General Ability Test – Beware ‘fake’ figures, check direction and figures aren’t always unique

General ability tests are notoriously difficult (especially those by ACER—one of the main scholarship and selective school exam writers).

In this post, I’ll run you through two questions and the things your child should learn from them.

Question 1
Question 1 General Ability Sample Question by



Question 2

Question 2 General Ability Sample Question by



Got the answer?

Let’s go through it…

With question 1, the code consists of “fake” or “dummy” numbers. These numbers are there to fool you. The real code is in the letters and the code reads from right to left and this corresponds with the real word from left to right. Additionally, each letter in the code is one letter greater than the answer. Here’s a visual image of the code, decoded.
General ability ACER style question for decoding solution explained by

With question 2, the code doesn’t necessarily consist of “fake” numbers, however, not every number is unique. That is, the 0, doesn’t just represent O. It also represents U & E. Here’s a picture solving the code.
General ability ACER style question for decoding using a many-to-one relationship solution explained by








What 3 things your child should know for general ability questions:

‘Fake’ numbers and letters are real. They are there to make it more difficult to ‘decode’ the code. If your child cannot find a pattern, see if any letters or numbers could be ‘dummy’ figures that you can ignore.
The direction of a code doesn’t need to be from left to right. It can go the other way. For example, TFEL could be a code for LEFT (if read from right to left)

The idea that numbers have to be unique is a mistaken assumption in general ability. Numbers in codes represent a symbol and don’t necessarily have to be unique. They can represent a one-to-many relationship. That is, a number in the code like 0, can represent E, O and U.

Knowing what to do and having a step-by-step process to deal with the types of general ability question that your child would likely to face in the exam will help your child come out on top!

We do this through our courses: There you’ll also find 10 general ability questions (and others too) under the FAQ section of the selective schools and scholarship courses page.

Hope you enjoyed this post and let me know what you think by commenting below! Do you want to see more questions like this?

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