Verbal reasoning tests assess your ability to understand written information and make reasoned conclusions based on the content of the passage.

What do they involve?

The most widely-used format for verbal reasoning tests used in selection takes the form of a passage of text followed by a statement. Candidates must then decide, based on the information contained in the passage, if the statement is true, false, or not possible to say without further information.

Where are verbal reasoning tests used?

Verbal reasoning tests are used to select candidates across a wide range of careers. Any role where it is important to interpret and understand written information could very well involve sitting a verbal test. So verbal tests are used in everything from legal careers, to engineering, to consulting, to the civil service.

The key with verbal reasoning questions is to base your answers solely on the information contained within the passage. You should not let general knowledge or your own experience influence your answers. After all, these are tests of your verbal reasoning ability, not your general knowledge.

Difficulty of verbal tests

A typical verbal reasoning test will have between 20 and 30 questions and a time limit of around one minute per question. Most candidates will find it difficult to complete these tests within the time limit.

Verbal reasoning tests are used for undergraduate level and above. Advanced verbal reasoning tests follow the same format but involve more nuanced reasoning and advanced vocabulary.

For administrative and entry-level careers you might encounter what is called a verbal comprehension test. Verbal comprehension tests don’t require the reasoning skills which verbal reasoning tests do, but simply assess your understanding of information written in a passage.

Practice makes perfect

As with most aptitude tests, candidates who have had previous experience of verbal reasoning tests are better able to perform their best. By practising these tests you will be more familiar with the style and layout, and be better equipped to demonstrate your strengths.

Practice one of our verbal reasoning tests now to familiarise yourself with the tests employers use and get prepared for test day.


AssessmentDay Ltd specialises in helping candidates prepare for their psychometric tests. For further information telephone 02074 333166 or visit their website.

About the Author

  • About Oliver Savill: Oliver Savill founded AssessmentDay, a website which uses industry-leading chartered occupational psychologists to bring you accurate practice versions of the tests used by recruiters.

Oliver Savill

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