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How to Pass & Prepare for Analytical Reasoning Tests in {YEAR}?

How to Pass & Prepare for Analytical Reasoning Tests in 2024?

What Is Analytical Reasoning Test?

An analytical reasoning test is a way of measuring a candidate’s comprehension skills and their ability to identify key information, apply logic and find patterns.

This form of testing is used widely in recruitment, particularly when assessing candidates for training or graduate schemes.

Large organizations may use an analytical skills test in the early stages of the recruitment process to assess the aptitude of shortlisted candidates before moving onto the interview stage.

This allows recruiters to test several skills such as:

  • Attention to detail
  • Critical thinking
  • Ability to apply logic
  • Inductive reasoning
  • Deductive reasoning
  • Decision making

What to Expect When Taking an Analytical Reasoning Test

Analytical reasoning tests are often delivered online and completed by the candidate at a time of their choosing.

You will be given a final deadline for completing the test which, if missed, will eliminate you from the selection process.

The time allowed to complete the test is determined by the recruiter. Some apply rigid time constraints, so good time management and quick thinking is necessary.

Taking practice papers in advance can help you work out how long to spend on each question and which types of questions take more of your time.

Not all organizations apply a time limit, although they may give you an estimate of how long it will take or record the time taken.

In these cases, the testing program may present you with different questions, depending on how well you answered the previous one.

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Analytical Reasoning Test Formats

Non-Verbal Reasoning

Non-verbal reasoning, or numerical reasoning, is the ability to analyze graphs, tables and data, to draw conclusions and make predictions.

Although based upon a numerical format, this method of testing is not designed to assess your mathematical knowledge; it focuses on logic and reasoning skills instead.

Many job roles rely on analyzing numerical data, and if you are applying for roles in the finance, engineering, marketing or human resources industries, you are very likely to be asked to complete an analytical reasoning test containing non-verbal reasoning assessments.

Verbal Reasoning

Verbal reasoning is the process of using written information, identifying and analyzing key points, to draw conclusions.

These skills are often assessed during an analytical reasoning test by presenting a text-based question, such as an excerpt of a business report or research paper.

You will then be expected to answer questions by interpreting the information and applying logic to come to your conclusion.

Deductive vs Inductive Reasoning

Deductive reasoning is taking a set of facts and using them to make further statements of fact. So, for example:

  • Package C weighs the same as package D
  • Package F weighs twice as much as package D

Therefore, it is also a fact that the weight of two F packages is equal to the weight of four C packages.

Of course, there are many other facts that we can deduce from the initial statements, and a question in an analytical skills test will be more complex than this.

Inductive reasoning is the process of using the information you have to identify patterns and make predictions about what is likely to happen next.

For example, take this table listing the population levels of Town A:

Year Population
2014 55,020
2016 57,201
2018 59,404

If you were asked to estimate the town population for 2020, you would use inductive reasoning to make your prediction.

Of course, your answer isn’t fact – but it shows that you have identified patterns and used logic to make an informed prediction.

In a test, a question that is asking you to use your inductive reasoning skills will often ask “What comes next?”.

Inductive logic is valued highly in the fields of engineering, IT and science.

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Examples of Analytical Questions

Analytical Question 1

Here is an example of a relatively difficult analytical reasoning question.

It requires the candidate to use the statements that are presented to identify other statements that must also be true.

This question is a test of verbal and deductive reasoning skills:

Example Question

From a group of seven undergraduate students (A, B, C, D, E, F, and G), four will be selected to give a presentation to the students' union. The following conditions must be met:

  1. Either A or B must be selected, but A and B cannot both be selected.
  2. Either E or F must be selected, but E and F cannot both be selected.
  3. E cannot be selected unless C is selected.
  4. G cannot be selected unless B is selected.

