What is a Watson Glaser critical thinking test?
The Watson Glaser critical thinking test is a psychometric test used to recruit candidates to financial companies, as well as aid with internal testing and progression opportunities.
The test measures an individual's ability to think critically. Essentially, you're being assessed on how well you can read, digest, process and analyse information in order to come to the most rational conclusion.
Good critical thinkers are able to think logically, argue succinctly and analyse rationally. So as you can imagine, it's a skillset sought after by a huge range of financial employers.
Now produced by test publisher TalentLens, the Watson Glaser critical thinking test is considered to be one of the most challenging critical thinking tests out there, so it's important to practice and prepare as much as possible before taking it.
Watson Glaser critical thinking test format
The Watson Glaser test exists both online and on paper. If you're not sure which version you'll be taking it's always best to ask.
The test is typically 30 minutes long, in which time you'll need to answer 40 questions (there is also a 60 minute, 80 question version).
During that time, you'll be asked questions across five key areas:
The deduction section asks you to read through passages of text and conclusions based on that passage of text.
Your job is to mark whether the conclusions 'follow' or 'do not follow' what you've read.
It can be really hard to ignore any prior knowledge (especially if you're answering in a way that feels incorrect based on what you know, not what you've read), but it's important if you want to do well at this section of the test.
You'll be met with a passage of text that you need to read through, and an associated list of conclusions. Your job is to identify the conclusions that are possible based solely on what you've read, and ensure you don't bring any external knowledge into the decision making process.
Here, you're being examined on your ability to read, digest and interpret dense passages of text. A useful skill in many financial roles.
After reading through a series of statements, you'll be presented with some assumptions that are relevant to what you've just read. If the assumption for the statement is true, you'll mark it as 'assumption made'. If it's not, you'll check 'assumption not made.'
Again, it's not about what we really know to be true or not, it's all about what you're reading, and how you're interpreting that. It's important to keep this in mind as you work through the statements so you don't forget the purpose of this section of the test.
After reading through a series of facts, you'll be presented with several inferences — conclusions that one could possibly, or could certainly not, draw from the statements you've just read.
You'll then need to mark the inference as; true, probably true, insufficient data, probably false, or false.
Remember to refer back to the statements and use your critical thinking skills to really analyse what it is you're reading, and whether you can infer something from that statement, or not.
In the last section, you can expect to read through a question before looking at several related arguments.
Your job is to evaluate these arguments and mark them as either 'strong' or 'weak', based on how relevant the argument is, how well it answers the question, and how strong you deem it to be overall.
Remember, this is not the time to answer based on your personal thoughts or opinions, it's about how well the argument answers the question being asked.
Which financial employers use Watson Glaser tests?
As well as for recruiting new talent, many financial companies use the Watson Glaser test to manage employees' progression, and to monitor people's strengths and weaknesses in order to help them to improve in certain areas of their work.
Big players in the financial industry, including Bank of England and Deloitte, use the Watson Glaser tests for both employment and internal progression purposes as they help employers to objectively look at an individual's strengths and weaknesses when it comes to critical thinking, making decisions rooted in fact, and avoiding unconscious bias.
Tips to prepare and pass the Watson Glaser critical thinking test
1. Focus on what's in front of you — with the Watson Glaser tests it's so important to disregard prior knowledge, experiences or personal opinions and focus on what's in the test. Everything you need to answer the questions is in front of you, it's just about ensuring you know how to draw out the truths.
2. Use the RED model — The Watson Glaser test is built around the RED pillars. Keep them in mind as you work through the test and it'll help you.
R ecognise assumptions — is a statement rooted in fact, or is it merely an assumption?
E valuate arguments — try and see both sides of the story so you can evaluate an argument objectively.
D raw conclusions — ignore your own thoughts and feelings and seek to draw conclusions based solely on what's in front of you.
3. Read the questions carefully — it may sound obvious, but it's so important. There are very subtle but essential differences in what is asked of you in the five different sections of the test, so it's important you're thorough in your reading, and you understand exactly what you need to do.
4. Pick out key phrases — the passages of text you read through will contain keywords or phrases that can help you uncover the meaning of the text, and can make it easier to identify whether something is fact, inference or false. Try and identify these keywords before you start answering.
5. Don't lose track of time — timings are tight on the test so it's important to not get caught up on a tricky question at the expense of others. Work out roughly how long you have to spend on each question or section at the start of the test, and try to stick to it.
What is a good score on the Watson Glaser test?
The pass mark for different companies will vary, but it's safe to assume a score of 75% or more is considered good.
Is the Watson Glaser test hard?
The Watson Glaser test is considered to be one of the most challenging critical thinking tests out there. But that doesn't mean it's impossible — it just means it's extra important to practice and prepare.
How do I get better at Watson Glaser tests?
There really is no substitute for practice. The more you can get under the skin of the questions, understand what's being asked of you and get used to working through the questions quickly but accurately, the better you'll do when it really matters.
What do I need to complete the Watson Glaser test?
This will depend on whether you're taking the test online or on paper, where you're taking the test and for which company. If you're unsure, it's always best to check with your contact.