McQuaig Mental Agility Practice Test

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The McQuaig Mental Agility Test

Updated 19 February 2021

Written by Amy Dawson

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McQuaig Mental Agility Practice Test

One of the common aptitude tests used by employers is the McQuaig Mental Agility Test.

This is an assessment that is used for a variety of reasons, from recruitment or promotions through to team bonding and staff development.

But what is it and why do employers use it?

Let’s find out.

What Is the McQuaig Mental Agility Test?

The McQuaig Mental Agility Test is a general intelligence or cognitive ability test. General intelligence is often commonly referred to simply as ‘G’.

‘G’ tests assess how candidates understand and process information. They test a combination of learning, problem-solving and decision-making processes.

The McQuaig Mental Agility Test is a 15-minute test which is designed to assess the speed of your thought processes. It is specifically looking to assess your ability to learn and react to new information.

You can expect to be tested on your vocabulary, your verbal reasoning skills and your basic math ability.

You will be given up to 50 questions and will be asked to answer as many as you possibly can within the 15-minute timeframe.

Due to the time limitations, you will not be expected to answer all of the questions. The test is designed to see how quickly you can think on your feet when provided with new information.

Scores will be based on how many correct answers you provide. Average scores are typically between 25 and 35.

Research has shown that those with higher levels of education are more likely to achieve higher scores.

Who Is the McQuaig Mental Agility Test For?

The test is often used as a tool by employers when they are looking for candidates with lightning-quick reactions.

General mental agility is a useful attribute for those working in high-powered, senior management jobs who need to make tough decisions instantly.

The table below outlines how McQuaig segments candidates’ ability.

Level of AbilityScore
Exceptional High Ability45+
High Ability38–45
Average Ability25–37
Below-Average Ability25 or less

Take a McQuaig Mental Agility Practice Test

It should be noted that high scores do not necessarily mean that a candidate is the right person for the job. The scores should be used along with the requirements of a specific job description.

Many employers choose to ask existing employees to participate in the test before a recruitment campaign so that they can accurately judge what level of ability is required for the job role.

What Does the McQuaig Mental Agility Test Assess?

The test is looking to assess reaction times. It wants to see how quickly applicants can respond to a series of questions and what their potential future performance could be.

The assessment can provide recruiters with data and information that they can’t glean from a CV or resume. It allows them to make predictions on how a potential candidate may be able to cope with the specific job role.

It also gives insights into how a candidate may react when placed under pressure.

McQuaig Mental Agility Tests are widely viewed as a reliable method of testing an applicant’s general mental ability. It’s why many human resources departments will turn to 'G' tests as part of their recruitment processes, as well as for deciding who is capable of working at higher levels.

The McQuaig Mental Agility TestThe McQuaig Mental Agility Test

What Questions Could You Be Asked During the McQuaig Mental Agility Test?

There are three distinct sections within the McQuaig Mental Agility Test:

  • Mathematical ability
  • Reasoning
  • Verbal understanding (vocabulary)

Mathematical Ability

The math questions on the McQuaig test seek to establish how you process numerical information.

You may be asked to make basic calculations (you will not be permitted the use of a calculator during the test).

You may be shown a series of number sequences and asked to identify the correct pattern.

Sample Question

What number comes next in this sequence?

44537265829121??

a) 12
b) 14
c) 30
d) 84

The correct answer is: b) 14.

From this question, we can deduce that two alternate patterns are running through the pairs.

The first pair has the addition of 9 between the two numbers.

The second pair has a subtraction of 7.

Then we revert to the addition of 9 for the third pair.

Therefore, the fourth pair is a subtraction of 7. This provides us with an answer of 14.

4453726582912114
+9

–7

+9–7

Logical Reasoning

The reasoning questions will require you to draw conclusions from seemingly ambiguous statements.

You may be expected to know how to identify a syllogism, which is a form of deductive reasoning.

You’ll likely be presented with two statements that allow you to form a conclusion.

Sample Question

Abundance is to lack as amateur is to:

a) inexperienced
b) talented
c) professional
d) clever

The correct answer is: c) professional.

