Admission Tests Preparation

NNAT FAQ: Answers to All Your NNAT Questions

Below, we answer all of your important questions regarding the NNAT. Read on to learn about test preparation, test score interpretations, and everything else you need to know about the NNAT. Submit your own questions in the comment section at the bottom of the page. 
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About the NNAT

NNAT Preparation

What's on the NNAT?

NNAT Scoring

Registering My Child

Related Tests

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About the NNAT

Q: What is the NNAT?

A: The Naglieri Nonverbal Ability Test (or NNAT) is a nonverbal measure of general ability. Specifically, it measures nonverbal reasoning and general problem-solving abilities. The test is administered to students from pre-K through 12th grade, and is often used to determine eligibility for gifted schools and programs. Learn more about the NNAT.

Q: Why is the NNAT important?

A: The NNAT is an important test for many reasons. First, it provides an assessment of intellectual ability, without relying solely on achievement. In other words, the NNAT provides information on children who may be gifted, but do not perform well in school for other reasons, such as a language barrier or learning difficulties. Additionally, many programs require students to take the NNAT to be considered for admittance.

Q: What are the advantages of a nonverbal test?

A: The NNAT allows for a culturally neutral evaluation of students’ nonverbal reasoning skills. As the NNAT is a nonverbal test, it is ideal to administer to children who are just learning English, or children who have limited academic skills. The test consists entirely of problems involving shapes, figures, and patterns, and does not require reading, writing, speaking, mathematics, or knowledge of words. Children from different cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds, or children whose first language is not English, are therefore not at a disadvantage when taking the NNAT. As a result, the NNAT is deemed a fair and dependable test for measuring giftedness.

Q: Will a child who is especially verbal struggle with the nonverbal format of the NNAT?

A: The NNAT does not favor children who display stronger nonverbal skills. Rather, the NNAT is used to measure general ability, using a nonverbal test format. Children with strong verbal abilities often do score highly on nonverbal tests, and can still succeed on the NNAT. Nonverbal tests are advantageous as they do not prevent children with weaker verbal skills from succeeding.

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NNAT Preparation

Q: How should I prepare my child for the NNAT?

A: First and foremost, make sure your child is familiar with the NNAT test content and format as it will increase his/her chances at success. At TestPrep-Online, we offer comprehensive study packs to prepare your child for test day. Each study pack includes realistic, full length practice tests, five video tutorials, sample questions, and helpful study guides.

Q: How can I motivate my child to study for the NNAT?

A: Keeping your child focused and motivated to study for the NNAT can be difficult and tiring. We have included parent manuals in each of our study packs to help keep your children engaged in the material. These parent manuals discuss a variety of ways to motivate your child, and include several fun games and activities to strengthen the skills they need to excel on the NNAT. Our test prep materials are child-friendly and contain colorful artwork throughout the practice packs, as well as an easy-to-use, online format for you and your child to enjoy. Below is an example of one of the many activities described in the parent manual:

“Assemble a Jigsaw Puzzle: Assembling a jigsaw puzzle is an excellent way to help your child prepare for NNAT Pattern Completion questions. Buy a jigsaw puzzle, assemble a jigsaw puzzle online (, or even make your very own jigsaw puzzle from a photo or picture."

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What's on the NNAT?

Q: What do the different test levels mean?

A: The NNAT has seven different test levels (A-G). Each test levels correspond to different age groups. However, they do not always match up to individual grades. For example, the NNAT Level C is given to 2nd grade students, but the NNAT Level D is administered for both 3rd and 4th grade students. Test levels can also vary in which question types they use. There are four different types of questions, but only three levels test children on all four question types. See the following table for each age group’s corresponding test level.

Level Grade
B1st Grade
C2nd Grade
D 3rd-4th Grade
E 5th-6th Grade
F 7th-9th Grade
G 10th-12th Grade

Q: What types of questions are on the NNAT?

