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What Is Verbal Reasoning?

Verbal reasoning tests are a common type of aptitude or psychometric used in job recruitment. They are mainly used to measure your ability to understand, analyse and interpret written information.

There are many different assessment companies with a wide assortment of tests for different sectors, position and job levels, but the basic question types remain the same (we go into this in detail below).

Verbal Aptitude Tests have lots of subtle and a few major variations in test format and structure, such as:

⭢ Length of text (2 to 3 sentences, 1 or 2 paragraphs, or even several paragraphs)

⭢ Style of text and content (pseudo-science, history, business, set of rules, conversational etc.)

⭢ Type of question (basic reading comprehension, advanced reasoning about the purpose of the text, determining logical validity of claims, etc.)

These tests are used for a variety of jobs including administrative, technical, graduate and managerial roles.

 

 

Tailored Verbal Tests - Practice Questions You'll See on Your Specific Test

Numerical test are hardly the same across the board and we know different companies use different tests. So, unless you have to, you shouldn't waste your time practising a nameless generic test.

 

note  Note:  This list is planned to grow every time we publish a new free tailored prep for specific tests. Don't be discouraged if your test isn't in the list yet, we're adding new ones all the time.

 

Verbal Test Types

In general verbal tests assess your ability to understand information and tone expressed through written text, as well as your spelling and grammar skills.

Verbal tests include 5 major types, in 2 subcategories:

Verbal Reasoning Tests:

1) Verbal Critical Reasoning: Assess your logical ability to infer whether a statement following a text passage can be verified by the information provided.

 

2) Reading Comprehension: Assess your ability to read and comprehend written information and answer questions regarding it quickly and accurately.

Language and Literacy Tests:

3) Grammar & Spelling: Assess your knowledge of proper grammar and spelling.

 

4) Vocabulary: Assess your range of vocabulary as well as your ability to correctly identify relationships between ideas, mainly in the form of synonyms and antonyms.

 

5) Word Analogy: Assess your ability to identify relationships between ideas implied by a given word-pair, and your ability to think methodically.

It's hard to really grasp what these tests are really about without looking at live examples. So why don't we just jump into some hands-on practice...

 

Verbal Reasoning Sample Questions (with Answers & Explanations)

To make things as easy and as clear as possible we've compiled for you an in-depth walk-through for each of the 4 verbal reasoning question types (as seen below).

For your convenience, we set it in a question and answer format with explanations by our psychometric experts.

note  Note:  for verbal ability questions click here

 

Verbal Reasoning Test Topics & Question Types

Verbal reasoning questions fall into the 4 formats in the list below, with each type given a section explaining it in-depth.

Each section of this walk-through has 3 stages:

I) An introduction of the question type (what it looks like and how to approach solving it)
II) A real test question example for you to practice solving
III) An Answer & Explanation to help solve these questions in the quickest and most efficient way. 

We recommend that you go through our walk-through for all 4 types, but you can also click each link in the list to jump to the section that you prefer to focus on. Have fun.

  1. True/False/Cannot Say (TFC)
  2. Explicit Multiple Choice
  3. Implicit Multiple Choice
  4. Meta Multiple Choice

Verbal Reasoning test sample Questions with Answers

Ready to Start Practising? Lets Jump in!

Example 1: True/False/Cannot Say

This verbal aptitude question presents you with a passage followed by a statement. You are then required, based on the text, to cypher whether the statement is true, false or impossible to know (cannot say).

Remember, when answering the TFC sample questions, keep the following answer options in mind:

  • True – use this option when the question can be logically answered by the information and opinions provided by the passage you have read.
  • False – use this option when the question cannot be answered logically or is not supported by the passage you have read.
  • Cannot Say – this option should be used if the passage did not contain the appropriate information to deem the question true or false.

