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Verbal Reasoning Tests: Practice Questions, Success Tips & 2024 Study Guide with Examples

Nov 29, 2023

In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the world of verbal reasoning tests, offering you a deep understanding of what they entail and how to excel in them.

Whether you’re a student preparing for college entrance exams, a jobseeker navigating the competitive employment market or simply someone looking to sharpen their cognitive abilities, this article will provide valuable insights, practice questions, success tips and a study guide complete with verbal reasoning examples.

Verbal reasoning tests are not just another hoop to jump through; they serve as powerful indicators of an individual’s critical thinking, reading comprehension and linguistic skills.

By mastering the art of verbal reasoning, you not only enhance your performance in assessments but also develop skills that are highly relevant in real-life situations, whether you’re making critical decisions, communicating effectively or solving complex problems.

Join us on this journey as we explore the ins and outs of verbal reasoning tests, decode the various question formats and equip you with the tools and strategies necessary for success.

Whether you’re new to verbal reasoning or seeking to refine your existing abilities, this guide will empower you to tackle verbal reasoning tests with confidence and proficiency, opening doors to a world of academic and professional opportunities.


Understanding Verbal Reasoning Tests

Verbal reasoning tests are not just an arbitrary set of questions; they serve a specific purpose in assessing an individual's cognitive abilities.

To navigate these tests effectively, it's essential to understand what they entail and the various aspects they evaluate.

At their core, verbal reasoning tests gauge your ability to comprehend and draw logical conclusions from written information.

They assess how well you can:

  • Comprehend text – Verbal reasoning tests evaluate your reading comprehension skills. You'll encounter passages of text and be expected to understand and interpret the information presented within them accurately.
  • Analyze information – These tests require you to analyze and synthesize information from the text, making inferences and identifying key points and relationships.

Types of Verbal Reasoning Tests

Verbal reasoning tests come in different types, each designed to measure specific aspects of your verbal reasoning skills.

The main types include:

  • Comprehension questions – You'll encounter questions that require you to extract information, make inferences and comprehend the main ideas from a provided passage. We'll break down techniques for tackling these questions effectively.
  • Critical thinking questions – These questions challenge your ability to evaluate arguments, identify assumptions and draw conclusions. We'll dissect logical reasoning strategies to excel in this category.
  • Verbal analogies – Analogies assess your ability to recognize relationships between words or phrases and apply those relationships to solve new problems. We'll guide you through the art of solving verbal analogies systematically.


Common Formats and Question Structures

 Verbal reasoning questions can take various formats, depending on the specific test and the skills being assessed. Common question structures include:

  • Multiple-choice – You'll choose the correct answer from a list of options. This format is prevalent in comprehension and critical thinking questions.
  • True/false statements – You'll determine whether statements about a passage are true or false based on the information provided.
  • Fill in the blanks – You may be asked to complete sentences or paragraphs with the most suitable words or phrases based on the context.
  • Matching – This format involves matching items or ideas from the text to corresponding options.

Understanding the different types of verbal reasoning questions and their formats will be crucial as we dive deeper into this guide, providing you with strategies and verbal reasoning examples to tackle each with confidence.

Mastering these skills is not only essential for test success but also for developing critical thinking abilities that will serve you well in various academic and professional pursuits.


The Most Common Verbal Reasoning Tests

There are several well-known and widely used verbal reasoning tests that are considered top-branded assessments.

These tests are often used by employers and educational institutions for various purposes, including hiring, admissions and academic assessments.

Here are some of the top-branded verbal reasoning tests:

