Navigating Spatial Reasoning Tests: Tips and Strategies for Success

In this spatial reasoning test guide you’ll find practice tests, coaching videos and tons of proven tricks & tips to help you pass your spatial reasoning test.

Let’s get started!

Take the Spatial Reasoning Practice Test to improve your score.

2 useful starting-point resources

  1. You can get hold of practice spatial reasoning tests here.
  2. Check out our numerical reasoning test page and verbal reasoning page.

Download our Ultimate Assessment Day & Interview Guide 2022 here. (It's packed with tips, tricks and insider-secrets to help you succeed.)

Ok, let’s quickly cover the basics and then we’ll get into the detail of how to pass your test.

What is a spatial reasoning test?

A spatial reasoning test is a non-verbal aptitude test that assesses your ability to understand complex plans and shapes. It’s sometimes called a ‘spatial awareness test’.

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What skills does it assess?

Regardless of the terminology, the test assesses the same skill: your ability to manipulate two and three-dimensional shapes and your capacity to spot patterns or relationships between them.

Spatial reasoning tests are often used to assess technical or engineering candidates, for example, people who want to become architects, engineers or designers. This type of test figures largely in recruitment in all technical sectors and is also widely used in the military.

A candidate with great spatial awareness will be able to notice patterns and will also be able to quickly imagine shapes viewed from a different angle or perspective.

These skills were once thought to be innate and hereditary, but studies have now shown that repeated practice can significantly improve spatial awareness.


What types of questions will I face?

You can expect to find the following types of questions in your spacial awareness test:

  • Shape Combining
  • Matching Two Dimensional Shapes
  • Mirror Images
  • Three Dimensional Cubes
  • Two and Three Dimensional Solids
  • Maps

All of these questions are commonly asked in the Criteria Cognitive Aptitude Test and USPS Exam.

Let’s take a look at each type of spatial reasoning question in more detail.

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Combining shapes

Think ‘jigsaw’. You will be shown a series of shapes, as well as a shape that will be presented, ‘in pieces’.  You must choose which shapes would form the full picture if you put them together, and vice versa.

Take a look at this example question. Which of the options below, makes up the top shape?


Matching Two Dimensional Shapes

You will be presented with a set of shapes or objects and will need to confirm which two are identical.

They may be shown from a different angle or perspective – this is irrelevant.  You just need to identify which two are the same.

Speed is of the utmost importance in this type of test. (Remember you are being benchmarked against other candidates, so literally every second counts.)

Mirror Images

This part of your spatial  awareness test does exactly what it says on the tin. You will be presented with a shape, along with a series of potential mirror images.  It’s your job to pick the correct mirror image.

Here’s an example:

spatial reasoning practice test

Three Dimensional Cubes

Each cube face will have a picture, marking or symbol and you have to draw a conclusion based on the markings.

For example, you might have to work out which marking is opposite the one that is put to you, in the question.  You might also be faced with the cube, laid out flat.  The task will then be to choose which of the options given, is the cube when ‘built’ and arranged as a cuboid.

Here’s an example:

spatial reasoning practice

You can get hold of practice spatial reasoning tests here.

Two and Three Dimensional Solids

More shapes! You will be presented with a ‘pattern’ or ‘template’ for a three dimensional, solid shape.  You will then need to decide from a series of options which of the three dimensional shapes would be created, using the template.

Here’s an example:

Spatial reasoning test

Here’s a useful video that gives some tips on ‘pattern-folding’ questions:


This is often used for assessing candidates for roles in emergency services. You can expect to be assessed on the following:

  • Your understanding of a compass.
  • The ability to follow directions.
  • Your ability to identify your own location, on a map.
  • Appreciating the differences between a walked and driven route.

Check out the Ordnance Survey website here to learn more about map reading skills.  They also have information on how to use a compass, so be sure to check it out, if you think you need to know more. (It’s harder than you think!)

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4 Top Tips For Passing Your Spatial Reasoning Test

1) Learn the details beforehand 

There are big differences between spatial reasoning tests. Each test provider and employer puts their own spin on things. Find out if your test is computer-based or paper-based. Find out how long you have to complete your test and the timings for each section. Don’t be afraid to push for exact information, it shows you are keen, proactive and using your initiative.

2) Bring the above together

Once you know the specific timings given for each type of question, try to answer the practice questions of that type within the time frame.  It will help you work to the speed that they are looking for. Replicate your test conditions as closely as possible during your practice.

3) Know your strengths and weaknesses

Don’t waste time practising the questions that you find easy.  Instead, concentrate on the ones that take you longer to answer. This is where your weakness lies. Practice in these areas.

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4) Practice. Practice. Practice.

Practise and preparation are the key to your success. Practising improves both your competence AND confidence.

We always recommend these practice spatial reasoning tests because they contain full answers and explanation. This allows you see your weaknesses and improve them before the real test. This is transformative for your chances of success.

Make sure that you cover a wide range of questions and focus on improving your speed as you get used to the format of questioning.

Good luck

We hope you enjoyed this free spatial reasoning test guide and we wish you the best of luck in your future career and in your spatial reasoning test.

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