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In this guide, we cover all you’ll need to know about inductive reasoning tests. Discover what to expect, how you’ll be assessed and the top employers around the world use these assessments to find the best candidate for the role.

At GF, we provide the Essential assessment test practice to help you get ahead in your assessment practice. Practice and prepare for inductive reasoning assessments which are a part of many hiring and evaluation procedures.

Wondering whether you should be practicing to prepare for your Inductive reasoning assessments? According to research, 60-80% of candidates are rejected based on their aptitude tests results. It is proven that practice increases your chances of getting hired.

A recent study found that candidates who do not practise assessments, tend to fail at the first hurdle of psychometric assessments (54%-84%). This study looked at the Top 100 global employers.

Bradley et al. (2019)

So, let’s get started!


  1. What is an Inductive Reasoning Test?
  2. Which Employers use Inductive Reasoning Tests?
  3. Types of Inductive Reasoning Questions
  4. How to Prepare for Inductive Reasoning Tests?
  5. Free Example Inductive Reasoning Question
  6. 12 Strategies to Pass an Inductive Reasoning Test
  7. Inductive Reasoning Assessment FAQs

What is an Inductive Reasoning Test?

Inductive reasoning tests are created by Psychometricians and Occupational Psychologists to help identify an individual’s ability to accurately solve problems. Inductive reasoning tests are very similar to Abstract, Logical and Diagrammatic tests. 

Did you know? Often these test names are used interchangeably by the various test publishers

Check out this short video below which covers the basics you’ll need to know about inductive or logical reasoning assessments:

Sometimes, inductive and deductive reasoning are confused. So, how can we tell the difference? Read on to find out more.

What is the difference between Inductive And Deductive Reasoning Tests?

Deductive and inductive reasoning both have significant advantages in the workplace. But the way these are assessed often vary. Below are the key differences between how these are assessed in recruitment:

Inductive Reasoning TestsDeductive Reasoning Tests
Inductive reasoning involves identifying patterns and relationships in a series of shapes or seeing how a shape might change.Deductive reasoning questions require you to draw conclusions based purely on the data provided in the question, not on your own experience.
You will be asked to choose the answer from multiple options. Word problems are given to you and are asked to choose from multiple answer options. 
This is a type of non-verbal reasoning test.Deductive reasoning questions are mostly verbal, but sometimes questions also include some numerical reasoning.

Inductive Reasoning – Key Facts

  • Inductive reasoning tests have the major advantage of not being language-dependent, which makes them an excellent tool for evaluating candidates from other countries or those whose first language is not English.
  • Additionally, they are frequently excellent at predicting problem-solving skills, which are crucial in many industries.
  • The most typical inductive reasoning question types include finding the odd shape out or to select the correct next object that follows the sequence.
  • Inductive reasoning is a style of logical reasoning which involves observing patterns from provided data in order to draw conclusions and make decisions.
Inductive reasoning assessment
Inductive Reasoning Assessment
Source: FreePik

Good to know: An inductive reasoning test is composed of questions based on illustrations or diagrams. Hence, to correctly identify the nextimage in the sequence, it is key to understand the pattern by identifying the similarities or differences or the relationship between images.

Inductive Reasoning Test Providers

Whilst many publishers may refer to their assessments using similar names as mentioned above, the assessments still measure the same key cognitive skills. Here are the top test providers of inductive reasoning tests:

Did you know? SHL, the biggest global inductive reasoning test supplier, provides tests to more than 8,000 organisations globally. GF is managed by the same specialists who previously created assessment tests for SHL.

Which Employers use Inductive Reasoning Tests?