A: The NNAT is composed entirely of nonverbal questions, meaning that it requires minimal reading, writing or speaking skills. The tests are instead based mostly on figures, shapes and patterns. The NNAT contains only four question types: Pattern Completion, Reasoning by Analogy, Serial Reasoning and Spatial Visualization. Only test levels C, D, and E contain all four question types, while the other four levels contain two or three. See the table below to see which tests contain which question types.

LevelGradePattern CompletionReasoning by AnalogySerial ReasoningSpatial Visualization




Grade 1


Grade 2


Grades 3-4


Grades 5-6


Grades 7-9


Grades 10-12

Q: How many questions are on the NNAT? How much time is given to complete the test?

A: The NNAT2 consists of 48 questions. The first edition of the NNAT contained only 38 questions. Students have 30 minutes to complete the test.

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NNAT Scoring

Q: How is the NNAT scored?

A: NNAT scores are determined through a few steps. First, the raw score is determined. A raw score is simply the total number of questions answered correctly. Since the NNAT is 48 questions, the raw score will be the number of questions answered correctly out of 48 (i.e., 35/48). The raw score is then converted to a normalized score called the Nonverbal Ability Index (NAI). The NAI score is determined relative to children in the same age group, not test level. This means that a third grader will not be scored relative to fourth graders, despite the fact that both take the Level D test. The average NAI score is 100 and the standard deviation is 16. The highest possible score on the NNAT2 is 160. The percentile rank is then determined using the SAI score. This ranking shows how a child compares to other students in the same age group. Scoring in the 90th percentile, for example, would mean that your child scored higher than 90% of children in the same age group. Read more about how the NNAT is scored.

Q: What score does my child need on the NNAT to get into a gifted and talented program?

A: Gifted children generally score at least two standard deviations above the mean, meaning an NAI score of 132 or greater. More importantly, schools generally look at a child’s percentile rank. Some schools may accept children who score at or above the 92nd percentile, while others may make their cutoff at the 95th percentile. There is no set cutoff score, so different schools and programs vary in what they require.

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Registering My Child

Q: How do I register my child to take the NNAT?

A: Registration for the NNAT is done locally since there is no common testing day. Find out when your school district will be administering the test. Psychologists are also qualified to administer the NNAT.

Q: Should I send my child to a G&T school?

A: Gifted schools and programs have many advantages. Gifted children often require a different kind of education than most children, and may struggle in school if they are not assessed correctly and placed in a gifted program. These programs are specifically designed for children who need to learn at a higher level and a faster pace. If you think your child is gifted (or if you are unsure), having him/her tested could be the first step toward a more fulfilling education.

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Related Tests

Q: What is the difference between the NNAT and NNAT2?

A: The NNAT2 is the second edition of the Naglieri Nonverbal Ability Test. The term NNAT is used as the generic name of the test, and can refer to either the first or second editions. While the content of the NNAT and NNAT2 is the same, the format of the two tests are different. The NNAT2 contains 48 questions, while the first edition contains only 38. The tests are also scored slightly differently, with the first edition having a maximum score of 150, and the second edition having a maximum score of 160. Additionally, the first edition of the NNAT is paper based, while the newer NNAT2 can be taken with pencil and paper or online. Lastly, the NNAT2 contains questions in only blue and yellow, to account for children with color-impaired vision. TestPrep-Online's study materials match closely to the format of the NNAT2.

Q: What is the difference between the NNAT and the OLSAT?

A: The NNAT and OLSAT (Otis-Lennon School Ability Test) are two different tests administered to assess giftedness in children. While the NNAT contains entirely nonverbal test items, the OLSAT assesses both verbal and nonverbal skills. The NNAT consists of only 4 question types, while the OLSAT consists of 21 different question types. Both the NNAT and OLSAT are often used for identifying gifted children, especially for gifted programs. Different programs vary on which test they use, and in some cases, such as the New York City Gifted and Talented Test, the two are used in conjunction. Read more about the OLSAT and the NYC Gifted and Talented Test.

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