Literacy practice. Girl on lawn reading book

Literacy practice tests

In this section, there are useful Literacy practice tests and verbal reasoning tips. We pride ourselves on offering free practice test resources, including literacy test tips.

We hope that you find these literacy test tips useful!

Gifted children practice tests

Free Literacy Skills Test Practice

Firstly, LITERACY Practice Questions –

Secondly, LITERACY Practice Test Type 2 Questions.

Thirdly, LITERACY Practice Test Type 3 Questions.

Fourthly, LITERACY Practice Test Type 4 Questions.

We hope that you enjoy all our free Literacy skills test practice, literacy test practice, literacy test tips.

ENGLISH 10-MIN TESTS

SATs Grammar Practice

English writing skills. Womeon on laptop with dog.

How to improve your written English language skills

VERBAL REASONING 10-MIN TESTS

11Plus Verbal Reasoning Test 2. Child showing hands full of writing.

11 Plus Verbal Reasoning Test 2

11 Plus Verbal Reasoning Test 1. Man with letters all around

Verbal Reasoning Test 1 for the 11 plus

11 Plus Verbal Reasoning Test. Candidates writing test in exam venue

11 Plus Verbal Quiz 3

CLOZE Verbal Reasoning Tests. Girl with glasses on her head resting her arms on a stack of books

CLOZE Verbal Reasoning 11 plus Test

QTS Literacy test practice. Young teacher at a table helping two girls

Free Literacy sample questions

GL Assessment offer a popular school progress test called the CAT4 which assesses all of the following skills:

<  <   <   FREE sample literacy test questions    >   >   >

QTS Literacy test practice. Children at table with teacher.

Literacy Test Practice – Punctuation Test Tips

Punctuation questions on literacy tests measure your ability to apply effective punctuation to set passages. Accurate punctuation is a key element of written communication. Badly punctuated writing is like a road without road markings – it is all too easy for the reader to get lost and confused.

Your understanding of English punctuation will be tested in many different ways. Usually, you will be presented with a block of text with missing or incorrect punctuation. You need to highlight each punctuation error and also where missing punctuation should be inserted.

Literacy Skills Test Practice

Typically, there’s a block of all the possible punctuation marks and the letters of the alphabet on-screen. You will drag the correct punctuation from this block to its position in the passage.

Literacy Skills Test Practice – Grammar

Grammar questions on literacy tests measure your ability to use good grammar. This is in our opinion, an essential component of effective written and spoken communication

Your understanding of English grammar may be tested in many different ways, using grammar questions on literacy tests.

Typically, you need to select the correct phrase or sentence to insert into a short passage. You will be given a choice of several choices, only one of which is grammatically correct. In the practice questions below, identify which sentence is grammatically correct.

QTS Literacy test practice. Person writing at a table.

Literacy Test Practice – Comprehension

Your understanding of English comprehension will be tested in probably one of two ways. The most commonly used format is to present a passage, often from a children’s book of fiction. then, to present questions: usually about which statement is True or False. Plus some other questions about the meaning of the text.

Literacy Test Practice

We describe the second most commonly used format next.

Grammar Test practice tips

  • Good grammar requires consistency. So check that the tenses, the pronouns, the case, and the person are consistent throughout the set of statements.
  • Listen out for examples of incorrect grammar in your everyday life – they shouldn’t be hard to find! Think about what is wrong – and what the correct phrasing should be.
  • It might appear to contradict previously given advice, but I think it’s key to take your time with the grammar test. Carefully read and interpret the sentences – many of the options will be similar, and you need to pay close attention to detail in order to spot the errors.

Punctuation practice tips

  • Do an initial run-through of the text picking up the easiest punctuation errors. Then do a more careful sweep. Do a final check – time permitting – to ensure that you haven’t missed anything out.
  • It’s impossible to predict where the errors will appear, but it is likely that the errors will be spread out across the entire passage. This means that most sentences will contain at least one error.
  • Remember that punctuation needs to be consistent. For example, if the passage contains a list with items separated by semi-colons except for one item separated by a comma, then you should change the comma to a semi-colon.
  • In some instances, punctuation is a matter of personal preference. For example, some people like to use dashes, other people prefer parentheses. If you are unsure look at how the rest of the passage is punctuated. Make sure that whatever corrections you make are consistent with the rest of the passage.

