Nonverbal Ability Tests Measure when Other Instruments Fail

The verbal abilities are the most obvious skills that you possess. However, you have certain skills which are termed as nonverbal abilities such as drawing, designing, visual matching, construction, geometry etc.

The nonverbal Intelligence tests are designed to measure a wide range of your nonverbal cognitive abilities which otherwise can not be detected. Such tests are mainly used for children in their early ages. However, the modern testing industry has started using them for the adults to predict their future performance for some particular fields.

Use of Non Verbal Ability Tests

Schools are the first place where future careers of the students are decided. The non verbal ability tests can provide useful information about students who are either bearing some impairment or showing difficulty in expressing their verbal intelligence. They are also used to measure students’ potential in mathematics, science and mechanics. The non verbal ability tests also help the testers when all students don’t have the same language as their first language. Some nonverbal intelligence tests even claim that they can provide data to treat all ethnic groups at equal levels.

Advantages of using Nonverbal Ability Tests

The foremost benefit is that non verbal ability tests are used when verbal tests fail. But other proclaimed advantages can not be ignored as well.

1- The non verbal aptitude tests measure all candidates fairly (theoretically).

2- They help the testers to find out the gifted candidates.

3- The results help the teachers to assist their students in particular areas.

4- They reduce the all out load on the traditional verbal ability tests.

5- They help reducing differences between candidates from different ethnic and linguistic backgrounds.


Like all psychological instruments, the nonverbal ability tests have their share of limitations in measuring your abilities. Some limitations may look immaterial at the first glance, but they are going to disturb the overall validity of the nonverbal ability tests.

1- Most of the non verbal ability tests offer very limited set of directions. You know a few directions mean no real directions are being offered. It will create problems to some candidates.

2- The non verbal ability tests may create unforeseen linguistic confusions for some of the candidates.

3- The nonverbal reasoning tests are subject to the practice and Flynn effects as verbal reasoning tests are criticized for. Some studies have claimed that Flynn effects are greater with the non-verbal ability tests than the verbal tests show.

4- Most of the nonverbal aptitude tests claim that they are culturally fair intelligence tests. However, different societies have different cultures even at the nonverbal levels. Some renowned psychologists including Anastasi & Urbina have rejected such claims much before. Even the claims that the non-verbal ability tests can create equal opportunities to Blacks, Whites and Hisoanic people have not proven yet.

5- Some psychologists have strongly criticized using nonverbal ability tests for the adults. They claim that these tests can be useful only for the children in their early ages. As the children grow, they should be judged by their academic achievements or the verbal ability tests.

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