Verbal reasoning

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Verbal reasoning is understanding and reasoning using concepts framed in words. It aims at evaluating ability to think constructively, rather than at simple fluency or vocabulary recognition.

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. As an applicant you will be presented with a short passage of text and will need to answer a True, False or Cannot Say response to each statement.[1]

Criticism of verbal reasoning tests[edit]

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" and "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 penalised 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 .[citation needed]

Type of verbal reasoning tests[edit]

A popular way of assessing verbal reasoning is through verbal reasoning tests which are often used in the assessment of potential candidates in the job market. The skills needed to perform well in verbal reasoning tests can be broken down into four separate categories:

Comprehension: Your ability to understand and analyse written information.

Critical reasoning: Your ability to analyse written information and use it to make correct conclusions based solely on the information you find in the text.

Grammar: Your ability to spell correctly and know how to use correct tenses. Such tests include sentence completion and the like.

Vocabulary: Some tests are deliberately worded difficulty and use long complicated routes to tell you information. Such methods include the use of double negative and other such forms.[2]


  1. ^ James, David. "Verbal Aptitude Tests". Practice aptitude tests. Retrieved 31 July 2011. 
  2. ^ "Verbal Reasoning Tests Practice". JobTestPrep. Retrieved 28 September 2014. 

External Links[edit]

Verbal Reasoning - an outline that introduces the fundamental concepts of logic in the terms of ordinary English.

Verbal reasoning contains loads of synonyms and styles of writing.