Updated 24 September 2020
The Thomas International General Intelligence Assessment (GIA) is an assessment of what is described as ‘fluid intelligence’. There are broadly two types of intelligence: fluid and crystallised.
The GIA test was originally developed to look at the intellect of Armed Forces recruits, and how easily they might be trained, as part of the recruitment process known as the British Army Recruitment Battery (BARB).
Using the GIA, both employers and recruiters can make accurate predictions about your potential; whether you are applying within the same company (for a promotion or a move into a different department) or for a new opportunity.
It is also a great way for your employer to identify areas for development in a personal development programme, or to identify high-flyers and make sure that they are sufficiently challenged.
The GIA is split into five categories, each measuring a different cognitive skill.
The five categories are:
As the GIA is entirely online, the test itself is very quick – only 20 minutes – with an additional 20 minutes or so of examples and instructions. You are not likely, or expected, to answer every question in the test.
Knowing what to expect from each section will allow you to perform at your best in the assessment, and practice questions will make you more confident about answering quickly. Try out some accurate, tailored GIA practice questions here.
Some more information about each section can be found below.
The reasoning section is testing your ability to retain information in your short-term memory and then use this knowledge to answer a question.
This part of the test involves a sentence that gives some information. It is then followed on the next page with a question and several possible answers. The information needs to be held in your memory, as the sentence will not be on the same page as the possible answers.
Tip: Make sure you don’t spend too long memorising the question word for word – simplify it if you can. This will save you time and help you be more accurate.
1. Laura is smaller than Julia
2. Mark likes apples more than crisps
3. Paris is closer to London than New York
Question 1: Who is smaller?
Question 2: Which does Mark like better?
Question 3: Which is closer to London?
b) New York
Remember, when this section of the test comes up, the sentence will be on a different page, so you must memorise the information to get the right answer.
In this section, the GIA is looking at your ability to find errors and inaccuracies in the given information. Spotting errors requires you to ignore any irrelevant information and quickly recognise similarities, differences and patterns.
Letters will be shown in pairs, using both upper-case and lower-case. To answer the question correctly, you must identify the number of matching pairs in the group.
Tip: Don’t be afraid to count in your head or use your fingers. Time is of the essence and if you are not methodical in the way you look at the pairs, you will fall behind.
Determine how many times the letters below appear in pairs:
This can be trickier than it looks, especially when you know the test is timed. Be methodical in the way you look at the groupings, count as you go, and check twice to be sure. Look out for letters that look similar on first glance, such as ‘b’ and ‘D’ in this example.
This is a maths-based section, but you do not need much in the way of mathematical ability to answer it. During this section, you are being assessed on your ability to work with quantitative data comfortably.
This part of the GIA will present you with three numbers, and you are required to find out which one is furthest from the middle number.
Tip: The answer is provided; you just need to count. Don’t try and complicate things looking for the median.
1. For each of the three number sequences below, identify which number is furthest away from the middle number
a) 3, 17, 42
b) 10, 300, 560
c) 67, 58, 22
In this section of the GIA, you are not only being tested on your knowledge and vocabulary, but also your comprehension of words.
You will be presented with three words and you need to identify the ‘odd one out’.
Tip: The words that are connected might be synonyms or antonyms, or they could have similar meanings or be part of the same thing but still have a differentiating factor.
1. Choose the word that doesn’t relate to the others:
2. Choose the word that doesn’t relate to the others:
3. Choose the word that doesn’t relate to the others:
1. Car. This one is straightforward; the answer is obvious.
2. Square. While they are all shapes, the first two are round.
3. Knee. These are all joints in the body, so we need to look at other differentiating factors. Here we can see that two are joints in the arm and, therefore, ‘knee’ doesn’t fit.
This part of the GIA is assessing your ability to use mental images to visualise an outcome.
You will be presented with two pairs of images in individual boxes. You need to answer whether the images are the same in either, both or none of the boxes.
TOP TIP: A mirror image is not seen as the same – but a rotated image is. Visualise the shapes moving in the box to see if they will fit exactly on top of each other.
How many pairs are the same?
Answer: a) 1
The first pair are straightforward rotations of each other; they are therefore the same. The second pair has a rotated mirror image. Remember, mirror images are not considered the same.
The GIA is scored based on not only accuracy but also speed. Spending too long answering a question, even if you get it correct, can bring down your overall score – as can rushing through and answering questions wrong.
Your score will be generated at the end, creating a report which your employer will receive.
The report shows your actual score as a percentile, as well as where you score in relation to a ‘norm’ group – a large swathe of previous test-takers. You will be able to see where your score lies in comparison to the general population and where your fluid intelligence is stronger (and weaker) than theirs.
This information is further distilled into bullet points that indicate where your individual strengths and weaknesses lie.
For example, if you score low in comparison to the ‘norm’ in perceptual speed, the test suggests that you might struggle to spot inaccuracies. If you score highly in word meaning, you are likely to have a wide vocabulary and be able to express yourself well.
Doing well on the GIA will improve your chances of getting a promotion or a new role, as well as identifying your potential to be a high-flyer or an exceptional candidate.
Here are our top tips for success on the Thomas GIA test:
The GIA is a quick online test that evaluates your fluid intelligence. It isn’t an IQ test, but rather an applied intelligence test which can give insight on how quickly you learn and adapt.
To do well on this test, you need to be able to perform well under pressure and make quick and accurate decisions in more than one area. This is not necessarily a learned skill, but practice questions and assessments will improve your confidence and ensure that you can settle into a rhythm in answering questions.
Remember, this test is not just about right answers – it is about speed too, so pondering too long over a single question could seriously impinge on your performance.
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