Verbal Reasoning Tests: 7 Top Tips For Success (Includes Practice Tests)

Welcome to our famous verbal reasoning test guide! You’ll find tons of useful resources, practice tests & essential tips here. Let’s get started!

3 useful starting-point resources

1) Get hold of our recommended verbal practice tests here. (These are high quality industry-standard tests with clear explanations.)

2) Download your 4-Step Verbal Reasoning Cheatsheet

3) Our Ultimate Interview & Assessment Day Guide is filled with tips, tricks and insider-secrets that will help you succeed on your big day.

Practice-Verbal-Reasoning-test

Let’s quickly cover off the basics, before looking in detail at how to pass a verbal reasoning test.

‘What is a verbal reasoning test?’

A verbal reasoning test is a form of psychometric aptitude testing that is widely used by corporate employers in interviews and assessment centres.

‘What is measured by a verbal reasoning test?’

Your English language skills are the main area of assessment, but the test also gives employers insight into your overall intelligence, judgement and business acumen.

‘What should I expect during a verbal reasoning test?’

In a verbal reasoning test, you are usually provided with a passage of information and required to evaluate a set of statements about that passage by selecting one of the following possible answers:

True (The statement follows logically from the information in the passage)

False (The statement is logically false from the information in the passage)

Cannot Say (Cannot determine whether the statement is true or false without further information)

‘Are all verbal reasoning tests the same?’

No. They all assess very similar criteria, but there are variations in the tests themselves.

Find out beforehand who your verbal reasoning test was created by (SHL, Saville, Talent Q, Kenexa etc) and to give yourself the best chance of success you should practice verbal reasoning tests created by that company.

Your prospective employer’s HR department, or the agency who is representing you will be able to give you this information. (Don’t feel ‘pushy’ for requesting this, it’s a fair and reasonable question for you to pose!)

‘Can you show me a practice verbal reasoning test example?’

Sure. Here’s a verbal reasoning question from a real-world assessment centre test. Candidates are required to first read the passage and then choose an answer for each statement: either ‘True’, ‘False’ or ‘Cannot say’.

Here’s the example passage, the questions will follow shortly:

“Many organisations find it beneficial to employ students over the summer. Permanent staff often wish to take their own holidays over this period.

Furthermore, it is not uncommon for companies to experience peak workloads in the summer and so require extra staff.

Summer employment also attracts students who may return as well qualified recruits to an organisation when they have completed their education.

Ensuring that the students learn as much as possible about the organisation encourages interest in working on a permanent basis.

Organisations pay students on a fixed rate without the usual entitlement to paid holidays or sick leave.”

Here’s the questions:

Statement 1

It is possible that permanent staff who are on holiday can have their work carried out by students.” Is this statement:

1) True (The statement follows logically from the information in the passage)

2) False (The statement is logically false from the information in the passage)

3) Cannot Say (Cannot determine whether the statement is true or false without further information)

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Stop worrying! Download a 12-step assessment day cheatsheet & be perfectly prepared.

Click here to download your copy

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Statement 2

Students in summer employment are given the same paid holiday benefit as permanent staff.” Is this statement:

1) True (The statement follows logically from the information in the passage)

2) False (The statement is logically false from the information in the passage)

3) Cannot Say (Cannot determine whether the statement is true or false without further information)

Statement 3

Students are subject to the organisation’s standard disciplinary and grievance procedures.” Is this statement:

1) True (The statement follows logically from the information in the passage)

2) False (The statement is logically false from the information in the passage)

3) Cannot Say (Cannot determine whether the statement is true or false without further information)

Statement 4

Some companies have more work to do in the summer when students are available for vacation work.” Is this statement:

1) True (The statement follows logically from the information in the passage)

2) False (The statement is logically false from the information in the passage)

3) Cannot Say (Cannot determine whether the statement is true or false without further information)

Test quick-links

Here’s a handy list of supplier-specific tests:

(These are our recommended verbal reasoning practice tests because they are supplier-specific and contain excellent explanations and scoring reports.)

Don’t forget to check this out…

Download your copy of our popular free report: The 4-Step Verbal Reasoning Cheatsheet.

