abstract reasoning test strategies. Abstract shapes.

Abstract reasoning test practice

High quality abstract reasoning test practice can be found on this page.

Abstract Reasoning Test Intro

In short, the correct answer, (A), is because the largest figure in Set A is white. In each of the 6 squares that make up Set A the largest figure is white. Whereas, the largest figure in Set B is always black.

Abstract reasoning test tips

Graduate abstract reasoning test scores provide an indication of learning potential. Abstract reasoning tests indicate an ability to reason logically and to work with new ‘ideas’. In summary, non-verbal reasoning tests assess critical thinking.

Most of these practice test sites also offer their own abstract reasoning test tips and non verbal reasoning tips.

SHL’s abstract reasoning test practice and abstract reasoning test example

Saville Consulting preparation advice for abstract reasoning tests

TalentQ abstract reasoning test practice and TalentQ abstract reasoning test example

Abstract Reasoning Step-by-Step Strategies

Series format non-verbal reasoning tips

In a series abstract reasoning question, you are presented with 4 to 5 boxes in a line. The individual boxes contain a series of ever-evolving figures. For example, there may be one black square and four white circles in the first box. The pattern could be an increase in the number of black figures by one for each step in the series. Thus, the pattern in the second box would be two black figures, three black figures in the third box and so on.

Alternatively, the pattern in the second box could shift such that the colour moves along one place in the series. Thus, the single black square would become a white square and the first white circle would become black.

“Complete the pattern” abstract reasoning practice

Similar to the series abstract reasoning format, instead of having a line of 5 boxes the abstract reasoning format could be more elaborate. This “complete the pattern” type of abstract reasoning test in its simplest format is a 2 by 2, or a 3 by 3, set of boxes in which one of the boxes is empty (except for a large question mark). You need to select which of the five answer options completes the 2 by 2 / 3 by 3 box.

It’s key not to panic. Whilst the question may look more complicated than the series row of boxes, you find the answer in the same way. The pattern will be both horizontal and vertical. This actually makes it easier to spot the similarities across and down the boxes. Once you have spotted the abstract similarities you are very close to knowing how the pattern differs going from one box to the next. Yes, exactly the same as in the simple series form of non-verbal reasoning question.

More abstract reasoning test practice

“Complete the pattern” type of non-verbal reasoning reasoning test can also be displayed in 10+ boxes presented in diamond, star or other matrix-type patterns of triangles typically. One triangle will contain a question mark highlighting this is the missing part of the pattern you need to solve. These again are less complicated than appearances suggest.

Remember with the more complicated “Complete the pattern” type of non-verbal reasoning test that reflection is likely to play a role in many question answers.

Odd One Out format abstract reasoning practice

In an Odd One Out non-verbal reasoning test format, you are presented with five abstract figures and you need to determine which figure (answer options a to e) is the most unlike the other abstract figures.

Abstract reasoning test tips

Questions become more difficult as you must spot two or three changes in any of the features shown. It can help, once you’ve worked out at least one of the feature changes, to check through the answer options to discount those that do not conform said feature changes.

As always, test practice and your familiarity with the test format help – with these tests you are strongly advised to learn the range of possible feature changes. leading test publishers Kenexa-IBM and TalentQ have excellent sample questions for you to practise any of these test types. Alongside SHL’s practise test pages these three sites cover most of the psychometric tests you are likely to find. You can ask in advance which test publisher’s test you will take.

The key is to always identify those patterns that differentiate Set A from Set B. You can find further UCAT abstract reasoning test practice tips here.

UKCAT type of abstract reasoning practice

Two blocks of 2 by 3 squares, called Set A and Set B. There are then several questions displaying a single box with the question, To which Set does this figure belong, or is it To Neither Set.

First Step – Identifying Set A’s features

  • Number

There are 3-4 figures within each square.
Hence, the numbers of figures within each square is unlikely to be part of the overall pattern that unites the six squares in Set A.

  • Size:

There is one large shape and many smaller shapes shown in each of Set A’s squares. The fact that there is one larger shape may be the key to this block of Abstract Reasoning questions.

  • Shape:

The shapes appear to vary quite randomly within each square and across the six squares in Set A. Hence, the shape of figures within each square is unlikely to be part of the overall pattern that unites the six squares in Set A.

  • Colour:

Some of the figures are black and some of the figures are white. However, the largest figure is always coloured white.

  • Position:

The figures appear to be positioned quite randomly within each of Set A’s six squares. Hence this feature is unlikely to be part of the overall pattern that unites the six squares in Set A.

  • Miscellaneous other characteristics:

There are no additional characteristics of the figures in Set A that indicate an underlying pattern across all six squares.

 Abstract Reasoning Test Practice Part II

Second Step – Identifying Set A’s repeating patternConfirmation that the repeating pattern is that the largest figure is always white in Set A.

 

Third Step – – Identifying Set B’s features

  • Number

There are 2-4 figures within each square.
Hence, the numbers of figures within each square is unlikely to be part of the overall pattern that unites the six squares in Set B.

  • Size:

There is one large shape and 1-3 smaller shapes shown in each square.

  • Shape:

The shapes vary within each square and across the six squares in Set B. Hence, the shape of figures within each square is unlikely to be part of the overall pattern that units the six squares in Set B.

  • Colour:

Some of the figures are black and some of the figures are white. However, the largest figure is always coloured black.

  • Position:

The figures appear to be positioned randomly. Hence this feature is unlikely to be part of the overall pattern that unites the six squares in Set B.

  • Miscellaneous other characteristics:

There are no additional characteristics of the figures in Set B that indicate an underlying pattern across all six squares.

Reasoning Test Practice Part III

Fourth Step – Identifying Set B’s Repeating PatternConfirmation that the repeating pattern is that the larger figure is always black in Set B.
Fifth Step – Identifying the theme that Set A and Set B have in commonThe repeating pattern that unites Sets A and B is that the largest figure is always white in Set A and is always black in Set B.

 

Sixth StepThe largest shape in Question 1 is a rectangle. This is coloured white. Hence the correct answer is Set A.
Answer and Reasoning for Example item 2The largest figure in this question is a white arrow, thus the correct answer is (A) for Set A. Please note that Steps 1-5 are only required for the first question in each question block.Sixth Step

  • The largest shape in Question 2 is a double-headed arrow. This is coloured white. Hence the correct answer is Set A.

Abstract reasoning test tips

We recommend our 11 plus practice non verbal reasoning tests. Practising this online test will help you to become familiar with abstract reasoning tests.

 1 – Review the Answer Options

There are a few good psychometric test-taking principles to follow. Before starting the test, ensure that you fully understand the abstract reasoning test format – particularly if you have never completed an abstract reasoning test before.

 2 – Review the answer options

The answer to any abstract reasoning test question is based upon a pattern or series of rules that the respondent has identified in the question stem. Well-written abstract reasoning test questions therefore have sets of answer options that also follow one or more of these rules.

Review the answer options, particularly any answer options that are similar. Are any of the question rules are apparent from how the answer options have been constructed. Look in particular for any patterns across the answer options. What are the similarities? What are the differences?

3 – Establish the changing patterns

Changes in the figures/shapes are the key to answering abstract reasoning questions. You need to be on the look-out for these types of change in the sets of figures and shapes shown in each abstract reasoning question:

– Number

– Reflection

– Shape

– Rotation

– Position

– Colour, including shading

 4 – Remember to also consider the more unusual feature changes

Less common changes in abstract reasoning test questions include:

– Crossover area of two figures / shapes

– Number of sides

– Left to right and up / down directional changes

Abstract Reasoning Test Strategies Part II

 5 – Most abstract reasoning questions will have more than one set of changes to be found

An easy abstract reasoning question will only have one rule that needs to be found by the test-taker. For example at each step in the sequence, a change in the position of one or more of the symbols, a colour or shape change. Although most abstract reasoning question sequences are based on two or more rules. What are the similarities? What are the differences?

abstract reasoning test strategies. 3D Abstract shapes.

These 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.

It can help, once you’ve worked out at least one of the feature changes, to check through the answer options to discount those that do not conform said feature changes.

 6 – Remove any answer options which you know are incorrect

With abstract reasoning tests, a useful test-taking strategy is to start by eliminating any answer options which looks incorrect. Logically incorrect. Removing inappropriate answer options may even leave you with only the correct answer option left to select from. This test-taking strategy will therefore save you time to spend on the test’s other abstract reasoning questions.

 7 – Follow a step-by-step approach

A sequential approach is vital. Some step-by-step approaches to answering abstract reasoning test questions are shown here.

 8 – Skip over the more difficult questions and come back to them at the end

With abstract reasoning tests, you are likely to complete some of the abstract reasoning questions much more quickly than others. Of course it makes sense to “pass” and then return to those abstract reasoning questions that after say 30-40 seconds you still cannot spot any linking pattern.

Abstract reasoning test tips Part III

 9 – The more difficult questions will have several changing patterns to find

As a corollary to Abstract reasoning test tip 8, it is also likely that the quickest abstract reasoning test questions are those for which there are only 1-2 patterns to find. Logically it makes sense that if there are more abstract patterns to find the longer it will take you, and some of the most difficult questions will have 4-5 patterns going on.

Also though the more patterns there are to find in any abstract reasoning question, then the more likely you are to get stalled looking for one elusive pattern.

 10 – Familiarize yourself with the different abstract reasoning test formats

See Kenexa-IBM, SHL and TalentQ  Websites for sample abstract reasoning questions of test publisher’s own test format. As always, test practice and your familiarity with the test format help – with these tests you are strongly advised to learn the range of possible feature changes.

Leading test publishers Kenexa-IBM and TalentQ have excellent sample questions for you to practise any of these test types. Alongside SHL’s practise test pages these three sites cover most of the psychometric tests you are likely to find. You can ask in advance which test publisher’s test you will take.

Abstract Reasoning Practice – Formats

There are many types of abstract reasoning test from Complete the series, Complete the Grid to the UKCAT-type format. A sequential approach is key in each of these to establish:

  • Firstly, which features are changing.
  • Then to eliminate answer options.

For example, the following common types of abstract reasoning test pattern:

Size of abstract shape

Key to passing an abstract reasoning test is often the size of the shapes in the question. Although if size is one of the patterns you need to find, this will still not reveal the complete answer to you. Then, you will need to look further than the biggest and the smallest shapes to find each of the patterns that make-up the abstract reasoning answer.

Size could be one of the easiest patterns to find first. This will then allow you to eliminate those answer options that do not meet this first pattern.

abstract reasoning test strategies. Drawing of heads with blocks.

Sides of abstract shape

It’s important when answering an abstract reasoning test to count the number of sides in the key figures.

Symmetry of abstract shape

When taking an abstract reasoning test, you must consider the lines of symmetry of the key figures you’ve identified in the question.

Number of abstract shapes

Key to passing an abstract reasoning test is to count the number of shapes and figures in the question. This is often part of the solution. If you believe that number is important then narrow down the solution. For example, “remove” the number pattern from the question and seeing what other patterns then reveal themselves.

Arrows pointing at particular abstract shapes

It’s important when answering an abstract reasoning test to look out for arrows, the direction in which these are pointing and which figures the arrows tend to point towards.

Shading of particular shapes

When taking an abstract reasoning test, colour or more particularly shading are often a determinant in the solution. Colour is one of the easiest and quickest patterns to find.

You will easily notice that there are black and white coloured shapes. For example, checkered and grey coloured shapes.

Patterns

Does any pattern immediately stand out? Remember that this pattern can easily be combined with the other feature changes listed on the is page. For example, is there one black circle and one white square.

Then, in a series abstract reasoning question, does the colour swop so there is one white circle and one black square. For example, does the black shape move around the figure (in a series type of abstract reasoning question format).

