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Deductive Reasoning Tests (2024 Guide)

Deductive Reasoning Tests (2024 Guide)

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What Is a Deductive Reasoning Test?

Deductive reasoning tests aim to measure your ability to take information from a set of given premises and draw conclusions from them.

The important thing about these questions is that there is always a logically correct answer.

You won’t need to make any guesses or assumptions when working it out. If you do, you’ve gone wrong.

What Does a Deductive Reasoning Test Measure?

Deductive reasoning tests are intended to be abstract. That means they aren’t testing specific practical skills necessary to do the job – such as knowledge of a programming language – but are more concerned with how you think.

At its core, a deductive reasoning test examines how well you can:

  • Quickly read and understand given information.
  • Assess which aspects of that information are relevant to the problem or question at hand.
  • Interpret and logically process the relevant information.

What Are the Most Common Deductive Reasoning Tests Used by Employers?

Deductive reasoning tests are commonly used by employers to assess an individual's logical thinking and ability to draw conclusions based on given information.

Here are some of the most common types of deductive reasoning tests used by employers:

  • Logical Reasoning Tests: These tests assess an individual's ability to analyze patterns, identify relationships and draw logical conclusions.

  • Verbal Reasoning Tests: Verbal reasoning tests evaluate an individual's ability to understand and analyze written information.

  • Numerical Reasoning Tests: Numerical reasoning tests assess an individual's ability to work with numerical data and draw conclusions based on mathematical information.

  • Abstract Reasoning Tests: Abstract reasoning tests measure an individual's ability to recognize patterns, solve visual puzzles and make logical deductions without relying on prior knowledge or verbal or numerical skills.

  • Inductive Reasoning Tests: While deductive reasoning involves drawing conclusions from general premises, inductive reasoning tests assess an individual's ability to identify patterns or trends based on specific observations or examples.

  • Diagrammatic Reasoning Tests: Diagrammatic reasoning tests evaluate an individual's ability to understand and interpret visual information, such as diagrams, flowcharts or logical structures.

Why Do Employers Use Deductive Reasoning Tests?

Deductive reasoning skills are vital for almost any workplace environment, especially in more highly-skilled roles.

Business, finance, law, software engineering or anything that requires problem-solving involves workers seeing things through to their logical conclusion.

If you have good deductive reasoning skills, employers know that you are able to analyse, interpret and, most importantly, use given information.

Many employers use deductive reasoning tests as a key part of assessing a candidate’s general critical thinking skills. They are easy to scale, so allow businesses to test many applicants at once and compare the results.

These tests might be used prior to interview to filter down potential candidates.

Because the tests are abstract, they don’t rely on any specific industry or cultural knowledge. This means that employers from a wide variety of industries can use the same kind of test.

Additionally, they don’t need to worry about unfairly disadvantaging applicants from different backgrounds.

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Deductive Reasoning Test Formats

Here are some common formats of deductive reasoning tests:

  • Multiple-Choice Questions: This format presents a series of questions or statements, followed by a set of answer options.

  • True/False Questions: In this format, the individual is presented with statements, and they need to determine whether each statement is true or false based on the given information.

  • Completion Questions: Completion questions provide a partial pattern, sequence, or relationship and the individual is tasked with filling in the missing element based on logical deduction.

  • Diagram-based Questions: In this format, the individual is presented with diagrams, flowcharts or logical structures that represent relationships or processes.

  • Analogies: Analogies involve establishing a logical relationship between pairs of words, figures or concepts.

  • Data Interpretation Questions: This format requires the individual to analyze and draw conclusions from provided data sets, graphs, charts or tables.

  • Logical Puzzles: Some deductive reasoning tests include logical puzzles or brainteasers that require the individual to use deductive reasoning to solve a problem or determine a solution.

Structure of a Deductive Reasoning Test

The first step in preparing for a deductive reasoning test is to know how it works.

Bear in mind that every test provider is different; while the vast majority won’t stray from these general principles, find out which is providing your test and check the structure.

Typically, deductive reasoning tests are timed, and a significant part of their difficulty comes from this.