 

Now try it:

Read the passages and attempt to answer the following questions:

Even though the minimum age for obtaining a driving license has increased in recent years a substantial increase in car sales over the corresponding years has resulted in a staggering rise in fatal car accident numbers. As the latest figures show, fatal car accidents are especially prevalent among young drivers who have less than five years of driving experience. Last winter 50 percent of all fatal road accidents involved drivers with up to five years driving experience and an additional 15 percent were drivers who had between six to eight years of experience. The interim figures of the current year show that the massive advertisement campaign 'fighting accidents' has resulted in some improvements but the truth is that the number of younger drivers involved in fatal accidents is intolerably high.

Question 1

Fatal car accidents are more prevalent amongst young drivers with six to eight years of experience than older drivers with similar experience.

  • True
  • False
  • Cannot Say

✔️ The correct answer is cannot say

According to the passage, 'Last winter 50% of all fatal road accidents involved drivers with up to 5 years driving experience and an additional 15% were drivers who had between 6 to 8 years of experience.

This piece of data only mentions experience, not age. Although the main idea of the passage is that younger drivers are generally more likely to be involved in fatal car accidents, we cannot assume all relatively inexperienced drivers are young.

We do not know how many of those 15% with 6 to 8 years of experience are younger drivers and how many are older drivers.

As this comparison is impossible to make on the basis of the information provided in the passage, the answer is cannot say.

The correct answer is cannot say

According to the passage, 'Last winter 50 per cent of all fatal road accidents involved drivers with up to five years driving experience and an additional 15 per cent were drivers who had between six to eight years of experience.'

This piece of data only mentions experience, not age. Although the main idea of the passage is that younger drivers are generally more likely to be involved in fatal car accidents, we cannot assume all relatively inexperienced drivers are young. We do not know how many of those 15% with six to eight years of experience are younger drivers and how many are older drivers.

As this comparison is impossible to make on the basis of the information provided in the passage, the answer is cannot say.

Question 2

The considerable increase in car sales is the reason behind the sharp increase in fatal car accidents.

  • True
  • False
  • Cannot Say

✔️ The correct answer is false

According to the text, the advertising campaign 'fighting accidents' resulted in some improvement.

This means that to some degree, it succeeded in reducing the number of car accidents.

Question 3

The advertising campaign called 'fighting accidents' has failed to reduce the number of car accidents.

  • True
  • False
  • Cannot Say

✔️ The correct answer is false

According to the text, the advertising campaign 'fighting accidents' resulted in some improvement.

This means that to some degree, it succeeded in reducing the number of car accidents.

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Example 2: Explicit Multiple Choice

Explicit multiple choice questions are seen when you can easily answer the question since it is explicitly stated in the text. Examples of this is when you answer questions such as, 'in what year…?', 'what is another name for…?' or 'how many…?'.

 

Try it:

Menai Bay is a conservation area south-west of Zanzibar, Africa. It is home to a number of famous sea-life species, including a variety of birds, fish and dolphins (including bottlenose dolphins and humpback dolphins). There are also two species of whales during the whale season from June to November. Dolphins, and in particular the friendly bottlenose dolphins which are present throughout the year, have become a major tourist attraction. Tourists go out in fishing boats to see these dolphins, and often jump into the water to swim with them. Though friendly in nature, dolphins can sometimes be surrounded by up to 20 boats chasing after them, and this can cause them stress, particularly when they are feeding or nursing. Thus, the main focus of the African marine conservation project is to monitor the dolphins and human-dolphin interaction.

Which one of the following is NOT true regarding the dolphins? 

A) They are present all year round

B) They are especially friendly when fed

C) They are friendly to tourists

D) They can be found in Zanzibar

✔️ The correct answer is (B) - "They are especially friendly when fed"

The passage mentions that bottlenose dolphins are ”present throughout the year”; thus distracter (a) is eliminated.

It also states that the dolphins are friendly and that tourists are often able to swim with them; therefore distracter (c) is also eliminated.

Since the passage deals with a conservation area in Zanzibar, it is also true that dolphins can be found there.

(b) is the correct answer because the passage states otherwise: "Though friendly in nature, the dolphins can sometimes be surrounded by up to 20 boats chasing after them, and this can cause them stress, particularly when they are feeding”.


