How to Prepare for a Logical Test

How to Prepare for a Logical Test

Logical reasoning tests are frequently used by corporate employers, especially investment banks, accounting, technology, and professional service or consulting firms. These tests help employers rank applicants based on their reasoning skills. Since they don't test your knowledge, they're not the sort of test you can pass by cramming or memorizing a lot of facts. However, if you take time to practice, you can train your brain to think more logically and improve your ability to figure out the problems presented on these tests.

Method 1 of 3:
Taking Practice Tests

1
Ask which specific test you'll be taking. Talk to your recruiter or other contact at the company to find out the name of the test. Don't feel like you're being too demanding by asking — it's perfectly reasonable information to want to know. [1] X Research source The company or agency where you're applying might also have information about the logical reasoning tests they use on their website.
2
Use practice tests from the supplier of the test you'll be taking. Different suppliers of logical reasoning tests have their own types of questions. You'll score better on the test if you're familiar with the types of questions that will be asked. [2] X Research source Most suppliers have practice tests available for free on their websites. Once you know which test you're going to be taking, search the name online to find the supplier's website.
3
Practice for at least 1 hour a day for a week before you take the test. Assuming you have at least a week's notice before you have to take the assessment test, commit time to work on the practice tests every day. Daily practice will train your brain better than if you wait until the day before and try to cram in all your practice at once. [3] X Research source If you anticipate that you'll be taking a logical reasoning test for a job, even if you haven't been offered one yet, you might want to go ahead and start studying so you'll be ready. If you only have a few days before the test, try to get in a couple of hours of studying each day, focusing on the types of questions that give you the most trouble.
4
Time all of your practice tests. Find out how long you'll have to complete the test and use a stopwatch to time your practice tests as well. Divide the total time by the number of questions on the test so you have an idea of how long you have to spend on each question. [4] X Research source If you figure out how much time you'll have to spend on each question you can also adjust your total time if the practice test is shorter than the real test is going to be. One of the biggest problems test-takers have is running out of time, so if you can nail your time management, you'll already be ahead of the pack.[5] X Research source
5
Skip over questions that you find difficult and come back to them. Most logical reasoning tests don't penalize you for incorrect answers — they only count the questions you get right. Therefore, it makes sense to get the easiest questions out of the way instead of getting bogged down in a difficult question and burning through your time. [6] X Research source Generally, if you spend more than a minute on a single question and you're no closer to understanding the logic rule involved or haven't identified the pattern, it's best to move on to the next question and then come back to it later. Avoid guessing on practice tests — this won't help you improve your logical reasoning or prepare for the real test. If you absolutely can't figure out the answer, leave it unanswered and go back and study it after you check your work.
6
Review the answers and explanations for questions you got wrong. When you check your answers to practice tests, note the answers you missed. Instead of simply checking your overall score, go back to the questions you got wrong and try to figure out why you got it wrong. [7] X Research source Dissect your own reasoning and determine how it's different from the reasoning necessary to get the right answer. You might also try to create a similar question that uses the same logic rule and see if you can apply the rule correctly to the new question. Another alternative is to make yourself a new practice test made up entirely of questions from several other practice tests that you got wrong.
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Method 2 of 3:
Incorporating Test-Taking Strategies

1
Find the solution before looking at the multiple-choice options. Looking at the possible answers might cause you to subconsciously favor an answer that looks right, which could influence your logic and cause you to get the answer wrong. Figure out the correct solution and then find it within the options rather than the other way around. [8] X Research source If the question asks you to choose which option is incorrect, at least figure out the logic rule the question is using before you look at the options. Then, you can easily eliminate the ones that follow the rule.
2
Circle key words in the question to help you focus. Words such as "all," "every," "each," or "none" are key words in logic questions. Circle or underline these words and go back to them as you analyze the possible solutions. [9] X Research source It can also help to unpack these words. For example, if a question says "all trains pass through the Pershing station," you could draw symbols for each of the trains, then add a "P" under each train to indicate that it passes through the Pershing station.
3
Take notes to help keep track of information as you find the answers. Take notes that benefit you and help you better understand the logic rules or patterns in the questions. If you're answering a series of questions based on one pattern, these notes can help you remember the pattern and apply it correctly to each separate question. [10] X Research source If the questions use words or descriptors that aren't familiar to you, putting them in words you understand can make it easier to grasp the pattern or logic rule being used. Some questions add conditions that change the original pattern. If you encounter one of these questions, be careful to add notes that apply only to that question rather than changing your original notes.
4
Ignore strategies that help with other types of tests. Test-taking strategies that might help you on objective knowledge tests often aren't beneficial for logical reasoning tests. In fact, following those strategies can do more harm than good. A logical reasoning test evaluates how you think and reason through problems, not what you know. [11] X Research source For example, you may have heard that a multiple-choice option that uses words like "all" or "none" is usually not the correct answer. However, with logical reasoning tests, these words aren't indications of an incorrect response. You also want to ignore any outside knowledge you have, which can be difficult. If the question makes a statement that you know to be factually incorrect, put that knowledge aside and take the question at face value.
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Method 3 of 3:
Performing Your Best

