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.
Download Verbal Reasoning Test - Practice Test 1
Sample Verbal Reasoning Questions
The answers to these questions are at the bottom of the page.
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Answers to Verbal Reasoning
Learn how to prepare properly for verbal reasoning tests.
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