Example 3: Implicit Multiple Choice

Here, you will find that you cannot directly find the answer in the text. However, the answer is inferred and still related directly to the details in the text. Examples include, 'why did the manager decide to…?' and 'what could be the reason for…?'.

 

Try it:

Veganism is a type of vegetarian diet that excludes meat, eggs, dairy products and all other animal-derived ingredients. Many vegans also do not eat foods that are processed using animal products, such as refined white sugar and some wines. Most vegans also avoid the use of all products tested on animals, as well as animal-derived non-food products, such as leather, fur and wool. A vegan diet will include all types of grains, beans, legumes, vegetables and fruits and the nearly infinite number of dishes made by combining them. Many vegan versions of familiar foods are available, so you can eat vegan hot dogs, ice cream, cheese and vegan mayonnaise. Although there is some debate as to whether certain foods, such as honey, fit into a vegan diet, if you are cooking for other vegans, it is best to err on the side of caution and avoid them.

Based on the text, which statement is definitely true?

A) Vegans do not eat honey

B) Some vegans eat honey

C) There is a vegan version of honey

D) There isn't a vegan version of honey

✔️ The correct answer is (B) - "Some vegans eat honey"

This question asks us to find a statement that is definitely true.

Distracters (c) and (d) are both incorrect since the passage states that ”Many vegan versions of familiar foods are available”.

However, honey is not mentioned as one of them. Thus, there may or may not be a vegan substitute for honey.

As for distracter (a), the passage specifically mentions that honey is a food that some vegans exclude from their diet while others don't.

Therefore we cannot assert for certain that vegans in general do not eat honey. The correct answer is (b).


Example 4: Meta Multiple Choice

Lastly, meta questions do not refer to specific details in the text, rather they ask broader or 'higher' question regarding the purpose or function of the text.

You can see that in questions that ask, 'what can be concluded from…?', 'what assumption is the author making…?', 'which statement would weaken the argument of the passage?' and 'what is the main point of the text?'.

 

Try this one:

Up until recently, the village of Ramdegi was a bustling farming community in central India's famous Tiger Reserve. Today, the village's human population stands at exactly zero. As part of an on-going effort to reduce human conflict with wildlife, the Indian government has been encouraging communities living in and around nature reserves to relocate for the sake of peaceful coexistence. Last month, everyone in Ramdegi did just that: some 200 families agreed to accept incentive packages and move beyond the reserve's borders, freeing the land to be reclaimed by the surrounding biodiversity.

A little over a month after the last human departed, Ramdegi is now home to herds of deer, antelope and boars - grazing on the meadows that were once cropland and cattle farms. Even a tiger has been spotted prowling the grounds of the empty village, free from dangerous and often deadly conflicts with humans that have driven the species to “endangered” status.

Which one of the following is an assumption made by the author in the second paragraph?

A) Humans can be violent towards animals

B) Tigers are quiet animals

C) Tigers usually kill humans

D) Humans are considerate of wildlife

✔️ The correct answer is (A) - "Humans can be violent towards animals"

The paragraph presents the following logic: A tiger has been spotted in the empty village.

It is no longer endangered by conflicts with humans.

The missing assumption here is that humans can be violent towards animals. Therefore answer (a) is correct.

 

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Maximise Your Study Effort with Test-Specific Tailored Mock Tests

We offer you the widest array of tailored verbal reasoning practice materials in the style of the most popular test providers including SHL, Cubiks, cut-e, Saville and Talent Q.

Verbal aptitude assessments are often used by employers to assess potential candidates for roles that require the comprehension, analysis and ability to draw conclusions from written text.

Therefore, if you are applying for a role in an industry that requires a high level of verbal ability, preparation for this type of test is crucial to your success.

Our tailored practice tests come with a variety of study guides and tools to aid your learning process and boost your chances of success.

Our verbal reasoning test practice reflects the format, style and content of these tests regardless of the provider.

