The OLSAT: What It Is, What It Does, and What You Need to Know About It?

The OLSAT: What It Is, What It Does, and What You Need to Know About It?

OLSAT Article Student Taking Test

What is the OLSAT: What You Need to Know About It?

The OLSAT is important for students because it helps to assess their academic ability and many school districts use the results to determine eligibility for gifted programs.

When is the OLSAT Given?

It is at each school district’s discretion if and when the OLSAT test is administered. In the Los Angeles Unified School District, the OLSAT is usually given to 2nd-grade students in late February or early March. 


What to Expect When Taking the OLSAT?

Students will be asked to answer a series of questions.  The test is not based on anything students have learned in class.  Instead, students are asked to use their reasoning skills to categorize pictures together. May of the questions will give instructions like: 

“Problem number 1 has the four pictures you see in front of you.  Look at picture number 1. There is a letter with a dot on the top. Which other picture is the most similar to picture number 1?

Is the OLSAT an IQ test?

Even though the questions on the OLSAT may look similar to those on an intelligence test, the Otis-Lennon School Ability Test (OLSAT) is not considered an intelligence test. An intelligence test is a type of aptitude test that is designed to measure a person’s cognitive abilities, such as their ability to reason, plan, solve problems, think abstractly, and learn quickly. Intelligence tests are typically used to measure a person’s overall intellectual functioning and are often used for educational or occupational purposes.

The OLSAT is a specific type of aptitude test that is designed to measure a student’s ability to learn and problem-solve. It is often used to identify gifted and talented students and to place them in appropriate educational programs. While the OLSAT does measure certain cognitive abilities, it is not a comprehensive measure of intelligence. It should not be used as the sole determinant of a student’s intellectual potential.

Can I study for the OLSAT?

It is recommended that students take the OLSAT without prior studying or preparation beyond how to take the test. A student could get an artificially high score due to their preparation efforts. An artificially high score could lead to a student qualifying for an enriched or gifted academic program when it is not merited. That said, there are study guides for the OLSAT available for sale online.

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Why is it good to see if my child qualifies for gifted programs?

The OLSAT is a standardized test that schools use to determine if your child qualifies for gifted programs. It is an essential tool in the admissions process, and some families feel that it can be helpful to see if their child has the potential to become a genius.


Knowing if your child qualifies for gifted programs is important in order to ensure the child is receiving an education that is engaging and challenging. The OLSAT is a common test used to determine if a child qualifies for gifted programs. By taking the OLSAT, you can see if your child meets the necessary qualifications.



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