Abstract reasoning tests use diagrams, symbols or shapes
instead of words or numbers. They involve identifying the logic of
a pattern and then continuing that logic to arrive at the
solution. Unlike questions that test your ability to use English
correctly or to answer math problems, many people find it
difficult to see why employers use abstract reasoning questions.
After all, they bear no relationship to the problems that you are
faced with at work.
The reason that these questions are so widely used is because psychologists believe that abstract reasoning questions provide the best indication of your ability to learn new things. This is very important in jobs where you are required to make decisions based on the information in front of you, rather than by following established procedures.
Employers use abstract reasoning questions where the job involves: developing strategies or policies, problem solving, dealing with complex ideas, or using your initiative to make decisions.
Sample Abstract Reasoning Questions
1) Which figure completes the series?
Hint: In this series the black rectangle is alternating from
top to bottom and the number of white squares is increasing by one
2) Which figure completes the statement?
Hint: Begin by comparing the top figures. Does each one contain the same number of elements? If so, does each contain the same elements? If so, the elements must have been moved in some way. This is usually done by reflection or rotation.
3) Which figure is the odd one out?
Hint: Begin by looking at the elements in each figure. Are
there the same number in each? Are they the same? If so, then look
at the configuration.
4) Which figure completes the series?
Hint: Begin by looking for a relationship between the figures
in the top row. If you think you have found one, then check that
the same relationship holds for the second row.
5) Which figure completes the grid?
Hint: Check to see if each row and column contains one, and
only one, of each shape. If not, then divide the grid horizontally
and vertically. Are they reflections? If not, are individual rows
related in some way? What about individual columns? If not, divide
the grid into four groups of four squares? Is there a relationship
between these groups?
It is not always easy to assess whether someone has the intellectual ability to see patterns and draw conclusions from unfamiliar information. Abstract reasoning questions require you to demonstrate your ability to understand complex concepts and assimilate new information. As a measure of reasoning ability, these questions are independent of educational and cultural background and provide the best indication of your intellectual potential.
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