The Brain Workout – Patterns, Analysis and Abstract Reasoning

Abstract reasoning is your ability to form complex thought patterns to analyze data and solve problems. It demonstrates your ability to identify logical trends and patterns, and then apply those patterns to solving a problem. Some of us are better than others, and future employers test our abstract reasoning skills through a test, sometimes called a conceptual reasoning test or diagrammatic test. These tests have numerous advantages for you and the employer, and luckily there are ways for you to prepare for the test and better your performance.

Why do Employers Use Abstract Reasoning Tests?

Overall abstract reasoning tests are a relatively impartial way of assessing your abilities and determining areas that you need more work on. They are just another tool to select the best person for the job, and they also –

  • Test your strategic thinking;
  • Show how quickly you learn new skills;
  • Demonstrate how quickly you can understand new information and apply it to your benefit in a situation and;
  • Reveal how well you can apply logic to problem solving.

What does a Test do for you?

abstract reasoning

Doing well at an abstract reasoning test can impress an employer and get you the job, but it also has other potential advantages for you -

  • You can make a case for your strong points;
  • You should be evaluated more objectively;
  • You can learn more about your strengths and weaknesses and;
  • Have a better idea about a future career path based on your skill set.

What does such a test look like?

You will be presented with a series of shapes or figures, and will have to recognize the pattern and state what comes next in the sequence. There are four main types of reasoning tests –

1.    Series – name the next symbol or character is in the series.

2.    Reasoning – involve flow diagrams and ask you to understand how the pattern works, and apply the pattern to a new situation.

3.    Thinking – you will be given an end result and be asked to identify various stages needed to achieve the result, testing your ability to handle multiple pieces of information.

4.    Diagramming – used as an indicator in the IT industry, you will be asked to identify an end result following a set of diagrammatic instructions.

Depending on what kind of job you’ve applied for, reasoning tests can vary in difficulty, but will be appropriate to the skill level required for the available job opportunity. The difficulty of the test is indicated by three elements; how many rules are involved in the pattern (more rules make it more difficult), how complicated the rules are and how much time you have.

A medium level difficulty test will include between one and three rules and give you around 45 seconds per question. For an abstract reasoning test to be considered highly challenging, you will be given patterns with more than three rules and approximately 30 seconds per question.

How to Prepare for an Abstract Reasoning Test?

Here are a few ideas which will help you to take the test with more confidence...

  • Look online for a few test examples, and become familiar with what they look like and the types of questions. Then practice taking the test as many times as you can on your own.
  • Be aware that some test examples may be easier than others. Try to find tests that match your capabilities, or tests that push you a little harder.
  • Work on logic puzzles or games to sharpen your abstract thinking abilities.
  • Master a three-point approach to the test – what do the symbols have in common? In what pattern are these symbols repeated? Predict what is next in the series

On the Day of the Test

These are a few general tips for how to make the test go as smoothly as possible on the day –

  • Like any test or exam, make sure that you are well rested and punctual, avoiding any extra stress.
  • If you have any special requirements tell the tester well beforehand.
  • Remember that you have practiced these tests, so there’s nothing to be afraid of.
  • Read over each question carefully.
  • Do not spend too much time on each question, and move on from questions you’re struggling with, and come back to them at the end if you have time.
  • Find out how you did, so that you can improve your performance.

Share Your Thoughts!

We find value in differences between learning, interpreting and overall opinions. Please share your thoughts freely about this topic, but always remain respectful. Thank you for your contribution.

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