The expression 'verbal reasoning’ is often used interchangeably with ‘verbal ability’ and ‘verbal aptitude’. As far as psychometric tests are concerned the two terms ‘verbal ability’ and ‘verbal aptitude’ are interchangeable. However the same does not apply to the term ‘verbal reasoning’ which does have a specific meaning and should really only be used to describe a specific type of verbal ability test.
There are basically two types of questions that appear in verbal ability tests. Speed questions are so straightforward that with unlimited time almost everyone taking the test could answer them all. However, the time allowed to complete the test is so short that even the ablest person would find it difficult to finish. This means that the result depends on the number of correct answers made in the relatively short time allowed. In contrast, power questions vary in difficulty and no one is expected to get all of the answers correct even with unlimited time.
Spelling, Grammar and Word Meaning
Questions where you have to identify incorrectly spelt words or demonstrate that you can use correct grammar are common in all levels of verbal ability tests. These are speed questions in that you don’t need to ‘reason out’ the answer. You either know it or you don’t.
Verbal Critical Reasoning
Unlike spelling, grammar and word meaning questions, these questions are not designed to measure your facility with English. They are designed to test your ability to take a series of facts expressed in words and to understand and manipulate the information to solve a specific problem. In other words they are a test of your ‘reasoning’ ability.
Sample Verbal Reasoning Questions
If the above information is true, which of the following must also be true?
Answer = C
Which of the following, if true, would weaken the above argument?
Answer = E
Which of the following statements best supports the health inspectors claims?
Answer = E
Which of the following statements does not support the conclusion above?
Answer = C
Statement 1 - Exactly 80% of citizens complete their national service.
Statement 2 - Only citizens over 21 years of age who have
completed their national service are permitted to vote.
Which of the statements above make it possible to answer the question
Answer = E
Statement 1 - The first standing stone is 3 meters tall.
Statement 2 - The stones are 20 metres apart.
Which of the statements above make it possible to answer the question.
Answer = A
Preparing for a Verbal Reasoning Test
If you are told that you need to sit a verbal reasoning test as part of the job selection process and you want to prepare for it properly, then you should ask which type of questions it contains. Specifically, is it just verbal reasoning or does it also contain spelling, grammar and word meaning items. Once you have the answer to this question you can run through the free downloadable verbal reasoning example questions on this website to give yourself the best chance of success in the real test.
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Answers to Verbal Reasoning