Analytical Reasoning Tests
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Analytical reasoning tests assess a candidate’s ability to study information and apply logic to find patterns or make inferences.
At work, people use analysis to scrutinise speech, documents, diagrams, charts and graphs, and gather the most relevant information. Those with strong analytical skills will consider how key elements within that information relate to one another, and are more likely to notice crucial patterns and details.
Data may be presented in the form of written passages, graphs, tables or shapes.
Written analytical reasoning questions assess many of the same skills as verbal reasoning tests.
Recruiters use analytical reasoning tests to evaluate inductive and deductive skills in potential employees.
Deductive reasoning is the process of reaching a logical conclusion based on one or more given statements, or premises.
Inductive reasoning involves taking specific information and making predictions based on that.
Candidates do not need any specialist knowledge for analytical reasoning tests, but they must be able to think logically and pay close attention to detail. Those who demonstrate strong analytical reasoning skills are generally highly intelligent, quick to learn and more likely to improve over time in a role.
Non-verbal reasoning tests can also be helpful in assessing international candidates, or applicants who do not have English as their first language.
Candidates applying for mid- to higher-level positions may be asked to take an analytical reasoning test as part of the selection process. Analytical skills are particularly important for jobs that involve maths and numerical reasoning.
They also extend into roles where decision-making and problem-solving are key. So companies may use these tests when recruiting for positions such as computer software engineers, financial analysts, human resources managers and office managers.
Many law firms also assess analytical reasoning skills as part of their recruitment process. And analytical reasoning tests may form part of a leadership assessment process, such as a graduate recruitment scheme.
Analytical reasoning tests use both verbal and non-verbal questions.
In inductive reasoning tests, questions usually involve a series of diagrams or pictures. The candidate must find the pattern, rule or link between each item. They can then use this knowledge to decide what comes next in the sequence.
Deductive reasoning tests are typically verbal. The candidate must read a statement, or series of statements, and then choose the logically correct answer.
Examples of both are given below, with answers and explanations.
This is an example of a question where things move around. There are many variations on this theme.
At its most basic level, elements will move around inside a box and the candidate must understand why they are moving in a particular order. By understanding this they will be able to correctly select the image that comes next.
Which box is next in the sequence?
Candidates may also be asked to find the relationship between a set of items. There are a number of ways that elements can have relationships with one another, for example:
- Where they are in relation to each other
- The number of sides that different shapes have in relation to each other
- Numbers that incrementally increase or decrease
To solve these types of questions you need to identify the rule that governs the relationship and then apply it, as in the following example:
Which box is next in the sequence?
In this sort of question, remember also to look for relationships between odd and even numbers.
The following question is an example of deductive reasoning. Here the candidate must read the passage and then come to a logically correct conclusion.
This question involves identifying an assumption. An assumption is a belief that is not explicitly stated within the text but must exist to link the argument’s evidence and conclusion. To successfully answer these types of question you must find that missing link between the evidence and conclusion and then fill it.
"If all beaches were publicly owned, we would have to rely on government funds to maintain them. It is true that more people would have access to the ocean and beaches, but at what cost? If the beaches are not cared for adequately, soon there will be nothing left worth having access to. We should consider carefully before nationalising more coastal property."
Which of the following, if true, would most weaken the argument above?
A – The public does not want additional access to beaches.
B – The government is currently responsible for the maintenance of all public and private beaches.
C – The public already has some access to many beaches.
D – Other property has been nationalised in the past, with no complaints from the original owners of the property.
E – Some privately owned beaches are not well maintained.
Analytical reasoning tests can be daunting, even for confident problem solvers. You may not have come across these types of questions before, so it is essential to take plenty of time to prepare properly. This will prevent you from panicking and ensure that you gain the highest score possible.
The following tips and techniques will help you to begin the test ready to perform your best:
Know what to expect. Employers and test publishers may use terms such as inductive reasoning, deductive reasoning, verbal reasoning or non-verbal reasoning when referring to their tests. It is worth contacting the employer or company assessing you to ask more about the test you will be sitting. Most will be helpful in clarifying the nature of the test. They might provide a few example questions too.
Practise. And then practise some more. The more tests you do, the more familiar you will become with the types of questions that may come up, and the more confident you will feel. You will also begin to develop your own strategies for solving questions. Identify which types of question you find the hardest and then focus on finding the best ways to tackle them. JobTestPrep is a useful resource for sample tests and answers.