If we know that F is not selected to present, how many different groups of four can be made, following the above criteria?

a) One
b) Two
c) Three
d) Four
e) Five

Analytical Question 2

A common form of numerical (or non-verbal) reasoning question is to identify pattern rules and predict what comes next.

An example of this type of question is:

Analytical Reasoning Tests
Analytical Reasoning Tests
Example Question

Look at the top row of images. Which box comes next in the sequence?

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Analytical Question 3

Non-verbal reasoning may also be assessed by asking a number series question. This involves spotting patterns in a series of numbers, using some basic mathematical principles to predict the next number.

For example:

Example Question

What number comes next?

9, 15, 13, 19, 17, 23...

How to Prepare for Analytical Reasoning Tests in 2024

Step 1. Research the Test You Are Taking

Several different companies specialize in creating analytical reasoning tests. Asking your recruiter which provider they use will allow you to research practice papers beforehand.

Step 2. Prepare Your Tech

To save unnecessary stress on the day, make sure you have the hardware and software needed to complete the test.

Discovering that your laptop is about to run out of battery at the last minute is the last thing you need.

Step 3. Prepare the Necessary Equipment

Make sure you have all the necessary equipment with you.

You may need a pen and paper for jotting down details and helping you work out your answers. If allowed, a calculator may also prove useful.

Step 4. Read the Instructions Carefully

Take your time to read through the test instructions before you start answering questions.

Making a note of time allowance is important, so be sure to revisit this as you progress through the test to make sure you manage your time efficiently.

Step 5. Leave the Hard Questions ‘Till Last

Consider answering the test questions in a different order than they are set.

It may help to go through the test, answering questions you feel confident in, before returning to the more difficult questions.

Try out this method in your practice tests beforehand to find what works for you.

Step 6. Use Process of Elimination

Use a process of elimination when answering questions. Sometimes, it’s easier to spot the wrong answers than the right one. If you rule out enough of the wrong answers, you’ll get a head start on identifying the correct one.

Step 7. Stay Calm

Most importantly, stay calm. When faced with a difficult question, break it down, making notes as you go.

Trust your ability – remember that all the necessary information is provided in the question, you are not being tested on any professional knowledge, just on your reasoning skills.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Start by getting familiar with the format of the analytical test. Know whether it's multiple-choice, essay-based or involves data analysis.

Review any material or content that may be relevant to the test.

Practice solving analytical problems from past tests or sample questions.

On the day of the test, try to stay calm and focused.

An example of an analytical thinking test might be a case study or a situational analysis. You could be presented with a real-world problem or scenario and asked to analyze it, identify key issues, and propose solutions based on the information provided. The test may include written responses, multiple-choice questions, or both.

The purpose of an analytical thinking test is to assess your ability to think critically, analyze complex situations, make informed decisions, and solve problems. Employers often use these tests to evaluate a candidate's problem-solving skills and decision-making abilities. In an academic context, analytical tests are used to assess a student's understanding of a subject and their ability to apply knowledge to solve problems.

Regularly engage in activities that require critical thinking, such as puzzles, brain teasers or debates.

Reading a variety of materials, from books to news articles, can expose you to different perspectives and ideas, enhancing your analytical skills.

Work on solving problems, both simple and complex, to strengthen your ability to analyze situations and find solutions.

Stay updated in your field and keep learning, as new information and perspectives can enhance your analytical abilities.


Many corporate recruiters rely on analytical reasoning tests as part of their selection process.

This type of psychometric test is designed to assess a candidate’s general aptitude as well as their ability to apply logic and reasoning.

Results are data-driven and can provide an objective measure of a candidate’s potential to fulfill the role they are applying for.

With adequate preparation, this is an ideal opportunity for a candidate to demonstrate their logical ability and professional competence.

Scores are compared against those of other candidates and will influence progression onto the next round of the process.

In some cases, candidates will automatically be discounted if they have poor results on the reasoning test.

Therefore, it is important that you practice. Take online practice tests to ensure your skills are honed before your test.

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