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McQuaig Mental Agility Test: Practice Tests/Guide/Tips

Jan 06, 2023

The McQuaig Mental Agility Test (MMAT) assesses general mental agility, cognitive ability and the way that a test taker can process information under pressure.

Although it is a short aptitude test, it can be challenging – and preparation is key if you want to get a great score. The MMAT is used as part of the recruitment process for many roles at different levels, and it can also be used as a developmental tool for employees already in a role.

In this article we will look at the history of the assessment, which companies use it and what you can expect from the assessment.

We will also discuss how you can prepare yourself to get the highest score you are capable of, with tips and tricks to get the most out of the reasoning test.


What Is the McQuaig Mental Agility Test?

The McQuaig Mental Agility Test is a timed psychometric test that can be taken online or in person, and it lasts for just 15 minutes.

There are 50 multiple-choice questions in the test, split into three different topics:

  • Numerical reasoning
  • Verbal ability
  • Logical ability

In the UK and Europe, Holst administers the McQuaig Mental Agility Test, and it is built on the research of Jack H. McQuaig, a psychologist who spent much of his career consulting on recruitment issues and collating data to help him answer the question, ”What are the factors that differentiate high performers?”.

The McQuaig Institute was established in 1966, and it has produced nine different tools that can be used in different staffing-related situations, from job analysis to recruitment and development, as well as for retention.

These tools are:

  • McQuaig Job Analysis – Establishing the key requirements for the role
  • McQuaig Job Survey – Defining the behavioral needs of the role
  • McQuaig Word Survey – A personality test assessing the personality traits and work behaviors of a candidate
  • Job Fit Interview Guide – Targeted interview questions relevant to the role
  • McQuaig Mental Agility Test – Assessing the key components of ‘intelligence’
  • McQuaig Self-Development Test – Creating individualized development plans
  • McQuaig 360 Leadership Review – Reviews of performance by peers
  • The Comparison Report – Temperamental profiles of employees
  • Team Effectiveness – Spread of behavioral traits in a team or business

The McQuaig Mental Agility Test is about fluid intelligence. The test measures the way that a test-taker learns, their problem-solving skills and how they make decisions while under pressure. High-scoring candidates are able to move between different types of questions quickly and answer accurately.

The validity of the assessment is based on more than 50 years of industrial psychology, and to make sure that the results match what is needed for the role, companies will often ask employees in the same or similar roles to take the test to create a benchmark.

The highest-scoring candidates will not always be the right fit for the job.

The MMAT is used by more than 1,200 companies in 30 countries, including:

  • Caffè Nero
  • Nuffield Health
  • Perrys Motor Sales
  • Highland Spring
  • Mitie
  • CIPD
  • Zoopla

Like other aptitude tests, the MMAT is not about what you have learned in school or university, and it requires no previous experience or knowledge of the role to complete – but you can prepare for it by taking practice tests and revising some basic principles of language usage, mathematical operations and logical reasoning with the resources available on TestHQ.


McQuaig Mental Agility Test Questions and Answers

When you are taking the McQuaig Mental Agility Test, you have only 15 minutes to complete up to 50 questions. It is not expected that you will answer every single question on the assessment, but to give yourself the best chance for a high score, the more questions you can answer, the better.

The McQuaig Mental Agility Test answers will be presented in multiple-choice format and you need to choose the correct option.

In the McQuaig Mental Agility Test, the content of the questions is relatively straightforward and simple, but the tight time constraints of the assessment makes it particularly challenging – and that is the point of the test itself.

As it is based on psychological research into what makes people perform well, the MMAT actually looks at mental agility and speed of thought – your ability to switch quickly between different topics and work efficiently (and correctly).

Most companies will expect you to take the MMAT online and in your own time, and you will usually be sent a link to complete it by the recruitment team if you are taking the test as part of an application process.

In some cases, you might take the test as part of an interview or at an assessment center in person.

The test displays the timer on the screen so you can see how much time has elapsed, and you can move between questions freely – which means that you can skip a question or go back to it later if you need to.

Make sure you practice time management and work out roughly how long you have for each question so that you are not caught out.


McQuaig Mental Agility Test Scoring

The MMAT is scored quite simply – you get a mark for every correct answer, and there are no penalties for an incorrect answer.

Scores are out of 50 and relate to a candidate’s ability, and according to McQuaig, the following segmentation describes the scores for relative performance levels:

  • 45-plus = Exceptional High Ability
  • 38 to 45 = High Ability
  • 25 to 37 = Average Ability
  • 25 or less = Below Average Ability

The score that you achieve will be converted into a percentile, which is a direct comparison of your score with the performance of the other test takers.

This means that you might score 38 out of 50 – which would seem to be a high score – but if other test takers scored an average of 43, you would actually be a low performer in this case.

Remember, the score that you need for the role you have applied for is relevant to the needs of the role, so the pass mark will vary.


McQuaig Mental Agility Test Practice Questions

Below is a selection of example McQuaig Mental Agility Test questions and answers to get a feel for what might come up in the actual assessment test.

After trying these, access more sample questions on TestHQ


Mathematical Ability

44 | 53 | 72 | 65 | 82 | 91 | 21 | ??

What number is next in the above sequence?

a) 11
b) 14
c) 32
d) 86

The correct answer is: b) 14



Dusk is to sunset as Childhood is to ??

a) Infancy
b) Adulthood
c) Teenage
d) Retirement

The correct answer is: a) Infancy

Dusk occurs after sunset and childhood comes after infancy.


Verbal Comprehension

What does the word ‘nebulous’ mean?

a) Hazy
b) Obvious
c) Unique
d) Certain
e) None of these

The correct answer is: a) Hazy


Access Practice Material With TestHQ

How did you do with the example questions? If you were stronger at some sections over others, focus your practice on where you need it most.

For a huge range of practice material, take advantage of the TestHQ  SHL verbal reasoning practice tests to access more than 800 questions and answers.

The package includes full solutions and explanations, so you can understand how to get to the correct answer and avoid those dreaded point deductions.


Benefits of McQuaig Mental Agility Test Practice

Practice tests are one of the most effective ways to prepare for an aptitude assessment.

The practice tests at TestHQ are designed to be relevant to the publishers – so you can make the most of your preparation time and get a good idea of what is to come.


Get Familiar With the Test Format

Unfamiliarity is one of the biggest barriers to success in an aptitude test, but with McQuaig Mental Agility Test examples, you can see how the questions will be presented, the structure of the test and the way you need to answer.

This familiarity will make you feel less nervous when you are taking the test, making it easier to concentrate.

You can find a range of paid-for and free McQuaig Mental Agility Test practice resources online to increase your familiarity with the test format.


Identify Your Strengths and Weaknesses

Once you have completed a practice test, whether it’s a free mental agility test or a paid-for mental agility test with answers, your results can show you where your strengths and weaknesses lie.

It is usual to have a type of question that you find more difficult and a subject that you might be weaker in, and once you have identified that you can work that knowledge into a revision plan.

For example, if it is the numerical questions that you find harder, you could look back at some of the school-level operations and solidify the methods you can use to solve these questions without a calculator, so that you can rely on them when you are under pressure.


Gain Confidence

After doing some revision, you can take another practice test – and seeing your score improve will certainly help you to feel more confident for the real thing.

Just getting familiar with taking multiple tests and working under exam conditions – successfully – will build your confidence.


Test Your Ability to Work Under Pressure

When you are taking the practice tests, make sure that you are working to the time limit of the assessment. If the practice tests that you are using do not have a built-in timer, then set one yourself for 15 minutes.

You need to get used to answering the questions as quickly as possible, but with accuracy. Make sure that the rest of your environment is also set up as if it were the real thing – turn off your mobile phone and make sure that no one will interrupt you.


Track Your Progress

Throughout your preparation, you want to see that you have made some progress. If you can, keep a note of the scores you have achieved in the practice tests.

Preparation shouldn’t be just one bit of revision or taking just one practice test – for the best McQuaig Mental Agility Test results you want to keep testing so that you can really hone in on the developments that you need to make to score highly.


The Best McQuaig Mental Agility Test Practice Tips

Prepare Yourself

When faced with a test, nerves can have an impact on your preparation. You might have sleepless nights or have your appetite negatively affected – but it is important that you focus on self-care in the lead-up to the big day.

Get sufficient sleep in the week before the assessment if you can. Aim for six to eight hours a night if possible.

Lack of sleep has been scientifically proven to have a detrimental effect on cognitive ability – and that will impact your score on the McQuaig Mental Agility Test as it is one of the main testing areas.

You also need to feed your brain the right fuel for success. Healthy meals and lots of hydration will ensure that this biological machine is working to its full potential in the assessment.


Read the Questions Carefully

When you are under time pressure, you might feel too rushed to take in all the information that you have been presented with.

However, if you do not take the extra second to read the question, you could get the wrong end of the stick and end up getting the answer completely wrong.

