Welcome to our abstract reasoning test practice 2023.

Non-verbal reasoning tests (nvr) overlap with abstract reasoning tests and logical reasoning tests.

Some sample abstract reasoning test formats 2023

Figures are arranged in a sequence, series or matrix format.
The next figure in the sequence must be found amongst the answer options offered.

Abstract reasoning test tips

Graduate abstract reasoning test scores provide an indication of learning potential. Abstract reasoning tests indicate an ability to reason logically and to work with new ‘ideas’. In summary, non-verbal reasoning tests assess critical thinking.

Most of these practice test sites also offer their own abstract reasoning test tips and non verbal reasoning tips.

<  <   <   FREE sample CAT4 Abstract Reasoning test paper    >   >   >

What is an abstract reasoning test?

  • Abstract reasoning is often the test format which people are least familiar with.
  • There are several abstract reasoning test formats. You may be familiar with these from any IQ tests you’ve completed.
  • Abstract reasning tests contain many figures – grouped together in pattern(s) which need to be identified.

What are abstract reasoning skills?

  • Analysing Shapes and Letters
  • Breaking Codes
  • Completing Series of Shapes
  • Matrices
  • Find the Odd One
  • Similar shapes and figures

How to do well on abstract reasoning tests

Abstract reasoning tests ask you to look for the changing pattern(s) in the “pictures”. The easier questions typically at the start of the test, will involve one change in colour, position, size etc of the figures shown.

Questions become more difficult as you must spot two or three changes in any of the features shown. It can help, once you’ve worked out at least one of the feature changes, to check through the answer options to discount those that do not conform said feature changes.

Alongside SHL’s practise test pages these three sites cover most of the psychometric tests you are likely to find. You can ask in advance which test publisher’s test you will take.

Types of Abstract Reasoning Test

The individual boxes contain a series of ever-evolving figures. For example, there may be one black square and four white circles in the first box. The pattern could be an increase in the number of black figures by one for each step in the series. Thus, the pattern in the second box would be two black figures, three black figures in the third box and so on.

Alternatively, the pattern in the second box could shift such that the colour moves along one place in the series. Thus, the single black square would become a white square and the first white circle would become black.

“Complete the pattern” abstract reasoning test tips

Similar to the series abstract reasoning format, instead of having a line of 5 boxes the abstract reasoning format could be more elaborate.  You need to select which of the five answer options completes the 2 by 2 / 3 by 3 box.

It’s key not to panic. Whilst the question may look more complicated than the series row of boxes, you find the answer in the same way. The pattern will be both horizontal and vertical. This actually makes it easier to spot the similarities across and down the boxes. Once you have spotted the abstract similarities you are very close to knowing how the pattern differs going from one box to the next. Yes, exactly the same as in the simple series form of non-verbal reasoning question.

Abstract reasoning test practice

Abstract reasoning strategies

Questions become more difficult as you must spot two or three changes in any of the features shown. It can help, once you’ve worked out at least one of the feature changes, to check through the answer options to discount those that do not conform said feature changes.
Alongside SHL’s practise test pages these three sites cover most of the psychometric tests you are likely to find. You can ask in advance which test publisher’s test you will take.

The key is to always identify those patterns that differentiate Set A from Set B. You can find further UCAT abstract reasoning test practice tips here.

Sample aptitude questions

GL Assessment offer a popular school progress test called the CAT4 which assesses all of the following skills:

Rob Williams Assessment‘s Career entry aptitude test practice:

LNAT test practice, Watson Glaser test practice and TSA past papers.

What are Abstract Reasoning Tests?

The aim is to test your thinking about realizing the rules, patterns for problem solving and decision making.

The test will show your ability to proceed with data and information, detect patterns and relationships between them, then offer solutions to problems at a level of abstract thinking.

Typically, companies asking candidates to do this test to look for the following skills in the candidates:

  • Be able to understand the meaning behind the information and data. For example, the Statue of Liberty in the United States is not simply a statue, but a symbol of freedom.
  • Be able to grasp abstract theory about a certain phenomenon. You can introduce the concept and overview of different data.
  • Identify relationships, connections between discrete ideas. For example, you can find patterns of customer behavior through changes over time.

Abstract Reasoning Test samples

Here are some typical images from an Abstract Reasoning Test.

(Image source: Aptitude-test)

Which is the next image?

Your task is to observe and analyze to identify a pattern to be able to select the next image.Subscribe to The Morning Email.Wake up to the day’s most important news.

There’s a limited time period. This requires you to analyze information quickly and accurately in a short time.

In addition, the difficulty will increase gradually through each question. This means you need to identify many more patterns and their complexity will increase.

Abstract reasoning test tips

Other types of abstract reasoning test

Reasoning: In addition to questions about how to identify the pattern over the image, you will encounter questions related to the diagram. There’s a a diagram to identify the rules. Then you apply the rules listed to apply to a different diagram to solve the problem. You would need analytical skills, critical thinking and the ability to relate to the symbols to find out the answer.

