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Cognitive abilities

Culture-fair matrices items
  • Identifying items is the first step towards solving a matrix.
  • Items that typically feature in questions include lines, shapes, patterns, sides, and parts.
  • Gaining familiarity with common items leads to faster solutions and dissolves some of the complexity of more difficult questions.

Culture-fair matrices: Items

Depending on the complexity of the question, there may be a single main item or additional secondary items.

Questions with multiple items usually feature smaller secondary shapes, such as stars and rings.

Culture-fair matrices items

  • Fig 1. Lines - Lines are usually horizontal, vertical and diagonal solid lines. Other variations include dotted, dashed, and bold, basically anything that differentiates one line from another.
  • Fig 2. Parts - Objects and shapes are sometimes divided into two or more parts. Sometimes components seem unrelated to the main shape; this may be due to operations that change or distort appearance.
  • Fig 3. Shapes - Shapes are usually solid squares, triangles, and other regular shapes. May also include irregular shapes, with sides and angles of varying lengths and sizes.
  • Fig 4. Sides - Some questions focus on the sides of shapes, especially with non-solid, flat plane objects.
  • Fig 5. Patterns - Horizontal/vertical/diagonal stripes, spirals, waves, dotted lines, dashed lines, and zig-zags. Shapes and objects may be patterned in multiple ways, with the design limited only by the author's imagination.

Common associations

Items are often associated with specific actions and properties.


Actions: Increase/decrease, rotate, intersect, cut.

Properties: Position, angle, size.


Actions: Add/subtract, include/exclude common parts, rotate, move, mirror, match.

Properties: Item set, number sequence, result, constant.


Actions: Add/subtract, include/exclude common parts, match.

Properties: Item set.


Actions: Add/subtract, increase/decrease, rotate, move, mirror, intersect, match, merge, cut, fold.

Properties: Number sequence, result, constant, position.


Actions: Add/subtract, include/exclude, rotate, move, mirror, intersect, match, merge, cut, fold.

Properties: Position, angle.