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Verbal Reasoning: A Definition

Verbal reasoning is the understanding of concepts framed in words within the use of reasoning. Such tests and exercises evaluate one's ability to think constructively and do not rely on a person’s language fluency or vocabulary recognition.

Verbal reasoning is the most difficult of all verbal tests as it requires you to use logical reasoning to answer questions. Simply understanding the vocabulary and phrasing used is not enough when it comes to verbal reasoning, although it is still necessary.

One way to consider these tests is in the context of an essay or article. The most important point of any piece of writing is that it makes a logical and clear argument. Verbal reasoning relates to this: Do the points in the text relate to each other the way they should? Does the text prove a point?

What to Expect from a Verbal Reasoning Test

True/False/Cannot Say Questions

This is the trademark question of verbal reasoning tests. These questions can be notoriously tricky as they ask you to decide how various statements relate to a provided text. You need to determine whether the statement is true, false, or you cannot say based on the given text. For more information on this type of test, visit our True/False/Cannot Say guide.

Multiple-Choice Questions

These questions provide a very short text (one to two sentences) on any given topic and then ask a question about the topic. These are not specific questions; rather, they require you to grasp the information in its entirety and either summarise it, draw a conclusion from it, or find a flaw within it using the available answers.

For example: Health club membership has increased dramatically over the last five years. In order to take advantage of this increase, Fitness Express plans to open more of the same types of classes available during the week, while also continuing its already very extensive advertising in newspapers and on the radio. Which of the following, if true, provides most support for the view that Fitness Express cannot increase membership to its gyms by adopting the plan outlined above?

  1. Although it fills all of the classes it opens, Fitness Express's share of all health club memberships has declined over the last five years.
  2. The number of classes Fitness Express has offered to its clients has declined slightly over the last year.
  3. Advertising has made Fitness Express's name widely known, but few customers know that Fitness Express health clubs also offer acupuncture and shiatsu treatments.
  4. Fitness Express is one of three companies who together have accounted for 88% of health club memberships.
  5. Despite a slight decline in price, sales of Fitness Express memberships have fallen in the last five years.


Analogy questions are probably something you’re already familiar with, either from vocabulary lessons in school or from other psychometric tests. These questions are all about finding the relationship between two words or concepts. You are first given an example which shows you the relationship you are looking for (example: stop is to go). Then, you are provided with one half of the comparison you will need to make based on that relationship.

Verbal Reasoning Example

Stop is to go as top is to:

  1. Enter
  2. Bottom
  3. Side
  4. Under

The relationship between stop and go is one of opposites. Therefore, for the second half of the analogy, you need to find the opposite of top.

Learn more about Verbal Critical Reasoning

Verbal Analysis

A slightly more difficult verbal reasoning test is verbal analysis. Verbal analysis questions are considered slightly more difficult than most verbal reasoning questions. Verbal analysis tests are also considered more difficult as they include several additional question types. Learn more about them in our verbal analysis guide.

Online Verbal Reasoning Test Practice

The best way to ensure success on verbal reasoning tests is by getting the right practice under your belt. Knowing the format of the test, being able to read and analyse quickly, and not getting stuck on tricky questions are just a few of the many ways practising can help improve your performance. At JobTestPrep, we have created expertly designed tests to help you prepare, whether it's for a specific test provider, such as Cubiks test preparation, for a specific company, such as the Macquarie psychometric assessment, or for verbal reasoning tests in general.

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