abstract reasoning test strategies. Abstract shapes.

Abstract reasoning test practice

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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.

TalentQ abstract reasoning test practice and TalentQ abstract reasoning test example

Types of Abstract Reasoning Test

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 test tips

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.

Abstract reasoning test practice

More abstract reasoning test tips

“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.

UCAT abstract reasoning test

The UCAT abstract reasoning test format is as follows.

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

SHL abstract reasoning test

Whereas, 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.

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Abstract reasoning test practice