The Group Bourdon/Concentration Test is one of the hardest parts of the assessment process. It is the one test that most people fail and this is mainly due to a lack of preparation. Many candidates turn up to take the test without any prior knowledge of how the test works and what is expected of them.


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The test is designed to assess your ability to concentrate whilst performing tasks at high speed. The test will be carried out either with a pen and paper, or a computer and a computer screen. Whichever test you undertake, you will be presented with five pages or screens that each contains 25 columns. Each of the columns contains boxes with patterns of dots which are either in groups of 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6. Your task is to work quickly and accurately through each column, from left to right, identifying boxes of 4 dots only.

You are allowed two minutes only per sheet and, once the two minutes are up, you are told to move onto the next page regardless of whether you have completed it or not. I can confidently say that you will not complete each page in the allotted two minutes per sheet, simply because there are too many groups of dots to work through!

The test requires ten minutes of solid concentration.

Take a look at the following row of dots:

Group Bourdon Tests

You will notice that the 2nd, 4th, 7th and 9th boxes each contain 4 dots. If you were taking the paper and pencil based version of the test, you would mark the boxes that contain 4 dots as follows:

You will notice that I have placed a single diagonal line through each of the boxes that contains 4 dots.

It is crucial that you aim for accuracy as well as speed. You will lose marks for incorrect answers; therefore, you will need to work hard on improving your concentration levels. You will find that during the first couple of sheets your concentration levels will be good; however, after a few minutes it will become harder to concentrate. Many people talk about seeing a ‘mass of dots’ after the third sheet and they find it hard to concentrate as a result.

Take a look at the following sheet and see how many group sof 4 dots you can locate.

Sample Group Bourdon Test

Train Driver Group Bourdon Test

In total there are 22 groups of 4 dots.

Tips for passing the Train Driver Group Bourdon Test

Tip 1 – You will be assessed against both speed and accuracy. If you select groups of dots other than groups of four, you will lose marks. Aim for consistency.

Tip 2 – Do not worry if you cannot complete a sheet of dots. The test is design so that you don’t finish it!

Tip 3 – If you feel your eyes becoming tired, take a few seconds break before moving on to the next sheet. Just by resting your eyes for a few seconds you should find that this improves your concentration.

Tip 4 – The only way to improve your scores is to carry out lots of practice.


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