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Test Prep Guide for the Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence™ (WPPSI™)

Test Preparation Practice for WPPSI Assessment

The Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence™, or WPPSI™ is often used as part of the entrance process for students identified as potentially gifted and talented. The current version of the recently restructured intelligence test, WPPSI™–IV, features shorter, more game-like activities and simplified scoring procedures. The WPPSI™ or Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence™ is published by NCS Pearson, Inc. (previously Harcourt Assessment, Inc./The Psychological Corporation, the original publisher of the test).

Similar to the WISC® assessment and other intelligence indexes, the WPPSI™-IV assessment assesses skills and abilities, rather than grade-level knowledge. The test’s propensity toward skills and abilities make for a test-taking experience that is unlike the statewide exams and nationally normed tests (ITBS®, Stanford 10, etc.). Thus, preparing for the types of items encountered on the Wechsler Primary is essential, however, the WPPSI™ is not a test with a defined curriculum for which a child can easily study. You can prepare your children for testing, and beyond the test date, by exposing them to a wide range of thinking activities infused across the curriculum. The idea is to teach children how to think and problem solve, and reflect on their own thinking processes, to improve decision-making skills. Research and countless success stories demonstrate increased scores on IQ tests, such as the WPPSI™ assessment.

The WPPSI™-IV score summary is divided into five main areas:

  1. Full Scale IQ (FSIQ) – most reliable and representative of general intellectual functioning. (Information, Vocabulary, Word Reasoning)
  2. Verbal IQ (VIQ) – acquired knowledge, verbal reasoning and comprehension, and attention to verbal stimuli
  3. Performance IQ (PIQ) – fluid reasoning, spatial processing, attentiveness to detail, and visual-motor integration (Block Design, Matrix Reasoning, Picture Concepts)
  4. Processing Speed (PSQ) – ability to quickly and correctly scan, sequence, and discriminate simple visual information
  5. Global Language (GLC) – expressive and receptive language abilities

Existing subtests have been modified and new subtests have been added to include more engaging, age-appropriate activities. The scale is now broken out into two age bands, 2 and a half years old to 3 years, 11 months; and 4 years old to 7 years, 3 months.

There are 5 subtests on the WPPSI™-IV (age band 2:6-3:11 years). There are 14 subtests on the WPPSI™-IV (age band 4:0-7:3 years). Here’s a look at what the subtests assess.

Five Subtests in the first band (Ages 2:6 to 3:11) Assess

Receptive Vocabulary measures an individual’s ability to identify correct responses to spoken words, for instance, at a picture that represents the word spoken by the examiner. Here’s one subtest in which prior word knowledge does play a role.

Information measures general cultural knowledge, long-term memory, and acquired facts. Here’s another subtest that challenges students to remember what has been taught previously in school.

Block Design measures an individual’s ability to analyze and synthesize an abstract design and reproduce that design from colored plastic blocks. Spatial visualization and analysis, simultaneous processing, visual-motor coordination, dexterity, and nonverbal concept formation are involved. The students use logic and reasoning to successfully complete the items.

Object Assembly measures an individual’s ability to analyze and synthesize an abstract design and reproduce that design from colored plastic blocks. Spatial visualization and analysis, simultaneous processing, visual-motor coordination, dexterity, and nonverbal concept formation are involved. The students use logic and reasoning to successfully complete the items.

Picture Naming assesses an individual's ability to name pictorial stimuli. The student's task is to separate essential and nonessential parts from the whole. It is necessary to observe each item closely and concentrate on picture detail. Students must name or indicate the missing part by saying the name of the part or by pointing to it.

14 Subtests in the second band (Ages 4:0 to 7:3) Assess

Block Design measures an individual’s ability to analyze and synthesize an abstract design and reproduce that design from colored plastic blocks. Spatial visualization and analysis, simultaneous processing, visual-motor coordination, dexterity, and nonverbal concept formation are involved. The students use logic and reasoning to successfully complete the items.

Similarities measures logical thinking, verbal concept formation and verbal abstract reasoning. Two similar but different objects or concepts are presented, and the student is asked to tell how they are alike or different.

Picture Concepts measures categorical, abstract reasoning, and the items here increase in difficulty. Students are asked to look at two (or three) rows of pictured objects and indicate (by pointing) the single picture from each row that shares a characteristic in common with the single picture(s) from the other row(s).

Coding measures visual-motor dexterity, associative nonverbal learning, and nonverbal short-term memory. Fine motor dexterity, speed, accuracy and ability to manipulate a pencil contribute to task success; perceptual organization is also important.

Vocabulary measures the students’ verbal fluency and concept formation, word knowledge, and word usage. Here’s one subtest in which prior knowledge does play a role.

Matrix Reasoning measures visual processing and abstract, spatial perception and may be influenced by concentration, attention, and persistence.

Comprehension is not just ordinary reading comprehension; this subtest measures the students’ common-sense social knowledge, practical judgment in social situations, and level of social maturation, along with the extent of development of their moral conscience.

Symbol Search requires the student to determine whether a target symbol appears among the symbols shown in a search group. Memory is not a primary requirement for success on this task; perception and recognition are the two prime requirements, in addition to speed, accuracy, attention, and concentration. The symbols are geometric forms, rather than familiar letters or numbers.

Picture Completion measures a student's ability to recognize familiar items and to identify missing parts. The student's task is to separate essential and nonessential parts from the whole. It is necessary to observe each item closely and concentrate on picture detail. Students must name or indicate the missing part by saying the name of the part or by pointing to it.

Information measures general cultural knowledge, long-term memory, and acquired facts. Here’s another subtest that challenges students to remember what has been taught previously in school.

