Spatial Ability Tests > Shape Matching

Spatial ability questions may test either speed or power. Generally speaking, if the questions involve the manipulation of 2 dimensional objects then they are probably fairly straightforward, but you will be challenged to answer them all in the time you are given.

Spatial ability tests include shape matching

Example Shape Matching Questions
In this example, you are asked to look at two groups of simple, flat objects and find pairs that are exactly the same size and shape. Each group has about 25 small drawings of these 2-dimensional objects. The objects in the first group are labeled with numbers and are in numerical order. The objects in the second group are labeled with letters and are in random order. Each drawing in the first group is exactly the same as a drawing in the second group. The objects in the second group have been moved and some have been rotated.

1. Which shape in Group 2 corresponds to the shape in Group 1?

Example of Shape Matching Question


1. X 2. P 3. M 4. V 5. G
6. A 7. D 8. T 9. C 10. B
11. W 12. E 13. U 14. Y 15. F
16. S 17. H 18. K 19. J 20. L
21. O 22. N 23. Q 24. R 25. I


This is very much a speed test as you will be given far more of these questions than you can comfortably answer in the given time. These questions use a large number of shapes that are presented close together. Some people find this very distracting and find it easier to work through the shapes in the second group systematically.

In some questions of this type there may not be a one-to-one match and some of the shapes in the first group may not appear in the second. The way that the question is worded will make this clear. If this is the case then you should be especially careful to look out for reflections in the second group. These are often put in by the test designers to trap the unsuspecting. For example:

Group A and Group B

The shapes in Group A are rotations of each other. The shapes in Group B are also rotations of each other. However none of the shapes in group A are rotations of those in Group B.

Visual Comparison – Two Dimensional
In these types of question you will be presented with a number of objects only two of which are identical. Once again these are speed questions and you will need to work quickly and attempt to answer as many as possible in the given time

Example Question
26. Which two pictures are identical?

Two Dimensional Example

26. C and E are the only two pictures which are identical

The best strategy for these types of question is to begin with the shape on the left and work through the shapes to the right of it systematically looking for an exact match. If there isn’t one then move on to the second shape and repeat the process. It can be quite difficult to discipline yourself to adopt this systematic approach to these types of question, as you may think that it is quicker just to look at all of the shapes until the answer’ jumps out’ at you. The problem with this is that if the answer doesn’t ‘jump out’ fairly quickly then panic sets in and you usually resort to the systematic approach anyway.

When you are confronted with a large number of similar types of question on a single page, the questions other than the one you are trying to answer can be distracting. You may find that it helps to cover them and concentrate only on the two shapes that you are comparing.

You may also be interested in: Spatial Ability Tests, Shape Matching, Group Rotation, Combining Shapes, Cube Views, Solids and Patterns and Maps and Plans.

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