Literacy Test Practice

Spelling test practice tips

  • Remember to go back and listen to a word again if you have time and are unsure of your answer.
  • This is not a “spelling bee” where you will be asked to spell progressively harder words. Instead, the words that you are being tested on are those that many pupils regularly use incorrectly. In other words, these are exactly the mistakes that a teacher needs to recognise and correct!
  • Memorize the correct spelling of any words you misspell on the practice test.
  • Re-learn a few simple spelling rules if you have forgotten them. For example, i before e except after c. Also, to make a word ending in “y” a plural add “ies”. For example, party becomes parties (not partys!).
  •  Learning how to spell a new word is easier when you say it aloud. Can you work out how to write it based on how it sounds?

Literacy test practice

Aptitude tests are exams designed to check whether a person’s knowledge and skills are sufficient to apply to a certain institution. Such tests are typically comprehensive as they evaluate a set of skills required for a curriculum, scholarship, job, etc. Due to this, it is important to know the type of test one needs to take and prepare for it because it can differ from other exams of the kind.

Literacy Test Practice

One of the popular tests in the United Kingdom is the 11 plus for six-graders who want to enter a grammar school that assesses their verbal and nonverbal reasoning, English, and mathematics. Literacy is a particularly important skill in the test since it is what all young people will need for both their studying and future employment. Indeed, one should be able to use the language properly in any sphere of life.

QTS Literacy test practice. Children at table with teacher.

Aptitude test practice for literacy tests

It’s not easy for an eleven- or twelve-year-old child to speak and write English without any grammatical mistakes, which makes 11+ rather challenging for them. However, if one practices their skills correctly, they will be likely to succeed. There are numerous literacy tips for young people who are going to take the aptitude test, one of which is consistency. This means that a sentence should be a grammatically correct unity of its parts that correspond with each other in tense, number, etc. Additionally, it is recommended that a learner analyzes mistakes in the texts they read or speeches they hear. Hence, when a learner finds a mistake, they should try to explain and correct them to themselves, thus practising their grammar skills.

As for spelling, it is better to focus on complicated words, in which learners make mistakes most often. There are certain rules which regulate the correct spelling of the majority of English words.

Students should learn the most important ones, such as the formation of plurality after “y,” etc. (“Literacy Test Advice and Free Literacy Test Practice”). Moreover, there are special practice tests online, which one can take prior to the final one to understand their weaknesses and work on them.

Preparing for any aptitude test, including literacy tests, requires effort from a person. Although, what is particularly important is attention. Knowledge might not be enough to pass the test if one lacks concentration and can be easily tricked.

Literacy Test Practice

Are Literacy tests like verbal reasoning tests?

In our opinion literacy tests are the most basic form of verbal reasoning test.

Some examples of the literacy type of verbal reasoning test are given below.

Both may take the form of analogies. Here, a respondent’s vocabulary and knowledge of simple verbal relationships are tested. In the case of verbal reasoning tests, as a key part of overall verbal reasoning ability.

Interpret the meaning that connects the word shown in large type on the left-hand side (i.e. spider in the first question) with the word shown in small type on the right-hand side (i.e. web). Apply the same verbal reasoning to connect the second word shown in large print on the left-hand side (i.e. duck) with one of the multiple-choice answer options.

Literacy practice. Girl reading book.

Verbal tests may also take the form of antonyms. Some examples of this type of verbal reasoning test practice are given below. Select the multiple-choice option that is the opposite in meaning to the word shown in bold print.

Verbal tests may also take the form of selecting the odd word out from a group of words. Some examples of this type of verbal reasoning test practice are given below. Identify the common connection between four of the five words and then choose the multiple-choice option corresponding to the odd word out.

Literacy practice test

Spelling Tips

These literacy test questions typically present you with a sentence. This sentence contains a missing word. Insert the correct missing word from the four options. Although the practice questions that follow have a written format, they are at the same difficulty level as the audio test.

Punctuation Tips

Accurate punctuation is a key element of written communication.

Literacy practice. Old books

Punctuation test questions typically present a block of all the possible punctuation marks and the letters of the alphabet on-screen. You will drag the correct punctuation from this block to its position in the passage.

