What is a logical reasoning test?

A logical reasoning test determines your ability to interpret information, and then to apply a systematic process to solve problems and draw relevant conclusions. Typically it’s a timed non-verbal assessment with a multiple-choice format. It requires the use of rules and logical deduction to reach answers, rather than any prior knowledge.

That said, logical reasoning is actually an umbrella term for multiple types of assessment, and you may find you’re asked to take any one of the following five test types as part of a job application.

Deductive reasoning

Commonly presented as a series of word problems, deductive reasoning tests require you to apply top-down-logic; that is, you must draw the right conclusion from a set of given premises.

Typically, you’ll be presented with a short paragraph, or stimulus, detailing an argument, scenario or a number of stated facts, and a set of possible answers. Only one of these answers can be true, based on the evidence provided.

You may also be given a conclusive statement and asked to decide if it is true or false, or if there’s insufficient information to conclude either way.

Inductive reasoning

Unlike deductive reasoning, inductive reasoning tests ask you to make general inferences – probable conclusions based on a set of information, rather than unquestionable outcomes.

This is most often done through the use of shapes, patterns, sequences and diagrams.

You’ll need to quickly identify relationships and rules, then apply these to find the most logical answer from the multiple-choice options. This could be identifying the odd one out, filling in the missing part of a pattern, or finding the next part of a sequence.

Diagrammatic reasoning

Similar to inductive reasoning, diagrammatic reasoning tests offer visual representations of a problem and require you to make logical connections to draw a conclusion.

Questions often take the form of a diagram with inputs and outputs, and you’ll be required to select which processes from a list of operators would achieve the documented effect.

You may also be presented with sets of abstract sequences, given a standalone visual, and asked to select which set it belongs to.

Abstract reasoning

Abstract reasoning tests are essentially inductive and/or diagrammatic reasoning tests under another name.

They too require you to find relationships and rules between visual sequences, then apply these to select the correct image from multiple options, be it a missing part or a continuation of the sequence in question.

Critical reasoning

Critical reasoning tests are more akin to deductive reasoning tests, in that you’ll be dealing with word-based scenarios, arguments, evidence and conclusions.

These tests tend to evaluate a range of skills. Argument analysis is common, in which a question is posed, and a yes/no answer given with a supporting statement. You’ll need to decide whether the statement is a strong or weak argument.

Other question types involve scenarios and statements from which you’ll be asked to make assumptions, deductions and inferences based on the evidence provided.

Critical reasoning tests are most commonly used in sectors where evidence-based judgement is an everyday requirement, such as law.

Why do employers use logical reasoning tests?

As with any form of psychometric assessment, employers use logical reasoning tests as a way to filter applicants, most commonly in the pre-interview stages of selection.

Logic forms a fundamental part of day-to-day decision making. Our reasoning capabilities determine how effectively we interpret the world around us, and how we use what we know to be fact to inform our choices. As such, logical reasoning is a vital part of many job functions.

In administering a logical reasoning test, employers are evaluating how well you’re likely to perform tasks like strategy development, risk assessment and forecasting, as well as general problem solving.