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A Guide to the Watson Glaser Test: & Tips

A Guide to the Watson Glaser Test: & Tips
A Guide to the Watson Glaser Test: & Tips

The Watson Glaser Critical Thinking Appraisal, commonly referred to as the Watson Glaser test, is usually used as a pre-employment psychometric test largely used in the recruitment process for roles in the legal industry.

The Watson Glaser test consists of 40 questions separated into five sections, assessing the critical thinking skills of the candidate. The five sections are:

  • Inference
  • Recognition of assumptions
  • Deductions
  • Interpretation
  • Evaluation of arguments

This article will discuss the Watson Glaser test’s format and content and how it’s applied.

It will also suggest different ways that you can prepare yourself for the test, gives some examples of the types of questions you might face and some tips that will help you achieve the test score you need to progress.

What Is a Watson Glaser Test?

The pre-employment Watson Glaser test was developed by Goodwin Watson and Edward Glaser, and it focuses only on critical thinking skills and decision making.

The Watson Glaser critical thinking test (WGCTA) was originally published and used in 1964, with studies undertaken on its validity at predicting future success demonstrating that it is a useful tool in selecting candidates that have the required critical thinking skills.

This test has been widely used in the recruitment process for roles related to the legal industry because it allows candidates to demonstrate that they have the right level of logical thinking skills.

It can be used by the recruitment team to choose the candidates for the role that are able to draw conclusions, evaluate arguments and recognise assumptions.

The Watson Glaser assessment is a challenging test, which is why the top law firms globally rely on it to help filter through applicants.

The test is used by companies like:

  • Linklaters
  • Clifford Chance
  • Government legal services
  • Hogan Lovells

The Watson Glaser Assessment Format

If you are required to take a Watson Glaser test as part of an application process, then you are most likely to be invited to complete the assessment online and in your own time via an email link.

The Watson Glaser assessment contains 40 questions that need to be answered in 30 minutes.

The questions are separated into five separate sections, each looking at a different aspect of critical thinking.

1. Inference

An inference is the way people can reach a conclusion based on facts with the addition of reasoning, even if the conclusion itself is not explicitly stated.

People make inferences about everyday things, based on their own experiences and the presentation of facts.

There are five questions about recognising inferences in this section. The questions are presented as a statement followed by a series of inferences. You need to rate each inference based on a scale from true to false.

You need to assume all the information given in the statement is true and use that information as part of your critical reasoning.

2. Recognition of Assumptions

An assumption is something that a person makes when they think about things. Assumptions are something viewed as being true, even when there is no proof or evidence.

In this section, comprising of 12 multiple-choice questions, candidates are required to demonstrate that they can recognise false assumptions and can avoid them in their critical thinking.

In this section, a statement is made then followed by an assumption.

To answer the question, you need to decide whether the statement works with the proposed assumption, choosing Assumption Made and Assumption Not Made.

3. Deduction

Deductions are something that people make throughout their daily lives; it means drawing logical conclusions from presented information using general laws and principles.

Making a logical deduction is not straightforward, especially when the reasoning that is given is incorrect, and recognising that conclusions may or may not follow is what this assessment is about.

There are six questions in this section, and each is based on a statement that you must assume to be true. After the statement are a series of given conclusions.

You need to decide whether the conclusions logically follow from the statement, choosing Conclusion Follows or Conclusion Does Not Follow.

4. Interpretation

Interpreting information can mean explaining it to show that you understand, and in this section of the assessment you are required to interpret the significant information in a statement and decide if a given conclusion can be reached from it beyond a reasonable doubt.

There are six questions in this section, and although it is phrased and structured in a similar way to the above Deduction section, the logic used is less formal and more about your understanding.

You still need to decide between Conclusion Follows and Conclusion Does Not Follow, however.

5. Evaluation of Arguments

This is a section that can be tricky for people who are used to dealing with their own opinions on dividing subjects, because in this section you will be presented with a question that has a yes or no answer, alongside an argument for either side of the debate.

You are required to analyse the strength of the argument, relative to the information provided in the question – not whether the answer is right or wrong.

In this section there are 12 questions, each posed with an argument that you have to name as Argument Strong or Argument Weak.

Watson Glaser Practice Test Examples

Here are some practice questions to help you get an idea of what you might face in the test.