For those that don't know their specific exam we have created a highly comprehensive all-inclusive generic prep bundle packs that includes dozens of practice tests, video tutorials and more to ensure you are completely covered to get you through the testing process.

Verbal Ability Test

What is Verbal Ability?

While some may use the terms verbal reasoning and verbal ability interchangeably, many test providers and employers recognise a difference.

Basically, while verbal reasoning tests measure how candidates engage with written material on a sophisticated level.

Note that the tests do not necessarily check your language skills or verbal abilities as they are the more basic nor require a good handle of English.

As such, the tests are commonly given to candidates for administerial or clerical jobs, and not given as frequently to managerial, advanced roles.

 

Common Topics in Verbal Ability Tests Include:

Vocabulary tests can come in many shapes. Some popular question types are:

  • Analogies: Analogies present you with a pair of words that share a specific connection or relationship. You are then required to choose another pair of words that shares the same relationship or only the fourth word after being given the third.
  • Synonyms/Antonyms: Here you are presented with a word and are tasked with finding an additional word that means either the same thing or the opposite.
  • Sentence Completion: Lastly, you must find the missing word(s) to complete the sentence.

 

Grammar tests most likely will ask you to choose the one sentence out of several options that is either grammatically correct or incorrect. Other question types may include sentence completion.

Some verbal ability tests may also include basic reading comprehension. This assesses your ability to understand written information in an adequate way.

Like the previous subjects mentioned, these tests may ask you to choose a word that is spelled correctly or incorrectly, fill in the blanks with the correct words and generally demonstrate your knowledge of language. Some other, more interactive tests may require you to fix a text passage in real time.

 

Verbal Comprehension General Advice

Below you will find several useful tips for passing your verbal reasoning test. 

  1. Practice, practice, practice. Using practice materials including answer keys will help stimulate your learning process and boost your chances of passing the test.
  2. Read the questions before the passage. This will help you to understand what you should be looking for in the text.
  3. Don’t try to assume anything outside of the text. Everything you need to answer each question can be found within the passages themselves. Disregard any answer that is not supported by the text.
  4. Find out whether guessing is discouraged in your test. If not, and you find yourself spending too much time on one question. Thus, in this one instance, we recommend that you guess and move on.
  5. Don't stress if you become stuck on a question you can always come back to it within the time allotted once you have finished the test.
  6. If you are having trouble answering any question, the most likely answer will be 'cannot say'.

Looking for more information on how to pass your upcoming verbal assessment?

Check out our Verbal Reasoning Tips page full of solving Techniques and strategies to make the most out of each of your practise sessions.

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How to Understand Your Test Results

The score from each test means little on its own. Rather, one must consider the percentile which is each test’s final score pool together into one. This score is then taken and compared to the norm group.

Therefore, upon completing the test, you will likely be presented with completion, you will be presented with not only your raw score, but also your percentile. Below is an example of what you will receive:

Grade Meaning Percentile
A Well above average 90-100
B Above average 70-89
C Average 30-69
D Below average 10-29
E Well below average 0-9

 

Notice that these scores differ between test and norm groups. Thus, an absolute score cannot be fully shown. However, each section of the bell curve displays the final scores in relation to the mean score.

For example, by falling into the 90th percentile in your norm group, your grade would assume A (well above average).

So, the conclusion is that you fall into 10% of your norm group that has been graded A.

note  Note:  Other test providers or employers may distribute the percentiles differently across different norm groups, but the essence remains the same.

Remember, it is not enough to ‘pass’ an exam; what you really want to do is set yourself apart from your competitors. This can be done by placing yourself in the highest percentile possible.

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Verbal Reasoning FAQs

Verbal critical reasoning tests are often described by job seekers as the most difficult type of aptitude tests.

In most psychometric tests, you have to find or use key information in the text to answer the questions.

For example, in many verbal reasoning tests you are presented with a statement about a passage and then asked to decide whether the statement is true, false or cannot say.

This means you are simply asked to find the statement in the text, basically a fact-finding mission. This generally isn’t the case in verbal critical reasoning tests.

