I recently downloaded an IOS app "IQ test", and surprisingly found most of the questions pretty straightforward, but this particular one had me stumped. Can anyone help me understand the pattern here?

enter image description here


4 Answers 4


Here's how I would think about it

Number the cells of each grid in the following way,

 1 2 3
 4 5 6
 7 8 9

Now imagine there are two shaded cells beginning at cell 1 (they occupy the same space).
On each step, one of the shaded cells moves up 1 and the other shaded cell moves up 2, with the caveat that the whole thing wraps around (so when the second shaded cell moves to 9, its next step is to cell 2).
Then reading the images in the same order as I've numbered the cells in the grid, the shaded cells in each grid will be

 (1,1) (2,3) (3,5)
 (4,7) (5,9) (6,2)
 (7,4) (8,6) (9,8)

and so the answer is


  • $\begingroup$ Ah I see it, thanks so much. Been bugging me all morning! $\endgroup$
    – wickywills
    Commented Jun 9, 2021 at 13:32
  • $\begingroup$ Also, rot13(Q vf nyfb gur bayl bar bs gur pubvprf juvpu unf gur fnzr pbyhzaf bpphcvrq nf gur gjb bguref va gung pbyhza. V erpbtavmrq vg jnf gur nafjre vzzrqvngryl jvgubhg svthevat bhg gur ybtvp oruvaq vg orpnhfr bs gung. N jryy qrfvtarq dhrfgvba jbhyq'ir unq nabgure jebat pubvpr jvgu bayl gubfr 2 pbyhzaf bpphcvrq.) $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 10, 2021 at 14:10
  • $\begingroup$ Interesting. I don't think I've seen that sort of logic in "tests" like this before. The ones I've seen usually seem to repeat a particular set of moves, not including this. $\endgroup$
    – ilkkachu
    Commented Jun 11, 2021 at 11:49

Here's another way to arrive at the same answer, assuming the question wasn't labeled a "progressive matrix" in the app.

  1. Each small grid in the large purple grid have a single instance of three shapes:

    █   █   █
        █  █

    This is also true for C and D.

  2. Each small grid has its corresponding position in the large grid shaded. Following this pattern, the answer should have a shaded cell in this position:

    ▒ ▒ ▒
    ▒ ▒ ▒
    ▒ ▒ █

    This is true for B, D, E and F.

Only D fits both these patterns.


If you look at any column, one of the tiles in the top grid goes down by 1 and another by 2, so as to form the middle grid, then again to form the bottom grid. Unlike the other examples, the shifting in tiles across the 3x3 grids remains in the same column. D

  • $\begingroup$ This seems to be the same as the accepted answer from two years ago. $\endgroup$ Commented May 23, 2023 at 8:14

I have found another option. If you can form an "L" in addition with the first box and the other boxes, it is correct. This is true for all given boxes - and for the answer choices only for D.

@bobble and sorry for my drawing skills.

enter image description here

  • $\begingroup$ All the Xs you drew do make Ls, but where did you get them from? What is being added to what? E.g. $\endgroup$
    – bobble
    Commented May 21, 2023 at 18:39

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