What is the Universal Nonverbal Intelligence 2 test (UNIT 2)?

The Universal Nonverbal Intelligence Test, commonly referred to as UNIT2, is a comprehensive assessment of intelligence (or IQ test) specifically designed to evaluate cognitive abilities in a completely nonverbal format. Co-created by Bruce A. Bracken and R. Steve McCallum, the second edition of the test, UNIT2, has been optimized to offer a fair assessment of individuals with varying language skills, cultural backgrounds, hearing abilities, and English proficiency levels.

Understanding the Concept of Nonverbal Intelligence Test

Before we delve into the specifics of UNIT2, it is essential to understand what a nonverbal intelligence test is and why it is a vital tool in the field of psychology and education. A nonverbal test of intelligence has been designed to provide a fair assessment of intelligence for individuals struggling with language or speech impairments, those who come from diverse linguistic or cultural backgrounds, or those who are verbally uncommunicative.

In essence, a nonverbal intelligence test like UNIT2 bypasses linguistic and cultural biases, thereby providing a more accurate and holistic picture of an individual’s cognitive capabilities.

UNIT2: The Second Edition

Building upon the success of its predecessor, the second edition of the Universal Nonverbal Intelligence Test — UNIT2 — brings several improvements and modifications to the table. These changes are aimed at enhancing the test’s reliability, validity, and applicability.

Age Range and Administration Time

The UNIT2 is designed to assess individuals between the ages of 5 years and 21 years, 11 months. Depending on the specific battery chosen for administration — Abbreviated Battery, Standard Battery, or Full Scale Battery — the test can take anywhere between 10 to 60 minutes to administer.

Test Components

The UNIT2 is composed of six subtests:

  1. Symbolic Memory
  2. Nonsymbolic Quantity
  3. Analogic Reasoning
  4. Spatial Memory
  5. Numerical Series
  6. Cube Design

Each subtest is designed to assess specific aspects of cognitive abilities, contributing to a comprehensive evaluation of an individual’s intelligence.

Scoring and Composites

The results of the UNIT2 are presented in the form of seven composite scores:

  1. Memory
  2. Reasoning
  3. Quantitative
  4. Abbreviated Battery
  5. Standard Battery With Memory
  6. Standard Battery Without Memory
  7. Full Scale Battery

These scores provide a multidimensional assessment of an individual’s intelligence, helping identify strengths and areas for improvement.

New Features in UNIT2

The second edition of the Universal Nonverbal Intelligence Test comes with several critical improvements and new features, including:

  • All new normative sample
  • New studies of reliability and validity
  • An upward extension of the normative tables through age 21-11
  • New Quantitative subtests replacing Object Memory and Mazes
  • Full-color stimuli to engage examinees

The Complete Kit

The UNIT2 Complete Kit includes the Examiner’s Manual, Stimulus Books 1, 2, and 3, a package of 25 Examiner Record Forms, and an Object Kit. All these components come in a sturdy canvas carrying case for easy transportation and storage.

Providing a Fair Assessment of Diverse Groups

One of the most significant advantages of the UNIT2 is its ability to provide a fair assessment of intelligence for individuals from diverse groups. This includes individuals with intellectual disabilities, learning disabilities, and giftedness.

The entirely nonverbal stimulus-and-response administration format of the test ensures that examinees’ cultural and linguistic differences do not impact the assessment of their intelligence.

Reliability and Validity

The UNIT2 boasts strong reliability and validity, backed by numerous studies. These studies include content-description, criterion-prediction, and construct-identification. The test’s validity evidence demonstrates its value for the assessment of diverse groups of children.


In conclusion, the Universal Nonverbal Intelligence Test 2 (UNIT2) is a comprehensive, reliable, and valid tool for the nonverbal assessment of intelligence. Its entirely nonverbal format and wide age range make it a versatile tool for assessing a diverse range of individuals, providing valuable insights into their cognitive abilities.