Part 3: Thinking Skills in OC Test | New OC Test Prep Guide

Thinking Skills in the OC test assesses students' critical thinking abilities in spatial reasoning and logical reasoning. Read this guide to learn how to ace the Thinking Skills section of the OC Test.

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In this post, we’ll outline what you need to know about the Opportunity Class Thinking Skills test. read on to learn about the OC Thinking Skills test format, the question topics, what students find most difficult, and how to prepare your child.


Thinking Skills in OC test

What are Thinking Skills?

The Thinking Skills component of the OC Placement Test is designed to assess students’ critical thinking abilities. The Thinking Skills test requires students to identify patterns to solve visual, numerical, and word problems and puzzles under a broad range of topics.

brain puzzle_opportunity class thinking skills


What is the format of the OC Thinking Skills section?

On the day of the OC test, students are given a Thinking Skills exam paper with 30 multiple-choice questions to solve in 30 minutes.

Test section Questions Time
Thinking Skills 30 30 minutes

The Thinking Skills test is conducted last after Reading and Mathematical Reasoning. No extra paper is given for working out, but students are encouraged to write on the question paper.


Students are required to solve one question every minute.


Thinking Skills exam tips

Some exam tips for Thinking Skills students must remember:

  • Make sure your answer sheet and question booklet match up. Check every five or so questions to ensure you are circling the answer for the right question number.
  • Erase corrections on your answer sheet fully. Leaving marks on the answer sheet can cause the computer to read your answers incorrectly.
  • Attempt all questions and don’t leave anything blank. If you don’t know the answer, make an informed guess and return to the question later.


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Question Types in the Thinking Skills test

Questions in the Thinking Skills test can be categorised into Spatial Reasoning or Logical Reasoning.

Each category can be further broken down different questions types.

OC Thinking Skills Category Flowchart 1


There are 9 questions types in Spatial Reasoning and 4 questions types in Logical reasoning.


Spatial Reasoning

Spatial Reasoning is similar to Non-verbal Reasoning as both question types involve shapes and visual pattern recognition. However, Spatial Reasoning questions focus more on being able to visualise different arrangements of the same image or shape.

spatial reasoning in space_opportunity class thinking skills


Some of the question types include:

  • Folding and cutting shapes
  • Identifying symmetries and shapes that fit together
  • Recognising the nets of shapes
  • Finding top, side, and 3D views of shapes
  • Identifying odd shapes in a spatial arrangement
  • Identifying visual patterns
  • Recognising reflections or rotations of shapes


Below are two Spatial Reasoning questions from Matrix Year 4 Critical Thinking Skills Course.

Thinking Skills Question - Spatial Reasoning 1



Logical Reasoning

As the name suggests, Logical Reasoning is all about applying logic to order, solve, deduce and draw conclusions based on any given set of rules.

Some of the question types include:

  • Logic puzzles
  • Syllogisms
  • Identifying logical fallacies
  • Identifying the strongest argument


Why Thinking Skills is the most difficult section in the OC test

Why do students find Thinking Skills hard?

Thinking Skills questions in the OC test is considered the most difficult for the following reasons:

  1. There are many unseen or unfamiliar questions in the test.
  2. A large amount of information must be read and interpreted in a short period of time.
  3. It is not clear which skill or technique to apply to efficiently solve Thinking Skills questions due to many different question types.
  4. It is easy to fall for the classic tricks/flawed logic in Thinking Skills questions


How to overcome the difficulty of the Thinking Skills test

The Thinking Skills test assesses students’ critical thinking ability in a broad range of topics.  We’ve discovered that you can increase your ability to solve the Thinking Skills questions by addressing the following common areas of weakness:

1. Verbal problem solving

The Logical Fallacies and Strongest Argument sections will likely be more difficult for students with weaker reading and writing skills.

Students should start with improving their vocabulary and comprehension ability if they struggle with this component.


2. Visualisation

Students who struggle with mental manipulation and visualising shapes have more trouble with Spatial Reasoning questions.

