Learn About All The Most Common Tricks and Tips
For Verbal Reasoning Tests

You can check out our general tip taking advice for all psychometric tests here. All these tips will make more sense to you once you’ve taken some verbal reasoning tests.


Leave your baggage at the door

What we mean by this is, if you happen to know anything about the topic of the passage, then you would do well to forget it. These tests are not designed to test your knowledge about some obscure topic like ultraviolent light, cures for polio or the history of the Weimar Republic. They are to test your comprehension and verbal skills, so you must only base your answer on the information contained in the passage, and nothing else.


Read the whole passage first

You should read carefully through the whole passage first without addressing any of the questions. This is because the passage may have contradictory or qualifying information later in it, and if you answered the question straight off the bat, you might miss this information.


Beware of qualifiers

Watch out for qualifiers in either the passage or the question. You could split these up into absolute qualifiers, like ‘always’, ‘never’, ‘only’ and soft qualifiers such as ‘sometimes’, ‘rarely’ and ‘usually’. Generally speaking, when you see an absolute qualifier, the answer will more likely be False, because a particularly stringent standard would have been set for the True option to be correct. On the other side, these soft qualifiers set lower standards and so the answer is more likely to be Can’t Tell or True.


Determine the burden of proof

This one comes purely with practice. What we mean by burden of proof is basically how literally you are going to interpret the question and the passage information. For example, the passage might be about ‘binge drinking’, and a statement is being made about ‘excessive’ drinking. Would you consider these synonyms? You could argue they are different or the same. It’s really hard to get a sense for this burden of proof other than organically with lots of practice. Get started on that practice right now by taking a free verbal reasoning test.


When in doubt, choose Can’t Tell

As a default, if you cannot establish if the statement is True or False, you should put Can’t Tell. This is essentially what this answer option is for. So if you’re not sure, select Can’t Tell and move on.


Make sure the whole statement is correct

A statement might be something quite complex such as ‘Harry Kewell was an Australian footballer who played with Leeds United during the 1980s.’ If the passage is about Harry Kewell, it might mention that yes, he played for Leeds and yes he was Australian, but that he actually played during the 1990s and 2000s, not 1980s. This statement would therefore be False, because not everything in the statement is true, and some parts are false. However, if the passage didn’t mention when he played, the answer would be Can’t Tell instead.


Draw inferences

The links between the statements and the passage might not be explicit and put on a plate for you. You’ll need to be tuned in and draw your own inferences where necessary. For example, the passage may be about some substance being damaging to ‘all’ animals. The statement may then mention that the substance is damaging to humans. This would be correct (True), because humans are an animal, and it’s damaging to ‘all’ animals, therefore it’s damaging to humans.

That’s the end of our verbal reasoning test tips. Now it’s time for you to get cracking on your practice!

You start with a free verbal reasoning test right now. Once done, you can upgrade to unlock 150 verbal reasoning questions.