Naglieri Non-Verbal Ability Test Guide

Naglieri Non-Verbal Ability Test Summary
What: This exam assesses general reasoning ability in students.
Who: Tests are administered to students in grades K-12.
Where: Tests are administered in primary and secondary school settings.
When: Tests are offered multiple times a year.
How: The test requires that students answer questions involving shapes and patterns.
Type: The tests generally are in a bubble format.
Why: Tests measure students general reasoning ability and help to determine gifted program placement.
Time: The test lasts for about 30 minutes.
Language: The test is non-verbal.
Preparation: Students can practice problems using practice exams.
Cost: No cost.

By Jessica McNally, Tests.com

The Naglieri Non-Verbal Ability Test (NNAT) is used to assess general reasoning ability in children and adolescents grades K-12. Published by NCS Pearson, Inc., the NNAT is a short (approximately 30 minutes in length) multiple choice test that does not require English language or math skills, but instead consists of problems using geometric shapes and designs.

Due to the simplicity of the test’s directions and minimal use of language that is required to solve problems, the NNAT is a test that caters to students from linguistically and culturally diverse backgrounds. It is especially well-suited for students who do not speak English as a first language for it does not require any reading, writing, or speaking. The NNAT is also accessible to students who are deaf or hard of hearing as well as to students who have impaired color vision.

The NNAT also functions as a test that screens students for gifted program entry across the United States and internationally. The test scores may be used for admission to various associations such as Mensa, the high IQ society. 

The NNAT2 is the Second Edition of the test series. The NNAT2 is administered in two media formats, online and offline, whereas the NNAT (first edition) is administered via paper and pencil only. Both tests are very similar in terms of content. The NNAT is a 38 question test whereas the NNAT2 is a 48 question test. 

Test Format
There are seven different levels of the NNAT which are administered to students depending on their current grade in school. Students at the preschool level can be tested using the test designed for kindergarten students.

The NNAT consists of 38-48 pictorial reasoning questions in four test areas:

  • Pattern Completion problems call for students to recognize the option which will complete the given pattern.
  • Analogy problems require students to identify the relationships between shapes. For example, the relationship between a small square and a large square is comparable to the relationship between a small circle and a large circle.
  • Serial Reasoning problems challenge students to determine the shape that will come next in a pattern.
  • Spatial Visualization problems require students to visualize how objects might look when they are rotated, or transformed or combined in some other manner.
There are seven levels (A - G) of the NNAT® test series. The chart illustrates the test publisher’s recommended grade(s) per level.




5 to 6


Grade 1

6 to 7


Grade 2

7 to 8


Grades 3-4

8 to 10


Grades 5-6

10 to 12


Grades 7-9

12 to 15


Grades 10-12

15 to 17


The number of questions offered in each of the above test areas varies by test level.

About the Test Author
Jack A. Naglieri, Ph.D. is a highly distinguished Professor of Psychology and author of more than 250 publications, including many cognitive assessments and measurement systems. Since the late 1970s he has focused his efforts on conceptualizing and reconceptualizing the notion of intelligence. The Naglieri Nonverbal Ability Tests were published in 2003 along with the Wechsler Nonverbal Scale of Ability Tests. His most recent works include the Essentials of Wechsler Nonverbal Assessment (2008), Assessment of Autism Spectrum Disorders (2009), and Helping Gifted Children Learn (2009).

NNAT Test Preparation
Completing practice problems and tests are a great way for students to prepare for the NNAT. Practice tests help familiarize students with the types of questions they will face on the NNAT, how the test is formatted, as well as the number of questions offered in each of the test areas. Practice tests are especially useful to younger children who may have no previous experience with the ‘bubble test’ format. Practicing on an answer sheet similar to that which will be included with the real test will help students become more comfortable with the format. In the same light, in preparation for the NNAT2 - Second Edition online version, practicing on a computer and answering questions on screen will help improve confidence come test day.

Looking for NNAT preparation materials for your student? Check out our NNAT Test Directory.

Sources: Mercerpublishing.com, Pearsonassess.com, Thinktonight.com


The Naglieri Non-Verbal Ability Test, or NNAT, was created by Jack A. Naglieri, Ph.D. in 2003.  The test is used to measure a student's general reasoning ability. The test is short - about 30 minutes - and uses geometric shapes and designs to assess students. The test is often used to admit students for gifted education programs, and is often used to evaluate students who speak a different language than their teachers, deaf students and those with color blindness. To learn more about the NNAT, read our NNAT Test Guide and our test expert Interview with Tim Sitar.

NNAT Practice Test Sample Questions

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