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inductive reasoning tests

Inductive Reasoning Tests

  • 10 questions
inductive reasoning tests

Inductive reasoning tests are non-verbal reasoning assessments similar in nature to diagrammatic, abstract and logical reasoning tests. The most common types of inductive reasoning questions include matrices, horizontal shape sequences, A/B sets and odd-one-out sets.

What is an inductive reasoning test?

Inductive reasoning tests require you to identify the relationships between shapes and figures by spotting rules and patterns, and to apply these to find the answer. Patterns usually involve alternation, rotation, reflection, replacement or translation, or a combination of these.

These types of tests provide employers with an insight into how you think and how you approach new rules and situations. As well as assessing your general intelligence, they can reveal your levels of creativity and your ability to learn and apply new information.

They may be used in the job application process for all kinds of industries, but are particularly popular in roles involving engineering, science and IT. To do well at inductive reasoning tests you will need to be able to apply open-minded and explorative thinking skills, trying out different possible solutions in your head to reach the correct answer.

What's the difference between inductive and deductive tests?

Inductive reasoning uses specific observations to reach broader, more general conclusions, while deductive reasoning works the other way around, moving from broad generalisations to specific observations.

In deductive reasoning, we explore and reject a number of possible outcomes to reach the one possible answer. With inductive reasoning, we may reach a general conclusion based on what we have observed – but this still allows for the possibility that the conclusion is false, even if all of the premises are true.

For example: All of the swans we have seen are white therefore We expect that all swans are white. In this instance the premises provide support for the conclusion, but they do not guarantee it. With inductive reasoning, there is a degree of certainty but it is not absolute.

How best to prepare for an inductive reasoning test

The best way to prepare for an inductive reasoning test is to do lots of practice. If you are familiar with the types of question you will be facing, and have developed strategies and techniques to tackle them, you are less likely to freeze or panic on the day.

You should also try to find out as much as you can about the test you will be taking. As mentioned previously, the terms inductive reasoning, diagrammatic reasoning, logical reasoning and abstract reasoning can be used interchangeably but may involve subtle differences, so check with the recruiter what type of test to expect.

If possible, you should also try to find out which test provider the recruiter uses. You can then visit the relevant website to get an idea of the format and content of the questions you are likely to encounter.

Our article on how to prepare for inductive reasoning tests has more advice.

Common inductive reasoning test publishers

SHL inductive reasoning. SHL’s inductive reasoning tests are usually around 25 minutes long. Questions consist of five symbols following a pattern, with candidates required to choose the missing symbol from a selection of multiple-choice options.

AON discovering rules. Also known as scales ix, this test consists of 20 questions to be completed in just five minutes. In each question the candidate will be presented with a series of figures or images that follow a rule, and must select the one figure that does not match.

Kenexa logical reasoning. This is very similar to SHL’s inductive reasoning test. You will generally have about 20 minutes to answer 25 questions, which will be based around finding the rule governing a series of figures and then selecting the missing figure.

Saville abstract reasoning. This test may also be referred to as inductive logical reasoning and again is very similar to the SHL and Kenexa tests. For each question you will see a sequence of shapes and must find the logical pattern connecting them, and then choose the shape missing from the middle or end of the sequence.

Talent Q logical reasoning. You will be presented with a series of symbols following a logical pattern and must decide what comes next. The questions are multiple-choice but there are more answer options than most other tests – between seven to 14 for each question. The test is also adaptive, so it gets harder the more questions you answer correctly.

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Free practice inductive reasoning questions

We offer a range of inductive reasoning questions that have been designed to assess your ability to think rationally. Our questions will help you practise how to spot patterns and form logical rules from the diagrams provided.

Below we have provided three practice questions. For more sample questions and answers, download our inductive reasoning test PDF. You might also find our article on how to answer inductive reasoning testsuseful.

Q1) Which suggested image would come next in the following sequence?

Answer: D. The shapes are moving around the corners in an anti-clockwise direction. Therefore D is the only shape that is in the correct position.

Q2) There are ten marbles in a bag. One by one you remove them from the bag to see what colour each marble is. So far, you have removed 9, all of which have been green.

Answer: C. Inductions are inferences based on reasonable probability, so if 9 out of 10 marbles have been green it is reasonable to assume that the last one will be green also.

There is no way to tell this for certain and whilst it could be yellow, nothing in the premise has suggested it would be.

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How are inductive reasoning tests scored?

Inductive reasoning tests require a person to establish logical relations and identify patterns in shapes and figures. The number of correct answers will form your score. Also, your score may be compared to the results of the others or results of the normative group.

What are inductive reasoning tests used for?

Inductive reasoning tests are used for evaluating logical thinking. In particular, this test type reveals how well and fast a test-taker can identify relations, patterns and similarities within groups of shapes. This test is supposed to evaluate your level of problem-solving skills and the ability to adapt to new situations.

What do inductive reasoning tests involve?

Inductive reasoning tests involve sets of figures and shapes that follow a certain logical rule of a pattern. Test-taker will need to estimate the pattern or identify these logical ties and use them to find the correct answer.

What do inductive reasoning tests measure?

Inductive reasoning tests measure a person’s ability to approach new situations and problems. These tests push subjects to making a decision based on the assumption of possible results with limited information.

Where can I practice inductive reasoning tests?

To achieve high results, it is crucial to understand how inductive reasoning tests work. The best path to that is consistent practice. You can find all the best inductive reasoning tests on our website alongside with guides, tips, and trial test keys.

Which employers use inductive reasoning tests?

Inductive reasoning tests are one of the most widespread types of aptitude tests. They are meant to assess logical thinking in unknown situations which is crucial for almost every type of job. Hence, you might expect employers from both big enterprises and small businesses to use them for candidate selection.


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Inductive Reasoning Tests Tips

1Watch your timing

Make sure you understand how many questions you will have to answer and how long you have to complete the test. Work out how much time you have per question before you start the test and stick to this limit. If you can, bring a stopwatch and use it to time each question. Don’t get stuck on a question that you’re struggling to solve – if it’s taking too long, move on.

2Practice in exam conditions

Try to make your practice sessions as close as possible to real exam conditions. Find a quiet space with minimal distractions and set a timer. This will not only keep you more focused but will also make the real thing less daunting.

3Learn to spot patterns

The more practice tests you try, the more examples of patterns you will come across and the better you will become at identifying them. This should give you a feel for the rules and patterns that may crop up in your test, but be aware of keeping an open mind to alternative solutions.

4Do your research

Try to find out as much as possible about the test you will be sitting, particularly who the test provider is and the format of the test. This information should be available on the employer’s careers website but if it isn’t, ask.

5Be competitive

Try to measure your achievements against other users to make sure you stand out in a crowd. Average results might help you to pass to the next stage, but may not be enough to bag you that job. The more you practise, the higher your score will be.

Inductive Reasoning Video Tutorials

Unfolded Shapes

1 min

Similar Shapes

1 min

Rotated Views

1 min

Mirror Images

2 mins

Input Type

2 mins


2 mins

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