1
Schedule the exam at a date and time that best suits your habits. If you have options, choose the time and date that's most convenient for you and fits in with your lifestyle and habits. If you do, you're practically guaranteed to perform better. [12] X Trustworthy Source Harvard Business Review Online and print journal covering topics related to business management practices Go to source For example, if you're a morning person, you likely want to schedule the test for first thing in the morning. However, if you hate getting up early, it would be better to schedule the test in the afternoon so you can sleep in and feel more relaxed leading up to the test.
2
Get a good night's sleep the night before your test. At least 7 hours of sleep the night before the test helps ensure that you're well-rested so you can focus on the questions and think logically. If you don't get enough sleep, your reasoning skills will be impaired. [13] X Research source Wake up early enough that you have plenty of time to eat a healthy breakfast and get where you need to be without rushing. Lay out your clothes the night before and make sure you have everything you need ready to go so you don't have anything to hunt down or worry about.
3
Do something fun or enjoyable before the test. If you have a little time before the test starts, do something that you find entertaining or that lifts your spirits. Going into the test in a good mood could improve your score. [14] X Trustworthy Source PubMed Central Journal archive from the U.S. National Institutes of Health Go to source If you anticipate that it will be a hassle to commute to the testing site, leave early so you don't have to worry about being late. Then, you can find something entertaining to do nearby until the test starts.
4
Use deep breathing exercises to calm your nerves. If, despite your best efforts, you still feel anxious or nervous immediately before the test, take a couple of minutes to stop and focus on your breath. Breathe deeply in through the nose, hold the breath in your lungs for a second, then exhale slowly. [15] X Research source Try to exhale for the same amount of time that you inhaled, keeping your breathing slow and even. It can help to imagine that you're filling up your lungs with air from the bottom all the way to the top, then slowly squeezing out that air from the bottom.
5
Narrow down your options if you find that you have to guess. If you've skipped a question and come back to it several times and you still can't figure it out, it's fine to go ahead and use a little guess-work. However, if you can eliminate at least a couple of options, you'll have a better chance of guessing the right answer. [16] X Research source Work backward from the options given and try to fit them into the pattern or rule presented by the question. That can help you eliminate some of the options.
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Method 1 of 3:
Taking Practice Tests

1
Ask which specific test you'll be taking. Talk to your recruiter or other contact at the company to find out the name of the test. Don't feel like you're being too demanding by asking — it's perfectly reasonable information to want to know. [1] X Research source The company or agency where you're applying might also have information about the logical reasoning tests they use on their website.
2
Use practice tests from the supplier of the test you'll be taking. Different suppliers of logical reasoning tests have their own types of questions. You'll score better on the test if you're familiar with the types of questions that will be asked. [2] X Research source Most suppliers have practice tests available for free on their websites. Once you know which test you're going to be taking, search the name online to find the supplier's website.
3
Practice for at least 1 hour a day for a week before you take the test. Assuming you have at least a week's notice before you have to take the assessment test, commit time to work on the practice tests every day. Daily practice will train your brain better than if you wait until the day before and try to cram in all your practice at once. [3] X Research source If you anticipate that you'll be taking a logical reasoning test for a job, even if you haven't been offered one yet, you might want to go ahead and start studying so you'll be ready. If you only have a few days before the test, try to get in a couple of hours of studying each day, focusing on the types of questions that give you the most trouble.
4
Time all of your practice tests. Find out how long you'll have to complete the test and use a stopwatch to time your practice tests as well. Divide the total time by the number of questions on the test so you have an idea of how long you have to spend on each question. [4] X Research source If you figure out how much time you'll have to spend on each question you can also adjust your total time if the practice test is shorter than the real test is going to be. One of the biggest problems test-takers have is running out of time, so if you can nail your time management, you'll already be ahead of the pack.[5] X Research source
5
Skip over questions that you find difficult and come back to them. Most logical reasoning tests don't penalize you for incorrect answers — they only count the questions you get right. Therefore, it makes sense to get the easiest questions out of the way instead of getting bogged down in a difficult question and burning through your time. [6] X Research source Generally, if you spend more than a minute on a single question and you're no closer to understanding the logic rule involved or haven't identified the pattern, it's best to move on to the next question and then come back to it later. Avoid guessing on practice tests — this won't help you improve your logical reasoning or prepare for the real test. If you absolutely can't figure out the answer, leave it unanswered and go back and study it after you check your work.
6
Review the answers and explanations for questions you got wrong. When you check your answers to practice tests, note the answers you missed. Instead of simply checking your overall score, go back to the questions you got wrong and try to figure out why you got it wrong. [7] X Research source Dissect your own reasoning and determine how it's different from the reasoning necessary to get the right answer. You might also try to create a similar question that uses the same logic rule and see if you can apply the rule correctly to the new question. Another alternative is to make yourself a new practice test made up entirely of questions from several other practice tests that you got wrong.
Advertisement