Sketching out diagrams and using physical models when practising can often help students to develop their visualisation ability.

Below is a Spatial Reasoning question involving 3D block fitting from the Matrix OC Preparation course.

Thinking Skills OC Test - Spatial Reasoning Question 1



Below is a Spatial Reasoning question involving surface area of 3D shapes from the Matrix OC Preparation course.

Thinking Skills OC Test - Spatial Reasoning Question 2



3. Pattern recognition

If your child is weaker at pattern recognition and completing sequences, they might find the Non-verbal Reasoning sections more difficult.

Try to point out everyday patterns and sequences to expand the scope of your child’s experience with pattern recognition.

Below is a pattern recognition question from the Matrix OC Preparation course.

Thinking Skills OC Test - Spatial Reasoning Question 4



Your child may fall into one or more of these categories. The good news is that all three of these weaknesses are essential learning points for all students.

How is this good news?

Identifying and developing these weaknesses early on in your child’s academic career is essential for future success. Using thinking skills as a way to practise and improve on these weaknesses is killing two birds with one stone!


How to ace the Thinking Skills test

Step 1: Build a strong foundation in English and Mathematics.

Without the essential knowledge and skills in Year 3 and 4 English your child will struggle with the questions in Reading and Thinking Skills tests.

Without the essential knowledge and skills in Year 3 & 4 Mathematics, your child will struggle with the questions in Thinking skills tests.

You can use school reports and NAPLAN test results to identify the areas of your child’s weakness and address them through a structured English and Maths programs like the one offered by Matrix.

Browse Year 3 OC Preparation Course or Year 4 OC Preparation Course.


Step 2: Master the techniques for the 13 question types in Thinking Skills test

With 30 minutes to answer 30 questions, students have around just 60 seconds to answer one question. Being able to complete the exam quickly and accurately is key to OC Thinking Skills success.

To ace Thinking Skills test, you must be able to determine the question type and apply the right technique to efficiently solve the question.

Students need to develop familiarity with the different question types for OC success.

Acing the Thinking Skills section of the OC test is much less about understanding any kind of theory and more about developing familiarity.



Step 3: Implement an effective learning process

We recommend the following proven process used by Matrix students

  1. Theory: Understand the skill category and how it is applied.
  2. Consolidate: Cement your understanding through a guided practice.
  3. Practice: Learn where the skill is applied, see problems that students will encounter and the methods to fast-track their working.
  4. Reflection: Address your knowledge and skill gaps identified.

Having a repeatable process is important for identifying your areas of weaknesses more efficiently.



Step 4: Find the right balance between speed and accuracy

The only reliable way to do this is to practise.

Get your child used to exam conditions by regularly getting your child to attempt small batches of questions under a similar time limit. For example, your child could attempt 10 Critical Thinking practice questions with the aim of getting them all correct in under 10 minutes.



Thinking Skills Practice Tests

Sample test papers

Below are paper-based sample Thinking Skills tests from the NESA website:


2021 OC test papers

Below are Thinking Skills tests from the 2021 Opportunity Class Placement Test from the NESA website:



Thinking Skills outside of the OC test

You may be asking yourself if it’s worth investing so much time in Thinking Skills.

The short answer is yes.

Thinking Skills appear in the later Selective School test, too. Additionally, the abilities learnt in Thinking Skills are essential critical thinking and problem-solving skills that will set your child up for success in all areas of their life.

thinking skills in life_opportunity class thinking skills


For example, students may be asked to write a persuasive text when they sit for the NAPLAN exam. In this example, students would need to use logical reasoning skills to organise arguments rationally in a cohesive manner.

Additionally, mastering the principles of Thinking Skills will prepare your child for future STEM subjects requiring strong pattern recognition and logical reasoning.


Want to ace the Thinking Skills test in OC?

Enrol into the Matrix Online OC Preparation Course and develop your child’s critical thinking ability. The structured course teaches all essential techniques and comprehensive coverage of all question types for the OC test.


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