Thinking Skills Assessment practice

Watson Glaser

Welcome to our feature on the Watson Glaser Critical Reasoning Test and our Watson Glaser Practice.

Critical Reasoning Test Introduction

  • Critical reasoning tests, such as the LNAT, ask you to identify assumptions, inferences and the points made within “overall” arguments.
  • It doess not assess any knowledge of laws or any legal ability.
  • You need to answer 42 questions.

Critical reasoning is quite literally applying a critic’s eye (i.e. critical analysis) to verbal information. It encompasses the logical analysis of the following features of complex written arguments and viewpoints: assumptions; inferences; opinions; facts and interpretations.

The term “critical reasoning” might sound a bit intimidating, but it is a skill you can learn. With the right practice, most individuals can develop their skills sufficiently to pass this type of verbal critical reasoning test.

Critical Thinking skills

These are a learned skill. With the right training, most individuals who have an average or above the ability to learn can develop reasonable critical thinking skills. Critical thinking skills include the ability to define a problem clearly, the ability to formulate and select relevant hypotheses and to judge the validity of inferences. A good grasp of these skills enables a person to ‘think on his feet’, to assess evidence and arguments and to communicate clearly.

What is critical reasoning?

Critical reasoning is quite literally applying a critic’s eye (i.e. critical analysis) to verbal information. It encompasses the logical analysis of the following features of complex written arguments and viewpoints: assumptions; inferences; opinions; facts and interpretations.

The term “critical reasoning” might sound a bit intimidating, but it is a skill you can learn. With the right practice, most individuals can develop their skills sufficiently to pass this type of verbal reasoning critical reasoning test.

Watson Glaser Critical Reasoning Test and our Watson Glaser Practice

Who uses critical reasoning skills?

Everyone uses these skills sometimes, but some job roles specifically require a high level of verbal critical reasoning. For example, many senior managerial and executive positions require you to assess evidence effectively and to communicate your position clearly.

Lawyers, in particular, need excellent critical reasoning skills. In fact, this is such an important prerequisite that a specific verbal critical reasoning critical reasoning test – the LNAT – is used for entry to the legal profession.

Barristers, for example, use critical reasoning to:

  • Remain objective and not to be prejudiced by their own opinions.
  • Analyze large amounts of verbal information to build a case for their client.
  • Identify the different ways legal doctrine can be interpreted.
  • Present their evidence in court and state their conclusion based on it.

A judge (or jury) will in turn use their critical reasoning skills to balance all the evidence for and against the accused and reach a verdict.

Journalists also need to have a high level of critical reasoning skills. When commenting on a current affairs debate, a journalist will typically present all sides of the argument. After careful thought, and backed up by evidence, they then commit their own analysis to the page.

Watson Glaser Critical Reasoning Test and our Watson Glaser Practice

Deduction v Inference

It’s not just the person writing a newspaper article who needs to use critical reasoning skills – the person reading the article needs to apply their own critical reasoning skills too. Discerning readers will assess whether the journalist is making an argument is based on facts or is putting forth a subjective opinion influenced by the newspaper’s bias towards a particular political party or against a certain group of people. An astute reader always asks: Does the writer’s overall conclusion follow on from the evidence and facts presented?

This question is an example of logical deduction or deductive reasoning – the linking of one or more statements, or premises, to make a logically sound conclusion. If the argument’s premises are true, then it is logically impossible for the conclusion reached to be false. 

On the other hand, inductive reasoning or inference, is based on discerning what is probable or what is likely to be true from true premises. Critical reasoning involves applying both inductive and deductive reasoning to arguments.

How do critical reasoning tests work?

Critical reasoning critical reasoning tests are high-level analytical critical reasoning tests that assess how you think about and process verbal information. These critical reasoning tests are typically used in addition to a verbal reasoning critical reasoning test for graduate and managerial assessment.

As with verbal comprehension critical reasoning tests, a passage of text is presented, followed by a few questions. The passage is likely to be longer and more complex than the other verbal reasoning critical reasoning test formats presented in this book. The type of language used should reflect the job or course that is being applied for. All the information that you need will be presented to you – there is no requirement to learn any facts or material in advance of the critical reasoning test.

