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What Are Verbal Reasoning Tests?

Verbal reasoning psychometric tests are among the most common tests applicants face when applying for a new job. Verbal reasoning is the name given to a range of tests that use written texts to measure your ability to understand, analyse, and interpret information.

What Skills Are Measured In Verbal Reasoning Tests?

Verbal reasoning tests examine you on a range of English language skills. These skills can be broken down into the following groups:


Your understanding of the words that are used in your line of work. This is measured through various assessments, such as mixed sentences tests, complete the sentence tests, spelling tests, and more.


These tests examine your understanding of English grammar and your ability to recognise good or bad grammar. Grammar is measured through questions that ask you to complete a sentence or identify the correct next sentence in a paragraph.


Comprehension means your ability to understand written information, analyse it, and interpret what you have read to answer questions.

Critical Reasoning

Critical reasoning is a measure of how you analyse the information in front of you. On verbal reasoning tests, you are generally required to identify whether a statement is true or false based on the information provided, or whether the information provided isn’t sufficient to come to an answer.

Categories Of Verbal Aptitude Tests

Verbal Reasoning Tests

Verbal reasoning tests focus on drawing logical conclusions from verbal information. These tests automatically assume you understand the meanings of the words and phrases used in the text. 

Verbal reasoning tests can go by many names, including verbal critical reasoning and verbal analysis. One of the most difficult verbal reasoning tests is the Watson Glaser Critical Thinking Appraisal. It is used to assess lawyers and other high-level job candidates.

Learn more about these tests on our What is Verbal Reasoning page

Reading Comprehension

Reading comprehension, or verbal comprehension, tests are often used in job assessments for operational level and support roles, or for positions in which a large portion of the work involves reading and deciphering texts. No matter what level of language the test is, the format is always the same—a passage followed by questions on the contents of the text. These written sections can be long, consisting of a few paragraphs, or short, comprised of only a few sentences. This test measures your ability to understand written information, analyse it, and interpret what you have read to answer questions. Often, you will be asked about specific vocabulary used in your field of work to make sure you are familiar with specific terms and concepts.

Learn more about reading comprehension tests for job assessments.

English Language Skills

English language tests are used to assess native and non-native English-speaking job candidates. For positions in which excellent English communication skills are crucial, these tests help employers decide who to hire. These tests cover vocabulary, spelling, grammar, and general language use. 

Familiarise yourself with this area of testing with the help of our English language skills page.

Other Verbal Tests And Question Types

  • Critical thinking tests – Examples include the Watson-Glaser Test or the Oxford and Cambridge Universities’ Thinking Skills Assessment (TSA).
  • Reasoning tests – These tests require you to analyse the information provided in a text and decide whether a statement is true, false, or you cannot say.
  • Logical reasoning tests (verbal deductive reasoning tests) – These tests measure your ability to deduce information from premises and facts.
  • Analogies – A test of your understanding of what words mean and their relationships with other words. This can be included in a mix of verbal questions or it can be its own test.
  • English proficiency tests – A measurement of how well you follow instructions, as well as of your vocabulary and spelling. Similar to the English language skills test.
  • Verbal application – This skill is usually tested through sentence completion, which assesses your reading comprehension and your ability to identify missing words.
  • Mixed sentences – Words in a sentence are mixed up, and you have to identify the words in the wrong place.
  • Verbal comprehension – A popular question type in which you must identify a piece of information from the text within a limited time frame. This test measures your ability to quickly scan and pick out relevant data. Read more about the difference between verbal ability and reading comprehension.
  • Multiple-choice – Many verbal reasoning tests contain multiple choice questions, which require you to choose the correct answer from a list of options.
  • Verbal analysis test – A top-level test for senior manager or director positions, this test mixes up formats and difficulty levels, making it more challenging for candidates. Read more about the verbal analysis test.
  • Grammar tests – Encompassing a range of grammatical elements, the aim of these tests is to measure your ability to identify and use proper grammar in sentences.


Are There Different Verbal Aptitude Tests for Different Job Levels and Positions?

Yes. There are various verbal aptitude tests given, and there are different tests for different job levels, as well as specific tests for positions such as police officers, firefighters, and sales agents. See below for more information.

Operational/Support Level Tests

This level of verbal aptitude tests is designated for general staff or operational and business support roles. This refers to sales positions, customer service, administrative, and any other roles that do not require a great deal of experience. Take a look at our practice tests for this level.

Graduate/Management/Senior Management Tests

Verbal aptitude tests for graduate programmes and management applicants are used to assess a candidate's ability to utilize and interpret written language. They may also be used to assess a candidate's ability to evaluate logic within arguments or to critically interpret complex data. Prepare for your verbal test by trying out our graduate/management-level tests.