Method 2 of 3:
Incorporating Test-Taking Strategies

1
Find the solution before looking at the multiple-choice options. Looking at the possible answers might cause you to subconsciously favor an answer that looks right, which could influence your logic and cause you to get the answer wrong. Figure out the correct solution and then find it within the options rather than the other way around. [8] X Research source If the question asks you to choose which option is incorrect, at least figure out the logic rule the question is using before you look at the options. Then, you can easily eliminate the ones that follow the rule.
2
Circle key words in the question to help you focus. Words such as "all," "every," "each," or "none" are key words in logic questions. Circle or underline these words and go back to them as you analyze the possible solutions. [9] X Research source It can also help to unpack these words. For example, if a question says "all trains pass through the Pershing station," you could draw symbols for each of the trains, then add a "P" under each train to indicate that it passes through the Pershing station.
3
Take notes to help keep track of information as you find the answers. Take notes that benefit you and help you better understand the logic rules or patterns in the questions. If you're answering a series of questions based on one pattern, these notes can help you remember the pattern and apply it correctly to each separate question. [10] X Research source If the questions use words or descriptors that aren't familiar to you, putting them in words you understand can make it easier to grasp the pattern or logic rule being used. Some questions add conditions that change the original pattern. If you encounter one of these questions, be careful to add notes that apply only to that question rather than changing your original notes.
4
Ignore strategies that help with other types of tests. Test-taking strategies that might help you on objective knowledge tests often aren't beneficial for logical reasoning tests. In fact, following those strategies can do more harm than good. A logical reasoning test evaluates how you think and reason through problems, not what you know. [11] X Research source For example, you may have heard that a multiple-choice option that uses words like "all" or "none" is usually not the correct answer. However, with logical reasoning tests, these words aren't indications of an incorrect response. You also want to ignore any outside knowledge you have, which can be difficult. If the question makes a statement that you know to be factually incorrect, put that knowledge aside and take the question at face value.
Advertisement

Method 3 of 3:
Performing Your Best

1
Schedule the exam at a date and time that best suits your habits. If you have options, choose the time and date that's most convenient for you and fits in with your lifestyle and habits. If you do, you're practically guaranteed to perform better. [12] X Trustworthy Source Harvard Business Review Online and print journal covering topics related to business management practices Go to source For example, if you're a morning person, you likely want to schedule the test for first thing in the morning. However, if you hate getting up early, it would be better to schedule the test in the afternoon so you can sleep in and feel more relaxed leading up to the test.
2
Get a good night's sleep the night before your test. At least 7 hours of sleep the night before the test helps ensure that you're well-rested so you can focus on the questions and think logically. If you don't get enough sleep, your reasoning skills will be impaired. [13] X Research source Wake up early enough that you have plenty of time to eat a healthy breakfast and get where you need to be without rushing. Lay out your clothes the night before and make sure you have everything you need ready to go so you don't have anything to hunt down or worry about.
3
Do something fun or enjoyable before the test. If you have a little time before the test starts, do something that you find entertaining or that lifts your spirits. Going into the test in a good mood could improve your score. [14] X Trustworthy Source PubMed Central Journal archive from the U.S. National Institutes of Health Go to source If you anticipate that it will be a hassle to commute to the testing site, leave early so you don't have to worry about being late. Then, you can find something entertaining to do nearby until the test starts.
4
Use deep breathing exercises to calm your nerves. If, despite your best efforts, you still feel anxious or nervous immediately before the test, take a couple of minutes to stop and focus on your breath. Breathe deeply in through the nose, hold the breath in your lungs for a second, then exhale slowly. [15] X Research source Try to exhale for the same amount of time that you inhaled, keeping your breathing slow and even. It can help to imagine that you're filling up your lungs with air from the bottom all the way to the top, then slowly squeezing out that air from the bottom.
5
Narrow down your options if you find that you have to guess. If you've skipped a question and come back to it several times and you still can't figure it out, it's fine to go ahead and use a little guess-work. However, if you can eliminate at least a couple of options, you'll have a better chance of guessing the right answer. [16] X Research source Work backward from the options given and try to fit them into the pattern or rule presented by the question. That can help you eliminate some of the options.
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