Word Reasoning measures verbal abstract reasoning requiring analogical and categorical thinking, as well as verbal concept formation and expression.

Receptive Vocabulary measures an individual’s ability to identify correct responses to spoken words, for instance, at a picture that represents the word spoken by the examiner. Here’s one subtest in which prior word knowledge does play a role.

Object Assembly measures an individual’s ability to analyze and synthesize an abstract design and reproduce that design from colored plastic blocks. Spatial visualization and analysis, simultaneous processing, visual-motor coordination, dexterity, and nonverbal concept formation are involved. The students use logic and reasoning to successfully complete the items.

Picture Naming assessing an individual's ability to name pictorial stimuli. The student's task is to separate essential and nonessential parts from the whole. It is necessary to observe each item closely and concentrate on picture detail. Students must name or indicate the missing part by saying the name of the part or by pointing to it.

The Primary Index scales include:

  1. Verbal Comprehension Index (VCI)
  2. Visual Spatial Index (VSI)
  3. Working Memory Index (WMI)
  4. Fluid Reasoning Index (FRI)
  5. Processing Speed Index (PSI)

The Ancillary Index scales include:

  1. Vocabulary Acquisition Index (VAI)
  2. Nonverbal Index (NVI)
  3. General Ability Index (CAI)
  4. Cognitive Proficiency Index (CPI)

Feeling overwhelmed? Scroll down and try our easy-order bundles by age/grade, or simply choose items that your children will enjoy at a skill-appropriate level that you think will challenge them. Free printable samples are available for all our materials so you can try before you buy.

Test Prep Bundles and Suggested Test Prep Plan for WPPSI™

The subtests of the WPPSI™-IV cover a large amount of verbal and non-verbal skill areas. For preschool children especially, we recommend working with the bundles over at least one month (six months is ideal), but we also recognize parents often receive a testing date with less than 30-days’ notice. We've laid out a fairly ambitious preparation plan below for your convenience.

If you are really pressed for time, and you see the student has mastery in a section, you may skip ahead. You may also bookmark and return to activities that are more challenging.

One way to measure the mastery is to use the first few items in each activity as a pre-test. If you see that your children answer quickly and correctly, you may want to consider moving on. If they struggle, go through the activities as best you can, but bookmark them and consider going back later for further review.

Using the pre-test technique will give you a good idea of where the child’s strengths and weaknesses are across the skills and abilities covered in the material.

The bundles offer a lot of material, but if you make working with the books part of the daily routine, you’ll be surprised how fast things will move. Remember, the youngest students have shorter attention spans, so 15 minutes a session is fine.

It is also important to point out that all the titles have value well beyond the testing window. Each title will help enhance your child’s ability to reason and analyze, skills that are essential for success in many arenas.

Ages 2-3 (Grade PreK) Test Prep Bundle for WPPSI™
01448XBP: $170.00

Number of Activities

Six Week Program: Daily #

One Month Program: Daily #

Two Week Program: Daily #

Thinker Doodles Beginning

44

1

2

4

Can You Find Me? PreK

80

2

3

6

Mathematical Reasoning™ Beginning 1

235

6

8

17

Dr. DooRiddles A1

120

3

4

9

Building Thinking Skills® Beginning

479

11

16

34

Hands-On Thinking Skills 246 6 8 18
Attribute Blocks NA NA NA NA
Interlocking Cubes NA NA NA NA
Pattern Blocks NA NA NA NA
Thinking Skills for Tests Workbook

64

2

3

5

Thinking Skills for Tests Guide

NA

NA

NA

NA

Totals

31

44

93

 

Ages 4-5 (Grades PreK-K) Test Prep Bundle for WPPSI™
01449XBP: $180.79

Number of Activities

Six Week Program: Daily #

One Month Program: Daily #

Two Week Program: Daily #

Mind Benders® Book 1

44

1

2

4

Can You Find Me? PreK

80

3

3

6

Mathematical Reasoning™ Beginning 2

264

6

9

19

Dr. DooRiddles A2

120

3

4

9

Thinker Doodles A1

44

1

2

3

Building Thinking Skills® Primary

435

11

15

31

Hands-On Thinking Skills 246 6 8 18
Attribute Blocks NA NA NA NA
Interlocking Cubes NA NA NA NA
Pattern Blocks NA NA NA NA
Thinking Skills for Tests Workbook

64

2

3

5

Thinking Skills for Tests Guide

NA

NA

NA

NA

Totals

33

46

86

 

Ages 6-7 (Grades 1-2) Test Prep Bundle for WPPSI™
01450XBP: $127.73

Number of Activities

Six Week Program: Daily #

One Month Program: Daily #

Two Week Program: Daily #

Mind Benders® Book 2

43

1

2

3

Mathematical Reasoning™ Level B

264

6

9

19

Math Analogies Book 1

48

1

2

3

Building Thinking Skills® Level 1

1,072

25

36

76

Half n' Half Animals B1

44

1

2

3

Dr. DooRiddles A2

120

3

4

9

Can You Find Me? K-1

80

3

3

6

Thinking Skills for Tests Workbook

64

2

3

5

Thinking Skills for Tests Guide

NA

NA

NA

NA

Totals

42

61

124

Looking for WECHSLER® test preparation for older children? Visit our Test Prep Guide and Bundles for the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children®.

The contents of these bundles were determined by The Critical Thinking Co.™ and have not been reviewed by, nor are they endorsed, sponsored or approved by either the author or publisher of the tests. While the contents of these bundles will help prepare students to master most of the skills tested, they do not reflect the actual test items on any given test.

Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children®, WISC®, and WPPSI™ are trademarks, in the US and /or other countries, of Pearson Education, Inc. or its affiliate(s), or their licensors, which do not endorse these products.

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