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Watson Glaser Test

What is the Watson Glaser test? How can you pass with high scores? Read on for a complete breakdown and 100s of practice questions.

Watson Glaser Tests

Online Watson Glaser Test Course

What is the Watson Glaser Test?

The Watson Glaser test is one of many assessments used to evaluate candidates’ critical thinking skills. The Watson Glaser critical thinking test (also known as the Watson Glaser critical thinking appraisal) is the most popular psychometric test for assessing the critical thinking skills of applicants. So, if you need to take a critical thinking test as part of your application process, you’ll probably be sitting the Watson Glaser test.

As previously mentioned, the Watson Glaser test is designed to test critical thinking skills. We’ll get onto what exactly critical thinking is, but first it’s important to take a quick look at what the test is measuring. Here are the skills that the Watson Glaser critical thinking appraisal evaluates:

  • The ability to make accurate inferences;
  • The ability to identify assumptions being made;
  • The ability to make deductions based on text and then come to conclusions;
  • The ability to interpret and evaluate arguments.

The Watson Glaser test is a 30-minute long assessment, and contains around 40 questions. If you’re expected to pass a critical thinking test, remember that it might not specifically be the Watson Glaser appraisal. Therefore, the time limit and number of questions in your test might differ.

Finally, there’s no set material that you need to learn for the Watson Glaser test. By this, we mean that you won’t need to revise a case study or enter with prior knowledge of the role you’re applying for any wider knowledge about the working world. The critical thinking test isn’t concerned with that – it cares about your ability to work with what you’re given in order to come to logical conclusions. Therefore, you’ll be given all the information you need to have some understanding of every question. What you need to study is critical thinking itself.

What is Critical Thinking?

Have you ever been in a debate with someone about something, and they’ve said something that sounds dubious? Perhaps they made a claim and failed to provide evidence to support it, or they shot down your argument for reasons that didn’t seem relevant. If you picked up on either of these, then you might have an eye (or ear!) for critical thinking.

Watson Glaser Critical Thinking Test

In short, critical thinking is the activity of studying arguments, the ideas that they’re made up of, and the logic that binds them together. When partaking in critical thinking, you’re concerned with the structure of arguments, and whether they follow the conventions of argument. If an argument follows these rules, then it’s usually considered to be a strong argument. However, if an argument sounds suspicious, imprecise, or poorly supported, then you’ll need to figure out why and identify it. This is the role of the critical thinker both during debates and everyday life.

Critical thinkers need to be on the lookout for the following errors made in argument:

  • Formal logical fallacies (i.e. poorly constructed arguments);
  • Informal logical fallacies (e.g. appeals to emotion, appeals to authority);
  • Leaps in logic which don’t follow from one to another.

Critical thinking is a valuable skill in any walk of life, and is highly valued by employers. This is because critical thinking skills demonstrates that individuals are committed to looking at situations logically, carefully interpreting evidence, and following arguments to the most well-informed conclusion. This is useful in numerous careers and positions. Essentially, any job that is evidence-based will make good use of critical thinking skills. Therefore, it’s in your employer’s best interests to ensure that candidates are capable of thinking critically.

Critical Thinking Topics

Critical Thinking Topics

Now that you know what critical thinking is, let’s take a look at the types of question you might face in the Watson Glaser test. In total, there are five precise areas that the Watson Glaser test focuses on:

  • Assumptions;
  • Inferences;
  • Interpretations;
  • Deductions;
  • Evaluating arguments.

Each of these kinds of question covers a different kind of critical thinking, and all of them are valuable to a candidate. We’ll now take a look at each of these in more detail.

Assumptions

An assumption is a claim that is accepted as the truth without sufficient evidence. These are an issue for critical thinkers because, as a rule, claims made without factual evidence are unhelpful and can be misleading. For example, imagine if you worked at a company, and the success and survival of it depended on a continued market demand for DVDs. If, at the start of each financial year, executives at the company agreed that DVDs would continue to sell based on zero evidence, this would be an assumption. This could be dangerous since the sales of DVDs could suddenly drop, leaving the company in a difficult position. For this reason, it’s important to avoid making assumptions in the working world.

Assumptions are made quite often when constructing arguments. You might have heard the phrase, “for the sake of the argument, let’s assume that…” This is an explicit example of an assumption being made – an assumption that is required in order for the argument to make sense. Of course, you shouldn’t leave anything up to assumption when making an argument – even if all parties agree on the truth of the assumption.

In the Watson Glaser test, you will be given a statement. Following this, there will be three further claims. You will have to figure out which of the claims (if any) are assumptions that the initial statement is making or relying on.