Literacy Skills Test Practice

Grammar Tips

The use of good grammar is an essential component of effective written and spoken communication

Grammar test questions typically ask you to select the correct phrase or sentence to insert into a short passage. You may be given a choice of several choices, only one of which is grammatically correct. In the practice questions below, identify which sentence is grammatically correct.

Literacy Test Practice. Girl reading book

Literacy Practice Test – Comprehension Tips

These literacy test questions typically measure your ability to fully comprehend passages of text.

  • Presenting the same information in a different way
  • Identifying the key points
  • Inferences
  • Deductions

Literacy Practice Test

Comprehension Question Types

There are several different questions types that you might encounter in the comprehension test.  Go with your instinct. Think about the reading level and tone. Does it sound like school policy to you? Does it read as though it is information for teachers? Is the piece’s reading level accessible to pupils?

Another question format asks you to suggest summary headings. Analyse the main point(s) of the paragraph objectively. It can be helpful, particularly if you are short of time, to focus on the first and last sentences in a paragraph. This is where you are likely to find the topic sentence. In a well-written paragraph, the topic sentence summarises the paragraph’s main point.

For each passage, you need to consider both the overall meaning and detail. To assess the bigger picture, ask yourself questions such as: What is the main message? Who is the intended audience? When reflecting on the passage’s detail ask yourself: What are the facts? What’s the most important information in a passage?

Comprehension Tips

– Firstly, summarising the main points that the passage makes.

– Secondly, placing statements based on the passage into set categories.

– Thirdly, putting sentences about a passage describing sequential events into the correct order.

– Thirdly, putting sentences about a passage describing sequential events into the correct order.

Literacy practice test

Types of Literacy Test

Literacy Test Type I

I want the promotion so ________ but they have told me I _________ first stop being late.

  • Much; Am going to
  • Many; Really must
  • Much; Have got to
  • Many; Have to

Literacy Test Type II

Which two words can be swopped over to create a proper sentence.

The only way to maintain a low economy is to ensure that unemployment is strong and productivity is high.

Literacy Test Type III

Select one word from inside each set of brackets to create a new word.

(cool prior tame) (breath ant pea)

Literacy Test Type IV

Which word fits in both sets of brackets?

(Verdict, Decision) (Write, Grammar)

Punctuate Sentence Destroy Annihilate

literacy girl holding globe above her head

GENERAL AND SPECIFIC COGNITIVE ABILITIES

Mental abilities and aptitudes refer to the individual’s intellectual potential —

  • What can the person do, and what are their intellectual limits?
  • How easy will it be to develop new skills, to pass examinations, and to respond to career demands?

Literacy practice test

The concept of intelligence is made of general and specific intellectual abilities. General intelligence is a broad general ability that is involved in all types of intellectual performances. Its existence is demonstrated by the positive correlations between different intellectual tests (e.g. maths, English, geography, IQ.). This general ability is made up of a moderately related set of primary abilities.

There are several specific mental aptitudes. The most important ones are:

Verbal reasoning assessment

This is the ability to understand verbal ideas and to reason with words.

It is often connected with literary careers but is also a very important attribute in those careers which involve the ability to find the right word in the right time.

This may be the spoken word or the written word and is the single most useful strength in any kind of academic study.

Numerical reasoning

The numerical ability is similar to, but not the same as, mathematical ability. It is the ability to think in numbers rather than the ability to manipulate them. There are comparatively few careers which require numerical ability alone; it is more often mixed with other abilities. Careers which heavily dependent upon this ability include those of an auditor, an accountant, a wage clerk, a bank teller, a bank officer, financial consultant, financial manager, and many areas of the financial businesses.

Literacy practice test

Visualization

This involves the ability to “see” abstract information and to make sense of it. It is one of the cornerstones of scientific thinking. The stages of building concepts, discovery, and proving theories all rely heavily on this aptitude. Thus, it is the key to most scientific-based careers, including those as a research scientist, a laboratory technician, a veterinary surgeon, a dietician, hospital technician and similar science-based personnel at all levels.

Analytical reasoning

This is the ability to make logical, factual connections and to impose a structure on what sometimes appears to be chaotic information. This reflects the ability to think quickly, confining to the facts only, to solve problems and to deal with new ideas. It is often combined with other aptitudes to indicate the direction in which this ability to think is going to be used. This is particularly important for careers such as computer programmer, researcher, or analyst.

