What Is a Spatial Reasoning Test?
Spatial reasoning tests assess the ability to visualize objects in three dimensions, manipulate two dimensional (2D) and three dimensional (3D) objects to spot patterns and changes between them and draw conclusions from the given information.
In essence, these tests are used to assess a candidate’s ability to think about objects in different dimensions.
These tests are common for candidates who are applying for technical jobs, engineering jobs, architecture jobs, design and surveying, and any job that requires plans, drawings, and maps are used.
They are also used to assess candidates in science-related jobs, where the visualization of the interaction of three-dimensional elements is required.
Apart from the private sector, the military, and civil service jobs like the police and emergency services use spatial reasoning tests.
In the test, you will receive images of objects and will have to process them in your mind to get an answer to the question. The tests are timed and have a multiple-choice-answers structure.
You will be scored according to your right answers, and your score will then be compared to that of the other candidates’ scores. Needless to say that the higher score you get, the better it is.
The Difference Between Spatial Reasoning and Abstract Reasoning
While these two tests share a resemblance in that they use images exclusively, they are, in fact, different.
Spatial Reasoning Tests
When taking the spatial reasoning tests, you do not have to analyze the images, only to find the correct pattern through mental manipulation.
Abstract Reasoning Test
Abstract reasoning tests require you to find the logical relationship between figures. You can learn more about them here.
Types of Spatial Reasoning Tests
There are several types of Spatial Reasoning Tests:
Matching 2D Shapes
This type of spatial reasoning test is fairly straight forward. It requires you to look at groups of drawings (usually two groups) and find pairs of the exact same size and shape. The objects from the second group will have been moved or rotated, and you will be required to do some mental manipulation to find the right answer.
Transforming 2D Shapes to 3D Shapes
Oftentimes, this is the hardest type of question. You will be presented with 2D objects of a cube, or something similar, with different patterns and/or colors on each side.
You will have to work out in your mind how this shape will look like if it were assembled into a 3D shape, meaning that you’d have to know where the patterns and colors would be, on which side of the 3D shape, and opposite what other patterns and colors.
These types of questions could involve either 2D shapes or 3D shapes. To most, it’s much easier if these are 2D shapes.
In these types of questions, you will be given a shape and possible answers. You will have to find the same shape. The caveat is that the answers will be rotated, and you will have to rotate them in your mind to find the right answer.
Shape Reflections (Shape Mirroring)
In a way, these are similar to shape rotations, only here you’ll deal with reflections. You will be given a shape with patterns, and you will have to find the answer in the form of a mirrored shape.
In this type of question, you will have to find a shape from several options of cut out pieces that form shapes. Consider it more of a puzzle, where you have to combine the cutout pieces to create the right image, only you’ll have to do this all in your head.
Another type of spatial reasoning tests is map reading. More often used for emergency services jobs, where reading a map and navigating through a city is a vital part of helping others.
You will be given a map and with directions and instructions and you will have to use the instruction to navigate the map.
How to Prepare for a Spatial Reasoning Test?
The only sure way to succeed in this test is to practice. Practice as much as possible, so that seeing these patterns becomes like second nature to you.
- You should definitely understand what the question asks, and make sure that you answer it correctly. The tests are different, and you don’t want to be rotating a shape, when in fact you need to mirror it.
- The logic behind these tests is similar, but different test providers may use different patterns, shapes, or colors, and so researching about them beforehand may be beneficial. Maybe one test provider provides a 4 sided shape, while another provides a 5 sided shape. You don’t want to be caught off guard.
- Always practice with time limits in your mind. Time yourself and make sure that you answer within the allocated time limit.