Other Positions

Verbal tests can also vary depending on the position or field they are intended for. This allows employers to assess if applicants have the specific verbal knowledge needed for a particular job. For instance, professional positions such as police officers, firefighters, and sales representatives are all required to have good verbal skills.

What Major Assessment Companies Provide Verbal Aptitude Tests? 

The assessment company that produces the test says a lot about what you are up against. Each company produces tests with a different test format, question style, time limit, and level of difficulty. The most common assessment companies providing verbal reasoning tests for job assessments today are listed below.

  • CEB’s SHL – CEB's SHL offers tests at a range of levels depending on the job you are applying for. Verbal reasoning tests usually consist of 18 multiple choice or true/ false/cannot say questions. Tests are time limited, but the time allocation per question depends on the level of the test. CEB's SHL also offers verbal application tests measuring usage of English, such as spelling, grammar, and vocabulary. Find out more about CEB's SHL’s verbal reasoning tests on our site.
  • Kenexa – Kenexa provides verbal reasoning tests tailored to the employer’s recruitment. These verbal reasoning tests are usually in the true/false/cannot say format, and they are time limited. The Kenexa Infinity Series verbal reasoning test allocates 20 minutes for 24 questions. Learn more and prepare for Kenexa’s verbal reasoning tests with JobTestPrep.
  • Talent Q – Talent Q tests are adaptive, meaning that the questions change depending on whether you got the previous question right or wrong. There is no overall time limit for the test; rather, each question has a time limit of 75 seconds for the first question of each set and 60 seconds for each subsequent question. Questions are multiple choice, and you may be asked to choose more than one answer. Sometimes you may be asked to determine whether a statement is true or false. Start practising for Talent Q verbal tests with JobTestPrep.
  • Cubiks – Cubiks offers tests at a variety of levels. On these tests, you are given a short passage to read, which contains four to six facts, followed by a statement on the passage. Your task is to decide whether the statement is true, false, or you are unable to deduce (cannot say) from the information provided in the text. For more information about Cubiks Verbal Reasoning Tests, see our dedicated page.
  • Saville – Saville offers tests at three levels depending on the position. Tests are time limited, usually offering three minutes per set of four questions, namely less than one minute per question. Saville offers verbal reasoning tests and comprehension tests in both a short and long format. Questions on the Saville verbal tests are multiple choice or true/false/cannot say. Read more about Saville’s verbal reasoning tests on our dedicated page.
  • cut-e – cut-e verbal reasoning tests have a very different structure than other verbal tests. You are given a number of different texts at once, each presenting different information on a general topic. This general topic may be a clothing brand, and each text, shown on its own specific tab, contains information on a marketing strategy, a monthly report, plans for advertisements, and a review of competitors. There are 49 true/false/cannot say questions. To answer them, you must find the right tab and make the correct decision regarding the statement provided. Learn more about these tests on our cut-e verbal reasoning page.
  • EPSO verbal tests – Learn more about the verbal reasoning test from the EU test.

What Are Some Tips for Acing Verbal Aptitude Tests?

How Can I Improve My Score on Verbal Aptitude Tests?

Verbal ability—namely, comprehension, vocabulary, and interpretation—can be improved through practice. Simply taking practice tests and gaining exposure to the types of questions you will experience on the real test can relax you, improve your confidence, and increase your speed and accuracy.

However, understanding the underpinning principles of the tests and what you are doing right and wrong will contribute even more to your success. The key elements to keep in mind when preparing for a verbal reasoning test are as follows:

  • Accuracy in answering questions
  • The speed at which you answer (most verbal reasoning tests are time limited)
  • Understanding the passage and how to answer the questions

Verbal Aptitude Resources

JobTestPrep provides a wide range of verbal reasoning tests practice to help you prepare for verbal reasoning tests. 

Verbal Aptitude Tests by Test Provider

SHL verbal Talent Q verbal Kenexa verbal Saville verbal Cubiks verbal cut-e verbal

English Language Tests

English language tests can be found here.

How JobTestPrep Can Help You Prepare

JobTestPrep has created practice tests using the same formats as the main test providers, enabling you to prepare for the tests employers use ahead of taking the actual exam. We constantly update our practice tests to ensure they are up to date with the most recent trends.

For the best preparation, use all the information your recruiting employer has given you to choose the correct JobTestPrep product.

Related Links

Verbal Reasoning Info Verbal Critical Reasoning True/False Questions
Verbal Analysis Verbal Aptitude Test Free Verbal Reasoning Examples
Verbal Reasoning Preparation Operational Support Verbal Reasoning English Language Test

SHL, Talent Q, Kenexa, Saville, Cubiks are the property of their respective trademark holders. None of the trademark holders are affiliated with JobTestPrep or this website.

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