  • SHL (Saville and Holdsworth Ltd.) Verbal Reasoning Test – SHL is a prominent provider of psychometric assessments, and its verbal reasoning tests are widely used in the corporate world for recruitment and talent assessment.
  • Kenexa Prove It! Verbal Reasoning Test – Kenexa, now part of IBM, offers a range of skills assessments, including verbal reasoning tests, commonly used by employers to evaluate candidates' language and reasoning abilities.
  • Wonderlic Personnel Test – Verbal – The Wonderlic Personnel Test includes a verbal section that assesses candidates' verbal aptitude and reasoning skills. It is used by various organizations for employment testing.
  • Watson-Glaser Critical Thinking Appraisal – Developed by Pearson, the Watson-Glaser test evaluates critical thinking and decision-making skills, including verbal reasoning. It is often used in the legal profession and for managerial roles.
  • GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test) – The GMAT includes a verbal section that assesses candidates' ability to read, understand and analyze written material. It is widely used for admissions into MBA programs.
  • GRE (Graduate Record Examination) – The GRE, required for admission into graduate and business programs, includes a verbal reasoning section that evaluates vocabulary, reading comprehension and critical reasoning skills.
  • LSAT (Law School Admission Test) – The LSAT includes a reading comprehension section that assesses candidates' ability to understand complex written material, making it essential for law school admissions.
  • UK Clinical Aptitude Test (UKCAT) – The UKCAT includes a verbal reasoning subtest that evaluates the ability to assess written information critically. It is used for admissions into medical and dental programs in the UK.


Example Verbal Reasoning Questions


You can find excellent practice tests and other revision resources on TestHQ.


Comprehension Example Questions

These comprehension questions typically require you to extract information directly from the provided passage. Being able to identify and understand key details and concepts within a passage is a crucial skill for success in verbal reasoning tests.

 The benefits of regular exercise are well-documented. It can improve cardiovascular health, boost mood and enhance overall fitness. One lesser-known advantage of physical activity is its impact on cognitive function. Research has shown that regular exercise can enhance memory, increase focus and even reduce the risk of age-related cognitive decline.

What are some of the benefits of regular exercise mentioned in the passage?

a) Enhancing creativity
b) Improving cardiovascular health
c) Reducing sleep duration
d) Lowering body weight

The correct answer is: b) Improving cardiovascular health

Climate change is a pressing global issue. Rising temperatures, melting ice caps and extreme weather events are becoming more common. To mitigate the effects of climate change, individuals and governments must take action. This includes reducing greenhouse gas emissions, transitioning to renewable energy sources and adopting sustainable practices in agriculture and transportation.

What actions does the passage suggest for mitigating the effects of climate change?

a) Increasing greenhouse gas emissions
b) Expanding the use of fossil fuels
c) Reducing greenhouse gas emissions
d) Ignoring climate change

The correct answer is: c) Reducing greenhouse gas emissions

 The Industrial Revolution, which began in the late 18th century, marked a significant turning point in history. It saw the rapid industrialization of Europe and North America, leading to urbanization, technological advancements and profound social changes. The development of steam engines, the growth of factories and the expansion of railroads were key drivers of this transformative period.

What were some of the key developments during the Industrial Revolution mentioned in the passage?

a) The decline of urbanization
b) The growth of small-scale agriculture
c) The development of steam engines
d) The preservation of traditional social structures

The correct answer is: c) The development of steam engines


Critical Thinking Sample Questions

Critical thinking questions require you to analyze the information presented in the passage and draw logical conclusions or identify key arguments. In these questions, it's essential to carefully consider the content of the passage to select the most appropriate answer.

 The proposed policy aims to increase the minimum wage to $15 per hour. Supporters argue that this change will lift millions out of poverty and stimulate economic growth. Opponents, on the other hand, claim that it will lead to job losses and higher prices for consumers.

What is the main argument of the opponents of the proposed minimum wage increase?

a) It will stimulate economic growth
b) It will lift millions out of poverty
c) It will lead to job losses
d) It will benefit consumers with lower prices

The correct answer is: c) It will lead to job losses.

In this critical thinking question, you're asked to identify the main argument of the opponents of the proposed minimum wage increase. The passage states that opponents claim it will lead to job losses, making option c) the correct choice.

Studies have shown a correlation between regular exercise and improved mental health. People who engage in physical activity report reduced stress levels, improved mood and better overall well-being.

What is the conclusion that can be drawn from the passage?

a) Exercise causes improved mental health
b) Improved mental health leads to exercise
c) There is no connection between exercise and mental health
d) Exercise has no impact on mood or stress levels

The correct answer is: a) Exercise causes improved mental health.

 This critical thinking question requires you to infer the conclusion that can be drawn from the passage. The passage suggests a correlation between exercise and improved mental health, which implies that exercise causes improved mental health, making option a) the correct choice.

Over the past decade, the use of smartphones has become ubiquitous in society. While they have brought convenience and connectivity, concerns have arisen about their impact on personal privacy. Many smartphone apps collect user data without explicit consent, raising questions about data security and privacy rights.

What is the primary concern raised in the passage regarding smartphone use?

a) Smartphones are too expensive for most people
b) Smartphones are essential for personal privacy
c) Smartphone apps collect user data without consent
d) Smartphone apps improve data security

The correct answer is: c) Smartphone apps collect user data without consent.

In this critical thinking question, you're asked to identify the primary concern raised in the passage regarding smartphone use. The passage mentions that many smartphone apps collect user data without explicit consent, making option c) the correct choice.


Verbal Analogy Practice Questions

Verbal analogies involve recognizing the relationships between pairs of words or phrases and then applying those relationships to determine the missing term in the analogy.

It's important to consider how the words in the analogy are related and choose the answer option that best maintains that relationship.

Cat : Meow :: Dog : ?

a) Bark
b) Walk
c) Moo
d) Bone

The correct answer is: a) Bark

In this verbal analogy, you're asked to identify the relationship between 'Cat' and 'Meow' and then apply that same relationship to 'Dog'. The analogy is that cats make the sound 'Meow', and dogs make the sound 'Bark'. Therefore, the correct answer is a) Bark.

Sun : Solar :: Moon : ?

a) Bright
b) Luminous
c) Lunar
d) Star

The correct answer is: c) Lunar

In this verbal analogy, you're asked to identify the relationship between 'Sun' and 'Solar' and then apply that same relationship to 'Moon'.

The analogy is that 'Solar' refers to the sun, so the corresponding term for the moon is 'Lunar'. Therefore, the correct answer is c) Lunar.

Book : Read :: Movie : ?

a) Watch
b) Direct
c) Listen
d) Act

The correct answer is: a) Watch

In this verbal analogy, you're asked to identify the relationship between 'Book' and 'Read' and then apply that same relationship to 'Movie'. The analogy is that people 'Read' books, so the corresponding action for movies is to 'Watch' them. Therefore, the correct answer is a) Watch.


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 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.


Why Employers Ask Candidates to Take Verbal Reasoning Tests

In the competitive landscape of job recruitment, employers are constantly seeking ways to identify the most qualified candidates for their organizations.

Among the various assessment tools at their disposal, verbal reasoning tests have gained prominence as a valuable means of evaluating candidates.

But what exactly are employers looking for with these tests, and why do they consider them essential in the hiring process?

Here, we explore the key reasons why employers ask candidates to take verbal reasoning tests:


Assessing Communication Skills

Effective communication is a cornerstone of success in any workplace. Employers want to ensure that their employees can convey information clearly and concisely, both in written and verbal forms.

Verbal reasoning tests provide insights into a candidate's ability to understand and communicate complex ideas, which is vital for tasks such as drafting emails, composing reports or participating in meetings.


Evaluating Critical Thinking Abilities

In today's fast-paced business world, critical thinking is a prized skill. Employers use verbal reasoning tests to gauge a candidate's capacity to analyze information, identify patterns and make sound judgments.

This skill is indispensable when employees need to solve problems, make decisions or adapt to changing circumstances in the workplace.


Testing Reading Comprehension

Many job roles require employees to read and interpret documents, contracts, reports and other written materials.

Verbal reasoning tests assess a candidate's reading comprehension skills, ensuring they can grasp the nuances of written information accurately.

This skill is particularly crucial in industries like law, finance and healthcare, where precision in understanding documents is paramount.


Predicting Job Performance

Employers use verbal reasoning tests as a predictive tool for job performance. Research has shown that individuals with strong verbal reasoning skills tend to excel in various professional roles.

Therefore, by assessing a candidate's verbal reasoning abilities, employers can make informed predictions about their potential to succeed in the job.


Identifying Attention to Detail

In some roles, even minor errors can have significant consequences.