Spatial Ability

Spatial ability involves visual skills. It enables a person to visualise a solid three-dimensional object when given limited two-dimensional information. It is the corner-stone of understanding technical drawings, layout, and relationships between objects in space; as such it will be used heavily by draughtsmen, creative artists, photographers, architects, and designers.

Accuracy and Speed Skills

This ability allows an individual to do routine tasks quickly and with great accuracy. It is one of the few aptitudes that can increase with practice, but the results give a realistic indication as to how easy an individual finds this kind of task compared with others. It is of great importance in quality control, and of particular use in many administrative and clerical areas such as filing, typing, computer operation.

Literacy practice test tips

Our focus here is on providing you with the most useful Literacy practice tips.

  • Fisrtly, we’re focusing on one of the key communication skills in professional life. That’s why literacy is often included in aptitude exams.
  • Secondly, to prepare properly for literacy tests, you must plan your practice correctly.
  • Thirdly, before starting your literacy practice, find a quiet place to work.
  • Set a timer on your phone to see how quickly you can answer the literacy test questions (Williams, Passing verbal reasoning tests book, 2012).
  • In addition, is better to prepare for a specific exam instead of solving random literacy test questions.

Literacy Practice Tests – Spelling Test Tips

Spelling tests measure your ability to spell correctly. This is an audio test in which you listen to the questions through headphones. You need to use standard English spellings.

Each question presents you with a sentence. This sentence contains a missing word. Insert the correct missing word from the four options. Although the practice questions that follow have a written format, they are at the same difficulty level as the audio test.

Literacy Practice Tests – Punctuation Test Tips

Punctuation tests present blocks of text with missing or incorrect punctuation. You need to highlight each punctuation error and also where missing punctuation should be inserted.

Literacy Practice Test – Grammar Test Tips

Grammar tests measure your ability to use good grammar, an essential component of effective written and spoken communication

Literacy practice test

Comprehension Test

Comprehension tests measure your ability to fully comprehend passages of text:

  • Firstly, Presenting the same information in a different way.
  • Secondly, Identifying the key points.
  • Thirdly, Inferences.
  • Lastly, Deductions.

There are several different questions types that you might encounter in the comprehension test:

  • Firstly, go with your instinct.
  • Secondly, think about the reading level and tone.
  • And also ask yourself, Does it sound like school policy to you… read as though it is information for teachers?

More Literacy Practice Test Tips

Firstly, analyse the main point(s) of a paragraph objectively.

Secondly, don’t be misled by something that’s only mentioned once in a single phrase or sentence.

Thirdly, focus on the first and last sentences in a paragraph. In our opinion, the topic sentence summarises the paragraph’s main point.

For each passage, you need to consider both the overall meaning and detail:

Further Verbal Comprehension Tips

  • Firstly, What is the main message?
  • Secondly, Who is the intended audience?
  • Then next, What are the facts?
  • And also, What’s the most important information?

– Firstly, summarising the main points.

– Secondly, placing statements into set categories.

– Thirdly, putting sentences into the correct order.

Our Top literacy tips

  • Make a mental note of words and phrases that indicate a cause and effect. For example, you may be asked to interpret statements with ’cause and effect’ words. For example, since, because, therefore, so, thus, due to, and as a result.
  • Words such as possibly, perhaps or maybe imply that there is a possibility of something happening. Be wary of treating conjecture or speculation as a definite outcome. For example, certain would mean one thing in a question. If coupled in the passage with the word almost, then the meaning is quite different.
  • The best way to prepare for a verbal reasoning test is to do practise questions that closely mirror the actual test you’ll be taking. But there are also many everyday ways you can improve your verbal reasoning skills. For example reading a wide range of challenging books, newspapers and magazines.

Verbal Reasoning tips

Key words

Watch out for certain keywords and phrases in either the passage or question (or both!). These keywords often act as the link between different pieces of information. In many cases they qualify the information that has been given. When you come across keywords in passages and questions you need to focus on their precise meanings.

Contrast words verbal reasoning tips 

Spain has always been a popular tourist destination, however it now faces competition from cheaper resorts in other countries.

You need to pay careful attention to the information that follows the contrast word. This is often the key to answering the question.

Is the answer to the following statement True, False, or Cannot tell: Spain is unrivalled as a tourist destination. The answer is False. The sentence says that Spain has always been popular, Then goes on to say that it now faces competition.

