Verbal Reasoning Tests: 20 Important Facts and Practice Questions and Answers

By | July 18, 2023
Verbal Reasoning Tests
Your ability to score highly in verbal reasoning tests can take you closer to landing the desired job.

This post provides complete information about verbal reasoning tests, to help you learn what to expect at the exam, including the different parts of the tests and how to go about them to make top scores.

Please, read on:

What are Verbal Reasoning Tests?

Verbal reasoning tests are designed to measure your understanding and comprehension skills, and also gauge your ability to make deductions from passages of text.

In this type of test, you’ll be presented with a short passage of text to interpret and answer questions on them.

This type of question often appears in the form of “True”, False, and Cannot Say” format, and includes a collection of alternatives too.

Verbal reasoning tests also evaluate your understanding of language and level of verbal comprehension and logic, as well as how well you can filter key information from a volume of text.

Candidates who sit for the verbal reasoning tests are usually given a written passage accompanied by a series of statements.

Based on solely on what is in the text, you will be required to decide whether the statement is “true, false, or cannot say”.

Questions can range from basic reading comprehension to more advanced reasoning depending on the role you are applying for.

There are recruiters that also use a number of various test providers that offer a variety of verbal reasoning assessments for diverse industries and job levels.

20 Important Facts about Verbal Reasoning Tests

Here are important facts about verbal reasoning tests you need to know:

  1. Why do employers use verbal reasoning tests?

Verbal reasoning tests help employers to effectively evaluate a candidate’s ability to relate reasoning and logic and their language and comprehension skills.

Verbal reasoning tests may help to provide a more level playing ground for candidates from all backgrounds.

  1. How do verbal reasoning tests work?

Verbal reasoning tests have two main formats, including:

  • Reading comprehension – this seeks to measure your ability to absorb written information and then use the information provided to answer questions quickly and accurately.

A test with “true, false, and cannot say” is the most common form of assessment where you will need to read some text and then determine whether the statement that comes after is true, false, or impossible to say based on the information provided.

  • Verbal critical reasoning – this format test your ability to apply logic. You will be expected to confirm whether a given statement is verified.

There are other forms of verbal reasoning tests, they include:

  • Implicit multiple-choice (For example, “What made the employee decide to…?” or “What caused…?”)
  • Explicit multiple-choice (For example, “Who said..?” or “How many..?”)
  • Meta multiple-choice (For example, “What can we conclude from…?” or “Which statement would weaken the argument..?”)
  • Grammar and spelling (This includes “Finding the new word and word swap”)
  • Vocabulary (These are words which have the same or opposite meaning to another)
  • Word analogy (This tests your ability to find the relationship between a pair of words)
  1. How to successfully prepare for a verbal reasoning test

The most excellent way to prepare well for a verbal reasoning test is to ensure that you are acquainted with the format and have practiced before sitting for the test.

When you practice the type of questions that will appear on the test, it will help you to identify your shortcomings and therefore develop your own techniques for success.

It’s vital to take note of your most common errors or the parts you struggle with most and then concentrate on improving your performance in these areas.

Also, be sure to take the practice tests under timed conditions and speed up as well with accuracy in order to reach your goal.

  1. Most common verbal reasoning test providers

In the pre-employment testing industry, there are verbal reasoning test providers you will likely come across if you are taking the test.

Some have their own customized tests aimed at conditions the candidate will likely come across in the role that he/she is applying for.

The list of the common verbal reasoning test providers in the industry includes:

  1. SHL verbal reasoning tests

SHL is perhaps the most popular test publisher. SHL verbal reasoning tests commonly have a time limit of 17-19 minutes and cover different levels (usually including documents and reports).

  1. Criterion utopia verbal reasoning test

This high-level verbal reasoning test is aimed at graduates and managers, and the questions become more difficult as the test progresses with only 30 minutes given to answer 40 questions.

  1. Kenexa/PSL advance verbal reasoning test

General ability and graduate/managerial are the two levels of this test.

In general ability, you will have only 18 minutes to answer 24 questions, while graduate/managerial has a 25-minutes time limit for 32 questions.

  1. What do verbal reasoning tests measure?

Hiring managers use verbal reasoning tests to measure how well an individual can process and interpret information.

Test-takers show how well and fast they can filter information by providing correct answers. In nowadays employment system, such skills are crucial for a lot of white-collar jobs.

  1. What is the expected score for a verbal reasoning test?

You’ll be presented with your raw score and your percentile after you’ve completed your test.

The percentile will help you to know how you performed compared to others taking the same test.

Therefore, you have performed well above average if you are placed in the 90th percentile.

At the same time, your performance was merely average if you fall in the 30th percentile.

Your goal is to do better than others, rather than just excelling on the test.

  1. Where can I practice verbal reasoning tests?

The most excellent way to get used to verbal reasoning tests is through regular practice.
You can find verbal reasoning tests that you can practice with online to gain some knowledge before the original test.
Kenexa, SHL, Cubiks, Korn Ferry, and Cut-e are some of the major verbal reasoning publishers that usually offer free sample tests.

  1. How do I answer verbal reasoning tests?

Don’t make decisions based on your own knowledge, but rather on the information provided.

The aim of the verbal reasoning tests is to use your skills in view of all, and not to prove your expertise.

It can be hard to say if it’s neither true nor false. You might be tempted to struggle for smart answers to complex or difficult questions, but that’s not the right approach.

  1. Do I need to read fast while taking the verbal reasoning tests?

Reading quickly will assist you a lot if you can, but it’s more crucial to understand the information set before you and draw logical conclusions from the facts.

The hiring manager can check how many questions you attempted and how many of these you answered correctly.

Therefore, instead of rushing through the questions, it’s better to give accurate responses to those you attempt.

  1. Verbal reasoning tests tips

Here are the things you need to do while taking verbal reasoning tests, such as:

  • Rely on the facts alone
  • Go with the flow
  • Follow the one-question-one-minute rule
  • Learn from your own errors
  • Be competitive
  • Practice under exam conditions
  • Ask questions when necessary.
  1. Are verbal reasoning tests difficult?

While the complexity level differs from test to test, candidates make great efforts when they are new to the format and have not prepared thoroughly.

If you have confirmed what to anticipate in the test and practiced beforehand, then it will become much easier for you.

  1. Why practice for the verbal reasoning test?

There is a need for practice before sitting for a verbal reasoning test so as to gain an advantage.

This will get you familiar with the question types presented on the test.

The test format will also appear strange without any practice at all.

The verbal reasoning tests are considered the most difficult tests utilized during the recruitment process.

Practice will help you to not only prepare beforehand but develop the skills necessary to pass your assessment.

Practice will also give you the opportunity to strategically solve problems and manage your time.

  1. Is a verbal reasoning test fair?

A verbal reasoning test is actually fair if done properly.

The results from verbal reasoning tests are beneficial to both candidates and employers as they are made to be less affected by the background or race.

  1. What will the verbal reasoning test be like?

The typical kind of verbal reasoning test is one where you are given a passage of text and then asked to state whether certain statements concerning the text is true, false, or impossible to say without additional information.

Things such as “word meaning” are also tested by some employers (for example, “which word is the odd one out”?). But these are not often used anymore as they can be partial.

Although this particular method of verbal reasoning test is the most common, it’s usually best to check online to see if it reveals the test publisher used.

  1. What are the best techniques for verbal reasoning tests?

Practice will help you to develop your own technique for answering the verbal reasoning test questions to the best of your ability.

Nevertheless, there is a general technique most people find useful to follow, which is reading the whole passage through once, and then turning to the questions in sequence.

Read the first statement and refer back to the related part of the passage to cautiously consider if the statement is true, false, or impossible to decide without additional information.

It will usually come down to just one or two sentences within the passage.

  • Before your test

Catch a good night’s sleep before your test so you can stay attentive during your real test.

It’s enticing to take an online test less seriously, but be sure you are focused and observant.

Arrive on time if it’s at an assessment center so that when you sit down to take your test you are calm and collected.

Make sure you understand the instructions.

The test administrator will explain the instructions if your test is at an assessment center and you will have the opportunity to ask questions.

Before the test begins for real, you usually get to go through a couple of example questions.

Ensure you take this chance to understand the test because you won’t be allowed to ask questions once the test has started.

Ensure you report any problems (such as noises from the next room) to the test administrator before the test starts.

  • During your test

Develop an idea of how much time to allow yourself for each question and know when to get going.

Make sure you get focused, especially when each second counts. Don’t get distracted by other test takers so as to hasten up.

Don’t ever think of guessing because this won’t lead you anywhere.

The administrator may not actually inform you if negative marking is being used but be rest assured that it seldom is in the verbal reasoning tests made use of by employers.

It is often possible to get rid of one of the possible three answers, thus reducing your options down to two, instead of guessing absolutely.

Make your answers rely only on the information contained in the passage.

This is important to avoid getting a lot of the questions wrong.

Verbal reasoning is a test of how well you understand written information and not a test of what you know.

  • After your test

Focus on the next test. Employers use a whole series of tests, interviews, and assessments to choose candidates.

The results are used in the entirety. It is not the case that a poor result in one test removes you right away from the race.

Try not to get affected by your performance in another test if you don’t think you did particularly well in one test.

You should ask for feedback because not all employers have the time or resources to offer this but it’s worth asking.

  1. Verbal reasoning practice test

Interviewers who want to find out how well a candidate can assess verbal logic make use of verbal reasoning tests.

  1. Word meaning questions

The questions are designed to evaluate your vocabulary, particularly your understanding of word meaning.

These categories of questions emerge in all levels of verbal ability tests.

The questions focus on the relationships between words and are phrased in such a manner that you need to know the exact meaning of the words given in order to choose the correct answer.

They usually use synonyms and antonyms (words that have either the same or opposite meanings), dictionary definitions, word pairs, and homophones (words that sound similar but have different meanings, such as ‘allude’ and ‘elude’.

While ‘Allude’ means ‘referred’, ‘elude’ also means ‘escaped from’).

Verbal Reasoning Test Practice Questions and Answers

Here are some sample verbal reasoning tests you can practice with:

Question 1

Fatal car accidents are more common amongst young drivers with 6 to 8 years of experience than older drivers with the same experience.

  • True
  • False
  • Cannot Say

Answer & Explanation

The correct answer is, “cannot say”.

‘Last winter, 50% of all fatal road accidents involved drivers with up to 5 years driving experience according to the passage, and an additional 15% were drivers who had between 6 to 8 years of experience.

This piece of data only talks about experience, not age.

Although the key idea of the passage is that younger drivers are usually more likely to be involved in fatal car accidents, we cannot assume all relatively inexperienced drivers are young.

We are not aware how many of that 15% with 6 to 8 years of experience are younger drivers and how many are older drivers.

So, the answer is “cannot say”. It is not possible to make this comparison based on the information provided in the passage.

Question 2

The reason behind the sharp increase in fatal car accidents is the considerable increase in car sales.

  • True
  • False
  • Cannot Say

Answer & Explanation

The correct answer is, “true”.

According to the statement in the text, “a substantial addition in car sales during the same period ended up in a staggering rise in fatal car accidents”.

This means the same thing as the statement in the question, which is ‘the increase caused the accidents’.

Question 3

The advertising campaign known as ‘fighting accidents’ did not decrease the number of car accidents.

  • True
  • False
  • Cannot Say

Answer & Explanation

The correct answer is, “false”.

The advertising campaign ‘fighting accidents’ ended up in some progress according to the text.

The meaning of this is that, to a certain extent, it succeeded in reducing the number of car accidents.


Verbal reasoning tests are designed to assess your ability to understand written passages and to measure your verbal comprehension, reasoning, and logic.

The test usually takes the form of a written passage followed by a series of questions with possible “True, False, or Cannot Say” responses.

It is essential to know and appreciate the meaning of each response if you are to score highly.

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