Spatial Ability Tests – Maps and Plans

Spatial Ability Tests - Maps and Plans

SPATIAL ABILITY TESTS – MAPS and PLANS – are specifically designed to assess a person’s ability to visualise and interpret information provided. Generally, these types of questions will use shapes, images, maps or plans in order to determine how well a person is able to follow basic instructions.

Understanding maps and reading basic plans are vitally important if you are applying for a job in the military, police or emergency services.

These questions are primarily used to determine whether a person is able to follow or give directions based on either a map or a 2D plan.

How Will I Be Assessed?

Spatial Ability Tests – Maps and Plans are assessments that are very specific to careers that require you to read and understand maps and directions. You will be given a map or a plan of a street. You will need to carefully read this map and then answer questions based on the information contained within your map or plan.

Please note, we cannot provide an exact replica of what your test will look like. This will depend on the company/institution in which you are applying to. I would recommend that you contact them prior to your assessment to find out as much information regarding your assessment.

Although we cannot provide an exact replica of your assessment, we can provide you with similar questions that you need to be familiar with in order to successfully pass.

By convention, you will be given a map or plan and will have to answer several questions each relating to that same map or plan. These questions are fairly basic, but it takes a great sense of direction to move about the map in the correct manner! This will rely heavy on your knowledge of North, East, South and West.


A question will usually be based on a scenario:

‘Jane is walking on the High Street and can see the museum to her left. What direction is Jane facing?’

By looking at the street map you are given, you would be able to work out what direction Jane is looking in based on the information provided.

Will I Be Timed?

  • For Spatial Ability Tests – Maps and Plans, it is important that you understand that you will be assessed on your speed as well as your accuracy.
  • For jobs in the military, police or the emergency services, acting efficiently is crucial and therefore you would be expected to show great map reading skills in order to get somewhere in the quickest possible time.
  • These tests are not overly complicated, but can seem daunting due to the strict time limit you are given.
  • Therefore, I strongly advise that you practice similar questions to your assessment using a similar time limit. This will enable you to see how well you perform in the allotted time, and thus allow you to improve with more practice.



Understanding Compass Directions

Whilst I do not want to insult your intelligence, it is important that you are familiar with a compass – North, East, South and West.

In your assessment, you will usually be given the arrow of ‘North’, and this will usually point towards the TOP of the page.

There are also four more directions that could be of particular use in your assessment – North East, South East, South West and North West.


You should find a way to remember the compass points. Using a mnemonic device is a great way to correctly recite the compass directions. For example:


  • Starting with the North (pointing to the top), move round in a CLOCKWISE direction, and recite the rest of the compass directions.
  • Having a sentence to help you remember the order, will guarantee that you have them in the correct position.
  • Use one of the above mnemonic devices, or come up with one on your own to help you prepare for your assessment.

Below I have provided you with two maps, each containing five questions. Have a go at answering the questions, and then scroll down to the answers to see if you were correct.

Sample Question 1.

Look at the street plan carefully and answer the following questions.


Question 1.

Jacob has just finished at the Sports Centre. He walks out of the Sports Centre from Point G on to Hammed Street. He walks East. He turns at the second left and walks North. He takes the first left and then a sharp right. What street is Jacob now on?

A – The complex

B – Wafer Street

C – The Gardens  

D – Dame Avenue


Question 2.

Melissa is standing at the crossing between Wafer Street and Walk Way. She is looking at the village hall. What direction is Melissa facing?

A – South East

B – North East

C – North West

D – South West


Question 3.

Polly is standing at Point C. She walks West. She walks to the end of the road and turns left. She takes the first left, and then turns right. She continues to the end of the junction. What street will Polly be on?

A – Wafer Street

B – Hammed Street

C – Puppet Street

D – Culpepper Street


Question 4.

If you were standing at Point G and wanted to get to Point E in the quickest time, which direction would you head first?

A – North

B – South

C – East

D – West


Question 5.

Joey is standing at Point B. He follows the directions of:

Heads south and take the first right. Continues along this road and takes the fourth right. Heads North and takes the first left, and then the first right. What point is Joey closest to?

A – Point G

B – Point D

C – Point F

D – Point E


Sample Question 2.

Look at the street plan carefully and answer the following questions.

Please note: the arrows on the map indicate that you can only DRIVE in a certain direction!


Question 1.

Jay is leaving his house. His front door is at the South of his house. He leaves his house and turns West on to Hope St. He walks two blocks and turns North. He continues until the end of the road. Where is he closest to?

A – Theatre

B – Pond

C – Golf Club

D – Pub


Question 2.

You are standing at Point N facing North. In which direction is Point K from where you are standing?

A – South East

B – South West

C – North East

D – South


Question 3.

Andy is leaving the golf club at Point O. He is driving. He is heading to the school. Which direction does he need to drive when he leaves the golf club?

A – North

B – South

C – East

D – West


Question 4.

Mia is leaving her house and decides to drive. She takes the following directions:

Heads East onto Middersfield. She turns left. She continues to the end of the street and turns right. She follows the road round and takes the third right. What road has she just turned into?

A – Marion St

B – Bank St

C – Indie Rd

D – Hope St

Question 5

Sammie is standing at the crossing between Bewl Road and Indie Road with her back towards the Theatre. What direction is Sammie facing?

A – North

B – East

C – South

D – West