Propositions tips example: 

The author claims that his book will improve your verbal reasoning test performance.

Is the answer to the following statement True, False, or Cannot tell: This book will improve your verbal reasoning test performance. Yes, there is a very good chance that this book will improve your performance if used properly. However, this is not a fact so the answer has to be Cannot tell.

Comparisons tips example: 

There is less unemployment in the UK today than at any other point in the past decade.

So, it follows that unemployment rates are lower than they were five years ago.

Absolutes and generalisations tips example: 

UK Most educators agree that excessive television viewing usually damages a child’s concentration.

If faced with the statement: Excessive television always damages a child’s concentration you might be tempted to answer True. The answer is, in fact, False – because the word usually tells you that this is a high possibility, not a guaranteed effect.

So, to summarise: don’t assume that usually means the same as always. In the world of verbal reasoning tests, such words are miles apart!

Verbal Reasoning Test Practice Tips. Executive members of a team discussing strategy.

Cause and effect

After doing lots of practise tests you will come to recognise cause and effect words and phrases. These include: since, because, for, so, consequently, as a result, thus, therefore, due to and hence. It is a good idea to focus on these as often a question will ask you to interpret how these words have been used to link different aspects of an issue or argument together. There are subtle differences between these words and phrases, as some signal stronger causal relationships than others. A word like because indicates a direct causal link. The word so also joins facts together but does not necessarily mean that it was the first fact that led to the second.

More verbal reasoning tips

  • Firstly, the introductory statement. What points are made?
  • Secondly, the main body of the text. What does this explore/detail?
  • Thirdly, the final statement(s). What details are provided here?
  • Fourthly, the final summary at the end of the passage, what point, if any, is it making?

Finally, ask yourself again. Do I have a sufficient understanding to answer the set of questions? If the answer is yes, then you are ready to carefully read the first question. You may only need to read the passage in full twice if you already know where to find the relevant information. Remember that the passage will always be there for reference. So you don’t need to memorise it.

Don’t worry if the subject matter in the passage is unfamiliar to you. Many of the passages you read will be about areas in which you have no interest or background knowledge. Nor do you need to apply any outside knowledge of the subject.

A reading comprehension task requires you to extract the relevant information to answer each question. Each question will relate to a particular part, or parts, of the passage.

Verbal Reasoning tips examples

1) As a result of oversubscription, Adam did not get a place on the philosophy course.

2) The philosophy course was oversubscribed so Adam enrolled in a different class.

What is the answer if you are asked: Did Adam get a place on the philosophy course? In the first sentence, you know that he did not. The second sentence is more ambiguous. Perhaps Adam got a place, but opted out of the overcrowded course.

Be careful not to mix up causal words with words such as then, next, after and later. These words indicate a chronological sequence rather than a causal effect. For example, then does not imply that one thing caused another to happen, only that it happened after.

Verbal Reasoning tip – Speculation

Look out for words or phrases indicating speculation, such as perhaps, probably, possibly and maybe. Words such as may, might and can also point to the possibility of something happening. You need to tread carefully with such phrases – they do not mean the suggested outcome is guaranteed, only that it is a possibility.

If you are told – The team is almost certain to win the championship – you should not interpret this as meaning that the team will definitely win. It is just speculation, even if there are good reasons for making that prediction.

Verbal Reasoning tips example

Conglomerate Plc announced redundancies in its accounts team, as well as job losses in its logistics and human resources departments.

You may be asked to say whether the following statement is True or False: Conglomerate Plc made redundancies in three parts of its business. The answer would be True because the statement mentions job losses in accounts, logistics and human resources.

‘Bespoke’ Verbal Reasoning Test Design

Specific design criteria were applied.  Sufficient administration time was made available for a test taker to exhibit the appropriate reasoning ability. 

Other design criteria related to the target population groups. For example, this form of verbal reasoning test does not require the candidate to have any technical knowledge of grammar. Or to be able to spot minor errors in the spelling of unfamiliar words.

Practical examples are proved at the start of each test. Thus, test takers can familiarise themselves with the test format.

VERBAL REASONING TEST DESIGN RATIONALE

Many jobs involve working with verbal information and verbal comprehension forms a core component of almost all senior managerial roles.  The ‘Bespoke’ Verbal Reasoning Test measures the verbal reasoning skills that are fundamental to effective communication in such roles. 

