Abstract Reasoning Tests

Abstract reasoning measures a person’s raw intelligence and their ability to think strategically.

Abstract reasoning tests can support a business capability to:

  • Improve performance
  • Reduce ‘bad hire' risks
  • Minimise your exposure to discrimination suits
  • Identify potential talent
  • Avoid cultural biases
  • Increase HR return on investment
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Abstract reasoning test. Questionnaire to assess raw intelligence


Abstract Reasoning Test levels and norms

Abstract reasoning tests can typically be grouped into several categories. Each category has a unique set of questions designed to match a job's level of difficulty and complexity.

Category 1: Abstract reasoning for entry level roles

Category 2: Abstract reasoning for the general population

Category 3: Abstract reasoning for graduate level & management roles

Category 4: Abstract reasoning for professional roles

Abstract Reasoning Test measures fluid intelligence

Fluid intelligence was first proposed by the psychologist Raymond Cattell and later developed further by John Horn. The Cattell-Horn theory suggests that intelligence is composed of several different abilities that determine general intelligence. Cattell defines fluid intelligence as “…the ability to perceive relationships independent of previous specific practice or instruction concerning those relationships”. In other words, fluid intelligence is the ability to make inferences and understand relationships between various concepts without prior knowledge. Hence, fluid intelligence is essential for problem solving and learning abilities.

Popular Abstract Reasoning Tests

  • PFS – Abstract reasoning test series (level 1 – 4)
  • PP AR – Abstract reasoning test series


What does a typical Abstract Reasoning question look like?

Is To

Your task is to choose a forth figure from a number of options (A, B, C, D, E) that shares a similar relationship with the third figure.

What Comes Next

Your task is to choose the correct figure from a number of options (A-F) to replace the question mark.

Odd One Out

Your task is to decide which diagram from those shown above is different to the others in some way.

What Comes Next

Your task is to choose the next correct figure from a number of options (A - E) that completes the pattern.


What can you infer from individuals' Abstract Reasoning Test result?

Abstract reasoning tests measure individuals' fluid intelligence which is associated with:

  • The ability to quickly solve problems,
  • The ability to quickly learn new skills and information
  • The ability to grasp the ‘bigger picture'
  • The ability to manage ambiguous situations

How can an Abstract Reasoning Tests support your business?

Abstract reasoning tests assist in improving performance

The abstract reasoning test results will inform you of an individual's ability to quickly solve problems, understand the critical issues in an ambiguous or strategic environment, grasp the ‘bigger picture', and rapidly learn new skills. All these qualities are crucial in improving business performance.

Abstract reasoning tests reduce ‘bad-hire' risks

The abstract reasoning test is a scientific and objective measurement of individuals' suitability to perform job related tasks. The abstract reasoning test minimises the bias that resumes and job interviews create. Resumes and job interviews are poor predictors of job performance, as both approaches are based on individuals' capability to sell themselves rather their ability to perform the required job responsibilities.

Abstract reasoning tests minimise your exposure to discrimination suits

Using the abstract reasoning test - which is an objective, scientific, and “culture fair” method of assessing applicants - ensures against claims of bias or discrimination during the selection process. The abstract reasoning test can be linked to most job performance criteria.

Abstract reasoning tests assist in identifying potential talent

The abstract reasoning test measures individuals' fluid intelligence, which is related to the ability to quickly solve problems and learn new skills. These qualities are best measured using an abstract reasoning test and the results will assist you to identify capable staff who can be promoted and groomed for higher level jobs or to become future leaders within the organisation.

Avoid cultural biases

The abstract reasoning test is culturally fair and uses diagrammatic images. Hence, the abstract reasoning test is independent of cultural or educational background.

To learn more about the Abstract Reasoning Tests, and further discuss your needs, please contact one of our consultants: