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Abstract reasoning tests: all you want to know about them

Abstract reasoning tests, also known as logical reasoning tests or diagraamatic reasoning tests measure your ability to perceive and understand abstract forms, sequences, matrices and figures and logical rules behind these forms. These tests assess your skills of imagination, visualization and abstract thinking and play a major role in determining the level of logical thinking skills required to solve any logical task you may face at work. In an article you will find examples of various types of abstract reasoning tests, an explanation of their solutions and preparation tips.

What are abstract reasoning tests?

Albert Einstein once said: “Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited, while imagination embraces the whole world, stimulating progress, creating evolution.”


The meaning of tests for abstract reasoning and logical thinking is to evaluate your ability to abstract thinking and imagination. Creative imagination and the ability to draw conclusions based on abstract ideas is the quality that is required for so many modern positions in the labor market. Both employers and HR agencies love abstract reasoning tests, because with their help it is possible to quickly and easily determine a person’s general intellectual level, the development of his mind and the ability to think critically and be creative. Together with numerical and verbal tests abstract reasoning tests form the Triade of aptitude testing process and we can guarantee that if you are a job-seeker you will definitely have to pass an abstract reasoning testing since it used by 100% large and medium employers all over the world.

The ability to determine the logic of abstract forms is the ability to analyze, visualize, comprehend and express these figurative signs and forms. This is what helps you identify forms from templates and, conversely, find patterns and rules in forms. It helps you solve critical problems in a complex real world. But more importantly, the developed ability to logical analysis will help you get the job of your dream.

How to work on Abstract reasoning tests examples and tips

Abstract reasoning tests in HR

Abstract reasoning tests have been the focus of psychologists over the past few decades. Dr. Howard Gardner’s ideas opened up a new opportunity for their application in the HR industry for recruitment. Gardner’s theory was that intelligence is not one measurable entity. He suggested that spatial logical thinking abilities are one of eight cognitive skills that can be generally called information processing skills.

Thurston then described three types of spatial logical analysis ability:

  • The ability to visualize the rotation of figures and shapes;
  • The ability to reorient objects from different angles;
  • Finding relationships between various spatial objects.

Types of work that require logical thinking

Our experience shows that NOT all employers use abstract reasoning tests. About 99% of all large employers use numerical reasoning and verbal reasoning tests as mandatory but as for the abstract reasoning tests they are used mostly by employers in technical or IT industries. We strongly recommend asking your prospective employer what types of aptitude tests you will need to pass – this way you can prepare in the best way.

For some types of work, a developed ability for spatial logical thinking is a mandatory requirement. Such work involves the constant use of visualization, abstract thinking and imagination in everyday work. And it is for such works that abstract reasoning aptitude tests are usually used.

Natural Sciences and Healthcare Jobs

All natural sciences require a certain degree of ability to build abstract theories and test them with experiments. In science, for example, you should be able to represent the complex structure of atoms and the movement of their particles. Or you must be able to understand a complex structure of cells and predict its development in order to solve a medical problem if you are involved in healthcare. You should also be able to express your vision on paper or in computer models. Accordingly, medical, pharmaceutical and other companies where research is being carried out use logic tests when hiring new employees.

Natural Sciences and Healthcare Jobs

Banks, Finance, Investment Jobs

If you score high with abstract reasoning tests, then you are likely to show the same good result with numerical tests. It is not always necessary to use calculation skills to solve logical problems but, in most cases, these skills help each other since, in fact, behind both abilities are the same mental abilities. Thus, the ability to logical analysis is also important for a career in mathematics, physics, accounting, auditing, economics, etc. Abstract reasoning tests are mandatory in most banks as well as in financial, investment and insurance companies.

Banks, Finance, Investment Jobs

Engineering Jobs (Oil and Gas, Mining, Auto, Aircraft, etc.)

Logical thinking is very important for building a successful engineering career. After all, initially an engineer or designer needs to create models in his mind before he can transfer them to paper or a computer screen. Abstract reasoning tests are used by Exxon Mobil, Siemens, Henkel, Ford, Toyota and thousands of other large and medium industrial companies.

Engineering Jobs

Architectural and Design Jobs

Architects, like engineers, must use spatial skills to create their models. They must be able to visualize a lot and correctly in the process of their work. Most major architectural agencies use abstract reasoning tests to assess candidates for their jobs.

IT and Programming Jobs

Computer technology is based on the use of spatial logical models. It is not surprising that computers play an important role in developing logical skills of specialists who deal with them. If you are building a career in IT, you definitely need a certain degree of logical thinking ability. Microsoft, Apple, ABBYY, Google and other IT companies use abstract reasoning tests to pick the best candidates.

