The term ‘verbal reasoning test’ is often used interchangeably
with ‘verbal ability test’ and ‘verbal aptitude test’. There is no
widely accepted definition of the difference between verbal
ability and verbal aptitude, and as far as psychometric tests are
concerned the two terms are interchangeable. However the same does
not apply to the term ‘verbal reasoning’ which does have a
specific meaning as far as psychometric tests are concerned. The
term ‘verbal reasoning test’ should really only be used to
describe a specific type of verbal test.
This is best explained as follows: there are basically two types
of verbal questions that appear in psychometric tests. Speed
questions are so easy that with unlimited time all but the most
inept of people taking the test could answer them all
successfully. However, the time allowed to complete the test is so
short that even the ablest person is not expected to finish. This
means that the result depends on the number of correct answers
made in the relatively short time allowed.
In contrast, a power test contains questions that vary in
difficulty and no one is expected to get all of the answers
correct even with unlimited time. In practice, a definite but
ample time is set for power tests.
Verbal Speed Tests – Spelling and Grammar
These are ‘speed’ questions which test your ability to use English
correctly. You should check whether the test you are going to sit
contains any of these type of questions.
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. If you have been out of the
education system for a while or you are not an avid reader, then
you may be surprised how much your spelling and grammar have
deteriorated. Since most of us use word processors with the
‘auto-correct’ option switched on, it is very easy not to
concentrate on spelling words correctly. In addition, because
email is now the preferred method of communication, and most of us
use a fairly informal style, many people are out of practice when
it comes to more formal English usage.
Verbal Power Tests – Critical Reasoning
Unlike spelling and grammar questions, these questions are not
designed to measure your facility with the 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. Employers use critical reasoning questions to
gain an insight into whether you have the key intellectual skills
that are the foundation for success in a managerial position.
Consequently, these questions are usually restricted to graduate
and management level tests.
It is not always easy to assess whether someone has the ability to
interpret information in an analytical way and to make sound
judgements based on their conclusions. This is particularly true
if individuals are applying for their first management job and do
not have a track record of successful decision making. Critical
reasoning questions require you to demonstrate your ability to
make logical decisions and even to recognise that insufficient
data has been provided for a definitive answer to be reached, as
would be the case in many real-life situations.
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 questions. Once you have the
answer to this question you can run through the free downloadable
practice papers on this website to give yourself the best chance
of success in the real test.
These sample question papers each contain 8 questions and have a
suggested time limit of 20 minutes. The questions are presented in
Letter/A4 format for easy printing and self-marking.
Verbal Reasoning Test - Practice Test 1
Sample Verbal Reasoning Questions
- Pedro goes either hunting or fishing every day. If it is
snowing & windy then Pedro goes hunting. If it is sunny and not
windy then Pedro goes fishing. Sometimes it can be snowing and
Which of the following statements must be true:
- If it is not sunny and it is snowing then Pedro goes
- If it is windy and Pedro does not go hunting then it is
- If it is windy and not sunny then Pedro goes hunting.
- If it is windy and sunny then Pedro goes hunting.
- If it is snowing and sunny then Pedro goes hunting.
- The cost of manufacturing tractors in Korea is twenty
percent less than the cost of manufacturing tractors in Germany.
Even after transportation fees and import taxes are added, it is
still cheaper to import tractors from Korea to Germany than to
produce tractors in Germany.
Which of the following assertions is best supported by this
- Labor costs in Korea are twenty percent below those in
- Importing tractors into Germany will eliminate twenty
percent of the manufacturing jobs in Germany.
- The costs of transporting a tractor from Korea to Germany
is more than twenty percent of the cost of manufacturing the
tractor in Korea.
- The import taxes on a tractor imported from Korea to
Germany is less than twenty percent of the cost of
manufacturing the tractor in Germany.
- It takes twenty percent less time to make a tractor in
Korea than it does in Germany.
- In 1695 about 11,400 doctors who had treated plague
sufferers died and about 23,670 doctors who had not treated
plague sufferers died. On the basis of these figures, it can be
concluded that it was more dangerous for doctors not to
participate in the treatment of plague sufferers than it was for
them to participate in it.
Which of the following statements would cast most doubt on the
- Expressing the difference between the numbers of deaths
among doctors who had treated plague sufferers and doctors who
had not treated plague suffers as a percentage of the total
number of deaths.
- Examining the death rates for doctors in the years before
and after 1695.
- Separating deaths due to natural causes during the
treatment of plague suffers from deaths caused by other
- Comparing death rates per thousand members of each group
rather than comparing total numbers of deaths.
- The figures quoted may vary by plus or minus ten percent
from the actual figures.
- There are 900 bottles to be filled. Jim and Molly working
independently but at the same time take 30 minutes to fill the
bottles. How long should it take Molly working by herself to
fill the bottles?
Statement 1 -
Molly fills half as many bottles as Jim.
Statement 2 -
Jim would take 45 minutes by himself.
Which of the statements above make it possible to answer the
- Statement 1 alone is sufficient, but statement 2 alone is
- Statement 2 alone is sufficient, but statement 1 alone is
- Both statements together are sufficient, but neither
statement alone is sufficient.
- Each statement alone is sufficient.
- Statements 1 and 2 together are not sufficient.
- Of the teams competing in the world archery championships,
twenty percent are from Europe. Half as many are from the United
States and one twentieth are from Africa. What fraction of teams
are from neither Europe, the US or Africa.
The answers to these questions are at the bottom of the page.
Answers to Verbal Reasoning