The Watson Glaser critical thinking test is a notoriously difficult assessment, created by professor Goodwin Watson and Edward Glaser and officially published in 1952. The test has the intention of assessing one’s critical thinking at the highest level, instead of the most basic questions most people are used to.
Professor Watson was an American psychologist and activist at Columbia University, while Edward Glaser became a renowned psychologist who contributed a lot to the field of critical thinking with his research, he was also the founder of Human Interaction Research Institute.
About Watson Glaser
The new version of the Watson Glaser test has 5 sections, 40 questions, and 30-40 minutes to complete, depending on the company. It is mostly used by law practices since it is more accurate and difficult than most critical thinking assessments, though other businesses may also use it.
The older version of the test was even more complicated, with 5 sections, 80 questions, and one hour of completion time, it was a real challenge. This version may still be applied in some cases but it is very rare.
This exam is made to assert the applicant’s ability to judge certain scenarios, presenting them with real-life situations and a conclusion. It is also important to mention that there is no prior knowledge or law background required to complete the exam.
Studies made about these exams show that they are a great predictor of success in the workplace, they can tell you how an individual will perform now and in the future, measuring their potential and motivation.
In order to explore more of this assessment, let’s talk about each section:
In this section, the test will present a simple statement and the candidate will be asked if this statement is either: True, Probably True, Insufficient Data, Probably False, or False.
It adds new shades of grey to the “True, Cannot Say, and False” that most people are used to in assessments, which makes it more difficult. The person will be expected to know the difference between true and probably true in each statement, and that is not always clear.
This section will present a shorter statement, usually, a simple one, and the candidate will be asked to determine if an assumption was made or not. An assumption is made when someone says something without question or reasonable proof, though that is very hard to recognize in the exam.
Sometimes the candidate will be given a statement which he/she believes to be true by reasonable evidence, but the test disagrees and considers it an assumption. The key is to learn how to think as the test expects you to.
This section will also present a short and simple statement, but also a possible conclusion, then the candidate should determine if the conclusion follows or doesn’t follow the statement.
You should evaluate the short passage and see if you can make the deduction presented, but it is important to only take into consideration the information given in the passage, and ignore your prior knowledge on the subject.
This section is very similar to the deduction, however, the candidate will be asked if the conclusion follows or not. Analyze the statement given and the conclusion, then determine if that conclusion could be logically extracted from the statement.
A conclusion and a deduction are very different in theory, but in practice, they can be interpreted as the same. An important tip you should have in mind is to ask yourself if the conclusion falls beyond a reasonable doubt.
Evaluation of Arguments
This section presents a question and a short answer, either supporting or refuting the original query. Then, the candidate will be asked to determine if the answer contains a strong or weak argument to defend their point.
This can be the most tricky part of the test, especially for lawyers who are used to finding arguments against any statement, but the key is to disregard all of your opinions and intuitions and only answer accordingly to the test.
Tips to pass the Watson Glaser test
1. Think like the exam wants you to
As someone who is used to debates, it is almost an instinct to argue against the statements using your knowledge and experiences, but that is most certainly not going to work on this case. This assessment has a very specific set of standards that can only work in your favor if you learn how to stop arguing with the test.
Practice a lot of questions and soon this will come naturally, only taking the information given as a basis and ignoring intuition. This can be done more efficiently if you learn more about algorithmic thinking.
2. Optimize your time
Most firms or companies will only give you 30 minutes to complete the 40 questions, which means you have less than one minute for each one. That can be very stressful if you haven’t practiced your time optimization and will add an unnecessary challenge for you.
The most efficient way to organize your time is to determine how many minutes you will spend in each section. Dividing it equally (6 minutes per section) is not always ideal since some sections will be easier for you than others, so practice a lot before organizing your time.
3. Long term practice
Some of the most simple job aptitude exams can be practiced in the shorter term, especially some personality queries, but this assessment is not of them. As mentioned previously, this exam is one of the most difficult and specific tests available so practicing way before the date is essential.
Especially if you haven’t gotten used to the algorithmic thinking that is required.
4. Stay calm and do your best
Though this exam can be very challenging, it is easier than you might think. The real challenge is avoiding making your own conclusions, but other than that, there is no prior knowledge or specific experience necessary, anyone can do well.
Most candidates don’t have an issue with the time limit and have time to revise some questions, you should do it if you can but don’t worry too much, just remember your practice.