Given this flow diagram:

Identify what x equals here:

Answer: E

Explanation: When you look on the diagram, the black square turns into the white circle after going through the process in between. It means that there are two changing factors. They are shape and color. Therefore, in the answer, the black circle turns into the white square.

(Image source: LSE)

Diagramming Abstract Reasoning Test Practice

Given these commands:

And this sequence of diagrams and commands:

Which sequence is correct?

Answer: D

(Image source: LSE)

In this example, to be able to pick out the correct answer, you should be able to interpret the information and grasp the meaning of these commands. Then, based on that sense, you apply in order to find the most accurate diagram.

Extra Abstract Reasoning Test Tips

To be able to quickly identify the pattern, you need to compare each factor between images and information. Factors here include the size, location, color, angles, movement and you compare it with other factors to identify certain rules between them.

To avoid boredom, you should invite your friends to practise with you. You can participate in a competition to train your reflexes. This is actually an interesting test for you. You will become more passionate as you become better.

You can practise analyzing information by looking at the financial statements, statistical tables of human behavior on social networks. Then try to find the meaning through the raw data.

Moreover, to be able to finish a test in time, you need to focus on core aspects of a question. Distinguish between the important elements and those elements not relevant. If you caught a very hard sentence, you could skip to the next sentence and do it. For such difficult questions, you can observe the answers to find the rule.

Abstract reasoning test tips

bstract reasoning tests, logical reasoning tests or diagrammatic reasoning tests) try to assess your propensity to detect abstract patterns. Normally you will see an existing sequence of squares (normally 3-5) which contain various shapes. There will be some sort of pattern occurring inside the sequence of squares.

KEEP ASKING, what is the abstract pattern?

Your job is to figure out logically what that pattern is and then choose what the next square will be in the sequence. You’re normally given 4 options to choose from. Of the three main types of psychometric tests, most people find these the hardest, especially initially. A lot of people look at them and their eyes glaze over, similar to the first time you saw a page of calculus, or a foreign language.

Practice, practice, practice

With practice, you will come to learn that there are many patterns that will repeat themselves. For example, it’s extremely common for a particular shape inside the square to be rotating in each step, by a certain number of degrees. Other common patterns are rotation of the whole square, replacement of shapes and flipping of shapes. The more you practice inductive reasoning tests, the easier they will become.

You can also subscribe to our YouTube channel which has lots of helpful videos covering all the tricks and traps that the test providers throw at you.

Which companies use abstract reasoning tests?

Inductive reasoning tests are very commonly used during graduate and intern recruitment. For example, by:

  • Morgan Stanley, RBS, RBC and JPMorgan (merchant banking and investment banksg too).
  • Legal firms.
  • McKinsey, BCG and Bain (management consultancy).
  • Top engineering recruiters.
  • PwC, KPMG, EY and Deloitte (as the top accountancy firms).
  • Rio Tinto and BHP (mining).

In other words, abstract reasoning tests are most common amongst the top paying and most selective graduate employers.

This is because abstract reasoning tests are introduced into a graduate assessment process as the ‘third cog’. So, as a further sift of very high potential graduates – after the more traditional graduate verbal reasoning test sift and graduate numerical reasoning test sift.

When are abstract reasoning tests used?

Normally, invitations to inductive reasoning tests are distributed early on in the recruitment process. Similar to numerical and verbal reasoning, they are used as a relatively cheap and quick screening mechanism to cull at least around 80% of applicants. This becomes essential for the big banks and other very popular companies, who will have many 1000s of applicants for only a handful of jobs. Be aware, however, that some companies mix it up a bit and choose to use them later on in the process. If they do elect to do this, it’s normally under proper test conditions, supervised, in their offices. This means that you must be able to do well in the test yourself. Some people think that they can get away with getting their mates to do the test for them if it’s an online one at home. Beware, companies do often re-test you later on in the process, again under supervised conditions in their office.

How does practice help?

That’s a good question. Well, we believe that the more you practice, then

  • The more the most common abstract reasonign test question patterns will become easier to identify.
  • In fact, you will get faster and faster at cycling through all the possible options of abstract reasoning test question patterns. And of course. The quicker you can identify these patterns, the more likely you are to be able to pass your abstract reasoning test.
  • You will know more about what to expect in your own abstract reasoning test. The knock-on effect being that hopefully this knowledge will give you more confidence. And hence improve your abstract reasoning test performance.
  • Primarily this will be because your average abstract reasoning test answer rate will be much faster.

Which are the most common abstract reasoning test question?

Yes, there are indeed a few commonly used patterns which abstract reasoning test developers seem to like to use again and again. In our opinion these are shape…

  • Rotations by either 90 degrees or a 180 degrees.
  • Reflections as if there was a mirror placed between the two adjacent shapes (in a sequence or bigger figure)
  • Positions being swapped around. For example around the four corners of their outer square figure.

We are assessment specialists in both work and education settings. For more insights into meaningful assessments contact Rob Williams Assessment for a comprehensive appraisal.