The OLSAT Test
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What Is the OLSAT Test?
The Otis-Lennon School Ability Test (OLSAT) is a multiple-choice test issued by [Pearson NNC] (https://www.pearsonassessments.com/store/usassessments/en/Store/Professional-Assessments/Academic-Learning/Comprehensive/Otis-Lennon-School-Ability-Test-%7C-Eighth-Edition/p/100000003.html) to identify highly gifted children.
The test is infamously difficult, with many adults finding it a challenge too. However, a pass in this test could grant your child admission to the most advanced learning programs in the country.
Schools have also used the OLSAT test to measure their students' academic ability across all the ages to determine how well they are performing as an institute.
The OLSAT was created to measure intelligence and focuses on speed of thought and reasoning skills. It is considered to be a very reliable measure of intelligence, as scores rarely change over time.
It is important to point out that the OLSAT is regularly peer-reviewed to reduce gender, ethnic, regional and cultural biases.
The test consists of 21 different types of questions and has seven levels:
- Level A – Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten
- Level B – 1st Grade
- Level C – 2nd Grade
- Level D – 3rd Grade
- Level E – 4th and 5th Grades
- Level F – 6th, 7th and 8th Grades
- Level G – 9th, 10th, 11th and 12th Grades
Not all question types apply to all levels. Pictorial, verbal reasoning and following directions are for levels A to C. Levels D to G focus more on analogies, quantitative reasoning, patterns and logical selection.
Depending on the level, your child will have between 60 and 77 minutes to answer 40 to 72 questions.
For levels A, B and C, your child will be read the questions in a one-on-one setting. Older children will take the test in groups, under exam conditions.
The format of the test means that the difficult questions are mixed in with easier ones. This has been proven to keep your child's confidence up while they are taking the test.
1. Point to the letters that do not match
Level B & C
2. Can you see all the bees in the box? They each need 2 flowers each to make honey. Select the box that has all the flowers the bees need.
Level D & E
3. Which item does not belong in the list?
4. The opposite of ‘sad’ is:
Level F & G
5. are badgers for ruthlessness their renowned Honey
Look at the sentence above. If you were to rearrange it so that it made as much sense as possible, what would the first letter be?
The correct answers are:
1. C – These letters do not match
2. B – If four bees need two flowers each, 2 x 4 = 8
3. C – All the others are items of jewellery
4. B – All the other words are synonyms and not opposites
5. D – The sentence would be ‘Honey badgers are renowned for their ruthlessness’
Your child's raw score will be issued first. This is simply the number of questions your child answered correctly; for example, 46 or 64.
The following result is the School Ability Index (SAI) score. This is calculated by turning the raw scores into a normalized score and using that mean number to position your child.
The SAI average mean is 100, with deviations of 16. The maximum score is 150.
Any child with a score of 132 or over is in the top 2% of the population. 116 – 132 is 14% of the population, and 84 – 116 covers 64% of the population.
As the OLSAT covers such a broad age range, different advice is recommended for each level.
It is also a complicated test. The first and most important thing you can do to prepare is to speak to other parents whose children have already experienced the test.
This is going to help a lot with your own process and will answer a lot of your questions – especially if their children sat the same level test.
Try to ask three or more parents so that you can gather a broader range of information.
Speak to your child's teacher to better understand their leaning habits, strengths and areas to develop. No one knows how your child learns better than their teachers.
Having regular conversations with teachers also keeps them updated as to what areas they should push in class.
Levels A, B and C
- This test measures intelligence. Therefore, the teacher will not repeat a question, regardless of the child's age. Teaching your young child to sit still and focus for longer periods will help them keep interested during their test. The younger groups have 77 minutes to answer their questions, so they need to be able to concentrate for at least an hour.
- Children learn through play. Make the test practices part of playtime so that your child thinks it is a game and wants to take part. On test day, your child will consider the assessment as a game rather than something different and unusual.
- Practise listening skills and try to get your child to understand that there is only one answer for each question.
Levels D – G
- Teaching your child discipline by creating a study schedule will help your child maintain focus and determination. It is essential to stick to the plan so your child knows what is expected of them and when.
- Explaining the importance of the test and the impact it may have on their future will help your child to understand why they are doing all the extra work and taking tests that their friends may not be. Helping them see the bigger picture will make the test preparation less daunting if they know it leads to something.
- Complete as many practice papers as possible. When it comes to the real test, you want your child to be 100% comfortable with the test format and the question styles. You also want your child to be aware of time, how long it takes them to process a question and roughly how long they have to spend on each question.
- Another advantage of taking practice papers is that you can see your child's weak areas. Discussing why that answer was incorrect and spending more time studying that topic will help with the overall result of the test.
- Teach your child to quickly identify options that can be eliminated to help with their thinking and timekeeping.
Studying and completing practice papers is a great way to prepare, but your child needs to be fit and healthy to perform at their best.
Regular exercise and a well-balanced diet will help with concentration and energy levels. Frequent breaks from studying and good sleeping patterns also help with energy, motivation and memory.
But most importantly, your child should never be stressed out by this test to the point where it is affecting their sleep patterns and appetite.
Should My Child Take the Test?
This test is very trying and designed to identify those students with highly developed reasoning skills and intelligence.
This means that your child needs to be excelling across all subject areas and in everyday life.
Just because your child is particularly good at maths or was quick to learn the alphabet, doesn't mean they are an ideal OLSAT candidate.
Speaking to your child's teacher is a great place to start as they see the behaviours of those exceptional students. If you have a young child, the teacher may suggest waiting a year or two to see how they develop. For older students, the teacher should have an idea of their intelligence.
Allowing your child to try a practice test will also give you a good indication.
Start a level down to build your child's confidence before letting them try the paper for their age group. If they seem ok with the questions, then start the process.
Remember, this test can be taken at every age group, so there is no rush to have your child sit it. If taking the OLSAT a year later will yield a better result, then choose that option.
Getting children into programs that suit their level and style of learning is so important.
These and other tests help to identify those that could benefit from accelerated learning.
But this is a test for exceptional students, and should only be considered if you and your child's teacher think it is the best option for your child.