Inference

Example Question

ABC Company have presented their end of year results, and there has been an overspend in the recruitment category that could have a number of explanations, but the HR team insist that the quality of candidates is the main issues. A spokesperson has said that too much time is being wasted in the recruitment process, and that streamlining the process is an important step that needs to be taken to improve the figures and reduce the overspend.

Inference: There are not enough people applying for roles at ABC Company.

a) True
b) Probably true
c) Neutral
d) Probably false
e) False

Assumption

Example Question

Biscuit manufacturers are up in arms after a rogue manufacturer combined both a cake and a biscuit, creating a cross-over of products that consumers have become extremely excited about. One cake manufacturer called it a “chocolate-covered calamity” and claim that it is the worst invention ever made.

Assumption: Cake and biscuit combinations are not popular with cake manufacturers.

a) Assumption made
b) Assumption not made

Deduction

Example Question

Statistics show businesses selling bakery products, like sweet buns and cupcakes, are more likely to succeed if they are marketed as French or Belgian.

Therefore:

Conclusion: French and Belgian products are more expensive.

a) Conclusion follows
b) Conclusion does not follow

Interpretation

Example Question

Children experience developmental leaps, and these happen at predictable and defined times throughout early development. Caregivers and parents will notice that during these periods babies and toddlers seem to have trouble sleeping and can develop strange sleeping patterns.

Conclusion: Children do not sleep at all during developmental leaps.

a) Conclusion follows
b) Conclusion does not follow

Evaluation

Example Question

Should governments set a minimum wage, outlining a minimum amount an employee is paid per hour?

Argument: Yes, a minimum wage is key part of civilised society.

a) Strong argument
b) Weak argument

The Correct Watson Glaser Test Answers: How to Prepare

Step 1. Practice

Online assessments can be difficult, even if the content is simple enough, because they are unfamiliar and you will be under exam conditions pressure, including time limits.

One of the best things that you can do before any pre-employment assessment is to take practice tests, and the most useful ones will be similar in structure and content to the tests that you are facing.

What this means for you is that you should look for free Watson Glaser practice tests that you can take online.

You can find a number of free practice Watson Glaser tests or take advantage of preparation packages from sites such as JobTestPrep.

Practice tests offer a couple of key benefits for candidates:

First, you will become familiar with the structure and layout of the test, as well as how long you have to answer each question – which is usually less than you might think.

Second, practice tests give you an opportunity to see where your strengths and weaknesses lie, so that you can have the chance to practice and develop any areas where you might need some extra help. Revision of skills is easier when you have some focus from your test results, and then you can take the test again to see your progress.

Step 2. Boost Your Critical Thinking

Critical thinking is not an easy thing to develop, even though people do it subconsciously much of the time.

The Watson Glaser test is based on the RED Model of critical thinking. This stands for:

  • Recognising assumptions
  • Evaluating arguments
  • Drawing conclusions

To boost your thinking power, you can play brain training games on your smartphone, do cryptic crosswords, sudoku, or logic puzzles and apply different critical thinking theories to the world around you.

For example, if you are watching a news report, think about the conclusions that are being drawn from the information that is given:

Are there inferences and assumptions being made? Are there alternative viewpoints that are not being covered? Does the presented conclusion follow logically from the report?

Step 3. Read a Lot

Reading is an excellent way to apply critical thinking.

Reading from a wide range of sources gives you access to a lot of material that can help you establish some good critical thinking habits and will help you to avoid falling into common traps when it comes to arguments and presented evidence.

With the RED model in mind, when you are reading think about some of the following:

  • Is the information given true, and does the conclusion logically follow?
  • Is all the necessary information to draw the conclusion provided?
  • Does the evidence support the argument? Are there other perspectives that could present a stronger argument?
  • Can you summarise the information into a logical conclusion, or do you reach a different conclusion from what you have read?

Step 4. Understand Logical Fallacies

Great philosophers have spent countless decades and centuries looking at different ways to argue, and critical thinking means recognising when someone is making an argument that contains a logical fallacy.

There are potentially dozens of different logical fallacies that could be applied to a conclusion, but you are not expected to know all of them – just focus on some of the more relevant ones in your research.

Logical fallacies include:

  • Appeal to probability
  • Masked man fallacy
  • Existential fallacy
  • False authority
  • Cherry picking
  • Red herring
  • Straw man

A fallacy in an argument undermines the logic and makes it impossible to draw a true conclusion based on the facts presented.

How to Do Well in the Watson Glaser Assessment

Read the Question Carefully

Although the Watson Glaser test is meant to be challenging, it is straightforward in the way that the questions are asked and answered.