Employers seek candidates who exhibit a high degree of attention to detail, as this quality can minimize mistakes and enhance the overall quality of work.

Verbal reasoning tests can reveal a candidate's ability to spot discrepancies, inconsistencies and errors in written content.


Ensuring Cultural Fit

Beyond the technical aspects of a job, employers also value candidates who align with the organization's culture and values.

Verbal reasoning tests can provide insights into a candidate's alignment with the company's ethos, as they often require individuals to analyze scenarios or information that reflect real-world challenges within the company's industry or domain.


Reducing Bias in Hiring

Verbal reasoning tests offer a standardized means of evaluating candidates.

This helps reduce bias in the hiring process, as they focus on cognitive abilities rather than personal attributes.

By relying on objective assessments, employers can make fairer and more equitable hiring decisions.


Careers and Employers that Prioritize Verbal Reasoning Tests

Verbal reasoning tests have become increasingly prevalent in the hiring process across a wide range of industries and job sectors.

As employers seek to identify candidates with strong communication, critical thinking and problem-solving skills, the demand for verbal reasoning assessments has grown significantly.

In this section, we will explore which careers, jobs and employers are most likely to ask you to take a verbal reasoning test.


1. Legal Professions

Careers in law, including lawyers, paralegals and legal assistants, often require strong verbal reasoning skills.

Legal professionals must analyze complex legal texts, communicate persuasively and make sound judgments based on written information.

Verbal reasoning tests help law firms and legal departments identify candidates who excel in these areas.


2. Journalism and Media

In the fast-paced world of journalism and media, professionals are required to digest information quickly, discern credibility and craft compelling narratives.

Verbal reasoning tests assess an individual's ability to comprehend and convey information effectively, making them a valuable tool for news organizations and media outlets.


3. Marketing and Public Relations

Marketing and public relations professionals must communicate ideas clearly, analyze market trends and develop persuasive messaging.

Verbal reasoning tests help employers gauge candidates' abilities to understand consumer behavior, craft engaging content and make data-driven decisions.


4. Education and Teaching

Educators, including teachers and administrators, need strong verbal reasoning skills to convey knowledge, design curriculum content and assess students' progress.

Educational institutions often use verbal reasoning tests to evaluate candidates' aptitude for effective teaching and communication.


5. Healthcare and Medicine

In the medical field, healthcare professionals must interpret patient records, communicate treatment plans and analyze medical literature.

Verbal reasoning tests are used to assess a candidate's ability to comprehend complex medical information and communicate it clearly to patients and colleagues.


6. Research and Academia

Academic institutions and research organizations frequently use verbal reasoning tests when selecting candidates for research positions, postgraduate programs or faculty positions.

These tests help identify individuals with strong analytical and critical thinking skills.


7. Management and Leadership Roles

Leadership positions across various industries require effective communication, problem-solving and decision-making.

Verbal reasoning tests assist employers in evaluating a candidate's suitability for management and executive roles.


8. Government and Public Service

Government agencies and public service organizations use verbal reasoning tests to assess candidates' abilities to understand legislation, policies and complex issues.

Strong verbal reasoning skills are vital for public servants, analysts and policymakers.


9. Finance and Banking

Financial institutions value candidates with the ability to analyze financial reports, communicate investment strategies and understand economic trends.

Verbal reasoning tests help identify individuals who can make informed financial decisions and communicate them clearly.


10. Consulting and Advisory Roles

Consulting firms and advisory services require consultants who can grasp intricate business problems, offer effective solutions and communicate recommendations persuasively.

Verbal reasoning tests are integral to evaluating candidates for these roles.


How to Prepare and Succeed in Verbal Reasoning Tests

Verbal reasoning tests are a critical component of many academic and professional assessments.

To perform well in these tests, it's essential not only to understand their nature but also to prepare effectively and apply smart strategies.

In this combined section, we'll explore how to prepare and succeed in verbal reasoning tests:


Understand the Test Format

Before diving into preparation, familiarize yourself with the format of verbal reasoning tests.

Understand the types of questions you may encounter, such as comprehension passages, critical thinking questions and verbal analogies. Look at a verbal reasoning test online to get an idea of the test format.