Manage your time. It is likely that you will be under pressure to complete all the questions within an allocated time. Work out how long you have to answer each question and then stick to your schedule. Don’t waste time labouring over a question that is proving particularly difficult. Move on, and then come back to any questions you have skipped over at the end if have time to spare.
Analytical reasoning tests can be broken down into four key areas: inductive and deductive reasoning and verbal and non-verbal reasoning.
The purpose of the test questions is to enable employers to understand how candidates assess and interpret information.
Many different textbooks allow you to prepare for an analytical reasoning test.
You may need to focus your study on books that specialize in the type of test you are taking.
Some books will focus on the theory behind analytical reasoning tests; others will come complete with practice test questions.
When choosing a book to purchase as a study aid, try to read some reviews to decipher if it’s the right book for you.
Top choices based upon reader feedback from Amazon include:
The Fallacy Detective: Thirty-Eight Lessons on How to Recognize Bad Reasoning (written by Nathaniel Bluedorn & Hans Bluedorn)
Powerscore LSAT Logical Reasoning Bible by David M Killoran
Analytical reasoning tests are highly regarded by civil service, private sector employers and educational institutions because they are recognized as beneficial and insightful assessments.
These tests are commonly used for jobs including computer software professionals, financial analysts and human resources.
That is because these jobs rely on critical thinking and analytical reasoning skills.
This will depend on the type of analytical reasoning test that you are being asked to take. Typically, most tests will be timed, and you can expect to have at least one minute to answer each question.
If you are taking the LSAT exam, you can expect to be asked 22-24 multiple-choice questions.
There are a few ways to prepare for an analytical reasoning test. You can buy study books from all good bookstores, but you can also make the most of practice tests online.
The advantage of free online test sites is that you can put yourself into a hypothetical testing scenario and see how you are likely to react under test conditions.
It can also help you learn how to time your test to feel confident that you have enough time to answer all of the questions.
Several websites offer comprehensive resources that allow you to practice analytical reasoning tests.
One of the most well-known is JobTestPrep, a site that offers exceptional study guides, answer explanations, and practice drills to help you prepare for your analytical reasoning assessment.
As a paid-for resource, this allows you to sign up for one week, one month, or three-month subscriptions, offering value for money.
Other notable sites that offer excellent free study aids and free practice tests online include practiceapptitudetests.com and practice4me.co.uk.
Logical reasoning is a series of questions that ask the participant to answer through a logical process. To conclude, you need to take a step-by-step approach to the information provided.
In contrast, analytical reasoning is about thinking critically about information presented to you and paying close attention to detail to form a conclusion.
For example, you may be asked to spot a pattern or identify the answer based on the available information.
Non-verbal reasoning is about understanding how to analyze and interpret information based upon visual aids.
For example, this could be through shapes, diagrams or patterns. Non-verbal reasoning is important for employers to understand that you can solve problems without being limited by language barriers.
Verbal reasoning is about problem-solving using words, language, and grammar. Questions are often based on spotting word problems using a true/false premise, solving patterns, and identifying how the context of a sentence can change based upon the grammar used.
Here is an example of a typical verbal reasoning question:
Statement: 'Many employers benefit from seasonal workforces. They like to hire students and graduates in the summer months, allowing permanent employees to take a vacation. Seasonal work is beneficial to employers because they can take advantage of qualified workforces who are close to finishing their education and have yet to secure permanent employment. Some employers provide additional training and development for their seasonal staff to encourage them to join as full-time employees after graduation. A financial incentive for employers is paying seasonal staff lower wages because they are on fixed-term contracts that may not be eligible for employee benefits.'
Q: Staff who take vacation leave can have their work covered by students.
A: True / False / Cannot say
This will depend on the type of test that you are taking. Often, there are no specific pass/fail gradings, but you will be given two distinct scores. One score will be your exact test results which will detail how many questions you got right or wrong. The other score is your percentile score. This is a comparison of your results against other test-takers.
Employers need to review your percentile score because it allows them to put your score into context. Let’s imagine that you scored 70% on your test. You may be happy with this raw score, as it indicates a high level of success. But if the rest of the test takers were scoring 90% on the test, your results suddenly don’t look as good.
In contrast, perhaps you’ve scored 80% on a test, and the rest of the test takers have scored an average of 65% – in this scenario, you would be viewed in high regard by the employer as they’ve seen your results in context.