In many organisations, verbal reasoning skills are key to the effective dissemination of business information across the workforce.

‘Bespoke’ Verbal Reasoning Test assesses how well an individual’s verbal reasoning skills can operate at a high-level.  In our opinion, primarily understanding written communication. Although, ‘Bespoke’ Verbal Reasoning Test also encompasses the ability to understand complex discussions.

Verbal reasoning is central to many roles. Thus the ‘Bespoke’ Verbal Reasoning Test is appropriate for a very wide range of senior job roles and tasks.

VERBAL REASONING TEST FORMAT

Many graduate and senior managerial roles require quickly extracting relevant information from written documents. And to make a judgement based on this information.  Thus ‘Bespoke’ Verbal Reasoning Test measures the ability to read. And to interpret a detailed block of text under strictly timed conditions.

The verbal information in the test appears in the form of passages of text. Each is followed by a series of 4 multiple-choice questions.  Each question requires relevant pieces of information to be extracted from the passage.And a specific judgement to be made on the basis of that information. 

Verbal Reasoning TEST DESIGN

After reading a passage the test taker has to read a series of statements referring back to information contained within the passage.  The test taker has to identify whether the statement is true. Or false. Or whether it is not possible to tell. Then to decide which is the appropriate multiple-choice answer to fill in. 

Each answer must be based solely on the information presented in the passage – ignoring any background knowledge that the test taker may possess.  The questions must also be answered without any interference from the test taker’s own beliefs about the subject matter. 

This reflects work conditions where there is a need to make objective decisions based solely on the information available at that moment in time.

Number of Items:          48

Test Time:         25 minutes

Time needed for Administration (including Test Time):     35 minutes

EXAMPLE APTITUDE ITEM

For each statement, fill in either T, F or CS on the answer sheet.

These corresponds to your decision as to whether the statement is True. False. Or whether it is not possible to tell.

T: True                    

F: False                   

CS: Cannot Say      

Verbal Reasoning Test Prep

Whether you are aware of it or not, you use your verbal reasoning test skills when following a new recipe, reading a notice at a train station, applying for a bank account, or browsing through holiday brochures.

Of course, the best way to improve your performance is always through practice. You’ll get the most benefit if you practise with questions that mirror the exact test you are preparing to take.

There are many skills that you can practise in advance. The test-taker needs to concentrate, pay attention to detail and interpret the meaning of individual words and phrases as well as analysing the overall meaning of a text passage. When answering individual questions the test-taker needs to focus on extracting the relevant verbal information. Imagine yourself as an eagle, circling over the overall passage and then swooping down to zero in on your prey – i.e. the bit of information needed to answer the question correctly.

Verbal Reasoning Test Practice Tips. man in suit at computer, thinking.

Different types of verbal reasoning test

Broadly speaking, the earlier in an assessment process that you are being asked to complete a verbal reasoning test the more important it is to pass. Candidates who do not pass are sifted out of the process, allowing employers to focus on applicants whose skills are most suitable for the job.

Effective verbal reasoning skills are also one of the selection criteria for certain professions

  • medicine’s UKCAT.
  • teaching’s QTS.
  • legal sector’s LNAT.

Verbal reasoning tests allow employers and university admissions officers to assess such skills of a large number of applicants in a standardised way. The same verbal reasoning test is given to a large number of applicants, which increases the fairness of the application process – whilst also making the process more efficient.  A well-designed verbal reasoning test offers both a reliable and a valid means of assessment.

Aptitude Test Practice Strategies

Firstly, skim read the passage to get a rough idea of its content.

Secondly, skim read the questions to get a rough idea of the level of difficulty and the sorts of things that you are going to be asked. Steps 1 and 2 will prepare you for the level of complexity and the time that you need to spend answering the questions.

literacy test tips

Thirdly, read the passage again! Go through the passage again but read it more carefully this time. Do not spend time trying to memorise the details. Instead, think in broad terms about the different areas that the passage is covering. Try to make mental notes about where the specific pieces of information relating to each area are located in the passage.

Fourthly, try to get a broad sense of what you are going to be asked in each question and to know where this information was covered within the passage. Ask yourself: Am I in a suitable position to answer the questions? For more complex passages the answer to this will be no. Read the passage a third time. Try to identify the pieces of information in the passage that seem particularly important.