Many industries and recruiters use inductive reasoning assessments to measure an applicant’s logical skills to find the best candidate for the role. Inductive reasoning is particularly important for jobs such as:

  • Engineering
  • Science
  • IT and software development jobs
  • Clerical staff
  • Administrative staff members covering both the junior and senior level
  • HR executives
  • Investment banks and general banking

Over time, an increasing number of businesses and sectors are using this aptitude test. Here are just some of many top recruiters which currently use inductive tests in their screening processes:

BNP ParibasLloyds Banking GroupAirbus
British AirwaysHSBCGeneral Electric

For professional tips to improve your speed in online inductive reasoning tests, check out this quick video below:

Types of Inductive Reasoning Questions

Inductive reasoning test providers and employers may use slightly different  question types to assess the candidate’s abilities. However, each of these question types will require the candidate to identify patterns and consistency among groups of objects, shapes or numbers.

Below are some of the most commonly used inductive reasoning questions that publishers such as SHL and AON include in employer aptitude tests:

Odd One Out

For this common SHL Verify G+ question, candidates will be provided with a sequence of diagrams or shapes, most of which follow a common pattern or rule. The candidates must use inductive reasoning to determine this pattern and select which diagram in the sequence does not follow this rule.

Follow the Rule

Similarly, some questions may involve finding which grids do follow the rule, based on the provided sequence. For example, this AON Scales Clx example question asks the user to find the 2 grids that follow the same rule as the provided grids on the left. 

AON clx inductive question example
AON Clx Inductive Question Example
Source: YouTube
Complete the Sequence

For these inductive reasoning questions, candidates are provided with a sequence of shapes, objects or diagrams with a missing diagram within or at the end of the sequence and must choose from multiple choices to find the correct option.

Interactive Sequence

Similar to the Complete the Sequence style questions above, AON Scales Sx tests take this question further by requiring the candidate to complete the pattern by interacting with the graphs so that they follow the rule of the sequence provided.

AON sx inductive reasoning example
AON Sx Inductive Reasoning Example
Source: YouTube
Numbered Sequence

These inductive reasoning questions also require you to use numerical reasoning or numerical comprehension to determine which number option would best fit a series of numbers, similarly to Complete the Sequence.

How to Prepare for Inductive Reasoning Tests?

Here are 5 top tips you can use to prepare ahead of your inductive reasoning assessment:

  1. Familiarize Yourself

Make sure you are aware of the test’s duration and the approximate number of questions you must complete throughout that time. This will give you a goal to strive for while you practise and will assist you in estimating how much time you can spend on each question.

Good to know: It’s also a good idea to practise example inductive reasoning questions, taking note of the common format used, the most frequently used patterns and the most common question types that inductive test providers use.

  1. Divide and Analyse the Patterns 

 Observe the diagrams carefully one at a time in order to quickly “decode” the pattern. Check for common similarities or changes to the direction, size, and placement of each shape. Remember, these patterns were purposefully designed to test your logical reasoning and small assumptions can catch you out.

Good to know: A great way to break down a confusing sequence is to do it in reverse. This allows you to see the pattern from a fresh perspective.

  1. Develop Your Method

Ahead of your test, create and develop a strategy that you can use comfortably to focus on locating the pattern fast so that you can determine the correct answer quickly. Use our other tips to see which works best for your method.

Good to know: Another strategy is to break the shapes down into more understandable pieces, which can help discover which shapes all follow a rule.

  1. Manage and Allocate Your Time

The inductive reasoning tests are often created with a short time limit. Spread the time spent on each question and section evenly, with a little extra time set aside for going over any questions that were left unanswered if possible.

Good to know: Don’t get stressed on one question; move on if you get stuck. As these questions often have the same scores, it may be worth taking an educated guess at the end if you are unsure.

  1. Practice

Regular practice is the best way to improve your test-taking performance and score. Get the Essential practice ahead of your inductive reasoning assessment with practice abstract, logical, spatial and diagrammatic reasoning tests. Familiarise yourself and work on your speed by timing your tests and evaluating your performance against the clock.

Inductive reasoning practice
Inductive Reasoning Practice
Source: FreePik

Free Example Inductive Reasoning Question

As we’ve covered above, inductive reasoning tests are similar in style to a logical reasoning test and aim to assess similar areas. Below is an example test question with a worked solution from a logical test which are also often used in inductive reasoning aptitude tests.

