Abstract reasoning tests are the umbrella term for logical and conceptual tests, such as diagrammatic tests, which assess candidates ability to solve abstract problems. They usually consist of shapes and figures, and ask you to identify the relationship between the patterns - this assesses your ‘inductive’ reasoning skills, which means your ability to identify the underlying rule from examples of the pattern.

Why Do Employers Like Them?

These types of tests are a helpful hiring tool because they do not rely on prior knowledge as other aptitude tests such as numeracy or comprehension tests, and highlight the best candidates with objective data. For this reason, they have become very popular with companies looking to increase diversity in their hiring, as the results are less reliant on cultural or educational background.

Another reason employers like abstract reasoning tests is because to be successful you have to be able to think laterally and creatively, also known as ‘fluid intelligence.’ It gauges how well you deal with new information and can be a strong predictor of how well you’ll cope in unfamiliar real life situations. This also means that they identify candidates with higher IQs and strong critical thinking skills and make the hiring process more accurate and easier. Jobs in sectors such as IT, Finance, Engineering, and managerial positions all rely on abstract problem solving, and the ability to quickly deal with unfamiliar situations and provide a logical solution is extremely valuable.

What to Expect?

The structure of abstract reasoning tests is similar to other reasoning tests such as diagrammatic reasoning tests. You will be shown patterns and shapes, then asked to follow the logic to identify the missing or next piece in the sequence, much like the example below.


It is typical for abstract reasoning tests to be fairly short, around 20-30 minutes, and generally stick to the ‘one minute to one question’ rule. This means that timed practice is the best way to prepare for these, especially as they can be designed to increase in difficulty as you progress, so saving time on the easier questions can help you be more successful later on in the test.

How to Prepare

While abstract reasoning tests are valued because they do not rely on prior knowledge, it is still very important to practice as much as possible. In a competitive job market, employers have a difficult time choosing the best candidates under their own financial and time constraints, so performing well on aptitude tests can shine a spotlight on your talent outside of your CV.

Take advantage of our free practice aptitude tests. We have 100s of practice tests, including abstract reasoning tests and diagrammatic reasoning tests, so you can get comfortable and confident with what to expect in the real thing. If you need help in specific areas, we also have you covered:

We have guides on how to prepare for abstract reasoning tests and how to answer abstract reasoning tests, which have great advice on what to do before and during your test to ensure success. The best thing you can do is get familiar with as many questions as possible before you go in, so make the most of everything we have to offer.