Build a Strong Vocabulary

A robust vocabulary is a valuable asset when tackling verbal reasoning tests.

Regularly read books, articles and academic materials to expand your word bank. Make use of vocabulary-building apps and resources.


Practice Regularly

Practice is the key to success. Find a verbal reasoning practice test and sample questions online or in test prep books.

Aim for a variety of question types to improve your proficiency in each.


Time Management

Verbal reasoning tests are often timed. Develop time management strategies to ensure you have enough time to answer all questions.

Allocate a specific amount of time to each question and move on if you're stuck.


Understand the Context

When tackling comprehension questions, understand the context of the passage. Pay attention to key ideas, themes and the author's tone.

This will help you answer verbal test questions accurately.


Identify Key Information

For critical thinking questions, identify the key information in the passage. Look for premises, conclusions and assumptions. Evaluate the logical flow of the argument.


Master Verbal Analogies

To excel in verbal analogies, practice identifying relationships between words or phrases.

Understand how the relationship in the analogy works and apply it to find the missing term.


Eliminate Wrong Choices

In multiple-choice questions, if you're unsure about the correct answer, start by eliminating obviously incorrect choices.

This increases your odds of selecting the right one.



Frequently Asked Questions


What is in a verbal reasoning test?

Verbal reasoning tests typically consist of questions that assess your ability to comprehend written information, critically analyze arguments and make logical inferences. They may include passages to read and questions based on the content, as well as questions that evaluate your verbal analogy skills and vocabulary.


What is a pass score for verbal reasoning?

The pass score for verbal reasoning tests can vary depending on the test's difficulty and the specific requirements of the organization or institution using the test. There is no universal pass score. Candidates are usually ranked based on their performance, and the pass score is determined by the employer or institution.


What is an example of verbal reasoning?

A common example of verbal reasoning is a comprehension question that presents a passage of text and asks questions related to the content, such as identifying the main idea, making inferences or evaluating the author's argument.


How to prepare for verbal reasoning tests?

To prepare for verbal reasoning tests, it's essential to practice regularly with sample questions and timed mock tests. Building a strong vocabulary, enhancing reading comprehension skills and developing critical thinking abilities are key components of effective preparation.


Is verbal reasoning part of IQ?

Yes, verbal reasoning is a component of IQ (Intelligence Quotient) tests. IQ tests often include verbal reasoning sections to assess a person's ability to understand and analyze verbal information, which is considered an important aspect of cognitive intelligence.


How hard is verbal reasoning?

The difficulty of verbal reasoning tests can vary widely depending on the specific test and its purpose. Some tests may be relatively straightforward, while others can be quite challenging. Success in verbal reasoning tests often depends on one's preparation, familiarity with the question types and critical thinking skills. Taking a practice verbal reasoning test online can help you prepare.


What jobs require good verbal reasoning?

Many professions and roles require strong verbal reasoning skills, including careers in law, journalism, public relations, marketing, teaching, research and management. Any job that involves reading, comprehending and communicating complex information or making critical decisions can benefit from strong verbal reasoning abilities.


Final Thoughts

Verbal reasoning tests have become an integral part of the modern recruitment landscape, serving as a reliable tool for employers to assess a candidate's ability to understand, interpret and communicate information effectively. Whether you aspire to a career in law, journalism, marketing, education or any other field, these tests are likely to play a role in your job search journey.

While the prospect of facing verbal reasoning assessments may seem daunting, it's important to recognize them as an opportunity to showcase your intellectual agility, critical thinking prowess and communication skills. The strategies and insights provided in this article can empower you to prepare effectively and perform at your best in these tests, enhancing your prospects in the competitive job market.

In today's professional landscape, the ability to comprehend and communicate complex information is a highly valued skill. By mastering verbal reasoning, you not only increase your employability but also equip yourself with a versatile set of skills that can propel your career forward.

As you navigate your career path, remember that verbal reasoning tests are not just about passing assessments; they are about honing the skills that will make you a more effective and impactful professional in your chosen field. So, embrace the challenges, prepare diligently and seize the opportunities that come with mastering the art of verbal reasoning. Your future career success may well depend on it.

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