‘Ok, I get the picture. Can I take a full verbal reasoning test now?’

Absolutely, but before you start the test bear the following points in mind as they will significantly improve your performance.

6 Expert Tips For Verbal Reasoning Test Success

1) Read the statement 2-3 times

It is absolutely vital that you fully understand the statement – remember that these passages are deliberately written in a complicated style. Small assumptions can catch you out. Read it. Read it. Read it again!

2) If you’re stuck try starting at the END of the sentence

A great way to unravel a confusing piece of writing is to start at the end of the sentence and work backwards. For long statements that make contradictory points and circular references this can be very useful in ‘decoding’ their meaning.

3) Stay calm

Nothing will damage your performance more than losing your focus during the test. Verbal reasoning tests are timed and some people find this applies an element of pressure that makes it hard for them to concentrate.

Two articles of mine that will be a big help to you here are:

How To Prepare For An Interview Or Assessment Centre: The Ultimate Guide

How To Deal With Nerves & Anxiety At Your Interview Or Assessment Centre

4) Practice as much as possible before your real test

The two things that will help you most: Expert advice and real practice. Familiarity with the style of test will not only improve your ability to perform well, but it will also help you relax. (Which, in turn, further boosts your level of performance.)

PRO TIP: You can practise verbal reasoning tests used by employers here and here. (These tests aren’t free, but they are a must for candidates who want to do absolutely everything to guarantee success.)

Buy some verbal reasoning books from Amazon to brush up on your grammar and interpretation skills, you can find a good selection to get you started here.

Listen to my podcast on verbal reasoning test success, you can find it here.

You can download my Ultimate Assessment Day Guide here which includes tons of extra tips, practice tests and example assessment exercises.

5) Manage your time carefully

Most verbal reasoning tests last for around 20 minutes. As with most assessment centre activities it’s vital that you manage your time carefully.

You should always scan ahead and see how many questions relate to the statement you’re about to read, it will help you gauge how much time to allocate.

PRO TIP: As a rough rule of thumb, you should spend about 1 minute on each question. If you are really stuck on a question don’t waste time trying to figure it out. During the 5 minutes you spend pondering one tricky question you could correctly answer 5 others. 

6) Make no assumptions

Don’t factor in real-life intelligence that you know proves or disproves a statement. You absolutely must take the test literally – if it isn’t included in the passage then you can’t include it in your decision-making process for the questions.

assessment-day

REMEMBER THE GOLDEN RULE: Find out who makes your verbal reasoning test & practice tests made by them:

Two good verbal reasoning test books

1) “You’re Hired! Psychometric Tests: Proven tactics to help you pass”

This excellent book by James Meachin and Ceri Roderick is a good read and will give you a deeper understanding of psychometric testing, what to expect and how to succeed: Amazon (UK) | Amazon (USA)

2) “Practice & Pass: Verbal Reasoning”

I often recommend Alan Redman’s book to candidates who are particularly worried about their verbal reasoning tests or those who have struggled in their practice tests. You can find it here: Amazon (UK) | Amazon (USA)

‘Ok, I’m ready to try a practice verbal reasoning test!’

Great, let’s do it! Why not get yourself a drink of water and clear your head for 5 minutes before you begin? This simple example test has a 15 minute time limit – try and ensure you’re free from distraction (put your phone on ‘silent’, etc) so you can focus wholly on the test and get an accurate result.

Practice Verbal Reasoning Test

How did it go? Well I hope? If not maybe you should try another:

Verbal Reasoning Practice Test

The two above tests are generic and give you a broad flavour of what to expect from a verbal reasoning test.

But remember, for maximum benefit you should practice verbal reasoning tests from the same supplier your prospective employer uses.

The 4-Steps To Verbal Reasoning Success

Don’t forget to download your copy of our popular free report The 4 Steps To Verbal Reasoning Success.

Some final questions for you…

  • Lastly the Tools and Resources page is packed with useful equipment and ‘A’ List recommendations that will make your life easier.
  • You can listen to my podcast on verbal reasoning here.

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