Spatial Ability Tests | Maps & Plans

This type of question often appears in tests for military, police and emergency services jobs where the ability to follow or give directions based on a map or street plan is a day-to-day part of the job.


You will usually see an arrow showing which way is north. By convention this is towards the top of the page. For example:


Sometimes all four directions will be given (North, South, East and West) sometimes just North. If only North is given, you can work out the others if you remember the saying "Never Eat Sour Wheat" as this gives you all of the compass points reading clockwise from North.

You may also need to know the intermediate compass points as shown below:


As well as knowing the points of the compass you may also need to pay attention to traffic regulations if the question shows a city or town plan. It is very common for these to show one-way streets which you can only drive down in the direction of the arrow. You can of course walk in either direction and the question should make it clear whether you are walking or driving.


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.

Example Map Questions


1) Officer Wilkinson is in Depp St and can see the Town Hall to her right. What direction is she facing?

  • A) North

  • B) South

  • C) East

  • D) West

2) She turns and walks to the junction with Main St. She turns left and proceeds two blocks before turning right, then taking the next right, and walking half a block. Which location is nearest to her current position?

  • A) M

  • B) N

  • C) R

  • D) P

3) Officer Garcia starts from location ‘N’ and proceeds as follows: right onto West St - heading East, fourth left - heading North, first right - heading East, first right - heading South, third right – heading West. He proceeds West for one block. Where is location ‘P’ in relation to his current position?

  • A) North

  • B) South East

  • C) North East

  • D) North West

Answers to Questions

1) B
2) A
3) A

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