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OLSAT - Otis-Lennon School Ability Test (Nationwide)


The Otis-Lennon School Ability Test (OLSAT) is a multiple-choice K-12 assessment that measures reasoning skills with types of verbal, non-verbal, figural and quantitative reasoning questions. The Otis–Lennon School Ability Test (OLSAT), published by the successor of Harcourt Assessment—Pearson Education, Inc., is, a test of abstract thinking and reasoning ability of children pre-K to 18.


The timing of the test varies depending on school districts across the country. Check with your school to see when the test will be administered.

Test Structure

The OLSAT consists of verbal and nonverbal sections. The verbal sections contain verbal comprehension and verbal reasoning questions while the nonverbal section contains different pictorial reasoning, figural reasoning and quantitative reasoning questions. The verbal and nonverbal sections can also be administered independently. For example, the New York City gifted program administers the verbal section of the OLSAT while relying on the NNAT for their nonverbal scores.


There are seven different levels of the OLSAT designed for use from kindergarten to 12th grade. Each level of the OLSAT corresponds to a grade. For example, children in the 2nd grade generally take the OLSAT Level C. Some OLSAT levels correspond to more than one grade. See the table below for each grade's corresponding test level.

Examples of the 21 different types of verbal and nonverbal questions that students will be expected to answer while taking the OLSAT:


The OLSAT includes sections such as detecting similarities and differences, recalling words and numbers, defining words, following directions, classifying, establishing sequence, solving arithmetic problems, and completing analogies. The intent of the OLSAT is to assess thinking skills and provide an understanding of a student’s relative strengths and weaknesses in performing a variety of reasoning tasks. The test is designed to get a measure of your child’s ability level.


The Verbal Section

The Verbal section consists of Verbal Comprehension and Verbal Reasoning questions. The Verbal Comprehension questions are made up of four types of questions: Following Directions, Antonyms, Sentence Completion, and Sentence Arrangement. This section is used to evaluate a child's ability to observe and comprehend relationships between words, to build sentences, and to understand different definitions of words based on context. There are seven types of Verbal Reasoning questions: Aural Reasoning, Arithmetic Reasoning, Logical Selection, Word/Letter Matrix, Verbal Analogies, Verbal Classification, and Inference. This section assesses a child's ability to determine relationships between words, to observe similarities and differences, and to apply conclusions in different scenarios.


The Nonverbal Section

The Nonverbal section consists of three sections: Pictorial Reasoning, Figural Reasoning, and Quantitative Reasoning. In the Pictorial Reasoning section, there are three types of questions: Picture Classification, Picture Analogies, and Picture Series. This section evaluates a child's ability to reason using different images and illustrations, to find similarities and differences, and to comprehend and continue progressions.


The Figural Reasoning Section

The Figural Reasoning category is made up of four question types: Figural Classification, Figural Analogies, Pattern Matrix, and Figural Series. This section is used to assess a child's ability to utilize geometric shapes and figures in order to determine relationships, comprehend and continue progressions, and compare and contrast different figures. There are three different types of questions on the Quantitative Reasoning section: Number Series, Numeric Inference, and Number Matrix. This section assesses a child's ability to determine relationships with numbers as well as figure out and utilize computational rules. 


The Table below shows what type of questions your child will see in each section per Grade. Click the table to magnify!






Between testing and administration, it takes  about 60-75 minutes to complete the test. It may take a little longer when the teacher reads questions to students at the lower levels. Younger children (like preschoolers, kindergartners, and first graders) take the test in a one-on-one setting while older children typically take the OLSAT in a group setting.

The Otis-Lennon is multiple choice, taken with pencil and paper at schools.


The number of questions and the time limit varies accordingly:


OLSAT score reports are received approximately two months following the test. The OLSAT results are reported as the raw score; the School Ability Index (SAI), which compares the results to others of the same age group; and the percentile rank, which also ranks the result with others of the same age group. The SAI is a normalized standard score with a mean of 100 and a standard deviation of 16. Scoring is measured against peers in age groups of 3-month bands. For example, children born October 4 through January 4 are compared with each other and children born January 4 through April 4 with each other and so on.

OLSAT 8: Scope & Sequence
OLSAT Test Timing
OLSAT Question Examples
OLSAT Test Levels
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