The Verbal Skills section of the HSPT is made up of five question types, one of which is analogy questions. Analogies are challenging for students, so we’ve put together some tips for approaching these tricky questions.
If you’re struggling with analogy questions, you can also check out our comprehensive HSPT workbook which includes tons of analogy practice questions, along with more than 2500 practice questions covering all five sections of the HSPT, and three full-length practice tests.
Below you’ll find information about the different types of analogies that show up on the HSPT and then strategies for approaching analogies.
Common Types of Analogies on the HSPT
1. Synonym Analogies: the two words have the same meaning
creative is to inventive – creative means the same as inventive
shy is to reserved – shy means the same as reserved
2. Antonym Analogies: the two words have the opposite meaning
pretty is to ugly – pretty means the opposite of ugly
uncertain is to confident – uncertain means the opposite of confident
3. Intensity/Degree Analogies: one word is a greater or lesser degree, or more or less intense, than the other word
scalding is to hot – something scalding is extremely hot
jog is to sprint – a jog is a less intense version of running than a sprint
4. Function/Use Analogy: one word describes the function of or is used by the other word
pen is to write – pen is used to write
doctor is to stethoscope – a doctor uses a stethoscope
5. Type Analogies: one word is a type of, or example of, the other word
Labrador is to dog – a Labrador is a type of dog
bronchitis is to illness – bronchitis is a type of illness
6. Group Analogies: one word is made up of a group of the other word
musicians is to band – musicians make up a band
books is to chapters – books are made up of chapters
7. Having/Lacking Analogies: one word means you have or lack the other word
fearful is to courage – fearful means you lack courage
uncertain is to doubts –uncertain means you have doubts
How to Approach Analogy Questions
Let’s walk through the following analogy question and learn some key strategies for approaching these tricky question types.
Example: Sky is to blue as grass is to
While this analogy may be pretty straight forward, let’s use it to work through two steps you can follow when approaching analogy questions:
1. Create a connection phrase between the first two words. Using the example above, let’s create a connection phrase between the words sky and blue. When creating a connection phrase, you want to be specific. In this example, you wouldn’t want to say, “The sky is blue” because that doesn’t specifically tell us how the word blue relates to the sky. The relationship between the words sky and blue is that the color of the sky is blue, so a more specific connection phrase would be, “The color of the sky is blue.”
2. Determine which answer choice fits into that connection phrase with the third word. Now we want to see which answer choice will fit into our connection phrase if we replace the word sky with the word grass. Let’s check each answer choice.
Sky is to blue as grass is to
grow – “The color of the grass is grow.” This does not work. So we cross out choice A.
lawnmower – “The color of the grass is lawnmower.” This does not work. So we cross out choice B.
long – “The color of the grass is long.” This does not work. So we cross out choice C.
green – “The color of the grass is green.” This works, since grass is green. So we don’t cross out choice D.
So we get answer choice D as the correct answer.
So there you have it! Just remember to follow these two steps when approaching analogies on the HSPT. If you want more practice with analogies, check out our comprehensive HSPT workbook which includes tons of word classification practice questions, along with more than 2500 practice questions covering all five sections of the HSPT, and three full-length practice tests.