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What is a verbal reasoning test? How do verbal reasoning tests work? How to prepare for verbal reasoning tests? If these are questions on your mind, then this is the guide for you.

In this article, we will discuss verbal reasoning aptitude tests, what they measure, and the best methods to assist you to prepare for your next verbal test.

Are you prepared to understand verbal tests used by top employers? Practice verbal reasoning tests with us today to land your job first time.

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)

Let’s have a look at the contents of this guide to see what we’ll cover.


  1. What is a Verbal Reasoning Test?
  2. How do Verbal Reasoning Tests work?
  3. Types of Verbal Reasoning Test
  4. Why do Employers Use Verbal Reasoning Tests?
  5. Which Employers use Verbal Reasoning Tests to Hire?
  6. Who are the Common Verbal Reasoning Test Providers?
  7. Verbal Reasoning Questions and Answers
  8. How to prepare for a verbal reasoning test?
  9. Verbal Reasoning Test FAQs

Now, we’re onto the main event, the verbal reasoning test, so be sure to continue moving towards success with us in this article! 

What is a Verbal Reasoning Test?

A verbal reasoning test assesses your capacity to reason with and understand information provided from text. They are created to gauge your verbal comprehension, reasoning and logical thinking through language knowledge. 

Good to know: A written passage is frequently followed by a sequence of questions with options for True, False, or Cannot Say answers on verbal reasoning aptitude tests.

Depending on the position you are applying for, you may be asked verbal reasoning questions ranging from simple reading comprehension to complex reasoning.

Discover more in our short YouTube video that gives a lowdown of what to expect in a verbal test:

What is Verbal Reasoning Test?

Verbal Reasoning Test – Key Facts

  • Verbal reasoning tests focus on your ability to analyse written information to draw conclusions.
  • The verbal thinking test does not evaluate your language abilities however, the test implicitly expects good language skills as a prerequisite.
  • More than 75% of Fortune 500 companies use psychometric testing such as verbal tests in recruitment.
  • Verbal reasoning aptitude tests normally require a pass rate of around the 30th percentile though this can vary amongst employers.
  • Since there is no negative marking on verbal tests, it is in your favour to take an educated guess for any verbal reasoning questions you cannot answer before the time runs out.

How do Verbal Reasoning Tests work?

The most frequent type of test is the true/false/cannot say verbal aptitude test, which asks you to read a passage and then decide whether the statement that follows is true, false, or impossible to say based on the information provided.

If you want to get excellent marks, it’s critical that you understand and evaluate each response:

  • True – Given the information in the passage, the statement makes logical sense.
  • False – Given the information in the passage, the statement cannot logically follow.
  • Cannot Say – Without further information, it would be impossible to make a determination based solely on the passage.

Did you know? The easiest method to score well on verbal tests is to familiarise yourself with the test style and understand what to anticipate.

Now that we have an understanding of how verbal reasoning tests work, let’s move on to different types and what to expect in each of these.

Types of Verbal Reasoning Test

What are the types of Verbal Reasoning Tests?

The most commonly used format of verbal aptitude test is True/False/Cannot Say as we have just covered. However, there are 3 additional verbal test types developed by test publishers that differ slightly from this style: 

Let’s unpack each of these in more detail starting with Verbal Critical Reasoning.

1. Verbal Critical Reasoning Tests

Verbal critical reasoning tests have 4 sections to assess a person’s capacity for logical and analytical reasoning with text. These sections include:

  • Fact: These questions look if you can confirm a precise and comprehensive statement made by the writer of the text provided. Fact may also be referred to as premise.
  • Conclusion: Here, the focus is on whether you understand the idea the author is trying to get through to us.

Good to know: The ‘Conclusion’ question type will be multiple-choice and can be mastered by solely focusing on information in the text, where the answers will lie. For example, you may be asked ‘Who said…’ or ‘How many…’ which can be found in the text.

  • Assumption: Can you identify an unsaid fact that the author had in mind as they wrote the text? For each passage of text, there may be more than one assumption you have to consider. 
  • Inference: For this question type, you will have to consider inferences. This is a conclusion made based on information that has already been provided. For each text, there may be more than one inference. 

Good to know: These questions are often multiple choice. The answer is implied from the text’s details rather than being stated clearly. For instance, “What motivated the worker to…” or “What precipitated…”

2. Reading Comprehension Tests

Reading comprehension tests evaluate your capacity to read, understand, and respond to questions related to written information in a timely and accurate manner.

It involves interpreting sentences and finding out the answers to questions that are based on passages of text.

Here are some examples of reading comprehension questions:

  • What is the main idea of the passage?
  • What is the purpose of the passage?
  • What is the tone of the passage?
  • What is the meaning of a particular word or phrase in the passage?

Good to know: You must provide a general response to questions rather than a specific reference to information from the text, as the questions are less specific than True/False/Cannot Say or Verbal Critical Reasoning. This is often referred to as meta multiple choice.

To answer these verbal test questions, it is important to read the passage carefully first, pay attention to the language used, and understand the context in which the information is presented.