This means there are no trick questions. However, you need to make sure that you read the question carefully so that you understand what you need to do to answer correctly.

While under time pressure, taking those few seconds to reread the question might seem extravagant, but it will save you time in the long run and minimise the risk of you missing simple marks.

Don’t Make Assumptions About the Questions

You are being asked to spot assumptions, not to make them – so don’t assume that you know the answer to a question.

This is especially true when you are evaluating arguments – you need to keep your opinion out of consideration when you are answering because you must base your conclusions only on the information presented in the statement.

Don’t Get Stuck on Tricky Questions

You will be under time pressure in this assessment, and you will have less than a minute per question – so don’t get tied up with any question that you are unsure about.

If you really don’t know the answer, guess and move on – you can always come back at the end if you have time.

Don’t Use Prior Knowledge or Experience

Critical thinking tests are usually used for legal roles, and this means that the candidates taking them are likely to have some experience or previous knowledge in the area.

However, this can actually hinder your success.

You need to take all the information given to you in the given statement as being true, and you should not be applying any outside knowledge to the problem.

You are being marked on the critical thinking skills you use when faced with new information, not on how well you can recall lessons that you might have learned.

Frequently Asked Questions

The Watson Glaser test is a pre-employment assessment created to evaluate candidates’ critical thinking skills and is usually used in the application process for roles in the legal industry.

It is an online test that consists of 40 questions that have to be answered in 30 minutes.

The Watson Glaser test is challenging, because it is assessing candidates on their critical thinking and logical reasoning skills.

The assessment is straightforward to complete in terms of structure and layout, but the content can make it hard to pass for those who are not great at reaching logical conclusions.

The recruitment team might provide you with some material to help you prepare for the Watson Glaser test, but if they do not then there are many different resources available online that can help.

We recommend using JobTestPrep for this – not only do they have lots of free revision material, detailed descriptions of what to expect and practice tests, they also have extensive resources as a PrepPack, including multiple full-length tests as well as tips and tricks.

If you do not reach the benchmark score set by the company you are applying to when taking the Watson Glaser test, you will not be taken further in the recruitment process.

The score you need will depend on the role you have applied for, so the best way to ensure you pass is to aim for the highest score possible.

If you fail the Watson Glaser test, your application will be terminated, and you will not progress any further in the recruitment process.

In some cases, you might be allowed to reapply at a later date, and if this is the case you may be allowed to retake the assessment. This will depend on the company you are applying to.

Your score for the Watson Glaser test is presented as a percentage, based on the number of correct answers and the relative difficulty of the question.

Benchmark scores (the score you need to reach to be considered for the position you have applied for) depend entirely on the needs of the company; in most cases, you should aim to score above 75%.

If you are looking for more sample questions for the Watson Glaser test, or even full-length practice tests and other useful material, look at the resources available at JobTestPrep.

The Watson Glaser test is used as a pre-employment assessment in the recruitment process for roles that require logical deductions and critical thinking.

The test allows candidates to demonstrate that they can recognise assumptions, evaluate arguments and draw conclusions in a logical way.

To pass the Watson Glaser test, you need to answer enough of the questions correctly. There are 40 questions in the test, separated into five test sections:

  • Inferences
  • Recognition of assumptions
  • Deductions
  • Interpretation
  • Evaluation of arguments

Yes, the Watson Glaser test is timed: you will have 30 minutes to answer 40 questions.

The time constraint is part of the test’s challenge so make sure you practice answering quickly and accurately.

There are 40 test questions on the Watson Glaser test, all based around critical thinking skills like recognising assumptions, drawing conclusions and evaluating arguments.

For more detail and a complete guide to the Watson Glaser test, JobTestPrep is an invaluable resource. This is where you will be able to access practice tests, get more information about the different sections and get some revision guides too.

Final Thoughts

The Watson Glaser test is an assessment designed to evaluate candidates on their critical thinking skills during the selection process for graduate roles, usually within the legal sector.

It is a challenging test that is often used in the recruitment process for careers in the legal sector, or for other roles that require a logical thinking process.

To prepare for the Watson Glaser test, the best thing you can do is practice your critical thinking and read widely, so that you are more used to actively using skills like evaluating arguments, drawing conclusions and recognising assumptions.

With practice and preparation, you can score highly on the Watson Glaser test and get that perfect job opportunity.


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