In this question, you are looking for a pair of opposite traits. ‘Abundance’ means 'lots of', whereas ‘lack’ means 'little of'.

The opposite of someone who is an amateur is someone who is a professional.

Verbal Understanding

These questions will test your knowledge of language and your vocabulary.

Sample Question

What is the meaning of 'nebulous'?

a) hazy
b) certain
c) apparent
d) distinct
e) None of the above

The correct answer is: a) hazy.

This is because the dictionary definition of ‘nebulous’ is ‘In the form of a cloud or haze: hazy’ or ‘vague or ill-defined’

What to Expect When Taking the McQuaig Mental Agility Test

McQuaig Mental Agility Tests typically take place online, although paper options are available.

It is available in Dutch, English, French, German, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Spanish and Swedish. However, the final report which outlines an applicant's test scores is only available in English.

During your test, you will have just 15 minutes to answer up to 50 questions.

You will not be expected to answer every question, however, you should answer as many as you possibly can.

You are allowed to return to questions that you have skipped if there is time.

How Are McQuaig Mental Agility Tests Scored?

Thanks to the longevity of the McQuaig test, the administrators have been able to compile comprehensive data that showcases thousands of previous scores to establish baseline expectations for different job roles.

This means that the test assessors can determine how well your score compares to that of your peers.

For example, you may have achieved a score of 36/50 (which classifies you towards the higher end of the average ability group), but if your peers have regularly achieved a 39/50, you may be marked down for not achieving this.

This benchmarking process is crucial to the credibility of the McQuaig test. It also explains why employers may ask existing staff members to complete the test before any new recruitment activities.

Top Tips for Success

There are many different ways to beat a McQuaig test. We’ve collated a list of five top tips which may help you to understand how to make the most of your preparation and achieve the highest score possible.

  • Take time to prepare. The questions aren’t designed to be hugely difficult, but they are designed to test your ability to think quickly when under pressure. Make sure you’re aware of what to expect from the three sections of the test. If you know that you have a weaker area (perhaps you are stronger with verbal reasoning than literacy), then make sure you spend your preparation time working on these areas.
  • Make the most of online practice tests. Where possible, try to use online practice tests to help you cope with the exam-like conditions. Set a timer and compete against yourself to see how many questions you can answer. It’s important to feel confident that you can answer a good amount of questions within the set timeframe.
  • Move past difficult questions. If you are struggling with a specific question, try not to dwell on it. Instead, move ahead to the next question. A benefit of the McQuaig test is that you can move forward and back to answer different questions. Focus on answering the ones that you can as quickly as possible. You can then go back and use your remaining time on the harder questions.
  • Ask peers for their help. Your score will be benchmarked against expectations for your particular job role. You may think that a score of 35 is a high score, but unless you know what other people are scoring with similar experience then it’s almost impossible to predict how well you have done. If you are using a free online test as part of your preparation, why not ask some trusted peers to complete the same test. This will allow you to benchmark your progress and see if your score is impressive.
  • Remain calm under pressure. The purpose of the test is to see how candidates react when working under pressure. The time limit adds a huge challenge to those participating in the McQuaig test. Therefore, make sure you employ some calming techniques (such as deep breathing) to help you remain in control and focused on the questions.

Final Thoughts

The McQuaig test has been used for over 50 years. This means that assessors have built up a knowledge bank allowing them to understand your true capabilities when it comes to general intelligence and the ability to cope under pressure.

It’s an effective tool for human resources teams to be able to compare candidates ‘like with like’. After all, if two (or more) people have the same qualifications and experience, how can you choose between them?

When used as a data analysis tool, it provides a snapshot of how a person can respond quickly to new information and sharpen their decision-making capabilities.

However, it should be noted that the data provided through the McQuaig test should always be used in conjunction with the job description.

There can be a natural bias amongst candidates to lean towards correct answers in their preferred subject area (verbal or numerical). This means that employers need to think about where the correct answers fit into their job requirements.

For example, if you are working in a marketing or sales role, you may need to do better in the vocabulary tests. Whereas engineers or technicians may need stronger math skills.

