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diagrammatic reasoning tests

Diagrammatic Reasoning Tests

  • 30 tests
  • 300 questions
diagrammatic reasoning tests

A diagrammatic reasoning test is a form of psychometric test consisting of multiple-choice questions based on shapes, patterns and figures. They assess logical reasoning ability by measuring how you can deduce rules from a given sequence and apply these to a new pictorial scenario.

What is a diagrammatic reasoning test?

Diagrammatic reasoning tests assess your capacity for both inductive reasoning and deductive reasoning.

They focus on your ability to apply premises and draw conclusions – testing logic, speed and accuracy under time pressure.

As they rely on a candidate’s interpretation of sequences and patterns, rather than numbers or words, they are seen to test pure reasoning ability. Their results are therefore considered to be less influenced by educational background than those of verbal reasoning or numerical reasoning tests.

Diagrammatic reasoning does not require any prior knowledge, but preparation and familiarity with the test content and format will help you to achieve a better score.

In a diagrammatic test, you will be required to infer the rule (or set of rules) that governs a given sequence, and then apply this logic to a new scenario to find the correct answer.

The diagrams in the questions commonly display inputs and outputs, along with the operations or processes that have taken place. It is important to apply these processes in the order in which they are presented.

Diagrammatic tests are considered tricky by many candidates, since diagrammatic reasoning is not a skill commonly used in everyday life. The tests do, however, give a good insight into your critical thinking and problem-solving ability – which employers place great value upon.

How are diagrammatic tests different to logical and abstract tests?

The terms for many psychometric test types are used interchangeably, which can be confusing when you are trying to prepare. There are, however, some subtle differences between an abstract reasoning test and a diagrammatic reasoning test.

An abstract reasoning test asks candidates to determine the underlying logic in sequences of shapes or symbols. The questions centre on identifying relationships, completing the sequences and selecting the odd one out. These questions are closer to those found in an IQ assessment.

Diagrammatic reasoning questions are a little more complex. While they may include some questions similar to the above, they predominantly contain questions which use operators and processors, and require candidates to make deductions which they then apply to new sequences.

Logical reasoning tends to be used as an umbrella term and encompasses both abstract and diagrammatic testing. Also commonly found under this umbrella are critical thinking or reasoning tests, inductive reasoning, deductive reasoning tests and analytical reasoning tests. (Note here that analytical reasoning tests is a term used to refer to both verbal and non-verbal assessments.)

If you’re taking a logical reasoning test and are confused as to what it may contain, it is worth asking your contact in the recruitment process if any further information is available.

The format of a diagrammatic reasoning test

A diagrammatic reasoning test is a multiple-choice assessment. It will most likely consist of around 30 questions, which are required to be answered within a given time limit.

It is common to have around one minute to answer each question. This is worth double-checking in advance though, so you know the exact parameters you are working within. Practising answering the questions accurately at pace will be key to achieving a high score.

Some tests give the allotted time freely, whereas others structure the time, so you have a certain amount to answer each question before moving on to the next.

Questions usually increase in difficulty as you progress through the test. This means that the rules that govern the problems will become more challenging and complex to apply, and multiple logics may relate to a single sequence.

Unlike some other forms of psychometric testing, the content of a diagrammatic reasoning test is not dependent upon the field or role to which you are applying. The format is standard across all industries.

The format of the test and question types may vary slightly according to the test publisher but, with adequate preparation, there should not be any challenges you cannot handle on the day.

To accustom yourself to the general format of diagrammatic tests, we recommend completing our free diagrammatic reasoning test (with answers provided).

Why do employers use diagrammatic reasoning tests?

Employers like to use diagrammatic reasoning tests as they are an effective method for rapidly shortlisting candidates from a large recruitment pool. They are a means of revealing strengths and weaknesses, and fairly assessing candidates on relevant job criteria.

They may be used by employers at a very early stage of the recruitment process – as an initial screening to determine which candidates should advance – or may be part of a later assessment centre.

In the latter case, it is likely that diagrammatic reasoning tests will make up only one part of the assessment, complemented by other types of psychometric test such as numerical or verbal reasoning, or situational judgement assessments.