In the long run, rushing could cost you an easy mark and really impact your overall performance.


Don’t Get Stuck at a Hard Question

Although you will want to get as many questions right as possible, lingering for too long on a harder question could actually mean that you run out of time – missing questions that might be easier later.

The McQuaig Mental Agility Test is structured in a way that means you can move both forwards and backwards in the test, so you can always come back later on if you have time.

With the multiple-choice options available, even if you don’t have a clue at all you still have a one-in-four chance of getting it right, so it is worth an educated guess – and your odds will increase if you can rule out some of the possible options, too.


Track the Time

Fifteen minutes will go by very quickly in the assessment, so make sure you are keeping an eye on the remaining time. This will help motivate you but remember not to rush too much or else you could make a mistake.


Frequently Asked Questions

What is the McQuaig Mental Agility Test?

The McQuaig Mental Agility Test is an aptitude test designed to assess factors of general intelligence, learning, problem-solving and decision-making.

It is a 15-minute test with up to 50 questions across three different sections – verbal reasoning, numerical and logical.

It is often used during recruitment but can also be used as part of a development process for employees already in a role.


Is the McQuaig Mental Agility Test hard to pass?

The McQuaig Mental Agility Test is challenging because it has a really tight time limit – and up to 50 questions to be answered.

For many candidates, working accurately under pressure in this way can make answering even simple questions hard, so it can be difficult to achieve the required score to pass.


Where can I prepare for the McQuaig Mental Agility Test online?

There are practice tests available on the TestHQ site for the McQuaig Mental Agility Test, but you can find more information on the McQuaig website, including revision guides, practice tests and other resources.


How many questions are on the McQuaig Mental Agility Test?

There are 50 questions on the McQuaig Mental Agility Test, which you need to answer in 15 minutes. You are not expected to answer all the questions.

The content of each question will be either verbal, numerical or logical, and the questions appear in a random order.


What is a passing score for the McQuaig Mental Agility Test?

The average score for the McQuaig Mental Agility Test is between 25 to 37 out of 50, but the score that you will need to pass will depend on the role that you are applying for or currently doing, and the requirements of the business.


What companies require taking the McQuaig Mental Agility Test?

The McQuaig Mental Agility Test, along with the other tools from the McQuaig Institute, is used by 1,200 companies in 30 countries.

Some well-known companies that use it include:

  • Zoopla
  • Highland Spring
  • Nuffield Health
  • BPP
  • Caffè Nero
  • CIPD
  • Mitie


How many times can you retake the McQuaig Mental Agility Test?

If you have taken the McQuaig Mental Agility Test as part of a recruitment process, your application will not be taken further if you do not reach the required score to pass.

However, you may be allowed to reapply at a later date for the role and might be able to retake the assessment as part of the new process.


Where can I find more McQuaig Mental Agility Test examples?

You can find more example questions for the McQuaig Mental Agility Test online at sites like TestHQ – which has excellent resources to help you prepare.


Is the McQuaig Mental Agility Test timed?

The McQuaig Mental Agility Test is timed – you will have just 15 minutes available to answer up to 50 questions.


Can I take the McQuaig Mental Agility Test online?

Most companies will ask you to complete the McQuaig Mental Agility Test online, especially if you are taking it as part of a recruitment process.

You will usually have to be invited to complete it by the company you have applied to (or the one you work for if you are taking it as part of a development program).

You can take practice tests here at TestHQ.


What is the average score on the McQuaig Mental Agility Test?

The McQuaig Mental Agility Test average score is between 25 to 37. The exceptionally high performers score 45 or more, while the below-average will score 25 or less.

The actual score (and relative percentile) that you need to achieve will depend on the requirements of the role.


What online tools can I use to prepare for the McQuaig Mental Agility Test?

Practice tests are an excellent tool to use when you are preparing for the McQuaig Mental Agility Test, and when you have completed a practice test you can use the results to see where you might need some revision.


Final Thoughts

The McQuaig Mental Agility Test is a challenging aptitude assessment that a business can use in several different ways to assess general intelligence and speed of thought.

You will most likely encounter it during the hiring process.

It is rooted in industrial psychology and trusted by companies that want to ensure that they are hiring people with the right level of mental ability and intelligence to help reduce unconscious bias and bring down the cost of recruitment.

Preparation is key when you are taking the McQuaig Mental Agility Test; good performance relies on you being familiar with the test structure, being able to work under pressure and being able to answer diverse questions quickly and accurately.

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