The test provides a set of data which can aid decision-making, rather than a tool which is used in isolation.

The validity of the McQuaig test means that it’s also a useful tool for managers to judge whether an employee is capable of working in a more senior role or to provide benchmark data for the career progression of entire teams.

Take a McQuaig Mental Agility Practice Test

What to Expect When Taking the McQuaig Mental Agility Test

McQuaig Mental Agility Tests typically take place online, although paper options are available.

It is available in Dutch, English, French, German, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Spanish and Swedish. However, the final report which outlines an applicant's test scores is only available in English.

During your test, you will have just 15 minutes to answer up to 50 questions.

You will not be expected to answer every question, however, you should answer as many as you possibly can.

You are allowed to return to questions that you have skipped if there is time.

How Are McQuaig Mental Agility Tests Scored?

Thanks to the longevity of the McQuaig test, the administrators have been able to compile comprehensive data that showcases thousands of previous scores to establish baseline expectations for different job roles.

This means that the test assessors can determine how well your score compares to that of your peers.

For example, you may have achieved a score of 36/50 (which classifies you towards the higher end of the average ability group), but if your peers have regularly achieved a 39/50, you may be marked down for not achieving this.

This benchmarking process is crucial to the credibility of the McQuaig test. It also explains why employers may ask existing staff members to complete the test before any new recruitment activities.

Top Tips for Success

There are many different ways to beat a McQuaig test. We’ve collated a list of five top tips which may help you to understand how to make the most of your preparation and achieve the highest score possible.

  • Take time to prepare. The questions aren’t designed to be hugely difficult, but they are designed to test your ability to think quickly when under pressure. Make sure you’re aware of what to expect from the three sections of the test. If you know that you have a weaker area (perhaps you are stronger with verbal reasoning than literacy), then make sure you spend your preparation time working on these areas.
  • Make the most of online practice tests. Where possible, try to use online practice tests to help you cope with the exam-like conditions. Set a timer and compete against yourself to see how many questions you can answer. It’s important to feel confident that you can answer a good amount of questions within the set timeframe.
  • Move past difficult questions. If you are struggling with a specific question, try not to dwell on it. Instead, move ahead to the next question. A benefit of the McQuaig test is that you can move forward and back to answer different questions. Focus on answering the ones that you can as quickly as possible. You can then go back and use your remaining time on the harder questions.
  • Ask peers for their help. Your score will be benchmarked against expectations for your particular job role. You may think that a score of 35 is a high score, but unless you know what other people are scoring with similar experience then it’s almost impossible to predict how well you have done. If you are using a free online test as part of your preparation, why not ask some trusted peers to complete the same test. This will allow you to benchmark your progress and see if your score is impressive.
  • Remain calm under pressure. The purpose of the test is to see how candidates react when working under pressure. The time limit adds a huge challenge to those participating in the McQuaig test. Therefore, make sure you employ some calming techniques (such as deep breathing) to help you remain in control and focused on the questions.

Final Thoughts

The McQuaig test has been used for over 50 years. This means that assessors have built up a knowledge bank allowing them to understand your true capabilities when it comes to general intelligence and the ability to cope under pressure.

It’s an effective tool for human resources teams to be able to compare candidates ‘like with like’. After all, if two (or more) people have the same qualifications and experience, how can you choose between them?

When used as a data analysis tool, it provides a snapshot of how a person can respond quickly to new information and sharpen their decision-making capabilities.

However, it should be noted that the data provided through the McQuaig test should always be used in conjunction with the job description.

There can be a natural bias amongst candidates to lean towards correct answers in their preferred subject area (verbal or numerical). This means that employers need to think about where the correct answers fit into their job requirements.

For example, if you are working in a marketing or sales role, you may need to do better in the vocabulary tests. Whereas engineers or technicians may need stronger math skills.

The test provides a set of data which can aid decision-making, rather than a tool which is used in isolation.

The validity of the McQuaig test means that it’s also a useful tool for managers to judge whether an employee is capable of working in a more senior role or to provide benchmark data for the career progression of entire teams.

Take A McQuaig Mental Agility Practice Test

McQuaig Mental Agility Practice Test

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