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A 2021 Guide to Abstract Reasoning Tests

Guy Thornton
Guy Thornton June 23, 2021
2020 Abstract Reasoning Guide

2021 will always be remembered as the year we spent a lot of time doing not very much at all. And while it can be extremely boring being stuck indoors, using this time wisely to improve your interview skills by taking an abstract reasoning test is a surefire way to invest in your future and ensure you can enjoy the rest of the summer guilt-free.

What is an abstract reasoning test?

Abstract reasoning tests cover all types of logical or conceptual tests and can include diagrammatic or inductive reasoning tests. The abstract reasoning test assesses your ability to solve abstract problems. This is normally done by asking you to identify relationships between shapes or figures, find rules or similarities, and then use this evidence to establish an answer or continue the sequence. As these tests are not necessarily something you’ll have come across before, it is really useful to familiarise yourself with the format of the questions and answers before your interview.

What is the format of an abstract reasoning test?

Abstract reasoning tests normally provide multiple options to a question, it is up to you to find the rules to apply across the sequence. Questions are often shown as a series of diagrams or images, which you then match to complete the rule. As with most aptitude tests, they are normally timed which makes them more pressured. So where possible, stick to the one-question-per-minute rule! They are designed to be difficult and some questions even increase in complexity as the test goes on, but this is all to help employers identify potential in candidates.

Why do employers use abstract reasoning tests?

Employers use these tests to assess how candidates think; answering the test successfully shows the strength of your creative and lateral thinking as well as your general intellect. The tests have become increasingly popular as the objective style means they are really helpful for ensuring a diverse interview process. As the tests can highlight your problem-solving skills and initiative, they are used in the hiring process across many roles including software development, research, and engineering, as well as managerial roles.

PwC Assessment Test is an example of the employer assessment, which includes an abstract reasoning test.

How can I prepare?

The tests are designed to be challenging, so the only way to improve your skills and confidence is to practice abstract reasoning tests. Ensure when you are answering questions you are comparing every factor of the diagram or image.

Conduct abstract reasoning practice in exam-like conditions as this will help build your confidence for the real thing. Try to stick to the one-question-per-minute rule, and if you are struggling with a question move on as accuracy and speed are key for these tests. We find it useful to analyze answers straight after a mock test to learn from any mistakes.

So don’t gaze wistfully out the window anymore, instead practice your abstract reasoning tests and improve your skills and confidence ready for your interview or assessment day. This will also mean once lockdown ends you can socialize outside with your friends and family, safe in the knowledge that your abstract reasoning skills are top-notch!

Guy Thornton June 23, 2021

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