Gifted & Talented Exam in New York City


The New York City Department of Education (DOE) administers the NYC Gifted and Talented Test to children between the ages of four and seven, entering grades K-3, to determine eligibility for a coveted seat in an NYC gifted and talented school or program. The Department of Education (DOE) utilizes two tests which make up the NYC Gifted and Talented Test: the Otis-Lennon School Ability Test (OLSAT) and Naglieri Nonverbal Ability Test (NNAT). 


The NYC Gifted and Talented Test is administered throughout January and the beginning of February. Scores are sent out in the mail about two months later, at the beginning of April. If you would like to see your child's test and review his/her answers, make an appointment with the NY Department of Education.

Test Structure

The NYC Gifted and Talented Test is made up entirely of multiple choice questions. The test uses verbal questions from the OLSAT-8, and nonverbal questions from the NNAT2. The verbal component consists of 30 OLSAT questions, and the nonverbal component consists of 48 NNAT questions. Children have approximately one hour to complete the exam. Each section is weighed equally, and accounts for half a child's score. Each question on the verbal section of the test is read aloud only once during the test. 

Verbal Section (OLSAT)

The verbal component of the NYC Gifted and Talented Test consists of only the verbal questions from the OLSAT, rather than the test in its entirety. There are 30 verbal questions on the verbal section of the NYC Gifted and Talented Test, which account for half of a student’s composite score. There are three types of questions as shown below:


1. Following Directions

Following Directions questions assess a child’s ability to match a verbal description to a pictorial representation. Following Directions questions require children to apply relational concepts such as “above,” “between,” or “next to.”


2. Aural Reasoning

Aural Reasoning questions require students to examine characteristics, functions, and classifications. Children partake in a cognitive process in which they visualize a given situation, integrate relevant details, and form a complete picture of what has been described (main idea, details, inferences, and probable outcomes).


3. Arithmetic Reasoning

Arithmetic Reasoning questions assess a child’s ability to solve verbal problems that draw upon numerical reasoning for their solution. These questions assess a child’s ability to use numbers in order to infer relationships, deduce computational rules, and predict outcomes.



The nonverbal component of the NYC Gifted and Talented Test replaced the Bracken Test in 2012. The NNAT is a nonverbal test which measures abstract spatial thinking skills. Since the NNAT requires very little spoken language (even in its directions), it is considered a better indicator of raw intelligence as it does not discriminate against children whose first language is not English.

The NNAT accounts for half of a student’s overall score on the NYC Gifted and Talented Test. Students are allotted 30 minutes to complete 48 multiple choice questions.  The NNAT has four question types as described below.


1. Pattern Completion

In Pattern Completion questions, students are given a design and asked to identify which portion is missing.


2. Reasoning by Analogy

In Reasoning by Analogy questions, students must recognize relationships between several geometric shapes.


3. Serial Reasoning

In Serial Reasoning questions, students must recognize the sequence of shapes in a grid and determine the missing figure.


4. Spatial Visualization

In Spatial Visualization questions, students must combine two or more objects and find what the resulting figure will look like.



NYC Gifted and Talented test is administered one on one in January/February, and you must first register your child to take the test usually by November. There are two ways to register your child to take the test:

1. Online at MySchools: Use MySchools to register your child, click on the Schedule tab to register.
2. In person at a Family Welcome Center, or if your child is currently enrolled in a DOE public district school.


The test is untimed. Students have as much time as they need in the testing room, but most families should expect to spend approximately one to two hours at the testing site.


If your child is currently enrolled in K-2 in a DOE public school and you register them to take the test, your child’s current school will notify you of your test date between December and early January. Each elementary school chooses its own testing schedule in January.

If your child is a current pre-K student, or attends a charter school or non-public school, they will take the test on one of the Saturdays or Sundays in January.

The NYC Department of Education is willing to work with parents whose children were sick on the test day. However, considering the amount of children taking the test, they do not guarantee that your child’s test will be rescheduled. Contact the Office of Assessment Service Desk the Monday after your registered test date to reschedule.


The score your child receives will be an overall percentile rank that weighs both the verbal (OLSAT) and nonverbal (NNAT) assessments equally. In other words, the verbal component of the exam is worth 50% of the overall score and the nonverbal component is worth 50% of the overall score.

This score is calculated in three ways (see figure below):

Raw Scores

The raw score is the number of correctly answered questions out of the total number of questions. The verbal section has 30 questions, meaning the raw score would be out of 30. The nonverbal section has 48 questions, and its raw score is out of 48.

Individual Percentile Rank

A standardization process occurs in which individual raw scores are converted to percentile ranks by comparing them to the raw scores of other children in the same age group (3 month age bands).


Overall Percentile Rank

Since the verbal and nonverbal sections of the test have a different number of questions, the percentile scores of each test undergo a score conversion process, in which the scores are scaled so that they each sections count for exactly half of the overall percentile rank.