Verbal Reasoning tips example: 

UK Most educators agree that excessive television viewing usually damages a child’s concentration.

If faced with the statement: Excessive television always damages a child’s concentration you might be tempted to answer True. The answer is in fact False – because the word usually tells you that this is a high possibility, not a guaranteed effect.

Cause and effect

You will come to recognise cause and effect words and phrases. These include: since, because, for, so, consequently, as a result, thus, therefore, due to and hence.

There are subtle differences between these words and phrases, as some signal stronger causal relationships than others. A word like because indicates a direct causal link. The word so also joins facts together but does not necessarily mean that it was the first fact that led to the second.

Verbal Reasoning tips example: 

Spain has always been a popular tourist destination, however, it now faces competition from cheaper resorts in other countries.

You need to pay careful attention to the information that follows the contrast word as it is often the key to answering the question.

Is the answer to the following statement True, False, or Cannot tell: Spain is unrivalled as a tourist destination. The answer is False. The sentence says that Spain has always been popular, but goes on to say that it now faces competition.

Who needs good verbal reasoning skills?

As you’ve seen above, everyone needs to have basic verbal reasoning skills to survive daily life. And good verbal reasoning skills are a key prerequisite for many different jobs. Any job that involves frequent communication requires verbal reasoning skills.

At the graduate and managerial levels, many jobs require the interpretation and critical analysis of complex verbal information.

Let’s have a look at a typical office environment and how different workers use verbal reasoning skills to perform their duties.

literacy tips

Why do I need verbal reasoning test practice?

Verbal reasoning ability links to job performance. This is why verbal reasoning tests are so popular for firstly job selection. Secondly, for entrance to certain professions and postgraduate degree courses. Only those where it is essential to work effectively with verbal information.

Many medium-sized and large employers also make extensive use of ability tests. For example, verbal reasoning tests. This is part of their standard recruitment and promotion processes.  Ability tests differentiate high from low performers.

A well-designed verbal reasoning test is a reliable and consistent assessment. It focuses on those verbal skills required for effective work performance.

Ability tests allow employers and university admissions offices to assess a large number of applicants for competitive positions in a standardised way. The same ability test can be given to a large number of applicants. Their results are an efficient means of comparision. This standardisation makes the process much fairer. When compared to old-fashioned, unstructured interviews.

There are many, many different types of verbal reasoning test. These aim at a general level (e.g. graduate tests). Or at a specific career path (e.g. for medical school or law school). There is a corresponding range in difficulty.

literacy tips

Top Ten verbal reasoning test tips

  • Practice has been shown to improve test results. So get in all the practice you can before the big day! Then, it will be easier for you to get into the right mind-set on your actual test day.
  • Ensure that your practice material is as close as possible to your actual test. Find out in advance as much as you can about this verbal reasoning test.
  • Set aside a quiet time when you are unlikely to be disturbed to practice. To do well on the test you’ll need to stay completely focussed. So use high levels of concentration in your practice sessions as well.
  • Pace yourself. Aim for a calm but efficient approach and work systematically, tackling one question at a time. The goal is to complete as many of the questions as possible in the time allowed. If you work too fast, you’ll make unnecessary mistakes. If you go too slow then you won’t complete enough questions.

literacy tips

Top Ten verbal reasoning test tips Part 2

  • If in doubt, double check that you have read the statement correctly. Check that you understood exactly what the question is asking you. Misreading a question can cost you points. Similarly, misreading instructions is a potentially disastrous mistake. So make sure you fully understand the instructions before you begin.
  • Stay positive. If you find yourself struggling with a question, remember that every question is worth exactly the same. Rememebr, it’s just one point. You won’t be expected to get every question right. Or even to complete every question, to pass the test. Aim firstly to do your best. Secondly, to answer as many correctly as possible.
  • You won’t succeed if you guess all your answers. However, if time is running out it makes sense to guess. Putting the same answer option for all your remaining questions may get you a few extra points. So go for it!
  • Learn from your mistakes. You will probably get some of the practice questions wrong. Review the correct answers. Thus you will fully understand where you went wrong and how you need to approach such questions next time around.
  • Check your average time per question when you review your results. Do you need to pick up your pace? Do you need to slow down?
  • Get a good night’s sleep before the test so that you will be fully rested and able to perform to the best of your abilities. Give yourself plenty of time so that you arrive a the testing location with time to spare.