3. Language and Literacy Tests

Language and literacy tests are standardized assessments that measure your proficiency in reading, writing, and oral language skills. These tests are used to evaluate language and literacy development, and identify language and literacy deficits. 

Did you know? GF provides verbal reasoning tests with answers and checking tests, including spelling and grammar assessments. Get the Essentials to start your verbal reasoning test practice today!

The three categories of language and literacy tests are listed below:

Spelling and Grammar Tests

A spelling and grammar test is a common type of verbal reasoning assessment tests. It measures a person’s ability to use proper grammar, punctuation, and spelling in written communication.

What types of spelling and grammar questions can I expect?

Often, spelling and grammar assessment tests requires candidates to do the following:

  • Pick out the missing word in a sentence. The words could have different spellings or be written in different tenses.
  • Choose one out of four or more options that are spelt correctly.
  • Choose a sentence that is grammatically correct.
  • Look out for grammar or spelling errors in a sentence.
  • Add the appropriate punctuation to the provided sentence.
Vocabulary Tests

Vocabulary tests measure the scope of your vocabulary. Verbal aptitude and ability tests frequently include vocabulary questions.

What types of vocabulary test questions are there?

There are various techniques for asking vocabulary questions. You can anticipate the following formats, for example:

  • A word’s definition is provided. You must choose the word that most closely matches the definition from a list of options.
  • A word is presented. The definition that best fits the word must be chosen from a variety of options.
  • For a given word, find either a synonym or an antonym from the list of options.
  • A sentence is provided that is missing a word. You must choose the word that best completes the statement from a list of options.

Where are Spelling, Grammar and Vocabulary tests commonly used?

These psychometric assessment tests are frequently used when applying for positions that require a strong command of the English language, like those of a clerical worker, customer service agent, receptionist or marketer.

Word Analogy Tests

Word analogy tests look at your analytical thinking skills and your ability to see connections between the ideas that a certain word pair implies.

Good to know: You are required to have a strong vocabulary and the ability to decode the relationship between the words in the question.

Top 3 Tips to Ace your Word Analogy Test:

  • Try to keep ideas simple when you compare
  • Work to compare and contrast
  • Think of ways to inspire

Word analogy tests are commonly used by employers for candidate selection and other professional exams.

Pro verbal reasoning test tip: Keep in mind that a prior understanding of the passage’s subject is not necessary; therefore, make all of your judgments entirely on the information provided.

Now that we have prepared for the types of verbal reasoning questions that could be asked, let’s uncover why employers use these tests to hire.

Why do Employers Use Verbal Reasoning Tests?

Verbal reasoning tests are used as they tell an employer if you possess the verbal thinking abilities required to fulfil the demands of a job role. Employers can rapidly identify the top performers using comparative data obtained from verbal test scores to hire better and significantly reduce bias.

Verbal reasoning assessments are used by a wide range of industries including:

Marketing and FinanceConsulting and Civil serviceTechnical writers
Business AnalystsAccountants & Account ManagersSalespeople

Which Employers use Verbal Reasoning Tests to Hire?

Careers in several business sectors of organisations give high priority to verbal reasoning abilities. Here are 9 well-known employers that commonly use verbal reasoning tests in their hiring process:

  1. Apple
  2. Microsoft
  3. Samsung
  4. Deloitte
  5. British Petroleum
  6. JP Morgan
  7. Johnson & Johnson
  8. Nike
  9. Volkswagen

Good to know: Discover more employers that use verbal reasoning assessment tests in their recruitment processes through our employer guides, where we provide a step-by-step in-depth description of company assessment processes including practice tools and examples to help you pass.

We will now cover common verbal test publishers that employers use when inviting you to sit your verbal assessment test.

Who are the Common Verbal Reasoning Test Providers?

The top test publishers for verbal reasoning tests are listed below:

Pro verbal reasoning test tip: If an employer asks you to take any reasoning test, try to find out which test publisher they are using. You can then visit the website of the test’s creator to learn more and even see sample test questions.

SHL are the leaders in the design and development of psychometric assessments worldwide and have set the benchmark for recruitment tests. Currently SHL Verbal Reasoning Tests are often used by 8,000+ companies worldwide to assess candidates in hiring. 

Good to know: GF offers tests to help regardless of the publisher including SHL-style verbal reasoning practice tests that have been designed by the same experts who have previously developed tests for SHL and Kenexa. Sign up with GF and take your FREE practice verbal test with full answers and explanations for every question. 

But, what do verbal reasoning questions and answers look like? Keep reading – we’ve got you covered!

Verbal Reasoning Questions and Answers

In this verbal aptitude question, you are given a passage followed by a statement. You are asked to interpret the language to determine whether the statement is true, false, or impossible to determine (cannot say).