Test your logical/inductive reasoning skills by attempting this free example question in under 60 seconds!

Inductive reasoning test example
  • Step 1: The arrow moves clockwise at 90 degrees as you move across the sequence. The arrow in the correct answer must therefore be at the top leaving options B, C or E.
  • Step 2: The shapes change in the sequence as triangle, circle, square… and then repeat. Therefore the correct option will contain a square leaving option C or E.
  • Step 3: The middle section line varies across the sequence in the order of horizontal, vertical, horizontal and so on. The correct option must be vertical leaving option C.
Answer: C

Now that we’ve started our inductive reasoning test practice, let’s discover these 12 easy-to-follow tips that we can use to ace our upcoming inductive reasoning test.

12 Strategies to Pass an Inductive Reasoning Test

  1. Brush up on your arithmetic abilities: Some inductive reasoning assessments may need an understanding of basic mathematical concepts, like the Numbered Sequence question type above.
  1. Practice, practice, practice: Take various inductive reasoning tests to get accustomed to the format and different questions such as matrices, sequences, and figures.
  1. Take the online test at a time when your brain performance is at its best, whether this be in the morning or afternoon.
  1. Pay close attention to the instructions: Before starting the test, ensure you are aware of what you are being asked to do.
  1. Avoid overthinking the questions: Instead, aim to use logic and common sense to get the right response.
  1. Make notes: It could benefit you to quickly draw the shapes with a pen and pad to help visualise any changes to uncover the pattern.
  1. Search for patterns and connections: In inductive reasoning assessments, finding patterns or connections between various ideas or information collections is frequently required.
  1. Focus on building your speed: Develop confidence in your ability to solve inductive reasoning questions first, and then practice under timed conditions.
  1. Eliminate incorrect options early: The available options that you are aware are wrong should be eliminated as quickly as possible to reduce the number of options and save time.
  1. Take breaks: Some inductive test providers allow you to pause a test if you’re getting overwhelmed.
  1. Complete the test methodically: Don’t rush; take your time and complete it one step at a time.
  1. Check your work: Before submitting your test, check your answers to ensure you didn’t make any mistakes.

Don’t miss answers to even more burning questions with our Inductive reasoning test FAQs section below!

Inductive Reasoning Assessment FAQs

What score is required to pass the inductive reasoning test?

The scores are converted into percentiles based on the employer by comparing the candidate with the previous test takers. The higher the percentile rank, the higher the candidate has scored compared to the norm group. Organisations often set a cut-off rate as low as the 30th percentile.

How and when should I take the inductive reasoning test?

Candidates are typically invited to take an online inductive reasoning test as part of the pre-interview screening process. Some employers may instead use a written inductive reasoning test within an interview or later during an assessment center depending on the role or business area.

What kind of skills or information must I possess to pass the inductive reasoning test?

You will be shown shapes or diagrams that exhibit a specific pattern. As the candidate, you must determine which of the possible answers follows the sequence logically quickly and accurately. you must be able to use logical reasoning to spot these rules. Usually, no external knowledge is required.

What are gamified inductive reasoning tests?

Gamified inductive reasoning tests activities might involve solving puzzles, and playing games that require players to make observations and predictions that test inductive reasoning skills and make the process more engaging and memorable for the candidates, usually for graduates and apprenticeship seekers.

Discover more about game-based assessments and how gamified inductive reasoning tests are used to assess applicants in top employer recruitment processes.

Is logical, abstract, and diagrammatic reasoning the same as inductive reasoning?

Inductive reasoning, diagrammatic reasoning, logical reasoning and abstract reasoning are sometimes used interchangeably but do have small variances. Check with the recruiter beforehand to find out what kind of test to gain an idea of the structure and subject matter of the questions you might see.

Practice and Register with GF to ace your inductive reasoning test first time

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