The Watson Glaser Critical Thinking Appraisal is a verbal-style test produced by Pearson TalentLens in the UK. It is administered by employers as either an online test (usually unsupervised at home, or in some cases at a Pearson Vue test centre), or as a paper-based test in an assessment centre.

The Watson Glaser test is split into five sections, and it consists of 40 questions that must be completed in 30 minutes. The test is given to graduates, managers, and senior managers across a range of professions, including lawyers, accountants, and the finance sector. Your results are assessed against a norm group relevant to the position you are applying for, or against a company-specific norm group.

What Is Critical Thinking?

Critical thinking, as applied in the Watson Glaser test, is the ability to look at a situation and assess it, to consider and understand multiple perspectives, and to recognise and extract the facts from opinions and assumptions. Critical thinking is used in several stages of the problem-solving and decision-making process:

  • Defining the problem
  • Selecting the relevant information to solve the problem
  • Recognising the assumptions that are both written and implied in the text
  • Creating hypotheses and selecting the most relevant and creditable solutions
  • Reaching valid conclusions and judging the validity of inferences

These skills are necessary for the many professions in which you must be able to evaluate evidence thoroughly before making a decision. This is particularly the case in the law field, as lawyers need to read and evaluate large amounts of documents.

Watson Glaser Test Questions

The Watson Glaser test is divided into five sections, and each section has its own question type that assesses a particular ability.

Section 1: Inference

In this section, you are asked to draw conclusions from observed or supposed facts.

You are presented with a short text containing a set of facts you should consider as true. Below the text is a statement that could be inferred from the text. You need to make a judgement on whether this statement is valid or not, based on what you have read.

You are asked to evaluate whether the statement is true, probably true, there is insufficient data to determine, probably false, or false.

Section 2: Recognising Assumptions

In this section, you are asked to recognise whether an assumption is justifiable or not. Here, you are given a statement followed by an assumption on that statement. You need to establish whether this assumption was made in the statement or not.

This section tests your ability to avoid taking for granted things that are not necessarily true. You are asked to choose between the options of 'assumption made' and 'assumption not made'.

Section 3: Deduction

This section tests your ability to weigh information and decide whether given conclusions are warranted. You are presented with a statement of facts followed by a conclusion on what you have read. For example, you may be told, 'Nobody in authority can avoid making uncomfortable decisions'. You must then decide whether a statement such as 'All people must make uncomfortable decisions' is warranted from the first statement. 

You need to assess whether the conclusion follows or the conclusion does not follow what is contained in the statement.

Section 4: Interpretation

This section measures your ability to understand the weighting of different arguments on a particular question or issue. You are given a short paragraph to read, which you are expected to take as true. This paragraph is followed by a suggested conclusion, for which you must decide if it follows beyond a reasonable doubt.

You have the choice of 'conclusion follows' and 'conclusion does not follow'.

Section 5: Evaluation of Arguments

In this section you are asked to evaluate the strength of an argument. You are given a question followed by an argument. The argument is considered to be true, but you must decide whether it is a strong or weak argument, i.e. whether it is both important and directly related to the question.

See some sample Watson-Glaser questions.

Watson Glaser Test Results

Once you have completed your test, the five sections are marked, and your results are analysed against the three keys to critical thinking set out in Pearson TalenLens’s RED model. These three areas look at your comprehension, analysis, and evaluation skills:

1) Recognise assumptions – the ability to separate fact from opinion

2) Evaluate arguments – the ability to analyse information objectively and accurately, to question the quality of supporting evidence, and to suspend judgement

3) Draw conclusions – how you decide on your course of action

Watson Glaser scores are given per section, but there is also a general percentile score. This score is a normalised score that compares your results to other people from the same pool (graduates, managers, etc.).

Who Uses the Watson Glaser Test?

The Watson Glaser test is used by quite a few employers in the UK. Learn more about these companies by following the links below.

Burges Salmon Clifford Chance Deloitte
Dentons Government Legal Service Hill Dickinson
Hiscox Hogan Lovells Ince & Co
Irwin Mitchell Linklaters Public Health Specialists
Simmons & Simmons BCAT Bank of England

In many cases, especially during graduate recruitment, employers will invite you to take a TalentLens critical thinking test or simply a 'critical thinking test'. These tests are usually a non-branded version of the Watson Glaser Critical Thinking Appraisal and are practically the same as the Watson Glaser test. Our dedicated Watson Glaser PrepPack™ can help you pass these tests and get the job you want.

Why Is Critical Thinking Important to Potential Employers?

Critical thinking is important to potential employers because they want to see that when dealing with an issue, you are able to make logical decisions without any emotion involved. When making decisions, being able to look past emotions will help you to be open-minded, confident, and decisive.

Watson Glaser Test Tips

  • On the real test, you may get a few example questions at the beginning of each section of the test, before the scored questions. Utilise them to focus on the specific type of logic required in that section.
  • Although the test is timed, time constraints are not meant to be an obstacle. Unlike other psychometric assessments (numerical and verbal reasoning), most candidates will complete the test within the time limit.
  • Remember, logical reasoning and critical thinking often differ from everyday reasoning. In most cases, while making a decision, you should rely only on the premises, even though you may believe some conclusions may or may not be true according to your general knowledge. Try not to let your prejudices influence your judgment—just stick to the premises and judge each conclusion as to whether it necessarily follows from the premises or not.
  • In formal logic the statement, 'Most lawyers wear a tie to work', one should not conclude that 'There is a lawyer that does not wear a tie to work'. The reason is that the word 'most' can also refer to 'all' the lawyers.

Many more tips like that are found in our Watson Glaser formal logic study guide.

Watson Glaser Practice

The Watson Glaser test is frequently used in recruitment processes as critical thinking ability is considered one of the strongest predictors of job success. This is because all professions require the ability to question, analyse, and make decisions, often under pressure. The level of critical thinking required for the Watson Glaser makes this a tricky test to take. However, the timing of the test is not overly challenging, so you do have the opportunity to consider each question carefully.

Our uniquely crafted Watson-Glaser practice pack contains unique content, providing comprehensive preparation for your critical thinking test. The pack contains a complete selection of Watson Glaser–style questions, including practice drills for each section of the test, all of which are accompanied by solving strategies and tips. Altogether, the pack includes over 350 questions with detailed answer explanations.

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What's Included

  • Two full-length Watson Glaser–style tests
  • Additional practice drills for each section, 290 questions in total
  • Normalised test scores per position
  • Comprehensive explanations and solving tips
  • PDF guides for inferences, deductions, interpretations, and arguments
  • Video tutorials for verbal reasoning
  • Exclusive to JobTestPrep
Related PrepPacks™ that come with membership: