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Raven’s Progressive Matrices

Raven's Progressive Matrices Test – A Complete Guide (2024)

Jan 15, 2024

This comprehensive guide on the Raven's Progressive Matrices Test will help you prepare for your upcoming assessment.

Whether you're preparing for the assessment or simply curious about this widely used non-verbal test, this guide will provide a detailed overview, practical examples and valuable insights into mastering Raven's Progressive Matrices.


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What Are Raven’s Progressive Matrices?

The Raven's Progressive Matrices (RPM) Test, also known as the "Raven Progressive Matrices Test", is a non-verbal assessment tool designed to measure analogical perception, reasoning and abstraction ability. Developed by John Raven, this test is recognized for its efficacy in evaluating the general cognitive processes that enable individuals to solve diverse problems successfully.

The primary purpose of Raven's Progressive Matrices is to assess fluid intelligence, a concept introduced by Spearman denoted as the "g" factor. Fluid intelligence involves the ability to reason, adapt to new situations and solve novel problems. The Raven test was developed to be linguistically independent, making it suitable for a diverse range of participants.

Initially designed for research purposes, the Raven test has found widespread practical application, particularly in personnel selection and psycho-technical testing across various professions. The test's simplicity, language independence and effectiveness in estimating fluid intelligence contribute to its enduring popularity.


The Three Forms of the Raven Test

The Raven's Progressive Matrices Test is available in three main forms, each tailored for specific populations and cognitive levels.


Raven’s Standard Progressive Matrices


Raven’s Standard Progressive Matrices (SPM) is the original version, first published and conducted in 1938. The test consists of five sets labeled A to E, each featuring 12 items. As participants progress through each set, the questions become increasingly challenging. The presentation involves black ink on white backgrounds, maintaining a non-color-dependent format.


Raven’s SPM primarily aims to assess fluid intelligence by challenging participants to analyze increasingly complex visual patterns. This form of the test is widely used to measure cognitive ability in various contexts, including educational and occupational settings. It serves as a foundational tool for understanding an individual's capacity for reasoning and problem-solving.


Raven’s Colored Progressive Matrices


Raven’s Colored Progressive Matrices (CPM) is specifically designed for children, seniors and individuals with learning difficulties. This version includes sets A and B from the standard Raven matrices test, with 12 additional items inserted between them. Notably, most items in sets A and B feature colored backgrounds, providing a visually stimulating experience for participants. However, the last items in set B return to a presentation with black-on-white.


The unique characteristic of using color in CPM makes it more engaging and suitable for younger and older populations. This form is particularly effective in assessing fluid intelligence in individuals who may have difficulty with purely black-and-white presentations. The color-centric approach aims to create an inclusive testing experience, especially for children and those with learning challenges.

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Raven’s Advanced Progressive Matrices


Raven’s Advanced Progressive Matrices (APM) is tailored for individuals with higher intelligence. This advanced version features a total of 48 items, presented in two sets – 12 items in the first set and 36 in the second. The test maintains a black-and-white background, and the difficulty progresses as participants navigate through each set.


Raven’s APM is designed for adolescents and adults with above-average intelligence. The increased difficulty level challenges individuals with advanced problem-solving and reasoning tasks. This form of the test is particularly relevant in contexts where a more refined assessment of cognitive abilities is required, such as in professions that demand higher-order thinking and analytical skills.

Example of the Raven’s Assessment

1. Which image replaces the question mark?

The correct answer is: c).

2. Which image replaces the question mark?

a) 12
b) 20
c) 15
d) 25

The correct answer is: c). The rule governing this matrix involves multiples of each starting number.

For example, 3 x 1 = 3, 3 x 2 = 6, 3 x 3 = 9, then 4 x 1 = 4, 4 x 2 = 8, 4 x 3 = 12.

Following this pattern, 5 x 1 = 5, 5 x 2 = 10. Therefore, the correct answer is option c), 5 x 3 = 15.


Common Rules to Solve Raven’s Progressive Matrices

The Raven’s Progressive Matrices Test is known for its abstract nature, requiring individuals to decipher underlying patterns. Understanding some common rules can significantly enhance your ability to solve these matrices effectively.

Here are key rules to keep in mind:


Adding and Subtracting

Look for patterns involving the addition or subtraction of elements within the matrices. Some matrices follow a rule where the elements in one or more rows or columns are added or subtracted to generate the elements in another row or column.

Example: If the numbers in the first two cells of a row are 3 and 5, the third cell might be 8 (3 + 5).


Row Consistencies

Pay attention to consistent patterns across rows. In many matrices, each row might follow a specific rule or progression. Analyzing how elements change or stay the same within rows can unveil the underlying pattern.

Example: If the first two elements in a row are shapes, check if the third element follows a similar pattern.


Distribution of Three Values

Focus on how three different values are distributed across the matrix. It might involve variations in shape, color or size. Understanding the distribution patterns helps in predicting the missing element.