Diagrammatic tests assess a potential employee’s ability to think laterally, logically and apply concepts to new situations, giving an indication of future performance in a role requiring analytical and complex problem solving.

High performance in these psychometric tests has been found to correlate to subsequent high performance on the job, so employers trust the results.

How to prepare for diagrammatic reasoning tests

As with all other types of psychometric testing, dedicated preparation is key to achieving a high score on a diagrammatic reasoning test.

The diagrams in the test questions are outside of anything we regularly encounter, so it is important to familiarise yourself with their format, aesthetic and the logic they are testing.

Practise for the test by working your way through sample questions in similar conditions to those in which you will sit the final test. Working somewhere quiet with few distractions will help you to focus upon grasping the reasoning and improving your mental agility.

Prepare by approaching the questions in a logical manner, first working through the processes of the sequence, then looking at the multiple-choice answers offered. If you start from the answer options and work backwards, you are likely to become confused and not fully grasp the logic governing the problem.

It is also crucial to practise keeping to time. Use a stopwatch or phone timer so you are aware of the amount of time you have remaining and can adjust your pace accordingly.

Always review any incorrect answers carefully to understand where you went wrong. This will ensure you actively learn from the practise and can apply your improved reasoning skills next time around.

As access to test material is vital for adequate preparation, Practice Aptitude Tests has a free diagrammatic reasoning test to get you started. We also have over 30 full diagrammatic tests available, along with solutions and explanations.

Common diagrammatic test publishers

There are numerous publishers of diagrammatic tests and each has variations in its test format and content. These differences are usually in the form of question framing or test length.

The most common diagrammatic test publishers are:


The Cubiks RfB (Reasoning for Business) series contains one of the diagrammatic reasoning tests most commonly used by employers.

This test measures the ability of candidates to analyse and draw logical inferences from diagrammatic data. There are 60 questions to answer in a time limit of 30 minutes.

Saville Assessment

Saville Assessment is a popular publisher of diagrammatic reasoning tests. It provides a stand-alone diagrammatic test, as well as a shorter diagrammatic reasoning assessment embedded in its combined Swift series test. The full diagrammatic reasoning test has an allocated completion time of 24 minutes to answer 32 questions.

It is sensible to try and discover who the provider of your test will be, so you can accustom yourself with the particularities of the test. If this information is not available, don’t panic – the overall concepts and guiding principles remain the same across all test publishers.

If you know your test publisher, Practice Aptitude Tests usefully provides access to practice tests according to test type or publisher - particularly handy if you are preparing for an assessment centre.

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Free example diagrammatic reasoning questions

The only way to ensure you ace the diagrammatic reasoning test is to become familiar with the different types of questions you may be faced with.

Practising working through sequences, inferring their logic and applying it in new scenarios will build your confidence and reasoning ability.

Below is a selection of three free example diagrammatic questions to try out:

Question 1

What is the next logical image in the sequence?

diagrammatic reasoning practice question

Question 2

Does the extra box belong to Set A, Set B or neither?

diagrammatic reasoning practice questions

Question 3

What is the next logical image in the sequence?

diagrammatic test practice question


Question 1: Each block in the series contains a row of three arrows and a fourth arrow beneath this. At each step in the series: the fourth arrow shifts to become the first arrow in the row of three arrows, so that the third arrow in the row then becomes the fourth arrow (underneath the row of arrows). So the correct answer is E).

Question 2: The correct answer is Set A because the arrow is pointing to a circle. This is the common feature for all six of the Set A blocks. The position, size and colour of each of the figures doesn’t affect the answer.

Question 3: There are three rows of three arrows. At each step in the series, the first arrow from the first row is added to the end of the second row. The first arrow from the second row is added to the end of the third row; and the first arrow from the third row is added to the end of the first row. So the correct answer is A).

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How are diagrammatic reasoning tests scored?

Diagrammatic reasoning tests consist of diagram-based sequences and usually have four answer options. The number of sequences for which you correctly identify the processes and select the right variant will equal your final score. Your score will be given to you raw, and as a percentile score for cohort comparison.

What are diagrammatic reasoning tests used for?

