Abstract Reasoning Test

Abstract reasoning tests are designed to assess a candidate's ability to use logic to solve abstract problems.

  • What is an abstract reasoning test and what does it measure?

    An abstract reasoning test measures a candidate's ability to think laterally and with fluid intelligence. For example, when given a collection of shapes and patterns, the candidate must be able to find and interpret the relationships between them and predict what the next sequence might be.

    The challenge of the test involves figuring out the 'underlying rule' in a given sequence, as these sequences might be slightly abstract and difficult to spot. Each pattern gets more complex as the candidate progresses through the test, but the time limit remains the same for each question, making it one of the more challenging tests.

    The test measures the accuracy and speed at which your talent pool can identify and interpret the relationship of rules or sequences in each question. It is fairly challenging, particularly for those who have never attempted such a test before or have a lack of logical thinking, creativity and interpretation.

    Abstract reasoning is a non-verbal test and is very similar to inductive, logical and diagrammatic reasoning tests; the names may even be used interchangeably.

About the Abstract Reasoning Test

The abstract reasoning test is used by many businesses to test candidates on spotting sequences and trends in abstract patterns and data. This is particularly useful for employers looking for talented individuals who might be able to spot trends within data that the average person cannot.

Not only does the test assess your potential hires on their ability to think logically and laterally, but it also requires creative thinking and coping with time pressure. This helps simulate what it might be like in a real-life work scenario.

This test is particularly useful for roles in the finance industry where abstract thinking might be needed.

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  • Why should you use an abstract reasoning test for recruiting?

    It can be difficult to know from just reading a resume if your talent pool has the skills needed for abstract reasoning. A candidate might suggest they have good reasoning skills through their application form, but how can you really know for certain?

    An abstract reasoning test solves this problem. Candidates who take the test are given a score that recruitment teams can use to create comparative data and rank top performers. This makes shortlisting quicker and easier, and reduces bias.

Sample Abstract Reasoning Test question

Which of the boxes comes next in the sequence?

  • A

  • B

  • C

  • D

  • E

Picked Sample Report

View a sample report

Results for the Abstract Reasoning Test along with other assessments the candidate takes will be compiled to produce a candidate report. The report is automatically generated and available both online and as a downloadable pdf so they can be shared with other team members and employees alike.

The format of Pickeds abstract reasoning test

The abstract reasoning test (also known as a pre-employment test) is a timed assessment typically sent to candidates after their application.

Each question on the test is in a multiple-choice format, with three to four distractors and one correct answer. The test takes 10 minutes to complete, allowing for around one question per minute. It is therefore important that test-takers find a balance between speed and accuracy.


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Picked provides evidence-based recommendations for tests to use for over 750 jobs. Our recommendation engine leverages data from the Occupational Information Network (O*NET) developed by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration (USDOL/ETA).


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    All our Abstract Reasoning tests are written by accredited psychologists and fully validated.

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    We offer Abstract Reasoning tests for all levels so you can assess all roles within your organisation.


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    Candidate comparison

    Simple, easy-to-use candidate comparison reports mean you don’t need to be a psychologist to interpret them.

“We used Picked as part of our Finance Graduate Scheme recruitment and it was just what we needed – really simple to send candidates the link to complete and clear to see how they all compared. And great value for money!”
Christina, HR Director, Cancer Research, UK
Christina, HR Director, Cancer Research, UK
Abstract Reasoning Test expert

Written by an Abstract Reasoning Test expert

This test was created by our team of assessment experts, made up of I/O psychologists and psychometricians who are dedicated to making all of our tests as reliable, valid and fair as possible. They strictly adhere to best practices in the industry and stay on top of the latest innovations to ensure job candidates’ unique profiles of characteristics, abilities and knowledge are being measured accurately while minimising bias. They leverage decades of research and advanced predictive analytics to build assessments that link to outcomes that matter, such as job performance, turnover, engagement, culture fit and more.

“Personality profiling allowed us to perform lookalike modelling of our most successful employees and use this as a blueprint for new hires.”
Nick, HR Operations, Airbus, Spain
Nick, HR Operations, Airbus, Spain

Abstract Reasoning Test FAQs

Can I try the test for free?

Yes. All you need to do is click the 'view example' button to get a preview of a test. You'll be able to get a flavour of what candidates can expect.

Can I mix the abstract reasoning test with other tests?

Yes: using Picked custom pre-employment tests, you can create different test packages based on the role you are hiring for.

What is the cost for Picked's abstract reasoning test?

We operate a three-tiered monthly subscription fee, so you can pick the perfect plan for you. Find out more information here.

Which jobs is the abstract reasoning test relevant for?

Abstract reasoning is a particularly important skill for roles in certain industries, for example in finance. Research has shown that people who score highly on these tests go on to perform well in the job for which they are applying.

“Focusing on data reduced the subjective decision making from our hiring process and allowed us to reduce bias and make better hiring decisions.”
Izzie, Head of HR, iZettle, Sweden
Izzie, Head of HR, iZettle, Sweden

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