Order / Sequence of shapes

Part of the key to passing an abstract reasoning test is to review the order and sequence in which particular figures appear.

Rotation of abstract figures

When taking an abstract reasoning test, you need to consider whether one of the trends is based on the rotation of certain figures.

Reflection of abstract figures

Part of the key to passing an abstract reasoning test is to consider whether there has been any reflection of the contents of a figure into an adjoining figure. This can be difficult to spot. Split a pattern in half and to see if each half represents a reflected half.

abstract reasoning test strategies. Abstract puzzle with colourful blocks.

Overlap of abstract figures

It’s important when answering an abstract reasoning test to look at areas of overlap between key shapes.

    Abstract reasoning test practice

    All of these practice test links offer free abstract reasoning test practice, equivalent to 11 plus non-verbal reasoning test practice.

    Abstract Reasoning Test Practice

    Abstract reasoning test practice is the professional term for non-verbal reasoning tests used in occupational settings. These abstract reasoning test practice sites are therefore suitable for both abstract reasoning test practice and for non-verbal reasoning test practice. Most of these practice test sites also offer their own abstract reasoning test tips and non-verbal reasoning tips.

    eWe recommend our 11 plus practice non-verbal reasoning tests. Practising this online test will help you to become familiar with abstract reasoning tests.

    SHL’s abstract reasoning test practice and abstract reasoning test example

    Saville Consulting preparation advice for abstract reasoning tests.

    TalentQ abstract reasoning test practice and TalentQ abstract reasoning test example.

    Abstract Reasoning /Non-Verbal Reasoning Practice Formats

    The best type of abstract reasoning test practice is with the type of abstract reasoning test that you expect to take. There are several broad types of the abstract reasoning test format. Some abstract reasoning tests combine 2-4 of these types into one test.

    Series format abstract reasoning test practice

    In a series abstract reasoning question, you are presented with 4 to 5 boxes in a line. The individual boxes contain a series of ever-evolving figures. For example, there may be one black square and four white circles in the first box. The pattern could be an increase in the number of black figures by one for each step in the series. Thus, the pattern in the second box would be two black figures, three black figures in the third box and so on.

    Alternatively, the pattern in the second box could shift such that the colour moves along one place in the series. Thus, the single black square would become a white square and the first white circle would become black.

    Abstract reasoning test practice

    “Complete the pattern” Part I

    Similar to the series abstract reasoning format, instead of having a line of 5 boxes the abstract reasoning format could be more elaborate. This “complete the pattern” type of abstract reasoning test in its simplest format is a 2 by 2, or a 3 by 3, set of boxes in which one of the boxes is empty (except for a large question mark). You need to select which of the five answer options completes the 2 by 2 / 3 by 3 box.

    It’s key not to panic. Whilst the question may look more complicated than the series row of boxes, you find the answer in the same way. The pattern will be both horizontal and vertical. This actually makes it easier to spot the similarities across and down the boxes. Once you have spotted the abstract similarities you are very close to knowing how the pattern differs going from one box to the next. Yes, exactly the same as in the simple series form of abstract reasoning question.

    Complete the pattern Part II

    “Complete the pattern” type of abstract reasoning test can also be displayed in 10+ boxes presented in diamond, star or other matrix-type patterns of triangles typically. One triangle will contain a question mark highlighting this is the missing part of the pattern you need to solve. These again are less complicated than appearances suggest.

    Remember with the more complicated “Complete the pattern” type of abstract reasoning test that reflection is likely to play a role in many question answers.

    Odd One Out format abstract reasoning test practice

    In an Odd One Out abstract reasoning test format, you are presented with five abstract figures and you need to determine which figure (answer options a to e) is the most, unlike the other abstract figures.

    UKCAT type of abstract reasoning question format

    The UKCAT’s abstract reasoning test presents two blocks of 2 by 3 squares, called Set A and Set B. There are then several questions displaying a single box with the question, To which Set does this figure belong, or is it To Neither Set.

    Abstract reasoning test practice