The WGCTA uses more categories to assess critical thinking, but this was useful for the inference section.
Critical Thinking Tests
Critical thinking tests, sometimes known as critical reasoning tests, are often used by employers. They evaluate how a candidate makes logical deductions after scrutinising the evidence provided, while avoiding fallacies or non-factual opinions. Critical thinking tests can form part of an assessment day, or be used as a screening test before an interview.
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5 Example critical thinking practice questions with answers
In this section, you need to deduce whether the inferred statement is true, false or impossible to deduce.
The UK Government has published data that shows 82% of people under the age of 30 are not homeowners. A charity that helps homeless people has published data that shows 48% of people that are considered homeless are under 30.
The lack of affordable housing on the sales market is the reason so many under-30s are homeless.
- Definitely True
- Probably True
- Impossible to Deduce
- Probably False
- Definitely False
The information given does not infer the conclusion given, so it is impossible to deduce if the inference is correct – there is just not enough information to judge the inference as correct.
The removal of the five-substitution rule in British football will benefit clubs with a smaller roster.
Clubs with more money would prefer the five-substitute rule to continue.
- Assumption Made
- Assumption Not Made
Assumption Not Made
This is an example of a fallacy that could cause confusion for a candidate – it encourages you to bring in any pre-existing knowledge of football clubs.
It would be easy to assume the assumption has been made when you consider that the more money a club has, the more players they should have on the roster. However, the statement does not make the assumption that the clubs with more money would prefer to continue with the five-substitute rule.
All boys love football. Football is a sport, therefore:
- All boys love all sports
- Girls do not love football
- Boys are more likely to choose to play football than any other sport
In this section we are looking for the conclusion that follows the logic of the statement. In this example, we cannot deduce that girls do not love football, because there is not enough information to support that.
In the same way the conclusion that all boys love all sports does not follow – we are not given enough information to make that assumption. So, the conclusion that follows is 3: boys are more likely to choose football than any other sport because all boys like football.
The British Museum has a range of artefacts on display, including the largest privately owned collection of WWII weaponry.
There is a larger privately owned collection of WWII weaponry in the USA.
- Conclusion Follows
- Conclusion Does Not Follow
Conclusion Does Not Follow
The fact that the collection is in the British Museum does not make a difference to the fact it is the largest private collection – so there cannot be a larger collection elsewhere.
Evaluation of Arguments
The Department for Education should lower standards in examinations to make it fairer for less able students.
- Yes – top grades are too hard for lower-income students
- No – less fortunate students are not capable of higher standards
- Yes – making the standards lower will benefit all students
- No – private school students will suffer if grade standards are lower
- The strongest argument is the right answer, not the one that you might personally believe.
In this case, we need to assess which argument is most relevant to the statement. Both 1 and 4 refer to students in particular situations, which isn’t relevant to the statement. The same can be said about 2, so the strongest argument is 3, since it is relevant and addresses the statement given.
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What are the basics of critical thinking?
In essence, critical thinking is the intellectual process of considering information on its merits, and reaching an analysis or conclusion from that information that can be defended and rationalised with evidence.
How do you know if you have good critical thinking skills?
You are likely to be someone with good critical thinking skills if you can build winning arguments; pick holes in someone’s theory if it’s inconsistent with known facts; reflect on the biases inherent in your own experiences and assumptions; and look at problems using a systematic methodology.
Critical Thinking Tests Tips
The most important factor in your success will be practice. If you have taken some practice tests, not only will you start to recognise the way questions are worded and become familiar with what each question is looking for, you will also be able to find out whether there are any parts that you need extra practice with.
It is important to find out which test you will be taking, as some generic critical thinking practice tests might not help if you are taking specific publisher tests (see the section below).
2Fact vs fallacy
Practice questions can also help you recognise the difference between fact and fallacy in the test. A fallacy is simply an error or something misleading in the scenario paragraph that encourages you to choose an invalid argument. This might be a presumption or a misconception, but if it isn’t spotted it can make finding the right answer impossible.
3Ignore what you already know
There is no need for pre-existing knowledge to be brought into the test, so no research is needed. In fact, it is important that you ignore any subconscious bias when you are considering the questions – you need logic and facts to get the correct answer, not intuition or instinct.
4Read everything carefully
Read all the given information thoroughly. This might sound straightforward, but knowing that the test is timed can encourage candidates to skip content and risk misunderstanding the content or miss crucial details.
During the test itself, you will receive instructions that will help you to understand what is being asked of you on each section. There is likely to be an example question and answer, so ensure you take the time to read them fully.
5Stay aware of the time you've taken
This test is usually timed, so don’t spend too long on a question. If you feel it is going to take too much time, leave it and come back to it at the end (if you have time). Critical thinking tests are complex by design, so they do have quite generous time limits.
For further advice, check out our full set of tips for critical thinking tests.
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