How to Pass Verbal Reasoning tests
Verbal reasoning tests are used widely by employers during assessment centres in order to select the right person(s) for the job. They are particularly common during selection processes for careers that require an ability to communicate both verbally and in written format with customers or clients.
Verbal Reasoning Top Tips
Here are a number of important tips that will give you a better insight into verbal reasoning tests and how you can go about improving your scores.
Many people ask me what the scoring criteria are for verbal reasoning tests. They want to know how many they need to get correct in order to pass. To be honest, every employer/test administrator will have a different standard. Tests of this nature in the public sector normally require a pass rate of 70%. My advice would be to not focus on the pass mark but instead focus on trying to get every question correct. Some employers will set the pass mark according to the overall average score amongst the applicants. Therefore, it is pointless worrying about the pass mark.
The vast majority of verbal reasoning tests are timed; therefore, you need to practice under timed conditions. Savvy test takers will be fully aware of the amount of time they have to answer each question on average. I encourage you to do the same during your preparation.
Test administrators should be suitably qualified in order to administer the test. They will provide you with sufficient information on how to take the test and the rules/guidelines involved immediately prior to the real test. This is also your opportunity to ask any questions that you may have. In the majority of cases you will be given the opportunity to try a small number of sample questions.
Be prepared to be faced by a variety of test styles. The verbal reasoning test that you are required to undertake should be representative of the type of role you are applying for. That is why you do not see many verbal reasoning tests that require you to ‘select the odd one out’ or ‘fill in the missing words’ of a sentence, simply because the majority of occupational roles are not relevant to this type of test. Having said that, the Army still uses a ‘select the odd one out’ test during its selection process for soldiers.
You should learn to concentrate intently on the test you are taking and the questions you are required to answer. You should learn to block everything that is irrelevant to the test out of your mind. That means not worrying about what the other test takers are doing or where they are in relation to you in the test! Focus on your own test only.
Just about every other psychometric testing book out there will tell you to get some sleep the night before your test. The chances are, you won’t be able to rest fully the night before your test. My advice is to get plenty of rest in the fortnight before the test. Eat healthily, get some exercise (brisk walking is perfect) and avoid coffee and alcohol too. I see lots of people drinking energy drinks before their test. Energy drinks may claim to increase stimulation and concentration, but how long for is debatable. The danger is, once the effect wears off, you will start to feel lethargic. Choose clean, healthy water instead.
Test administrators are required to keep a log of events during the test. They are required to write down any incidents that occur, such as noise in neighbouring rooms or interruptions that may occur. They are also required to write down any anomalies that occur with the test takers. Any information that is written down could be used to influence your scores, both good and bad. Follow all instructions carefully and stop writing when told to do so!
As part of your interview skills preparation you’re taught to always have something to say in response to a question. You never answer with “don’t know” or “can’t say”, instead you always seek to find a relevant response which will put you in a good light. So for many test takers it is unnerving to answer with the option ‘cannot say’. In fact this is often the reason some companies use this specific abbreviation – to test your nerve. So it is important to remember that ‘cannot say’ is only an abbreviation of the ‘cannot say on the information provided’ option and is a valid answer from observant and successful candidates.
Sample Verbal Reasoning Question
Let’s take a look at a sample verbal reasoning test question (in the purple box).
1. Read the following text before answering the questions as either TRUE (A), FALSE (B) or CANNOT SAY (C) from the information given.
Q1.The sentence states that ministers hope that ‘lower’ inflation will boost real income growth, not higher. Therefore, the statement is false (B).
Q2.The passage states that analysts were predicting a 0.4% fall in sales of household goods, not rise. Therefore, the statement is false (B).
Q3.This statement is true (A) based on the information provided in the passage.
Additional resources included within the book
- Plenty of different verbal reasoning practice questions.
- Verbal text extracts to assess your ability.
- Verbal comprehension tests and how to pass them.
- In-depth answer sections.
- Advice on how to answer the test questions.
- How to avoid the common pitfalls.
- Free testing resources.
- Written by a verbal reasoning test expert.
- How to increase your chances of success.
- Clear, approachable style.
- Plus many more pages of essential information…
Free Bonus Items
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