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deductive reasoning tests

Deductive Reasoning Tests

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Deductive Reasoning Tests

A deductive reasoning test assesses your ability to use given information and make logical deductions. The test is not based on any previous knowledge or skills, and is usually presented as a number of word problems with multiple-choice answers.

What is a deductive reasoning test?

A deductive reasoning test assesses your ability to use information and logically make decisions, quickly. The test is not only assessing the ‘right’ answers, but also your speed in making the necessary deductions.

A deductive reasoning test is intended to be abstract – it does not need specific job-related skills, nor does it need any culturally specific knowledge.

All the information that you need to answer the question correctly is provided in the test, and there is only one answer that is correct.

What is the difference between inductive and deductive reasoning tests?

These two test types are frequently confused, so let’s clarify the difference between them early on.

Inductive reasoning tests tend to start with an observation, and the candidate has to use that information to detect a pattern and then form a hypothesis. We have some more information about how to prepare for inductive reasoning tests and score well in inductive tests.

Deductive reasoning, on the other hand, is looking for you to take information and follow logic to find the correct answer.

Why do employers use deductive tests?

The deductive reasoning test demonstrates a candidate’s ability to analyse and interpret information to make a logical deduction. This type of test is generally more relevant for highly skilled roles, but is useful for almost every job application.

Recruiters and employers use deductive reasoning tests as part of the application process – usually before an interview – because this type of test is easy to apply on a range of candidates, no matter their specific knowledge or skill set.

If the role you are applying for has a degree of problem-solving, deductive reasoning tests can demonstrate your critical thinking abilities, as well as your skill in making decisions quickly based on information given.

Common deductive test publishers

Although big multinational companies may have their own in-house tests, in the UK there are two main publishers:

SHL is the largest test publisher in the UK, and its deductive reasoning tests the most popular for job applications. Typically, SHL tests last about 18 minutes, with 20 questions split into three sections:

  • Verbal (sentences)
  • Image-based (abstract and/or numerical)
  • Block of text

Kenexa is part of IBM and another large test publisher. The test structure is similar to SHL, in that there are 20 timed questions to answer, and you must use logic to deduce the correct one.

Deductive reasoning skills – and how to improve them

There are three parts to being successful at deductive reasoning. The first is to be able to quickly read and understand the information given. You then need to analyse and interpret the information given, so that you can make a logical deduction.

Logical thinking is important, so if you feel that you might need some more guidance on this, then check out our page on how to ace a logical reasoning test.

To improve your deductive reasoning skills, you need to firstly simplify the information that you have been given. You are not expected to question the veracity of the data – whether it is written or mathematical – since the answer is provided within the question.

Making it simple, reducing it to easy-to-understand points and then applying logic to them is the easiest way to make the correct deduction.

The deductive reasoning test is not designed to be easy, because then it would lack usefulness as an assessment tool. However, knowing that the answer you need is provided for you and needs no pre-existing knowledge should help you make the right choice.

Whether you have to draw a conclusion, identify strengths and weaknesses in a sentence, or complete an incomplete scenario, simplify it. With the information simplified, it should be straightforward to follow the logic to the correct conclusion.

How best to prepare for a deductive test

Deductive reasoning tests are not skills tests. They are not looking for your ability to perform job-related tasks – they are aptitude tests to showcase your ability to make logical deductions and analyse information quickly.

That said, preparation for any type of test is important to ensure that you can perform well.

Practice

Practicing tests before taking them is a great way to prepare. Knowing the format, understanding the way questions might be phrased, and getting explanations of answers makes a real difference in understanding.

If you get a question wrong in a practice test, you can see the logic in the correct answer through the explanation.

Don’t just practice once, either. Multiple tests are a great idea, and if you know which test publisher the recruiter is using, that is even better. Reach out and ask before the test, so you can practice with the specific publisher.

Timing

Deductive reasoning tests are timed. This can put additional pressure on you when you are taking the tests, so practicing on timed tests is important.

If you aren’t taking a timed test, then think about setting up a timer for yourself – in most tests you will have around one minute per question.

Forget Pre-Existing Knowledge

This is a really important point in your success, and something that might need some extra thought. As previously mentioned, deductive reasoning tests are meant to be abstract, and like verbal reasoning tests, they do not presume any pre-existing knowledge.

When you are practicing, be sure to make a point of only using the information you are given in the question. If you are reaching or guessing, you are not using the information correctly.

Prepare yourself for leading employers

Deductive reasoning test formats & example questions

Knowing and understanding the format of the deductive reasoning test will make it less daunting when you have to take one in a job application situation.

The examples below demonstrate some of the deductive reasoning question types you might come across when you are taking a test.

Example Question 1

All footballers are fit and healthy.

All famous sports players are footballers.

Given that the above is true, which of the following is the logical deduction?

  1. All footballers are famous sports people
  2. All famous people are fit and healthy
  3. All famous sports players are fit and healthy
  4. All fit and healthy people are footballers
  5. All football players are men

Using deductive reasoning, the only logical answer is 3. To get to this answer, you need to simplify the given facts. All famous sports players are footballers, and all footballers are fit and healthy.

  1. We can’t deduce that all footballers are famous sports people, as we haven’t got that information.
  2. We can’t deduce that all famous people are fit and healthy, because the fact is about famous sports people.
  3. This is the logical answer.
  4. This information is not given; all footballers are fit and healthy but we can’t logically link that all fit and healthy people are footballers.
  5. This is obviously incorrect, as gender is not mentioned at all in the question.

deductive reasoning

Example Question 2

Gender Manager Office Warehouse Total
Male 7 4 15 26
Female 2 20 4 26
Total 9 24 19 52

Given the information in the table, is the following statement correct?

There are more men in the warehouse than women.

  1. True
  2. False
  3. Cannot be concluded

According to the data, the answer is 1. There are more men in the warehouse than women.

Example Question 3

In our Sixth Form this year, 94% of students achieved A* to C grades. Last year, 95% of students achieved A* to C grades. The school has said that its new approach to mentoring students has had a brilliant impact on student performance.

Based on the information above, which of the following statements are true?

  1. Next year, student performance will be less than this year.
  2. All students taking A-Levels achieved A* to C
  3. Before last year, no students achieved A* to C
  4. Before last year, less than 94% of students achieved A* to C
  5. Every school has seen a rise in student performance.

With the given information, the only logical conclusion is 4.

  1. The student performance is increasing, so this cannot be correct given the facts.
  2. In this school 6% of students did not achieve A* to C.
  3. We do not have the data to make that deduction.
  4. We know that student performance has increased, so the year before last must have seen results below 94%.
  5. We do not have the information to deduce performance in other schools.
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I’ve practiced hundreds of numerical questions and still have plenty more to try.
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Deductive Reasoning Tests Tips

1The facts given are true

Don’t worry if the facts you are given cannot be verified; you are dealing with them as if they are. In the first example above, not all footballers are fit and healthy, and not all famous sports people are footballers.

If you worry about the truth of the statements, you risk bringing your own knowledge into the equation – and that could make it more difficult to logically find the answer.

2Simplify

As mentioned before, taking the given information and simplifying it can make it much easier for you to make the logical deductions needed.

Ignore any ‘waffle’ and try to keep the facts in order – even if they are presented oddly. In the same way, do not try and overcomplicate things.

3The answer is in the question

If at any point in the test you find yourself guessing or trying to reach an answer, it is probably wrong. There is only one right answer, and if you follow the logic in the question, it should be the only one you can reach.

As an addition to this, making an educated guess is better than leaving the question unanswered; remember this is a timed test.

4Elimination

To help you get the right answer quickly, you might find it useful by eliminating the more obvious wrong answers first. This can clarify the situation, making it easier to choose the right answer.

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