Example: If shapes A, B and C are distributed in the first two rows, analyze how these shapes are placed or combined to determine the distribution in the third row.


Quantitative Progression

Identify numerical progressions or sequences within the matrices. Some matrices follow a quantitative pattern where numbers evolve in a systematic manner.

Example: If the first number is 2, the second is 4 and the third is 6, the quantitative progression suggests that the next number might be 8.


Frequency and Rotation

Look for recurring patterns or rotations. Elements might repeat or rotate within rows or columns, forming a consistent sequence.

Example: If a particular shape appears in the first cell and rotates or repeats in the second cell, apply the same logic to predict the third cell.


How Is the Raven’s Test Scored?

Understanding the scoring system of the Raven’s Progressive Matrices Test is crucial for test-takers seeking insight into their cognitive abilities. Here's a breakdown of the scoring process:

  • Calculation of scores – Scores on the Raven’s Progressive Matrices are calculated based on the number of correct answers. Each correct response contributes to the overall score. The test typically consists of a set number of questions, and your score reflects the percentage of correct answers.
  • Penalties for wrong answers – Unlike some standardized tests, Raven’s Progressive Matrices typically do not impose penalties for incorrect answers. Scoring is primarily based on the number of correct responses, encouraging participants to provide their best attempt for each question.
  • Fail/pass score – Raven’s Progressive Matrices do not have a strict pass or fail threshold. Instead, scores are often interpreted in comparison to a norm group. Your performance is evaluated based on how well you performed relative to others who have taken the test, expressed as a percentile rank.
  • Retaking the test – The policy on retaking the Raven’s Progressive Matrices Test can vary. In many cases, there is no strict limit on retakes. However, it's essential to check the specific guidelines provided by the test administrator or institution conducting the assessment.
  • Considerations on item difficulty – The Raven’s Progressive Matrices Test uses a sophisticated scoring system that considers not only whether an answer is correct or incorrect but also the difficulty of each item. The test employs theta scores, which factor in item difficulty and discrimination, providing a nuanced evaluation of cognitive abilities.


Preparing for the Raven’s Assessment

Preparation is key to performing well on the Raven’s Progressive Matrices Test. Follow these tips to enhance your readiness for the test:

  • Take practice tests – Practice tests are invaluable for familiarizing yourself with the format, question types and time constraints of Raven’s Progressive Matrices. Make use of resources like TestHQ to access a variety of practice materials. These simulations provide a real test-like experience, helping you build confidence and refine your problem-solving skills.
  • Review common rules – Understanding the common rules employed in Raven’s Progressive Matrices is essential. Review rules such as adding and subtracting elements, maintaining row consistencies, distributing three values, identifying quantitative progressions and recognizing frequency and rotation patterns. A solid grasp of these rules equips you with the tools to decipher complex matrices during the test.
  • Learn to pick up patterns – Raven’s Progressive Matrices often feature recurring patterns. Train your mind to quickly identify and interpret these patterns, as they are fundamental to solving the test efficiently. Regular practice tests enhance your pattern recognition skills, allowing you to navigate through matrices with greater ease. 

Prepare for the Raven's Progressive Matrices Test with our partner JobTestPrep


Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Raven's Progressive Matrices test used for?

The Raven's test assesses analogical perception and reasoning, measuring cognitive processes. Widely used in research, personnel selection and psycho-technical testing, it's valued for its linguistic independence and application across diverse populations.


What do the scores on the Raven test mean?

Scores on the Raven test are interpreted in percentile ranks, indicating how well an individual performed compared to their peers. Higher scores suggest above-average intelligence, while lower scores suggest the opposite. It provides a relative measure of an individual's problem-solving and reasoning skills.


How accurate is the Raven Matrices IQ test?

The Raven IQ test is considered highly accurate in assessing fluid intelligence due to its lack of cultural bias. Precision, measured by formulas like Kuder-Richardson, ranges between 0.81 and 0.87, reflecting its reliability in evaluating cognitive thinking and intellectual capacity.


What is the Raven's test of intelligence problem?

The Raven's test of intelligence presents abstract and incomplete geometric figures to evaluate intelligence quotient (IQ). Participants analyze these figures, solving problems based on visual patterns. The Raven intelligence test assesses perception, abstraction capacity and analogical reasoning.


Is Raven's Progressive Matrices an IQ test?

Yes, Raven's Progressive Matrices is an IQ test. It gauges fluid intelligence, offering a non-verbal evaluation of cognitive abilities. Scores on the test provide insights into an individual's problem-solving skills, reasoning capacity and overall intellectual aptitude.

Prepare for the Raven's Progressive Matrices Test with our partner JobTestPrep


Final Thoughts

The Raven's Progressive Matrices Test serves as a valuable tool for assessing cognitive abilities, particularly fluid intelligence. Understanding the three forms of the test, common solving rules and the scoring system is essential for effective preparation. By incorporating practice, reviewing rules and developing pattern recognition skills, individuals can approach the Raven's test with confidence. 

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