HOW TO ANSWER VERBAL REASONING TESTS

Verbal reasoning tests have been in use for many years as a tool by employers whilst assessing potential employees for specific careers. During my research, and whilst discussing this type of test with test administrators, I established that the most common type of verbal reasoning test in use today is the one that involves a passage of text and a requirement for the candidate to state whether certain statements relating to the passage are:

1. True
2. False
3. Cannot say with the information provided.

During my research I also encountered a small number of employers using tests which involved a requirement for the candidate to select the odd one out from a list of items, such as:

Select the odd one out from the following list

Baby

Daylight

Cot

Answer: Daylight

I also encountered that some employers used the “insert the missing word” form of verbal reasoning test which goes something like:

The following sentence has 2 words missing. Which two words make best sense of the sentence?

The man                   to walk along the beach with his dog. He threw the stick and the dog                    it.

Answer:

A. hated/chose        B. decided/wanted       C. liked/chased       D. hurried/chased        E. hated/loved

Answer: C

Here is a sample Verbal Rasoning test which involves a requirement to study a passage of text:

Read the following text before answering the question that follows as either TRUE, FALSE or CANNOT SAY based on the information provided.

A uniform is a set of standard clothing worn by members of an organisation whilst participating in that organisation’s activity. Modern uniforms are worn by armed forces and paramilitary organisations such as police, emergency services, security guards, in some workplaces and schools and by inmates in prisons. In some countries, some other officials also wear uniforms in some of their duties; such is the case of the Commissioned Corps of the United States Public Health Service or the French Prefects.

Question. Police officers are required to wear a uniform.

The answer to the question is CANNOT SAY based on the information provided. Many candidates will answer this question as TRUE; simply because we all know that police officers do in fact wear a uniform. The important lesson here is to only answer the question based solely on the information provided, regardless of what you know to be fact.

A sample verbal reasoning test question and how to approach it

Let’s now take a look at a sample verbal reasoning test question in a format which is common amongst employers nowadays.

You will normally find a passage of text which is following by a number of questions. Following the questions you are required to state whether the questions are TRUE, FALSE, or CANNOT TO SAY without further information.

Read the following text before answering the questions as either TRUE, FALSE or CANNOT SAY from the information given.

Basic holiday rights for employees

There is a minimum right to paid holiday, but your employer may offer more than this. All employees are entitled to a minimum of 5.6 weeks paid leave per year. Those employees who work for five days a week are entitled to 28 days per year annual leave (capped at a statutory maximum of 28 days for all working patterns). Employees who work part-time are entitled to the same level of holiday pro rata (5.6 times your normal working week) e.g. 16.8 days for someone working three days a week). All employees will start building up holiday as soon as they start work with the employer.

The employer has the right to control when you take your holiday but you must get paid the same level of pay whilst on holiday. When you finish working for an employer you get paid for any holiday you have not taken. The employer may include bank and public holidays in your minimum entitlement.

You continue to be entitled to your holiday leave throughout any additional maternity/paternity leave and adoption leave.

 

Question 1. An employer may not offer you more than the minimum paid holiday.

Question 2. In addition to paternity leave you are entitled to your normal holiday.

Question 3. All employees only start building up holiday leave 5.6 weeks after commencement of employment.

Question 4. Employees who receive more than the minimum holiday entitlement are often grateful to their employer.

The above sample question consists of a passage of text which relates to basic holiday rights for employees followed by four questions. You have to state whether the questions are either TRUE, FALSE or CANNOT SAY from the information given. The important thing to remember is that you should solely base your answers on the passage of text provided. Let’s break each question down individually:

1. An employer may not offer you more than the minimum paid holiday.

By reading the passage carefully you will note that the following sentence relates to question 1:

“There is a minimum right to paid holiday, but your employer may offer more than this.”

We can deduce from the passage that question 1 is in fact FALSE, simply because an employer may offer more than the minimum paid holiday.

Fortunately for us the first question related to the very first sentence in the passage. However, in the majority of cases this will not be the norm.

2. In addition to paternity leave you are entitled to your normal holiday.

By reading the passage carefully you will note that the following sentence relates to question 2:

“You continue to be entitled to your holiday leave throughout any additional maternity/paternity leave and adoption leave.”

We can deduce from the passage that question 2 is in fact TRUE. An employee is entitled to their holiday leave throughout paternity leave.

My preferred method for answering verbal reasoning questions was to scan the passage searching for keywords or phrases which matched the question. Question 2 is a very good example of how ‘scanning’ the passage can save you time. You will note that the word ‘paternity’ is only used once throughout the entire passage. By scanning the passage quickly in search of specific keywords or phrases you will be able to reach the section of the passage that relates to the question and thus answer the question far quicker than reading the entire passage.

Once again, there is no right or wrong way for answering the questions; choose a method which works for you.


3. All employees only start building up holiday leave 5.6 weeks after commencement of employment.

By reading the passage carefully you will note that the following sentence relates to question 3:

“All employees will start building up holiday as soon as they start work with the employer.”

We can deduce from the passage that question 3 is in fact FALSE based on the information provided. An employee starts building up holiday as soon as they start work with the employer, not 5.6 weeks after commencement of employment.

4. Employees who receive more than the minimum holiday entitlement are often grateful to their employer.

By reading the passage carefully you will note that none of the content relates to the question. At no point does it state that employees who receive more than the minimum holiday entitlement are often grateful to their employer, or otherwise. Therefore, the answer is CANNOT SAY based on the information provided. Although it is probably true in real life that most employees would be grateful for receiving more than the minimum holiday requirement, we can only answer the question based solely on the information provided in the passage.

The following video will reiterate the information that I have just provided and also give you a practical demonstration of how to answer verbal reasoning tests.

HOW TO ANSWER VERBAL REASONING TESTS


 

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