Watson Glaser Critical Reasoning Test and our Watson Glaser Practice

What kind of questions will there be?

Some questions will ask the candidate whether a statement is True or False, as per a verbal comprehension critical reasoning test. However there are many other types of question critical reasoning question, for which a finer level of detailed analysis is required. Candidates are asked to assess the strength of complex written arguments, distinguishing fact from opinion. The inherent logic – or otherwise – of these arguments is critical reasoning tested. The presented evidence and facts need to be analysed and subtle shades of meaning interpreted. Critical reasoning skills also need to be applied to determine what logical conclusions can be made from the text.

There are three broad types of critical reasoning question, as seen in the practice critical reasoning tests in Part 2.

Interpretation-type questions:
  • Which sentence best summarizes the passage?
  • … word could be substituted for another in the passage?
  • Which of the following words is the most suitable replacement?
  • What is meant by the following term?
  • Which facts are included in the passage?
Summary-type questions:
  • What is the main point the passage is making?
  • Which of the following statements best summarizes the second paragraph?
  • … statement best summarises what the author is saying in the last paragraph?
  • Which of these statements does not form part of the passage’s argument?

Watson Glaser Critical Reasoning Test and our Watson Glaser Practice

Assumptions and Deductions:
  • What can be inferred about X from the passage?
  • Which of the following can be deduced from the passage?
  • … of the following assumptions is made in the passage?
  • Which statements lend support to the passage’s argument?
  • … of these opinions is expressed by the author?

Improving the speed with which you can digest complex prose will help your critical reasoning test performance. Read the passage quickly the first time to get a feel for the main points. Then read the passage a second time more carefully, mentally noting the key content of each paragraph. Focus on the core of the argument and its supporting evidence, together with the author’s stance on the issue.

Watson-Glaser practice

While you need to absorb the critical reasoning test passages as efficiently as possible, that does not mean that you need to rush your answers. Quite the opposite, since there will be many different question formats. It is very important to double check that you are 100% clear on what the question is asking for.

To pass a critical reasoning critical reasoning test you need to understand the development of an argument – in particular, what points provide factual support. Reading commentary on political, social and economic debates will certainly improve your understanding.

Watson Glaser Critical Reasoning Test – Watson Glaser Practice

How can I pass my critical reasoning test?

As you read such material, ask yourself:

– How are individual’s opinions, counteracts and factual evidence expressed.

– Is there one or more argument? One or more conclusion?

– Look out for any assumptions and consider which specific pieces of information are being used to make a conclusion.

– Is each piece of information reliable? Would you draw the same conclusion yourself.

– What additional information would you need to frame a counterargument?

Take care when interpreting the meaning of complex words, particularly when you are being asked to make a judgement on the basis of a shade of meaning. Do not let your own general knowledge lead you astray. It’s vital that you do not let any of your personal opinions or your general knowledge influence your answers even slightly. This recommendation applies even if it seems that the correct answer is in direct contradiction to what you know or believe to be true.

Watson Glaser Critical Reasoning Test – Watson Glaser Practice

Critical reasoning test tips

To summarise,these are the skills you need to demonstrate to succeed on a critical reasoning critical reasoning test:

  • Identifying statements which are not supported by any facts
  • Separating facts from inferences and opinions
  • Identifying the implications of a factual statement
  • Making logical deductions from a passage of prose

Everyone uses these skills sometimes, but some job roles specifically require a high level of verbal critical reasoning. For example, many senior managerial and executive positions require you to assess evidence effectively and to communicate your position clearly.

Watson Glaser Critical Reasoning Test – Watson Glaser Practice

Lawyers, in particular, need excellent critical reasoning skills. Barristers, for example, use critical reasoning to:

  • Remain objective and not to be prejudiced by their own opinions.
  • Analyze large amounts of verbal information to build a case for their client.
  • Identify the different ways legal doctrine can be interpreted.
  • Present their evidence in court and state their conclusion based on it.

A judge (or jury) will, in turn, use their critical reasoning skills to balance all the evidence for and against the accused and reach a verdict.

Journalists also need to have a high level of critical reasoning skills. When commenting on a current affairs debate, a journalist will typically present all sides of the argument. After careful thought, and backed up by evidence, they then commit their own analysis to the page.

Watson Glaser Practice