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Verbal reasoning tests are aptitude-based interviews that may be used by some employers and interviewers to assess how well a potential employee can comprehend instructions and scenarios presented verbally. Depending on the job specifications, they may be employed in the candidate selection process to gauge how employees process information, how they respond to the information presented and how logical their decision-making process is.
In a verbal reasoning test, you are usually presented with different written scenarios in the form of short passages or essays, and you are asked to answer questions based on these scenarios. The answers to these questions are usually multiple choice and close-ended in form of ‘true’, ‘false’ and ‘cannot tell’ answers. According to the job position, the passages and questions may be completely unrelated to the job one is applying for and more logical than being practical. In addition, the tests are usually timed to evaluate the interviewee’s ability to read, understand, process and logically respond to the questions within a set time limit.
Example of a Verbal Reasoning question:
In some cases, verbal reasoning tests may be designed to trick the participants into giving wrong answers. So, special preparation is necessary to ensure you do not fall into these traps. There are various practice tests available online for free which can be used for preparation. These practice tests help one get used to the passage writing styles and flow and understand how questions are made and answered.
It is a good practice to read the questions first before proceeding to the passage, as this helps you narrow down the possible answers to the questions easily. As a twist, some questions may not be picked from the provided passage; hence requiring a logical approach to determining the answers. On a lighter note, a rested mind works better in tackling logical situations; so, get a good rest before taking part in the interview.
· Don’t think outside the box
Based on the requirement of the job position or company, verbal reasoning passages may have 5 to 10 information-packed sentences about various topics. More often than not, the information required to answer the questions is contained within the passage. Interviewees are encouraged to only use the information provided in the passage and not rely on details about the topic that they may have learned previously through other means. This will help in selecting the correct answers to the questions.
Regardless of the inaccuracy of the details provided in the passage, you should always assume this information to be correct and use it to answer the questions. Stick to three basic principles; i.e., interpret the passage as literally as possible, anything implied in the passage is not necessarily true unless stated explicitly, and if you cannot find the answer in the passage then it is not there.
· Keep an eye on the clock
According to the job specifications, verbal reasoning tests may be timed and this added pressure may negatively influence your ability to logically decipher the answers. For this reason, it is important to read and re-read the questions and passages to eliminate all other options before settling for the correct one. Although this is a crucial step in the process, it is advisable to minimize the amount of time spent on each question so that you have enough time to review their answers before submission.
In case the test does not have the ‘go back to previous question’ option, you should ensure that the most probable answers to the questions have been provided before moving forward. An adequate preparation routine should assist the interviewee to gauge how much time they can spend on each question without jeopardizing the entire exercise.
· Every word counts
Although some information in the passages may eventually be irrelevant regarding the questions asked, you should go through the entire passage without skipping lines or ignoring sentences. Each detail helps build the full passage and may help provide the correct answer where necessary. Read and re-read the passage just to be sure that the most probable answers have been provided.
· Tricky questions
Watch out for tricky questions, as some may be worded ambiguously to confuse the thinking process of the participant. Clarity is an added advantage in this case since no matter how many times you read the question if your mind is not clear on what is being asked then the answer will seem elusive. Take time to understand the question and re-read the passage. Also, train your mind to identify and comprehend tricky questions by taking practice tests frequently.
· Stay calm
As usual, anything with a time limitation may cause anxiety. It is important that you remain calm during the entire exercise, as this will help clear your mind and boost your logical thinking. Practice relaxation techniques, like taking deep breaths or keeping nerves settled. Also, when reading the passage for the first time, you should go through it like an enjoyable story instead of an exam question. This will keep you relaxed and provide a better understanding of the passage. Consecutive re-reads of the passage should be more detail-oriented, with a keen interest to pick out the information required for the question(s).
Some final tips for success are;
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The data science team found that through practice, candidates increased their scoring accuracy and went into their assessments more confident. Remember, you need to practice to make sure you familiarize yourself with the test formats, work on your accuracy and experience performing under time-pressure.