The trick to this kind of question is that you need to read between the lines of the initial statement. Think about which of the claims are required to be true in order for the initial claim to also be true. For each claim, you will have to say whether they are assumptions made by the statement (YES), or that they aren’t implied by the statement (NO).

Take a look at the following statement, and try to figure out which claims are assumptions and which are not:

If I go down to the pond today, the only birds I will see are swans.

Claim 1: There will be no ducks at the pond.

Claim 2: All swans are white.

Claim 3: There will be swans at the pond today.

Here are the answers:

Claim 1: There will be no ducks at the point.

Answer: YES.

Explanation: In order to only see swans at the pond, there must be no other birds. Since ducks are a kind of bird, their presence at the point would mean you’d see them as well as swans. Therefore, there cannot be any ducks at the pond in order to only see swans

.

Claim 2: All swans are white.

Answer: NO.

Explanation: The statement does not specify what colour the swans have to be, only that swans have to be seen. Therefore, this assumption is not implied by the statement.

Claim 3: There will be swans at the pond today.

Answer: YES.

Explanation: This is an assumption made by the initial statement because in order to see swans at the pond, there must be swans at the pond.

Inferences
Inferences

When someone infers something, or makes an inference, then they are coming to a conclusion which is based on evidence. Logic (whether inductive or deductive) is applied to this evidence, which in turn brings the individual to their conclusion. When someone makes an inference, they’re commonly seen as “reading between the lines”, figuring out a conclusion that isn’t explicit, but rather implied from the evidence.

Inferences are different to assumptions because they are based on some evidence. However, inferences aren’t always correct, and shouldn’t be accepted as truth. While an inference might seem correct, it’s entirely possible that it’s overlooking other possibilities.

For example, you might come across a police officer talking to an individual in the street. You might infer from the fact that the individual isn’t in handcuffs, and that the officer is talking to them, that they witnessed or are reporting a crime. This seems to be a sensible conclusion, but there are other possibilities. The individual might know the police officer personally, and is quickly stopping to say hello to them. Alternatively, they might be asking for directions. So, the inference might be incorrect.

In the Watson Glaser test, an inference-focused question will test your ability to decide the likelihood of an inference being true. You’ll be presented with a short passage, followed by three inferences drawn from it. For each inference, you will have to choose one of the following:

Definitely True – Given all of the information in the passage, it is certainly the case that this inference is correct.

Probably True – Given all of the information in the passage, it is likely that the inference is correct. However, it is not guaranteed.

Insufficient data to say whether it is true or false – Given all of the information in the passage, it is impossible to say whether the inference is true or false.

Probably False – Given all of the information in the passage, it is likely that the inference is incorrect. However, this is not guaranteed.

Definitely False – Given all of the information in the passage, it is impossible for the inference to be correct.

Take a look at the following passage and three inferences:

Scientific studies have discovered a link between chewing gum and better performance when it comes to tests. Researchers believe that this is because the act of chewing gum correlates with heightened activity in the hippocampus – the region of the brain which handles memory. When activity in the hippocampus is increased, it appears as though the ability to recall memories is strengthened.

Inference 1: Chewing gum causes heightened activity in the hippocampus.

Inference 2: There is a correlation between chewing gum and better recollection of memories.

Inference 3: Students who chew gum will perform worse in exams than students who do not.

Here are the answers:

Inference 1: Chewing gum causes heightened activity in the hippocampus.

Answer: Insufficient data to say whether it is true or false.

Explanation: This is tricky because the passage states that there’s a correlation between chewing gum and heightened activity in the hippocampus. However, correlation is not the same as causation, which is what this inference is stating. Therefore, we cannot infer either way whether this claim is true or false.

Inference 2: There is a correlation between chewing gum and better recollection of memories.

Answer: True.

Explanation: This is true because the passage states that chewing gum correlates with heightened activity in the hippocampus. The passage also implies that when the hippocampus is more active, the ability to recall memories is strengthened. Therefore, we can accept that there is a correlation between chewing gum and better recollection of memory (but not necessarily any causal link).

Inference 3: Students who chew gum will perform worse in exams than students who do not.

Answer: Probably false.

Explanation: This is probably false because the passage acknowledges that there is some kind of link between chewing gum and performing better in exams. While there might not be a causal link between the two, it seems likely that students who chew gum during the tests will have better recollection of memories, which in turn will lead to better performance. Therefore, while we cannot guarantee that this inference is false, it is more likely to be false than true.

Interpretations

Interpretations are similar to inferences, but focus on whether a conclusion logically follows from a statement, rather than what conclusions are likely to follow from a statement. Here, critical thinkers are interpreting statements to reveal logically sound information. For example, if it’s made clear that there can only be white and black swans in the world, an interpretation of this statement would be that there’s no such thing as a green swan.

In the Watson Glaser test, interpretation questions are statements followed by three interpretations. You must decide whether an interpretation is true (YES) or false (NO). Rather than point out how likely a claim is to be true, all you need to do here is state whether the interpretation follows from the statement or not.

Here’s a statement, as well as some interpretations:

At the beginning of the September 2015, the government launched its programme to improve learning at A-Level across the country.

The goal was to improve A-Level results between A* and C by at least 20% between 2015 and 2016. The number of students scoring from between a C and an A* in their A-Levels rose from 50% in 2015 to 75% in 2016. The number of students scoring U had dropped from 15% to 12%, and between E and D the scores were down from 45% to a meagre 13%.

Interpretation 1: The government have been successful in this programme.

Interpretation 2: The governments goals have been achieved or exceeded.

Interpretation 3: Students who would’ve likely achieved between a D or an E were now achieving A* to C.

Here are the answers:

Interpretation 1: The government have been successful in this programme.

Answer: No.

Explanation: While it is the case that the government’s goals have been met, it doesn’t necessarily follow that this new programme is responsible for it. It’s possible that the students of 2016 were simply better prepared beforehand for A-Levels than in 2015, or that they were otherwise more capable independent of the government programme. Therefore, it’s not necessarily the case that the government programme caused the higher performance.

Interpretation 2: The governments goals have been achieved or exceeded.

Answer: Yes.

Explanation: Since results between A* and C rose from 50% to 75%, there has been an increase of 25%. Since the government’s goal was an increase of 20%, it follows that their goal has been exceeded.

Interpretation 3: Students who would’ve likely achieved between a D or an E were now achieving A* to C.

Answer: No.

Explanation: Just because more students achieved between A* and C in 2016 over the number of students scoring D to E in 2015, it does not mean that there was a jump in performance for individual students. The students in 2016 may have been more capable than those in 2015 to begin with.

Deductions

Deductions are slightly similar to interpretations, but are stricter in their logical format. Valid deductive arguments are arguments which, if all premises are true, then the conclusion cannot be false. Here’s an example of a valid deductive argument:

Premise 1: The book is on the shelf.

Premise 2: If the book is on the shelf, then it isn’t on the floor.

Conclusion: Therefore, the book is not on the floor

Deductions

This is true because, if both premises 1 and 2 are true, then the conclusion must also be true. Remember that an argument can be deductively valid even if the conclusion is false, so long as at least one premise is also false.

So, it’s clear that deductive arguments aren’t so concerned with what’s true or false, but rather what’s valid or invalid. For the Watson Glaser test, you need to approach the questions in the same way. You’ll be presented with a statement, which contains the premises of an argument. You’ll have to choose the deductions which are correct, therefore creating a deductively valid argument. For each, you must answer YES or NO.

Here’s an example of a deduction question:

Some objects with four wheels are cars. All cars possess a steering wheel. This object has four wheels but no steering wheel. Therefore:

Deduction 1: This object is a car.

Deduction 2: This object is not a car.

Deduction 3: This object is a bicycle.

Here are the answers:

Deduction 1: This object is a car.

Answer: No.

Explanation: Premise 1 states that only “some” objects with four wheels are cars. In addition, since this object has no steering wheel, it does not meet the criteria “all cars having steering wheels.”

Deduction 2: This object is not a car.

Answer: Yes.

Explanation: This deduction follows because this object does not meet the standard criteria necessary to be a car (i.e. it does not possess a steering wheel). Therefore, we can be certain that it is not a car.

Deduction 3: This object is a bicycle.

Answer: No.

Explanation: This cannot be a bicycle since they have only 2 wheels. Even if the bicycle had stabilisers attached, this doesn’t necessarily follow from the premises.

Evaluating Arguments
Critical Thinking Appraisal

Along with the four aforementioned skills that a critical thinker needs to possess, it’s important to be able to evaluate arguments in a more general sense. Critical thinkers need to be able to figure out how strong an argument is by comparing it to the information it’s based on.

This can be slightly more abstract than previous areas we’ve covered. In all of the question types so far, the answers have been relatively straight-forward, with little room for ambiguity or debate. Here, what constitutes a strong or weak argument usually depends on how relevant the argument is, how well-supported it is by the statement, and whether or not it avoids argumentative fallacies.

In the Watson Glaser test, you’ll be given a statement or question, alongside three arguments being made based on it. Your task will be to decide whether these arguments are strong or weak.

