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What’s on the OLSAT ® Test?

What’s on the OLSAT ® Test?

posted by Karen Quinn, The Testing Mom - October 2nd, 2014

The OLSAT® test, or Otis-Lennon School Ability Test®, is a test commonly used by school districts across the United States to screen kids for entry into Gifted and Talented or other advanced programs.

The OLSAT test is a cognitive test, meaning that it measures abstract thinking and reasoning skills. Cognitive tests are sometimes called school ability tests or readiness tests. This stands in contrast to IQ tests, which measure intelligence, and achievement tests, which measure what kids have learned in school.

There are verbal and nonverbal items on the OLSAT test. For kids in kindergarten through the 2nd grade, the questions are made up of black and white graphic images. For kids in 3rd through 12th grade, the questions may be black and white images or text. Kids in kindergarten point to the answer as a proctor or teacher reads the question aloud. Once a child is in 1st grade or older, they’ll usually have to fill in the answer bubbles themselves.

Similar questions aren’t grouped together on the OLSAT test; questions are typically mixed up throughout the exam. This stands in contrast to other tests where things are often a bit more segmented.

Often, questions on the OLSAT test cannot be repeated. This is by design, as these questions are intended to measure your child’s ability to listen and focus in on what’s being asked of them. This is one of many reasons it’s important to prepare for the OLSAT test ahead of time, since your child won’t be practiced in storing and retaining information, especially at a young age.

It’s best to use a variety of materials to prepare for the OLSAT test. Workbooks and online practice questions are a good resource, but it’s also a good idea to use online games and other interactive programs so that your child doesn’t get bored or zone out.

OLSAT® – Otis-Lennon School Ability Test®, Eighth Edition® is a registered trademark of Pearson Education, Inc or its affiliate(s), or their licensors. is not affiliated with nor related to Pearson Education, Inc or its affiliates (“Pearson”). Pearson does not sponsor or endorse any product, nor have products or services been reviewed, certified, or approved by Pearson. Trademarks referring to specific test providers are used by for nominative purposes only and such trademarks are solely the property of their respective owners.

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