A spatial reasoning test assesses the way you think about 2D and 3D shapes, and your ability to manipulate those shapes into new forms. You might also be required to spot patterns, trends and sequences among shapes.

If you are to take a spatial reasoning test, it’s important to prepare for the test as much as possible, since it is a challenging assessment.

Spatial reasoning questions can vary: you might be given a map and asked to follow instructions, or to manipulate objects in your mind by rotation or combining them, or even unflattening 2D shapes into 3D ones.

This is why it can be very important to practice a range of example tests, to build confidence and get used to the format. Below we’ve put together 10 key steps for success. We recommend using these steps when preparing for your spatial assessments.

1. Understand the format of the test

Spatial reasoning tests assess your general intelligence. For this reason, understanding the format of the test can be really important – helping you build confidence and technique, and reducing stress.

Once you know the format of the spatial reasoning test, you’ll be able to prepare for the element of timing. Knowing the format in advance will allow you to work out how much time you likely have for each question, ultimately reducing one stress factor from the exam.

2. If you get stuck, move on

It’s better to guess an answer than stay stuck on one and lose precious time. You should give approximately one minute to each question and if you can’t answer it by then, pick whichever option seems most logical.

3. Do lots of practice tests

Perhaps one of the most important key steps for success before taking your spatial reasoning test is to practice lots of mock tests.

These tests are meant to be challenging and are likely to be unlike any exam you’ve taken before. Spatial reasoning tests, assess general intelligence – a skill that you cannot necessarily learn or practice.

However, developing a technique to solve spatial reasoning tests can be really beneficial, and being comfortable with the format can increase your efficiency when answering.

4. Focus on your weakest areas

One thing practice tests can reveal are areas of weakness. Whether you’re struggling with the time pressure or methodology, it’s useful to identify areas of weakness and create a plan to improve your score.

Remember that you generally need to be scoring in the top 50% of candidates taking the test to be considered for shortlisting.

5. Refresh before your test to help you focus

Having some downtime, getting a good night’s rest and generally taking lots of breaks between revision and practice can help you focus before the test. We do not recommend overloading or cramming in information the night before you intend to sit the exam, as this is counterproductive.

6. Build confidence

Confidence can help you remain calm and focused during the test. Building confidence requires combining a range of these suggested steps. In particular, practicing the test beforehand and improving areas of weakness can help.

If you take the test and feel panicked, underprepared or have no strategy to answer the questions, you’ll likely underperform. Use some of these steps to build confidence to score highly.

7. Be efficient

The spatial reasoning tests are timed, so there is an element of pressure.

To get the best score possible, you must ensure you allocate the right amount of time to each question and answer them efficiently (not spending too much time on one particular answer).

If you get stuck, move on and don’t overcommit to one question.

8. Read the question carefully

Spatial reasoning tests require attention to detail, so it’s important you follow the basic test rule to read the question carefully. If you need to, read it twice for good measure.

Generally, the format will be similar for each question, but this is not something you can assume.

9. Keep calm

Staying calm under pressure is a key step for success. Becoming panicked or flustered will only make things worse and it will likely have a negative impact on your performance.

To stay calm under pressure, it is important to combine many of these steps such as building confidence, having a strategy, practicing lots of tests and using your time effectively.

10. Ensure good connectivity

If you have ever had issues with your Wifi or Internet, we suggest you find a place that has better connectivity. You do not want to be disrupted during the test or become panicked before or during the exam, as this could affect your focus and confidence.

Use a speed test to check your connectivity and create an environment where you won’t be affected by the outside world. If others are in your household, perhaps ask them not to download or upload anything substantial, as this can impact your bandwidth and speed.