Watson Glaser critical reasoning tests give insight into a candidate’s ability to evaluate information and draw the correct conclusions. The test assesses critical thinking and logical approach, as well as the ability to work quickly and accurately under time pressure.

Watson Glaser tests feature a series of written statements and passages, around which a set of multiple-choice questions are focused. These questions require candidates to make necessary deductions and inferences, identify any assumptions present and look for evidence to prove the validity of an argument.

The test is split up into the following five areas:

  • Drawing inferences

  • Recognising assumptions

  • Deduction

  • Interpretation

  • Evaluation of arguments

Usually there are 40 questions, which must be answered within a 30-minute time limit. This means a steady pace is needed to complete the test and increase the chances of achieving a high score.

The questions require no prior knowledge, but the level of detailed critical thinking demanded makes the test challenging.

Watson Glaser tests are commonly used as part of the recruitment processes of law firms, banks and financial companies – where making well evidenced and unbiased decisions is critical for performance.

Preparation is key to strong performance in the test. The following ten tips will help you to effectively prepare for and pass your Watson Glaser test.

1. Practise critical thinking tests

Critical thinking tests can vary according to the publisher. Only by practicing Watson Glaser-style tests will you become familiar with the format, style and content of the test you will face.

Although many of the skills tested do implicitly feature across critical thinking assessments, Watson Glaser tests are unique in their question groupings, as each skill is explicitly tested.

Sitting practise tests in the same style will make sure you focus upon honing your ability to draw inferences, recognise assumptions, interpret written data, make deductions and evaluate arguments.

2. Hone your pace by managing your time

Success in the Watson Glaser test requires both speed and accuracy. When preparing, be aware of the time allocation you have for each question. If you split the questions evenly this is usually 45 seconds, but you may wish to spend longer on the section(s) you find trickiest, making up time on your stronger areas.

When taking practise tests, always time yourself. If you keep practicing until you reach the pace required, you will feel confident in your ability to complete the official test.

3. Read the instructions carefully

Although pace is important, this should not present as haste. Reading the instructions carefully, both at the start of the test and the guidance related to each section, is critical to prevent unnecessary mistakes. The information given is included to help you succeed, so make the most of the advice.

Don’t skip the sample questions. Use them to settle yourself into the logical approach needed.

4. Answer using the exact information given

When completing a critical thinking test, you should take all information at face value. The test is about evidencing arguments, making accurate inferences from the data given and identifying assumptions.

To do this effectively, you will need to be meticulous with detail and take the content of the passages literally, putting aside any prior knowledge on the subject matter. You will also need to resist the urge to make your own assumptions to fill the information gaps.

Answer based only on the information given, and you will be able to confidently pass judgement on the validity of statements.

5. Remove all distractions

Now that most psychometric tests are administered online, candidates sit them in their own homes. While this means they can be taken in a familiar and comfortable space, your home likely lacks the neutral, silent environment of a test centre.

Critical thinking tests require a high level of concentration and attention to detail. To give yourself the best chance of scoring well, take the test in a quiet environment, free from distractions. It’s also sensible to check the internet connection is stable.

You’ll need to focus solidly during the 30 minutes, so have everything you might need ready on your desk, such as a glass of water or a piece of scrap paper.

critical thinking test tips

6. Don’t dwell on tricky questions

If you become stuck on a question during the test, don’t allow it to throw off your concentration or pace. The questions in the Watson Glaser test vary in difficulty, so there may well be a couple that you find particularly tricky.

This can be frustrating, but it is more important to safeguard your time and submit answers for all the questions in the test.

All questions are multiple-choice, so select your best guess and move on. The tests are not negatively marked, so you will not lose marks for making an educated attempt.

7. Don’t make assumptions about the questions

When working through a critical thinking test, read each of the questions carefully so you are clear on what it is asking. Many candidates lose points answering the question they assume is being asked, rather than the question that is actually being posed.

It’s also important to be clear about the context of the question and the perspective from which it approaches the text. Questions may feature different perspectives, so be aware of the difference this may make to the interpretation of the information.

If in doubt, quickly read the passage and/or question again. Don’t sacrifice understanding and accuracy for speed, as revisiting a text to iron out any misunderstandings will likely help you to answer all of the connected questions correctly.

8. As you read, establish the logic

When reading the passages of text in the test, read actively. Analyse the statements made and seek to identify any logical connections between the sentences. Highlight any interdependent or related statements, and make a mental note of the nature of the relationship between them.

In particular, look for any false logic or discrepancies in the message the text imparts. Answering the questions correctly likely hinges on recognition of any contradictory or unfounded statements made within the text.

This active analysis will help you to answer the questions that follow faster and more confidently.

9. Think creatively when practicing

Practice tests aren’t the only way to prepare for a critical reasoning test. Supplement your test practice by reading wordy news articles and absorbing the information rapidly, analysing the arguments presented and identifying any assumptions.

It may help to get a family member or friend to challenge you on the evidence and validity of claims made, or to pose questions around the inferences and deductions that can or cannot be made from the information given.

Choose material that interests you. Applying critical thinking skills to everyday texts can be a fun and informative way to increase your confidence with analysing and interpreting texts.

10. Be aware of text aimed to mislead

The texts in Watson Glaser tests can be challenging, as they are designed to make it difficult for candidates to immediately grasp the nuances of the content. The passages may feature dispersed arguments (both logical and illogical), with elements threaded confusingly through the paragraphs.

Candidates need to be able to keep track of the information imparted to be able to make accurate deductions. Watch out for the use of double negatives and wordy clauses.

Don’t be afraid of taking a few seconds to re-read ambiguous sentences, as your understanding of the entire passage may hinge upon their content.