Verbal Aptitude Tests - Frequently Asked Questions

Verbal ability questions measure your ability to spell words correctly, use correct grammar, understand analogies and analyze detailed written information. Most employers who use  psychometric tests in the selection process will include verbal ability questions. This is because there are very few careers which don't require the ability to understand, analyze and interpret written information.

Verbal ability questions depend on understanding the precise meaning of words, idioms and the structure of the English language. If you speak English as a second language, even if this is at a high standard, you will be disadvantaged in these tests.

Verbal ability questions can be divided into tests of simple verbal ability, for example; spellinggrammarsynonyms and antonyms etc. These tests usually consist of 30 to 40 questions which need to be completed in 15 to 20 minutes. They are speed tests in that they don’t require very much reasoning ability. You either know the answer or you don’t.

Verbal reasoning tests, on the other hand, are designed to measure your problem solving abilities. These questions may take the form of comprehension exercises, which are straightforward (as long as you remember to read the relevant part of the text carefully) or more complex statements where the best tactic is to make notes about what you can deduce from each part of the text. These tests are designed to test your reasoning ability rather than your facility with the language.

In practice, the more straightforward types of verbal ability questions (spelling, grammar and instructions) tend to be more applicable to administrative roles and the reasoning and deduction type of questions are more applicable to graduate and management roles.

 You will usually find questions on the following:

  • Spelling

  • Grammar

  • Synonyms & Antonyms

  • Sentence Completion

  • Analogies

  • Word Groups

  • Class Membership

  • Following Instructions

  • Critical Reasoning

  • Verbal Deductions

These types of question can be categorized into the 5 groups:

Spelling Questions
Questions where you have to identify incorrectly spelt words are common in all levels of verbal ability tests. The test designer needs to choose words which are in regular use but which are often spelt incorrectly. If you have been out of the education system for a while or you are not an avid reader, then you may be surprised how much your spelling has deteriorated.

If you are concerned that your spelling may let you down then you should download the practice spelling test which contains the 300 most commonly used words.

Download sample verbal ability spelling questions

Word Meaning Questions
These questions are designed to measure your vocabulary and your understanding of word meanings. The questions tend to focus on the relationships between words and are phrased such that you need to know the precise meaning of the words in order to select the correct answer.


Download sample verbal ability word meaning questions

Word Relationship Questions
These questions assess your ability to identify the relationship between words and to then apply this verbal analogy. To answer these questions you need to understand the meaning of the words in the question and establish what exactly the relationship is between them. You should then look at the answer options and decide which answer is the most appropriate.


Download sample verbal ability word relationship questions

Comprehension Questions
These questions consist of a short passage of text and some related questions. They will often be about a topic which is unfamiliar to you, but this is an advantage rather than a disadvantage because you need to answer the questions based only on the information that you are given – not using any knowledge that you already have. These types of question appear in all levels of verbal ability tests but may be more detailed and technical in graduate and management level tests.

Download sample verbal ability comprehension questions

Critical Reasoning Questions
These questions are designed to test your ability to take a series of facts expressed in words and to understand and manipulate the information to solve a specific problem. These questions are usually restricted to graduate and management level tests


Pass Verbal Reasoning