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What are logical reasoning tests & how can you best prepare?

Book open Reading time: 3 mins

Logical reasoning tests come in many different shapes and sizes. All, however, are designed to measure your flair for solving problems.

Here's the summary of the key points covered on this page:

  • What is the format of a logical reasoning test?
  • Advice on answering logical reasoning questions.

Types of logical reasoning tests

Inductive reasoning tests

Inductive reasoning is the ability to reach a conclusion based on the patterns you see in specific events. It’s often used in everyday life so it’s of strong practical benefit in the workplace. You’ll be asked to identify the patterns in a series of diagrams and select the next diagram in the sequence.

Deductive reasoning tests

Deductive reasoning involves spotting a general rule or principle that leads you to a specific conclusion. These tests assess your ability to make logical arguments and draw sound conclusions based on specific data – often passages of text or numerical information. You may well need to identify flaws the data you’re given too. 

Abstract reasoning tests 

Also known as conceptual reasoning tests, these measure your ability to think laterally. The better you can identify relationships, patterns and trends, the more successful you’ll be. You’ll be given a series of images that follow a logical sequence or underlying rule and may need to build on that rule, identify a code or find a missing diagram.

Find out more about how to answer abstract reasoning questions.

Diagrammatic reasoning tests 

For this specific form of logical reasoning, tests typically show a sequence of diagrams and symbols, sometimes with an input and an output. They assess your ability to identify the rules that apply to the sequence and then use them to pick an appropriate answer. 

Learn more about how to tackle diagrammatic reasoning tests.

Critical thinking tests 

Usually verbal, these measure your logical reasoning skills by seeing how well you can analyse arguments, make inferences and evaluate conclusions.

How to tackle logical reasoning tests

All of these tests assess a specific logical ability or set of abilities. And although they differ in their approach, there are some general strategies you can apply whichever one you might need to take. 

1. Relax

Yes, logical reasoning tests can be nerve-wracking, particularly when you only have so much time to complete them. But the calmer you manage to stay, the better your chances of doing well. While a little bit of adrenaline in your system can help you focus and boost your performance, real anxiety can make you freeze up. Plenty of practice, a good night’s sleep and deep breathing will all help settle your nerves.

2. Find out what type of test you’ll be taking

Since logical reasoning tests are so wide-ranging, it’s vital to pin down exactly what type an employer expects you to take. Don’t be afraid to ask which one they use, and which logical reasoning skill the test will measure. That information is vital if you’re to prepare for the test properly.  

3. Put in practice on the right type of test

Becoming familiar with the type of test you’ll be taking, experiencing the time limits and learning from your mistakes – all will build your confidence, calm your nerves and help you perform better on the day. You’ll be able to dive straight into the test once you receive it, saving precious time. On top of that, if you know which logical abilities the test assesses, you can start honing these skills and demonstrating the particular aptitude the employer is looking for.

4. Find the answer first

Good practice for logical reasoning tests is to figure out the correct answer, sequence or rule before you look at the multiple-choice answers. Doing that will help you pick out the right answer quickly. If you look at the answers first, your logical thinking may be skewed as chances are you’ll be biased towards the one that appears most correct, rather than thinking the answer through logically