

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What is the purpose of Otis-Lennon School Ability Test (OLSAT)?

OLSAT (Otis-lennon school ability test) has been adopted by schools throughout the US to identify children with gifted and talented programming. OLSAT® is a widely used test to identify gifted children.

History of the Otis-Lennon School Ability Test

Arthur Otis is the author of the Otis –Lennon School-Ability test. He is known for developing intelligence tests to aid the US Army to reduce costs and time-wasting of implementing similar tests. Dr. Otis used multiple choice tests for large scale studies. Lennon is an OLSAT marketing genius who created the popular OLSAT for schooling and learning. The test measures student ability and academic success. .

Types of Questions on the OSALT:

Figural Reasoning Question Types

Figural Reasoning tests are designed to assess students' ability to read non-linguistic situations. This question uses a more graphic approach that is similar to those in the written form and incorporates geometrical figures rather than words. Students will learn about numbers/object patterns, predict how the next level in the structure will appear, and then generalize their knowledge.

Pictorial Reasoning Question Types

This question was created in an attempt to assess student reasoning abilities in non-linguistic contexts. The questions are written visually with no wording. The students must find relationships between the element and/or the object in a pattern to predict the next level of the pattern and generalize the rules. Pictorial explanations are divided by three different questions:

Verbal Reasoning Question Types

The verbal reasoning component of the OLSAT test challenges students to understand patterns, relational, and context clues to solve problems. To answer these questions, students need to know the answers to all the relevant questions in a given topic.

Verbal comprehension. Types of questions

The verbal comprehension question is used to assess student knowledge and understanding of languages. The questions aim notably at measuring how students interpret words as well as sentences.

Quantitative Reasoning Question Types

This question evaluates a student's ability to identify patterns and relations in an effort to solve numerical problems. This section requires that students can predict the results using math knowledge.

How is the OLSAT scored?

The OLSAT test score is based on whether students answered all their questions correctly and then compared with the scores other students of the same age. The score for the OLSAT® is used to compare students' reasoning skills to their peers of similar ages. OLSAT® scores are calculated using the raw scores as part of the School Ability Index. The raw score is defined by how many accurate questions students answered on their test. For example, raw scores would be “20” if 20 questions were answered correctly. The SAI scores offer much more detail than raw scores because they highlight the student's overall skill scores when compared to other students who had already completed the exam during the same period. SAI scores do not represent raw scoring information.

Format of the OLSAT Test

Between testing and administration, it takes 50 – 50 minutes. . Younger children (e.g. preschoolers, kindergarteners, first graders), the tests are often conducted by a teacher in one-on-one situations.

Is the Otis-Lennon School Ability Test Valid and Reliable?

OLSAT® is considered an accurate measure of intelligence that is meant for measurement purposes. Its reliability is considered important because many students have the same results. It is also regarded to be reliable because studies show that the tests accurately evaluate the reasoning skills it was created to assess.

OLSAT Arithmetic Reasoning Overview

Arithmetics Reason questions examine children’s capacity to use numbers to infer relationships and solve problems. It is required to have an understanding of basic algebraic concepts like counting, adding and subtracting, doubling, reducing and growing the smaller quantities. While many questions seem to be fairly straightforward, they are sometimes more complex requiring logical understanding and a good comprehension of the information. Example: Henry and some of its colleagues have gone to the beach. The second package includes a few hats and sunglasses. Tell us the number if any more glasses are needed.

OLSAT Picture and Figural Series Overview

The series questions test if children know, from a set of images and figures, what will happen following the previous pattern. It requires visualizing how objects change over time. Similar to classification, a student should know concepts like size, shape, soft/hard, long/large quantities weight, temperature, cold/hot speed etc. Examples.

OLSAT Picture and Figural Classification Overview

Using a classification question, a child will be asked how to distinguish objects belonging to a group. In order to classify items one must understand the basics of vocabulary. Various categories children need to learn include the following: Sizes “shaped”, Soft - Hard, Small - Tall”. Example: What photo doesn 't belong to?

Process of Elimination

The answers to OLSAT are often narrow. Take a good look at each answer choice carefully. Sometimes a quick scan of answer options can be useful. Be careful as it is sometimes possible that the simplest answers are correct, but they may be tricks so keep your child away from the answers.

What should I do if my child doesn't know the answer?

The publishers advised the student to never guess when the answer doesn't exist. Nevertheless a student will get a score if there are no correct answers to a question.

Top Strategies for OLSAT Test Success

  • Start Early: Begin preparing for the OLSAT test well in advance to allow ample time for practice and familiarization with the test format. This will help your child build confidence and reduce test-related anxiety.
  • Utilize Practice Materials: Accessing high-quality practice materials, including sample questions, practice tests, and study guides, can significantly enhance your child's performance. Seek out reputable sources and tailor the practice sessions to focus on specific areas where your child may need improvement.
  • Develop Test-Taking Skills: Familiarize your child with test-taking strategies such as time management, eliminating incorrect answer choices, and utilizing educated guesses when necessary. These skills can greatly enhance their performance and efficiency during the test.
  • Create a Supportive Environment: Establish a supportive and encouraging atmosphere at home to motivate your child throughout the preparation process. Celebrate their achievements and provide constructive feedback to foster their growth.
  • Encourage Well-Rounded Development: While preparing for the OLSAT test is essential, it is equally important to nurture your child's overall development. Encourage activities that enhance critical thinking, problem-solving, and creativity to complement their test preparation.


In conclusion, understanding the OLSAT test and implementing effective preparation strategies can significantly contribute to your child's success. By following the comprehensive guide we have provided, you will be equipped with the knowledge and tools to help your child excel in the OLSAT test and secure their academic future. Remember, with proper preparation and support, your child can unleash their full potential and achieve great success. Start preparing today and witness the remarkable growth of your child's abilities.


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