Verbal Reasoning Tests: 2017 Expert Guide (with Example Test Questions & Answers)

Verbal Reasoning TestsVerbal reasoning tests are designed to test how well you understand a passage of text.

These tests are an example of an ability test (sometimes known as aptitude tests) and are often used by employers in combination with numerical reasoning tests and logical reasoning tests.

Verbal reasoning tests aim to identify your maximum comprehension ability, or in other words, the most challenging passage of text you will be able to understand.

Click here to take a free verbal reasoning test right now.

Example Verbal Reasoning Test Questions and Answers

Tests of verbal reasoning generally include a passage of text and a number of statements that may or may not be correct based on the information included in the text.

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Typically there are three types of statements:

  • those that are logically true based on the evidence within the passage;
  • those that are logically false based on the evidence within the passage;
  • those where there is not enough evidence within the passage to say categorically whether it is true or not, these are often named cannot say in tests.

As the test candidate your job is to use the information in the passage to identify which statements are which.

Verbal Reasoning Tests

Verbal Reasoning Tests

There is some variation in the exact requirements across different tests; some tests present you with a number of statements and require you to identify whether each statement is true, untrue or impossible to say, whilst others provide a number of alternative statements and ask you to identify which one is true based on the information within the passage.

Whatever the format the principle is the same and you need to demonstrate that you can correctly understand the information contained within a passage of text.

Let’s take a look at some examples.

Example Verbal Test Question One

Many retailers find it useful to employ temporary workers in the run up to Christmas. This ensures that they have enough employees in the shops to cover the very busy Christmas shopping period. Using temporary workers is a cost effective way of meeting seasonal demand as temporary workers are usually paid on a fixed rate without the usual entitlement to paid holidays. However, one challenge of using temporary workers is ensuring that all staff provide adequate levels of customer care and customer complaints tend to increase in the Christmas shopping period.

Which of the Following Statements Is True?

Statement 1: Temporary workers are given the same entitlement to paid holidays as permanent staff.

Answer = False.

Explanation: The passage clearly states that ‘temporary workers are usually paid on a fixed rate without the usual entitlement to paid holidays’.

Statement 2: Retailers find the Christmas shopping period particular busy.

Answer = True.

Explanation: The passage says that retailers need additional employees to ‘cover the very busy Christmas shopping period’.

Statement 3: Temporary workers are provided with customer care training before they start work.

Answer = Cannot say.

Explanation: Although the passage talks about customer care it is impossible to say whether temporary workers are provided with customer care training.

Statement 4: Customer complaints increase during the Christmas shopping period because of the temporary workers.

Answer = Cannot say.

Explanation: Whilst the passage shows that both customer complaints and the number of temporary workers increase during the Christmas shopping period there is no evidence provided of a causal relationship.

There are many potential reasons for this correlation and no definitive reason given within the passage.

Example Verbal Test Question Two

Climate change is undoubtedly the biggest threat facing the planet and the potential impact in human terms could be catastrophic. Many low lying coastal areas may become completely submerged leading to human migration and suffering on a scale never seen before. Drinking water is likely to become increasingly scarce and conflict for control of water resources is anticipated. There is no longer any question that climate change is created by human activities and it is through human endeavour we must combat it. We must reduce our dependence on carbon emitting fossil fuels and promote clean renewable energy, and we must be willing to support and nurture energy efficient new technologies. Technology, like low energy lighting, holds the key to reducing greenhouse gases without adversely impacting our quality of life now or in the future.

Which of the Following Statements Is True?

Statement 1: Whether or not steps are taken to combat climate change, standard of living will deteriorate.

Answer = False.

Explanation: The passage says that ‘Technology, like low energy lighting, holds the key to reducing greenhouse gases without adversely impacting our quality of life now or in the future.’

This demonstrates that steps can be taken to combat climate change without negatively affecting quality of life.

Statement 2: The causes of climate change are complex and unclear.

Answer = False.

Explanation: The passage says ‘There is no longer any question that climate change is created by human activities.’

This means that the causes of climate change are not unclear since the passage says they are caused by human activities.

Statement 3: Unchecked climate change is likely to lead to humanitarian crises.

Answer = True.

Explanation: The passage says that the impact of climate change “in human terms could be catastrophic” and talks about a number of ways in which this could be the case: “Many low lying coastal areas may become completely submerged leading to human migration and suffering on a scale never seen before. Drinking water is likely to become increasingly scarce and conflict for control of water resources is anticipated.

Statement 4: The impacts of climate change are likely to disproportionately affect poorer areas of the world.

Answer = Cannot Say

Explanation: There is no evidence within the passage to suggest that this is the case.

Pay Attention to the Text in These Types of Tests

A particular challenge of verbal reasoning tests is using solely the information contained within the passage to answer the question; this is especially difficult if you have prior knowledge of the subject.

The key to success is taking the time to read and understand the passage and only using the information it contains to answer the questions.

The instructions at the beginning of the test will usually emphasise how important this is.

Top Tips for Successful Verbal Reasoning Tests

Practice!

Although practice may not improve your underlying ability, being unfamiliar with the requirements of a task may hinder your performance, so to perform at your best ensure that you are familiar with the likely format of the questions and the approaches to solving the questions that work for you.

Really Read the Passage.

A common error is failing to adequately understand the information contained within the passage and relying on your expectations about what is said, this is particularly prevalent where the information in the passage is not in line with your prior knowledge or information generally held to be true.

Take the time to really read the passage and double check that it really says what you think it does.

Eliminate the Obvious.

You may find some numerical reasoning test questions very challenging and might not be able to work out the answer.

When this happens, instead of working out which answer is correct, switch to deciding which answers you can discount for being wrong.

Any answer you can rule out will help your chance of success if you end up taking a guess between a number of possible options.

Make Sure You Understand the Instructions.

Make sure that you understand the instructions you are given rather than relying on what you expect them to be.

Common nuances that can crop up in numerical tests include being asked to select more than one correct answer (when you have previously been asked to select one), reversed questions (i.e. being asked to select an incorrect answer rather than a correct one), or not being able to go backwards in a test to check or correct previous answers.

3 thoughts on “Verbal Reasoning Tests: 2017 Expert Guide (with Example Test Questions & Answers)

  1. September 29, 2016 at 1:15 pm

    This was a great article. I struggled a lot with my recent psychometric tests for interview. This was helpful!

  2. December 25, 2016 at 11:26 am

    I am starting to understand why tests essential &practice & advice on how to prepare & complete is important
    Thank you!

  3. April 28, 2017 at 9:42 am

    wow i learnt alot, hope i will pass my aptitute test

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