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Verbal reasoning intelligence tests
Verbal reasoning tests of intelligence provide an assessment of an individual's ability to think, reason and solve problems in different ways.
Verbal reasoning tests are often used as entrance examinations by schools, colleges and universities to select the most able applicants. They are also used by a growing number of employers as part of the selection/recruitment process.
Large graduate training schemes are increasingly using verbal reasoning tests (verbals) to distinguish between applicants. The types of verbals candidates face in these assessments are typically looking to assess understanding and comprehension skills.
Criticism of verbal reasoning tests
Some have criticised verbal reasoning tests due to their lack of precision - many questions arguably having more than one answer. For example, a question which asks:
"When will Joe Bloggs retire?"
may expect the testee to respond with the answer "Joe Bloggs will retire at 65" based on the following two sentences (taken from a preceding paragraph - the format of most verbal reasoning tests):
"Joe Bloggs currently works as a civil servant"
"Those in the civil service generally retire at 65"
However, though the two sentences make it probable that Joe Bloggs will retire at 65, it is still a logical possibility that he will continue to work beyond this point, or that he will retire early and live off savings. As a result, ironically, it is possible to be penalized for having too discerning a critical faculty. Additionally, a number of questions ask testees to decide what the central focus of the preceding paragraph is however, the options provided often afford more than one arguable response. As such, critics suggest that standard IQ tests; or numerical reasoning tests, are preferable due to their precision.
Types of verbal reasoning
A basic aspect of verbal reasoning, a proposition is a statement that expresses a judgement, opinion or fact about something. A simple statement such as "sharks are dangerous" is a form of proposition.
A premise is a proposition that will follow or induce a conclusion. For example, a statement such as "John has no car and therefore won't be able to go to work today," has two premises which form the conclusion that John won't be at work.
A syllogism is an argument that consists of premises in order to arrive at a truth. For example, "Mary is a woman. All women have hair, therefore Mary has hair". The validity of a syllogism also depends on how truthful or factual the premises are.
Verbal analogies are comparison between two subjects or concepts based on their relations (ex. similarities). An example of a verbal analogy is, "A car to a garage is like a ship to a shipping dock".
The Law School Admission Test (LSAT) is a classic measure that evaluates the verbal reasoning ability of participants who are applying to a graduate law school. The multiple choice sections are broken up into three parts:
- Reading Comprehension - ability to understand complex language material like paragraphs or passages and able to answer questions regarding them.
- Analytical reasoning - ability to understand relationships in language material like statements or passages and being able to draw reasonable conclusions from them.
- Logical reasoning - Using critical thinking to assess and complete an argument given on the test.
- Terrell, Dudley J.; Johnston, J. M. (1989-01-01). "Logic, reasoning, and verbal behavior". The Behavior Analyst. 12 (1): 35–44. ISSN 0738-6729. PMC . PMID 22478015.
- "About LSAT Preparation - online resource for LSAT practice tests, course schedules & tips". www.examkrackers.com. Retrieved 2016-01-24.
- Verbal Reasoning - an outline that introduces the fundamental concepts of logic in the terms of ordinary English.