Diagrammatic reasoning tests are used to assess logical thinking. Various diagram sequences, varying in complexity, test your ability to identify consistent patterns based on deductive or inductive reasoning. Employers use these tests to evaluate problem-solving skills in potential hires.

What is graphical reasoning?

Graphical reasoning is essentially a synonym for diagrammatic reasoning. It involves the analysis of sequences of shapes or symbols (graphics) to deduce the processes that have resulted in the given output. Test-takers are required to select the correct input or output for a series that follows the same logic.

How is diagrammatic aptitude measured?

Diagrammatic aptitude is measured through assessing a candidate’s ability to interpret sequences, patterns and processes, and then apply logical reasoning abilities, both deductive and inductive. To display this aptitude, a candidate will be required to answer an average of 30 diagrammatic questions rapidly and accurately.

Where can I practice diagrammatic reasoning tests?

Diagrammatic reasoning tests might seem hard at first approach, but they become much easier to tackle once you get used to applying their logical rules. The key to spotting correct patterns and applying processes rapidly is consistent practice. This website has copious diagrammatic reasoning tests, with guides and tips for solving them.

Which employers use diagrammatic reasoning tests?

The chance that you will have to pass a diagrammatic reasoning test as you go through the recruitment process is high. Most large enterprises, and increasingly some smaller companies, use these tests to effectively whittle down candidates during the selection process. Designed to evaluate the logical thinking and problem-solving skills vital for almost every job, they are a hurdle that is set to stay.


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Diagrammatic Reasoning Tests Tips

1Know your parameters

Make sure you know how many questions you will be required to answer and the window of time that will be provided. Practising to the ‘one question = one minute’ rule is a safe bet to ensure you complete the whole test on the day.

2Speed, not haste

Whilst answering rapidly is important, the key is not to rush. Practise taking the time to understand the sequences presented to you in sample questions. This way you will be able to improve your speed without compromising analytical process and endangering the accuracy of your answers.

3Use your time wisely

Time management is vital to success in psychometric tests, so always keep an eye on the time. If you become stuck on a question, do not spend a disproportionate amount of time figuring it out. If it has been over a minute, take your best guess and move on, so you have time to answer all the questions.

4Practice in exam conditions

To prepare, sit your practise tests at a desk in a quiet environment with minimal distractions. This will ensure you are fully focused upon your preparation and get you used to the conditions needed on the day.

5Research the test and provider

Your prospective employer should provide basic details about the test type and publisher. Once you know this, do your research. Knowing as much about the test as possible beforehand will help you prepare. Find out about different types of questions and the aspects of the test that are unique to your test provider.

6Read the questions carefully

Take your time to digest the content of each question. Work through the question logically, assessing the relationship between the figures first, instead of jumping straight to the answer options. Trying to skip stages will result in confusion and might be counterproductive.

7Make sure you answer the question

It sounds obvious, but make sure you are answering the question that is being asked – and not the question you think is being asked. The questions will ask you to identify different aspects of the process as your final answer, so don’t get tripped up by providing the wrong piece of information from the problem you have carefully unfurled.

8Have the right equipment

Remember to have everything you need for the test at hand. It is sensible to have some paper for any rough working, particularly as the tests are online. You may also find a stopwatch useful.

9Remain calm

Keeping a cool head and approaching the test with confidence will prevent sabotage through anxiety. You need to be able to think clearly to work logically through the problems presented. Practise breathing exercises to ensure you can remain calm and achieve the score you deserve.

10Practise using high-quality sample tests

Preparation is the key to success in psychometric tests, including diagrammatic reasoning. Working through sample tests will allow you to familiarise yourself with the test format, learn the logic of the questions and improve the speed at which you can answer them.

Diagrammatic Reasoning Video Tutorials

Unfolded Shapes

1 min

Similar Shapes

1 min

Rotated Views

1 min

Mirror Images

2 mins

Input Type

2 mins

Try Diagrammatic Reasoning Tests for Free

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    Diagrammatic Reasoning 01

    20 Questions|20 Minutes

  • Diagrammatic Reasoning 02

    20 Questions|20 Minutes

  • Diagrammatic Reasoning 03

    20 Questions|20 Minutes

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