What Is an Abstract Reasoning Test?
An abstract reasoning test is a way to determine a candidate’s ability to spot patterns. This, in turn, can be employed to assess the candidate’s fluid intelligence. These tests are usually non-verbal and need a candidate to look at a series of pictures with shapes, colors, and patterns and determine what will come next.
Some abstract reasoning tests use a short piece of written information and follow up statements. These are called logical reasoning tests and they assess a candidate’s comprehension skills.
In diagrammatic reasoning and inductive reasoning tests, the candidate will be shown a series of pictures and asked to select the next from a number of options. Abstract reasoning tests are multiple-choice. The candidate gets a series of ‘questions’ to do within a set time.
Diagrammatic and inductive abstract reasoning tests do not require any language skills. Therefore, they can be given to people regardless of their linguistic abilities. This means that there is no barrier between the tester and testee if they speak in different languages. They can also be administered to non-verbal people to assess their cognitive level.
How to Prepare for an Abstract Reasoning Test
Some schools and employers use abstract reasoning to determine a candidate’s suitability for a role or to estimate their potential. It is often useful for candidates to practice first to understand what to expect during a test. Like many things, candidates tend to get better at abstract reasoning when they do it often.
Abstract reasoning skills use the same parts of people’s brains as puzzles. Candidates may find it useful to practice with crosswords, Sudokus, or riddles. However, the best idea is to try online abstract reasoning skills tests, and assessments. These may be able to tabulate the participant’s results and let them know how they would fare in a formal situation.
What Questions Can I Expect?
As discussed above, there will be a number of questions on the candidate’s abstract reasoning assessment. The precise amount and length of time they’ll get for the test depends on the situation. Abstract reasoning assessments used in schools tend to be shorter. Different workplaces may emphasize certain types of abstract reasoning depending on the type of employment.
Candidates may find it useful to try practice questions so they understand what to expect. Test papers also allow candidates to develop the required skills before their testing.
Where Are Abstract Reasoning Tests Used?
Abstract reasoning tests are popular in a variety of places. Some people enjoy them, or try to ‘stretch’ their minds; others do them for educational placements or jobs. In the UK verbal and non-verbal reasoning tests are used to measure children’s intelligence: those who pass have the option to join selective schools designed for more academically gifted students.
Many jobs require some aptitude tests to make sure that prospective employees are suitable for the roles. Abstract reasoning tests are also used in careers advice, with the results informing the candidate of areas they may excel in. People who do well are often more logical and able to understand and solve nuanced and complex problems.
What Is the UCAT?
UCAT stands for University Clinical Abstract Test. It used to be referred to as the ‘UKCAT’, but this was recently changed. The UCAT is used by medical schools to determine if a prospective student will be a good fit. They assess the attitude, professionalism and mental ability of the candidate.
The UCAT has five sections: verbal reasoning; decision making; quantitative reasoning; abstract reasoning and situational judgment. These test the candidate’s numeracy and communication skills; spatial awareness; teamwork, empathy, and ability to problem-solve. Because the UCAT is so important for medical school candidates are often keen to pass it and regularly look for help, guidance, and preparation.
Types of Abstract Reasoning Tests
There are three types of abstract reasoning questions: inductive, logical, and diagrammatic. These are similar and most abstract reasoning tests will include all them, like Raven’s progressive matrices.
The candidate will look at a sequence of shapes, numbers, and/or patterns. There will be a progression between the diagrams and rules that the candidate will need to identify. When they have done so they will need to pick the final diagram in the pattern.
The candidate will be given a short passage to read and will then have to assess a set number of statements, to determine their relevance. Unlike diagrammatic and inductive reasoning tests, candidates need to be able to read to complete a logical reasoning test. It measures their comprehension skills. Logical reasoning tests are often used for people applying for jobs in banks. Consulting firms and professional services may also use logical reasoning tests as part of their hiring process.
The candidate will look at a sequence of graphics and spot patterns. Inductive reasoning tests are often used for people applying for jobs in IT and engineering. Inductive tests are usually timed.
Useful Abstract Reasoning Tips
As discussed above, the best way for a candidate to get better at abstract reasoning tests is for them to practice. These are available online. Candidates can also ‘warm-up’ or develop their skills with Sudoku or crosswords.
They should also understand how the tests work. The candidate should identify the patterns and the rules the sequences follow to create these patterns. There tend to be two rules, each corresponding to a different part of the diagram. The candidate will need to identify both of these and find an answer where both rules apply.
Candidates taking logical reasoning tests may find it useful to read the information given more than once. The candidates can then go through each statement individually. More advanced tests may give information that implies one statement but does not confirm it, so it is worth being vigilant. The candidate may find it useful to eliminate obviously wrong answers to prevent confusion.