Spatial Ability Tests

Spatial Ability can be defined as ‘The ability to interpret and make drawings, form mental images, and visualize movement or change in those images.’ Spatial ability tests measure your ability to manipulate shapes in two dimensions or to visualize three-dimensional objects presented as two-dimensional pictures. These tests are usually of 20-40 minutes duration and contain 20-30 questions.


Spatial ability tests often involve the visual assembly and the disassembly of objects that have been rotated or which are viewed from different angles or objects that have different markings on their surfaces. 

Spatial Ability - Shape Matching
In these types of question you will be presented with a number of objects only two of which are identical. These are speed questions and you will need to work quickly and attempt to answer as many as possible in the given time. Generally speaking, if the questions involve the manipulation of 2 dimensional objects then they are probably fairly straightforward, but you will be challenged to answer them all in the time you are given.

Spatial Ability - Group Rotation
This is slightly more complex than the rotations in the two-dimensional shape matching question.

Spatial Ability - Combining Shapes  
These questions show you a series of 2-dimensional shapes. One of the shapes has been ‘cut up’ into pieces. The questions presents you with the pieces and you are asked to work out which of the shapes has been ‘cut up’.

Spatial Ability - Cube Views in 3-Dimensions
These questions show you several (usually 3) views of a 3-dimensional cube with unique symbols or markings on each face and then asks you a question about it. For example, which symbol is on the opposite face?

Spatial Ability - Other Solids in 2 and 3 Dimensions
These questions are similar to the cube questions above, but rather than cubes they use other solid shapes which may be irregular. In some respects, these questions are easier than the cube questions as there are more relationships to work with. In other words, each face of the solid shape has a shape of its own rather than just being square.

Spatial Ability - Maps and Plans
These questions often appear in tests for emergency services, military and law enforcement jobs where the ability to give or follow directions based on a map or street plan is essential.

All spatial ability tests rely on you being able to imagine what would happen in your mind's eye. Unfortunately, about 5% of the adult population find it impossible to imagine two-dimensional shapes being moved through a third dimension. This is thought to be because there is a genetic factor involved in spatial reasoning ability.

Spatial ability is required in production, technical and design jobs where plans and drawings are used, for example; engineering, architecture, surveying and design. However, it is also important in some branches of science where the ability to envisage the interactions of 3 dimensional components is essential.

You may also be interested in: Aptitude Tests IntroductionQuestion Types & ScoringThe Difference between Speed & Power TestsVerbal Ability TestsNumerical Ability TestsAbstract Reasoning TestsSpatial Ability TestsMechanical Aptitude TestsData Checking TestsWork Sample TestsInterpreting Aptitude Test ResultsDifferent Types of Scoring Systems,  Standard Scores, Percentiles & Norming and Using the Results to Make Selection Decisions.

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