More needs to be done to capitalise on the power of the peer-to-peer networks that many music downloaders still use. A recent study found that regular downloaders of unlicensed music spent an average of £5.52 a month on legal digital music. This compares to just £1.27 spent by other music fans. The research clearly shows that music fans who break piracy laws are highly valuable customers. It also suggests that they are eager to adopt legitimate music services in the future. One researcher pointed out that “There’s a myth that all illegal downloaders are mercenaries hell-bent on breaking the law in pursuit of free music.” In reality hardcore fans “are extremely enthusiastic” about paid-for services, as long as they are suitably compelling, he said.

Statement 1

People who download unlicensed music tend not to buy legal digital music.

Explanation: The passage states that regular downloaders of unlicensed music spend more on legal music than other music fans (£5.52 compared with £1.27). Therefore, the statement is false.

Answer: False

Statement 2

Law breakers spend more on music than law abiders.

Explanation: The passage refers only to music fans that break piracy laws. There is no information given regarding lawbreakers in general, therefore you cannot say whether the statement is true or false, based upon the information contained in the passage.

Answer: Cannot Say

For more verbal reasoning test practice, Register with GF and practice tests designed by the same experts who have previously designed tests for SHL. Accelerate your preparation with our verbal reasoning test practice questions today.

Now that you’ve started practising for the verbal assessment test, let’s summarise some simple strategies that you can utilise to prepare for and ace your upcoming verbal test.

How to prepare for a Verbal reasoning test?

It is essential to give verbal reasoning tests careful attention and preparation because doing well on psychometric tests is necessary to advance in the hiring process.

Top 10 Tips to Pass a Verbal Reasoning Test

Here are the top 10 tips for preparing for and passing a verbal reasoning test:

  1. Practise with sample tests to become familiar with the types of verbal reasoning questions and successfully manage time.
  1. Improve vocabulary by reading widely, researching new words, and using apps and services.
  1. Read widely to build the skills required for the test including academic publications, newspapers, and magazines.
  1. Use practice websites that offer timed tests. Practice with the clock in hand is essential because the challenge is working under pressure. One of the most important aspects of practise is managing your stress.
  1. Practice reading quickly using speed-reading techniques to increase reading speed without sacrificing comprehension.
  1. Carefully read the instructions. Ensure you are familiar with what is expected from the assessment. They are different depending on the provider. It may be daunting but read every sentence to make sure you understand the structure of the test.
  1. Do not get stuck on one question. Remain calm. You have practised. If some verbal reasoning questions are more difficult do not stress and simply move on to the following questions without sacrificing time.
  1. Manage time effectively during the test by keeping track of how much time is available for each question and not spending too much time on any one question. For example, you would average 1 minute a question for a 20-minute test containing 20 questions.
  1. Remember to base your answer only on the information contained in the passage.
  1. Fewer tests please. You do not need to take a large number of tests to improve – focus on a handful of tests repeatedly to develop a deeper understanding than to spread your verbal assessment practice across many tests.

For more information on how you can succeed during your verbal reasoning test, check out this short video below:

Verbal Reasoning Tests | How to succeed during the test #shorts

We’ve now covered all the information you need to know about your upcoming Verbal reasoning test and how to successfully prepare for the test.

Yet, there’s still more!

Don’t miss even more answers to more of the most frequently asked questions regarding the verbal reasoning test in our quick FAQs below.

Verbal Reasoning Test FAQs

Why is it difficult to pass verbal reasoning tests?

Verbal reasoning assessment tests are focused on your critical reasoning on written information and so these tests tend to be more difficult for non-native English speakers. To improve your score, it is crucial that you ONLY use the details from the passage of the text in your response.

How is a Verbal reasoning test marked?

A raw score is determined by counting the number of correct answers. Your score is then compared against other test-takers in a norm group. This helps the organisation in figuring out where your verbal reasoning abilities stand in relation to those of other members of that norm group. These scores are converted into percentiles.

What is a reading comprehension test?

Reading comprehension tests are similar to verbal reasoning assessment tests as they aim to evaluate a candidate’s language and understanding abilities. These tests show how well you can read, your level of knowledge, and your capacity for easy problem-solving in simple language under timed conditions.

What are the other forms of verbal reasoning tests you may encounter?

The most typical form of verbal reasoning test is True/False/Cannot Say. Other types of verbal tests you may take include: 

  • Verbal critical reasoning
  • Reading comprehension
  • Language and literacy

What skills do you need for verbal reasoning?

To ace a verbal reasoning assessment test, you must be able to demonstrate an ability to:

  1. Read through and understand key information provided
  2. Reason and critically examine various concepts with the language used
  3. Filter out key points and information from a longer piece of text
  4. Reach conclusions using limited provided information quickly

What is the duration of a verbal reasoning test?

The average duration of a verbal reasoning test is around 20 minutes, however may vary depending on the test provider and the employer. Usually, Verbal reasoning tests consist of 15 to 20 questions. Therefore you will have roughly a minute to answer each question. 

Practice and Register with GF to ace your verbal reasoning assessment tests first time

Do you want to pass your verbal reasoning aptitude tests first time? Sign up for tools offered by GF, the only aptitude practice test experts that provide tests to over 100 UK universities and their students across Asia and continental Europe.

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