Nonverbal Ability Tests Measure when Other Instruments Fail

The verbal abilities are the most apparent skills that you possess. However, you may possess other skills which are considered 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 cannot 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 nonverbal 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 nonverbal 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 nonverbal ability tests are used when verbal tests fail. But other proclaimed advantages cannot be ignored as well.

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

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

3-    The results help the teachers to assist their students in special 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 tests have their share of limitations in measuring your abilities. Some restrictions may look immaterial at first glance, but they are going to disturb the overall validity of the nonverbal tests.

1-    Most of the nonverbal tests offer a limited set of directions. When you don't pay heed to the instructions, you may not be able to tackle the questions successfully. 

2-    The nonverbal 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 more significant 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. Also, the claims that the non-verbal ability tests can create equal opportunities to Blacks, Whites and Hispanic people is still debatable. 

5-    Some psychologists have strongly criticized using nonverbal ability tests for the adults. They claim that these tests can be used 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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