Diagrammatic Reasoning Tests

The term diagrammatic reasoning is often used interchangeably with abstract reasoning. Some of the companies who produce psychometric tests refer to abstract reasoning tests as diagrammatic reasoning tests. This is presumably because abstract tests use diagrams or pictures rather than words or numbers. If you are told that you need to sit a diagrammatic reasoning test then it may be just another name for an abstract reasoning test. Or it may not.

If you are applying for a job in information technology then you may be faced with questions which test your abstract reasoning ability in a very specific way. These are referred to on this web site as diagrammatic reasoning tests to differentiate them from 'normal' abstract reasoning tests.

These diagrammatic reasoning tests measure your ability to infer a set of rules from a flowchart or similar diagram and then to apply those rules to new situation. These questions are often found in tests aimed at selecting information technology specialists who need to work through complex problems in an analytical way.

Example Questions
1) The functions 'M' and 'S' transform the input shapes in a certain way. You need to use the diagram to determine what effect each of these functions has. Apply them to the input shape in the question to arrive at the correct output.


Another type of question that appears in these tests measures your ability to follow a set of logical instructions. In the next example, the operators are defined in the first diagram. Each operator acts on the figure that it is attached to. The sequence of operations is from top to bottom. Use this information to answer the questions.


In the street plan above, for example, Shakespeare Road is one-way between Cole Street and Trenchtown Road. This means that if you were driving south on Trenchtown Road you could not turn right into Shakespeare Street.

2) Which figure results from the operations shown?


3) Which figure results from the operations shown?



  1. B - Function 'M' inverts color (black > white and white > black). Function 'S' rotates shape anticlockwise through 90 degrees.

  2. B - work from top to bottom, making a note of the effect of each operator at each stage.

  3. D - Remember some of the operations involve changing the relative position of figures.

Remember, you are unlikely to be asked questions if this type unless the job calls for a high level of analytical abstract reasoning skills. These types of question are usually restricted to technical jobs in information technology but may also be used to select for technical jobs in the finance industry.

If the employer has made any mention of diagrammatic reasoning then you should ask them to clarify exactly what they mean, and if possible to supply some example questions.

You may also be interested in: Aptitude Tests IntroductionQuestion Types & ScoringThe Difference between Speed & Power TestsVerbal Ability TestsNumerical Ability TestsAbstract Reasoning TestsSpatial Ability TestsMechanical Aptitude TestsData Checking TestsWork Sample TestsInterpreting Aptitude Test ResultsDifferent Types of Scoring Systems,  Standard Scores, Percentiles & Norming and Using the Results to Make Selection Decisions.

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