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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, 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. "Verbal Reasoning Test Tips". Classes A to Z. Retrieved 11 April 2018.
A basic aspect of verbal reasoning, a proposition is a statement that expresses a judgement, opinion or fact about something. A proposition does not have to be a true statement, but it does have to be a statement that is empirically provable as either true or false using data. A simple statement such as "sharks are dangerous" is a form of proposition.
A premise is a proposition that will justify or induce a conclusion. In other words, a premise is an assumption that something is true.
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 induce the conclusion that John won't be at work. The first premise is that "John has no car". The second premise is implicit, and can be explicitly stated as "John cannot go to work today unless he has a car". The logical conclusion following from these two premises, then, is that John won't be able to go to work today.
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 comparisons 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".
Verbal reasoning in recruitment
Verbal reasoning tests are often used during recruitment for positions in many industries, such as banking, finance, management consulting, mining and accounting. The tests are used as an efficient way to short list candidates for later stages of the recruitment process, such as interview. When used in recruitment, the tests normally include a series of text passages regarding a random topic. Then there will be a series of statements regarding the passages. The candidate must then determine if the statement is true, false or they can't tell (it's ambiguous). The candidate is not expected to know anything about the topics, and the answer is to be based purely on the information in the passage.
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 2742027. PMID 22478015.
- "GradTests | Verbal Reasoning Tests". www.gradtests.com.au. Retrieved 2018-05-12.
- "About LSAT Preparation – online resource for LSAT practice tests, course schedules & tips". www.examkrackers.com. Retrieved 2016-01-24.