Take a look at this sample evaluation of arguments question:

Should private schools be taxed more heavily to pay for state school pupils’ meals?

Argument 1: Yes – Those children are going hungry!

Argument 2: No – Big businesses should be taxed instead of private schools. Taxing private schools would reduce their incentive to private a good service, and could lower the quality of teaching.

Argument 3: No – We live in a free market and therefore private schools deserve the profits they make. That’s just the way it is.

Here are the answers:

Argument 1: Yes – Those children are going hungry!

Answer: Weak.

Explanation: While it may be the case that the children are going hungry, this argument is formulated as an appeal to emotion. It’s making an attempt to stir an emotional response from you rather than a rational one. Therefore, it could be considered a ‘weak’ argument.

Argument 2: No – Big businesses should be taxed instead of private schools. Taxing private schools would reduce their incentive to private a good service, and could lower the quality of teaching.

Answer: Weak.

Explanation: This argument employs a double standard. The suggestion is that, if the schools are taxed, they’ll lose money and therefore have less of an incentive to make money, since they’re a business. However, the solution offered by the argument would cause the same problem. If big businesses are taxed more heavily, they might have a larger incentive to move into a lower tax bracket so that they don’t have to pay as much.

Argument 3: No – We live in a free market and therefore private schools deserve the profits they make. That’s just the way it is.

Answer:Weak.

Explanation: This argument conflates descriptive (is) and prescriptive (ought) claims. The initial statement is asking whether we ought to tax private schools more heavily. This argument argues that it is the case that these schools don’t have to pay higher taxes, and therefore they shouldn’t have to pay higher taxes. This is sometimes referred to as the “is/ought” fallacy.

As you can see, all of the above arguments are considered weak for different reasons. Here’s an example of a strong argument for the same initial statement:

Argument 4: No – Taxing private schools more heavily could reduce their incentive to provide quality teaching to their students. Since students in private schools tend to perform better than those in state schools, private schools need to be given more value and protection. Damaging them for the sake of potentially increasing the standard in state schools is not a worthwhile risk.

Answer: Strong.

Explanation: As harsh as this argument may be, it’s well-reasoned and doesn’t resort to logical fallacies in order to support itself.In the Watson Glaser test, you’ll be given a statement or question, alongside three arguments being made based on it. Your task will be to decide whether these arguments are strong or weak.

Watson Glaser – Tips

Now that we’ve taken a look at the types of question you might face in the Watson Glaser critical thinking test, it’s important to learn some tips to improve your critical thinking skills and make you better prepared for success.

Learn Your Logical Fallacies

Logical fallacies, both formal and informal, are important for answering questions on evaluating arguments. Weak arguments will commonly fall prey to fallacies such as the strawman, slippery slope, appeal to emotion, false cause, and ambiguity. There are many more than these, so make sure you spend time understanding what the fallacy is and why it’s a fallacy. Then, read examples of these fallacies in action, so you get used to identifying them.

Read More Non-Fiction

This might sound strange, but one of the best ways to get used to spotting good and bad arguments, deductions, inferences, assumptions, and interpretations is to spend time reading non-fiction. In particular, read articles from a range of sources, including editorials and papers from journals. Find topics that you’re interested in so that the work is easier to read, then go through the body of work and mark the strong and weak arguments that you find. In addition, listen or watch political debates – they’re a great source for both strong and weak arguments.

Attempt Practice Papers

Once you have a good idea about the tools you need to be a good critical thinker and pass the Watson Glaser critical thinking appraisal, find some practice tests and take them under timed conditions. This will improve your ability to read and evaluate arguments under time constraints, which in turn means that you’ll be better prepared for the real test.

Further Products You Might Be Interested In

Practice is the best way to prepare for the Watson Glaser critical thinking test, or any other critical thinking test that you might come across. How2become now offers the Critical Thinking Testing Bundle, a collection of testing materials designed to give you the upper hand when it comes to thinking critically and rationally, whilst also granting you access to practice tests which will help you pass any critical thinking test.

Online Critical Thinking Tests

These practice questions will give you the opportunity to familiarise yourself with the kinds of question you’ll come across in any critical thinking test.

Inductive Reasoning Tests

Use the tests in this downloadable eBook to get your brain whirring. These questions will get you thinking about patterns, and will help you get better at identifying inconsistencies in information.

Non-Verbal Reasoning Tests

With this downloadable eBook, you’ll get access to plenty of non-verbal reasoning test questions that will help you recognise patterns more easily, preparing you to closely analyse arguments in the critical thinking test.

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