The questions might not be too hard in themselves, but they are a lot harder when on average you have 30 seconds per question.

Typically, you will be given a short paragraph of text and a statement or series of assumptions based on the premise. You must then decide whether that statement is:

  • True’ (it logically follows from the given premise)
  • False’ (it logically does not follow from the given premise)
  • Cannot say/insufficient information’ (it could follow logically, but we don’t have enough information to say for sure)

For these, be careful to only use the information given and not any information taken from your own prior knowledge.

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Deductive Reasoning Test - Sample Questions (2024)

Sample Question 1

Example Question

John is stronger than Mike, but Luke is stronger than John.

Mike is stronger than Luke.

Given that the first sentence is true, what is the bolded statement?

(a) true
(b) false
(c) insufficient information

This type of question is called a syllogism.

Sample Question 2

Example Question

The small red plastic cup is three-quarters full. The large blue plastic cup is also three-quarters full. The small green plastic cup is only a quarter full. The purple cup has even less liquid than the small green plastic cup, but the pink plastic cup is fuller than the small red plastic cup.

The green plastic cup is the same size as the purple cup.

Given that the first passage is true, what is the bolded statement?

(a) true
(b) false
(c) cannot say

Sample Question 3

TitleNight on the MoorBlamelessThe Mountain GodThe Night of Two MurdersBedtime Adventures
GenreHorrorYoung AdultFantasyCrimeChildren’s
Example Question

Linda is an author who wrote a horror book called Night on the Moor. Apart from horror, she also likes fantasy and crime novels. She attends a book fair where her book is listed alongside a variety of others.

Linda sells 23 copies of her book and then buys a copy each of the other books in her favourite genres.

How much money does Linda have left over from her book sales?

(a) £200
(b) £204
(c) £210
(d) £215
(e) £218

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Sample Question 4

Example Question

Eight people are sitting around a round table facing inwards.

Alex is two seats to Sophie’s left.
Adam is three seats to Alex’s right.
Michelle is two seats to Alex’s left.
John is six seats to Lucy’s right.
Edward is six seats to John’s right.
Michael is not sitting next to Alex.

Who sits one seat to Edward’s left?

(a) Michael
(b) John
(c) Alex
(d) Lucy

How Are the Deductive Reasoning Tests Scored?

Deductive reasoning tests are often scored as a percentile in relation to other candidates’ scores. That means that your numerical score might not be important, but rather how well you do compared with other candidates.

If you’re finding a test particularly tough, then rest assured many others are probably feeling the same, so you might still be in a good enough percentile.

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What Makes Deductive Reasoning Tests Challenging?

Like all aptitude tests, deductive reasoning tests are tough. They’re designed to be challenging – if they were easy, they wouldn’t be very good at measuring the difference in aptitude between candidates.

But it is useful to know exactly what it is that makes them challenging, as that can give you an idea of what to focus your practice on.

Time Limit

First and foremost, deductive reasoning tests are difficult because you need to answer a lot of questions in a short amount of time.

The questions themselves might not be that difficult in isolation, but you need to be quick and consistent enough to answer them accurately within the strict time limit of the test.

This is the reason that practice is crucial. Not only do you need to be good at answering the questions, but you also need to quickly, confidently and accurately answer them under test pressure and a strict time limit.

Insufficient Information

The potential for the correct answer to be ‘insufficient information’ is also a cause of difficulty. It means that determining whether an answer logically follows or doesn’t logically follow is not enough. If you can’t be sure about an answer using only the information provided, then consider the ‘cannot say’ or ‘insufficient information’ option.

For this reason, you need to be precise with your logical working, as using a process of elimination doesn’t work as well as it can do in other aptitude tests.

Different Suppliers of Deductive Reasoning Tests

While there are many providers of deductive reasoning tests, the two main ones you’re likely to come across are from CEB SHL and Kenexa.


This deductive reasoning test will provide candidates with a chunk of information in a passage of text, followed by a statement. You need to decide whether this statement is ‘true’, ‘false’, or ‘cannot say’.

The test is taken online and has 20 questions to complete in 18 minutes, giving you an average of just over a minute per question.


