Abstract Ability, Aptitude and Reasoning Psychometric Tests


Also known as : abstract thinking, abstract reasoning ability, abstract problem solving, abstract reasoning, strategic thinking, strategic problem solving, strategic reasoning ability, creativity, creative problem solving

Typical length: 30-60 questions

Typical time to complete: 30 - 40 minutes

Abstract reasoning is concerned with solving problems that are context free i.e. not verbal or numerical in nature. The items tend to take the form of a series of shapes or diagrams from which you have to pick the odd one out, or identify which would come next in the sequence from a set of alternatives.

This is a very common type of test and the ability being measured is to do with how well a person can identify patterns and meaning from a mass of seemingly random or very complex information.


These psychometric tests are often used as a measure of high level intellectual reasoning ability and they crop up regularly in assessments for higher level jobs. The key ability assessed here is problem solving. You are usually presented with quite a lot of irrelevant and seemingly unrelated information.


Your task is generally to separate the ‘noise’ from what is actually relevant to solving the problem. Because the task involves going beyond what is immediately obvious and using some creativity to solve the problems, these are sometimes called creative or strategic thinking tests - especially at higher levels of difficulty. These can be amongst some of the most challenging psychometric tests.
When completing abstract reasoning tests try to remember -

  • The answer is very often simple or obvious.

  • There is usually only one correct answer.

  • Look for a common theme to every shape or pattern in the question. For example, is a small square the only shape common to them all, and if so is there another shape or position that appears with it four times out of five?

  • Is there one characteristic which every option shares e.g. size, colour, position, and shape.

  • Always look for other possible answers, as your first may not always be correct.


Example Questions (The answers are at the bottom of the page)


1. Your task here is to look at the series of four figures, work out the rule which links them all. Then choose which of the four following figures also shares that characteristic.


Abstract Psychometric Aptitude Test Example Picture

2. Your task here is to look at the series of five figures, work out the rule which links them all. Then choose which of the four following figures obey that rule and identify the one which does not.


aptitude test exampleAnswers

1a - the numerical figure in the item box relates to the number of sides that shape in the same box has. Note that the '∞' is the notation for infinity - a circle has an infinite number of sides.

2c - the only item with an odd number of circles.