On critical reasoning tests, you only use the text as the basis of your understanding and not to actually answer the question.

To answer the question correctly, you need to use your critical and logical thinking skills to decide whether different statements relating to the text are logical and compatible with the text or not.

In very simple terms, many tests simply require you to find information. Once this is done, the question has been answered.

In verbal critical reasoning tests, you have to take a further step to arrive at the answer.

The purpose of a verbal reasoning test is to see how well you can analyse, comprehend and draw conclusions from a passage of text in the short amount of time provided.

These tests can be extremely difficult to pass if you do not have a clear understanding of the format, question types and time constraints involved.

Other than the limited time constraints, there are many factors contributing to the difficulty level of a verbal reasoning test. They include:

  1. The length of the passages you will need to read
  2. The types of questions being asked (reasoning, verbal analysis, etc.)
  3. The level of vocabulary being used/complexity of the text

As you can see, taking a verbal reasoning test will not necessarily be a piece of cake.

Even if you fancy yourself a quick reader with an exceptional grasp on English, verbal reasoning tests can still throw you for a loop.

By practising for your verbal test beforehand you will be able to learn and apply many different solving strategies to pass your assessment in time. Knowing what to expect from this sort of test will decrease the difficulty significantly and allow you to take your upcoming test with confidence.

Sitting a verbal reasoning test prior to any sort of practise can put you at a major disadvantage. For instance, you will be unfamiliar with the question types presented on the test.

You will also be unaccustomed with the test format, necessary solving strategies and time constraints associated with these sorts of tests. For some, verbal reasoning tests are considered the most difficult tests used during the recruitment process.

It is imperative that you practise beforehand to ensure your ability to pass your assessment. Practising will allow you to learn the necessary solving and time management strategies to answer each question quickly and accurately.

If you choose to prepare with our materials, your are welcome to access full-length verbal practice tests, in-depth study guides and video tutorials developed by our team of experts. If you need us, we've got you covered (and if you're not satisfied you get your money-back guaranteed).

Below you will find information regarding the different test providers used by employers for verbal tests:

Cubiks

This test provider creates numerous types of tests used in the recruitment process. These tests include those for verbal ability, abstract reasoning, numerical reasoning and more. If you have been asked to take the Cubiks Test, you will find invaluable preparation materials here.

 

cut-e

Like Cubiks, cut-e offers a variety of aptitude tests used by employers. The verbal test offered by cut-e is used to measure your ability to understand complex verbal information. To learn more about the cut-e verbal test, click here.

 

Kenexa

Assessments provided by Kenexa come in various forms and are usually tailored for the role you have applied for. The Kenexa verbal test will often be administered with other psychometric tests such as numerical and logical reasoning tests. To learn more about our Kenexa-style practice materials, click here.

 

Saville

The Saville verbal tests are used to evaluate your verbal analysis and comprehension skills. To learn more about our Saville-style preparation, click here.

 

SHL

The verbal assessments provided by SHL come in two levels: entry-level and advanced. The entry-level verbal tests are often administered to those applying for technical or administrative roles. The advanced level tests are usually reserved for recent graduates and management. To learn more about the SHL verbal tests, click here.

 

Talent Q

If you have been asked to take a Talent Q verbal test, you will either be taking the aspects ability or elements assessments. To find out more about our preparation materials for these tests, click here.

Passing scores can vary between employers and across industries for verbal reasoning aptitude tests. Like with many other psychometric tests, your score will often be compared to a predetermined benchmark or normative score correlating to the role being offered.

In order to be considered for the role, you will need to score higher than this predetermined benchmark as well as above the other candidates who have also applied.

To improve your upcoming test performance, we recommend getting ample practise. By taking our online practice tests with study guides, you will be able to boost your confidence and increase your speed and accuracy.

Practising prior to your testing day will also give you the bonus of knowing which types of questions to expect and encourage a sense of ease when sitting the assessment. This foresight will give you a definite advantage over other applicants and lead you along the path to success. Read below for further details on how scores are calculated.

tailored test prep for numerical reasoning tests

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