Government and Civil Services Jobs

Abstract reasoning tests are widely used to assess candidates for the government services jobs of most countries. In the UK, USA, Germany, France, China, Russia and most of other leading economies ministries and departments use them to assess the intellectual abilities of candidates for police, civil services, healthcare, public transportation and other jobs.

All jobs

Types and examples of abstract reasoning tests

Abstract reasoning tests are mainly based on the use of abstract forms. The most popular types of forms of such tests have the following types:

  • Most abstract reasoning tests contain several abstract forms. Your task is to find a general rule uniting all figures. Such tests are also called abstract logical thinking tests.
  • Another type of abstract reasoning test shows different sizes of shapes. It is required to identify shapes according to their size. Forms can change their structure or the composition of elements with resizing.
  • Some tests may contain different planes with different shapes. They may show two-dimensional or three-dimensional figures. And the task is to determine the direction of their rotation in different plans. Such tests are also called spatial memory tests.
  • You may need to visualize the decomposition of a figure in parts and assembling it a different way. Find a topographic relationship between the various forms.
  • Imagine to see objects from a different angle. Reorient your position in relation to other objects. Such tests are called spatial orientation tests.

The most common types of abstract reasoning tests are:

  • Odd one out
  • Matrices
  • Next in series

Examples of abstract reasoning tests

Odd one out

In “Odd one out” abstract aptitude tests you will see a 4-9 figures united by some rule or pattern. One or two of these figures do not fit it and your task is to find them.

Odd one out logic reasoning tests

You will find the answer and explanation of this abstract reasoning test at the end of the article. Try to find the answer by yourself first. You have 45 seconds to find the correct answer.


Matrices represent a 3×3 or 3×2 matrix made of figures of frames. Usually there is a local rule for every column and line in a matrices test and you need to find a figure or frame to fit the missing part of the matrix.

Matrices abstract reasoning tests

You can see the answer and solution of this abstract reasoning test at the end of the article. Try to find the answer by yourself first. You have 60 seconds to find the correct answer.

Next in series

“Next in series” abstract aptitude tests are most commonly used and represent a sequence of figure or frames bond by a local rule. You need to guess the next figure or frame that comes next in the sequence.

Next in series abstract aptitude tests

You can see the answer and solution of this abstract reasoning test at the end of the article. Try to find the answer by yourself first. You have 60 seconds to find the correct answer.

How to prepare for abstract reasoning tests?

Spatial abilities and abstract logic develop since early childhood. We learn to compare things and their properties, learn to analyze the experience gained and draw conclusions based on it. Of all the living creatures of the Earth, only humans are capable of abstract thinking and building abstract logical conclusions. That is, certain abilities for taking abstract reasoning tests are present in every person.

Nevertheless, experiments showed that the special practice of abstract logic tests leads to a sharp increase in scoring on abstract reasoning tests. Therefore, we urge you to prepare in advance. After all, it is at stake that you get the desired job.

key to success in abstract reasoning tests

We recommend:

In real testing it is important to be calm and collected. The state of mind and attitude can significantly affect the final result. Preliminary practice can make a significant contribution to your success. If you have prepared and already know exactly or at least approximately what will await you during the testing, you will obviously feel calmer and more confident.

As we wrote above, you will have 45-60 seconds for 1 test question, but after preparation you will be able to easily find the correct answers within 25-30 seconds. Preparation gives a guarantee of success.

We recommend that you go through all types of abstract reasoning tests available on Aptitude-Tests-Practice, since they cover most of the possible types of abstract reasoning tests that you can encounter in real testing.

Besides abstract tests you will most probably have to take verbal reasoning and numerical reasoning tests. Read about them in our special articles Verbal reasoning tests: what are they and how to pass them and Numerical Reasoning Tests: what they are, examples, solutions and tips to pass them

Many employers and positions also use different kinds of personality tests and questionnaraires, the most commonly used are Situational Judgement tests, read about them in our articles:

10 tips for taking a situational judgement test

Personality questionnaires: what is it and what is their difficulty

Situational judgement tests used by employers and qualities that they test

Psychometric aptitude tests for managers

Psychometric testing for call center and customer support jobs

If your employer informed that you will have abstract reasoning tests, then you should start preparing without delay. Remember: it’s better to spend a couple of days preparing now than to fail real tests and regret a missed chance later!

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Answers and explanation of the examples tests

Odd one out

Odd one out logic reasoning tests answer


Matrices logic reasoning tests answer

Next in series

Next in series abstract aptitude tests answer

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