Executive Education

A 2020 Guide to Abstract Reasoning Tests

Having more time on our hands is both a blessing and a curse. And while we’re all partial to binge-watching box sets and enjoying more time in bed, using the time productively to further your career is something that’ll certainly pay off when all of this is over. So by all means, enjoy snoozing the alarm and keeping up to date with Netflix’s new offerings – but make sure you also make time to get ready for interviews and assessment days with Practice Aptitude Tests. 

What is an abstract reasoning test?

Otherwise known as diagrammatic and inductive reasoning tests, abstract reasoning tests are designed to test you on your ability to identify relationships between patterns, shapes and figures. This in itself might sound abstract, but by working out the rule that governs a pattern or the logic by which a sequence is formed, you’re showing a potential employer that you’re a problem solver with strong logical skills.

What is the format of an abstract reasoning test? 

You’ll be presented with lots of different shapes, figures or patterns and asked to complete the sequence in front of you. To do this, you’ll need to use logic to work out the rule that connects what you can see and how you would apply this going forwards. As with most aptitude tests, the answers are multiple choice. But that doesn’t mean this is easy. In fact, because the questions on the abstract reasoning test might be unlike anything you’ve ever seen before, many people do find these tests really challenging at first. The good news is that practice really does make perfect, and the more tests you take before the one that counts, the better chance you have at impressing a potential employer and ultimately, walking away with a job. 

Why do employers use abstract reasoning tests?

Abstract reasoning is the aptitude test most like a traditional IQ test, and as a result it gives employers a clearer indication of where your strengths and weaknesses lie, and how competent you are at answering questions under pressure. With each question, you’re looking for the underlying logic that connects all of the images in front of you – a skill that’ll prove very useful in a lot of different workplace scenarios. The test is most commonly used in industries such as technology and engineering, where this type of thinking is highly valued.

How can I prepare? 

Taking as many abstract reasoning tests as you can is the only way to increase your speed and skill at the test. And it’s certainly the easiest way to ensure you walk in with confidence on the day it really counts. Try to set aside a certain amount of time a day or week to practice the tests, and ensure you take breaks and get plenty of fresh air, sleep and water too. When it comes to logging on and taking the practice tests, we recommend finding a quiet space so you can concentrate, and getting together everything you need beforehand so you don’t interrupt your flow. When you’ve finished each test, take the time to go through the answers and pay particular attention to the questions you got wrong to get a better understanding of why, and how to get it right next time. 

At Practice Aptitude Tests, not only can you take plenty of mock tests, you can also pick up hints and tips from the experts. So while it might not sound quite as tempting as lying on the sofa and pressing play on the remote, practising aptitude tests really is the best way to come out of 2020 knowing you used the time to invest in your future.


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Sophie Ireland
SVP for News and Editorial Director. As CEOWORLD magazine's senior vice president for news and editorial director, Sophie Ireland oversees CEOWORLD magazine's journalism and journalists around the world and across platforms. She leads an award-winning team of journalists and newsroom executives who are committed to excellence, innovation and the highest quality reporting and storytelling. Follow her on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or connect on LinkedIn. Email her at sophie@ceoworld.biz.