How to handle Critical Thinking & Situational Judgement Tests with confidence

These tests may be quite different in style. But like all aptitude tests they’re designed to help you find a role that’s a good fit for your skills.  

What are they and how do they differ?

Critical thinking tests assess how well you can absorb and analyse information. They measure your ability to evaluate assumptions, arguments, deductions, inferences and conclusions. They’re good predictors of success in roles that call for the capacity to see things clearly from many angles and to separate facts from assumption, making them particularly popular with law firms. 

Situational Judgement tests, on the other hand, are popular because they measure job-related skills other tests don’t – like problem-solving and decision-making. They look at how you’d go about solving problems in the workplace by presenting you with a number of hypothetical work-related situations. 

What should you know beforehand?

By far the most common critical thinking test is the Watson-Glaser Critical Thinking Appraisal. You’ll be expected to read through a series of statements and decide on the validity of the inferences, assumptions, deductions, interpretations and arguments that follow them.  Your first instinct on reading the statements may be to use your own personal experience or general knowledge. Don’t. You’re not being tested on what you know but how you think. 

Find out more or download practice questions and solutions.

Situational judgement tests aren’t usually available 'off-the-shelf'. Instead organisations design them to suit their own needs. That means each test is different, making it harder to prepare. But not impossible. You can still research the organisation’s culture and values, and take practice tests so you’re used to the format. Most tests consist of 15-20 short descriptions of workplace situations. You’ll be asked to pick the most effective and least effective response to those situations. Some tests also ask you for the most effective response only, or to list all the responses in order of effectiveness. 

Try out some sample tests.