Verbal reasoning test practice for Managerial roles

Most managers will need to use higher levels of verbal reasoning when reading or preparing reports. They need to be able to adapt their spoken and written communication style to the situation, whether addressing their subordinates or customers/ clients. Other company reporting procedures, such as appraisals, also require clearly written documentation.

Senior managers and directors will need to use the highest levels of verbal reasoning skills when analysing company reports, dealing with compliance issues and statutory obligations. Here there is a need for concise and accurate communication.

Verbal reasoning test practice for Customer service roles

Effective oral communication is the key to handling customer queries or sales calls. Talking to customers on the phone or face to face demands a flexible communication style. For example, telesales personnel would be expected to respond differently to a customer who was complaining than to one who was a prospective sale. Persuasive presentation skills also rely upon a solid foundation of verbal reasoning skills.

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Verbal reasoning test practice for PA or administrative roles

A PA’s responsibilities typically include written correspondence. For example, letters and emails, which need to use an appropriate tone and level for the intended audience. Administrative roles also need to check written documents. Also, to file these accurately. Plus, to keep on top of plans and procedures that have been agreed orally or in writing.

Verbal reasoning practice tests – Sales roles

Effective oral communication is the key for converting sales call prospects. In particular, sales roles in call centres which require an even more fluent style of communication style.

How to do well on SHL abstract reasoning tests

SHL abstract reasoning tests ask you to look for the changing pattern(s) in the “pictures”. The easier questions typically at the start of the test, will involve one change in colour, position, size etc of the figures shown.

Questions become more difficult as you must spot two or three changes in any of the features shown. Once you know one of the feature changes, check each answer option to discount any in conflict with it.

Verbal reasoning test practice for Managerial roles

Most managers will need to use higher levels of verbal reasoning when reading or preparing reports. They need to be able to adapt their spoken and written communication style to the situation, whether addressing their subordinates or customers/ clients. Other company reporting procedures, such as appraisals, also require clearly written documentation.

Senior managers and directors will need to use the highest levels of verbal reasoning skills when analysing company reports, dealing with compliance issues and statutory obligations. Here there is a need for concise and accurate communication.

Verbal reasoning test practice for Customer service roles

Effective oral communication is the key to handling customer queries or sales calls. Talking to customers on the phone or face to face demands a flexible communication style. For example, telesales personnel would be expected to respond differently to a customer who was complaining than to one who was a prospective sale. Persuasive presentation skills also rely upon a solid foundation of verbal reasoning skills.

Verbal reasoning test practice for PA or administrative roles

A PA’s responsibilities typically include written correspondence. For example, letters and emails, which need to use an appropriate tone and level for the intended audience. Administrative roles also need to check written documents. Also, to file these accurately. Plus, to keep on top of plans and procedures that have been agreed orally or in writing.

Verbal reasoning practice tests – Sales roles

Effective oral communication is the key for converting sales call prospects. In particular, sales roles in call centres which require an even more fluent style of communication style.

Useful Literacy Test Websites

Firstly, try test publisher websites. Visit the test publisher Website once you know the type of psychometric tests you will be taking. Since most test publisher Websites offer practice questions.

For example, practise sample questions from Kenexa-IBM TalentQ and SHL sites. Reputable test publishers will send you some sample questions for you to practice in advance.

Secondly, familiarise yourself with the test format. Read the instruction and introduction sections carefully for each psychometric test you will take. This should ensure you are familiar with the test format.

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Third, try to work efficiently without rushing

Each question is worth the same so don’t spend too long on a single question. You may find subsequent questions easier to answer. With the end of the test you can return to any unfinished questions. Although you may not finish the test, the best strategy is to answer as many questions as you can in the time available.

Fourth, stay positive

If you find yourself struggling with a question, remember that every question is worth exactly the same point. You won’t be expected to get every question right, or even to complete every question. To pass the test – just do your best and try to answer as many correctly as possible.

Fifth, learn from your mistakes

You will probably get some of the practice questions wrong. Review the correct answers so that you fully understand where you went wrong. You should learn how to approach such questions next time around.

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* * * Content updated October 2021 * * *

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