Kenexa’s test has 20 questions that are focused on the positioning of people, such as in the table seating arrangement example above.

Crucially, this test is timed but has no time limit. That is, you can take as long as you want to answer the 20 questions, but the time you take is factored into the employer’s assessment of your score.

Tips for How to Prepare for a Deductive Reasoning Test in 2024

As always, your two main tools for tackling aptitude tests are research and practice. If you’re reading this, then you’re already doing the former, so that’s a good start.

Step 1. Research for Tips

Look for forums, test provider websites and practice websites (such as JobTestPrep) for further information about what the tests entail, some tips for tackling them, and personal anecdotes from those who’ve taken one.

Step 2. Take Practice Tests

A good strategy is, simply, to keep doing practice tests. You need to get your brain used to the kind of logical thinking necessary, as well as speeding up as much as you can.

When practising, try to make the conditions as similar as possible to the actual test.

Set aside the time you need, ensure you won’t be disturbed, turn your phone off and sit down ready to start a test. Take it under the exact time conditions the actual test will have, or be even more strict if you like.

Step 3. Identify and Polish Your Strengths and Weaknesses

Later on, you can focus your practice further if you can identify specific types of questions that you struggle with. If you identify a weak spot, try to practice those questions until you get more comfortable with them.

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Effective Strategies for Taking the Deductive Reasoning Test

If you’ve done the practice, then you should be good to go. Still, here are some useful strategies and tips that are always worth bearing in mind.

  • Read the statement first. A lot of the deductive reasoning test is about determining what information is relevant. If you start by reading the question or statement to assess first, you have a frame of reference for what information is likely to be relevant.

  • Don’t lose track of time. When your mind is focused on a logical problem, it’s easy to lose track of time. Calculate your average time per question at the start (if the test has a time limit) and stick to it. You can always come back to a question at the end if you have time.

  • ‘Cannot say’ is as valid an answer as ‘true’ or ‘false’. ‘Cannot’ say or ‘insufficient information’ is an answer that often gets overlooked because people assume that the answer must be there. Sometimes it’s not. If there isn’t enough information to logically conclude a particular outcome, then use this option.

  • Make sure you’re well-fed, rested and have water. Don’t underestimate the impact that these can have. Get a good night’s sleep before the test, have a filling breakfast and drink plenty of water. Your brain will thank you for it.

  • Don’t use outside knowledge. The questions are designed so that everything needed to answer them is contained within the text provided. If a question happens to touch on something you know a bit about, then push that knowledge aside. Use only the information you are given.

Frequently Asked Questions

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Typically there shouldn’t be any issues, assuming you speak English well enough to be applying to an English-speaking workplace.

The key point is that these tests will almost never use culturally specific references or idioms. And if they do, they are very unlikely to be relevant to the question and their function can be deduced from context.

This is a pressing question for all aptitude tests with a time limit. The answer is that it depends on how the specific test you’re taking is scored, information on which might be available online.

Usually, it is better to answer fewer questions with higher accuracy. This is partly because some tests use negative marking, deducting points for questions you get wrong to deter rushed answers or guesswork, and partly because accuracy is often tracked. The employer will generally prefer someone who is a little slower but more accurate.

Don’t even consider it.

Anti-cheating methods have only gotten more effective as the years have gone on and it’s almost certain you will get caught. Even if you don’t get caught taking the test remotely, you will often be asked to retake the test later to check the result.

Rather than taking the time to figure out how to cheat, a more efficient use of your time is to take practice tests.

Deductive reasoning moves from general premises to specific conclusions, while inductive reasoning moves from specific examples to general conclusions.

Deductive reasoning tests rely on given rules or premises to derive specific conclusions, whereas inductive reasoning tests rely on patterns or relationships in the given examples to identify general rules or predictions.

Deductive reasoning tests focus on evaluating your ability to follow established rules and make logical deductions, while inductive reasoning tests assess your ability to recognize patterns, trends, and relationships and apply them to new situations.

Deductive reasoning tests aim to identify a specific, definitive answer or conclusion, while inductive reasoning tests often involve making predictions or generalizations based on observed patterns.

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