Problem solving test: Pre-employment screening assessment to hire the best candidates

Summary of the problem solving test.

This Problem Solving test evaluates candidates’ ability to define problems and analyze data and textual information to make correct decisions. This test helps you identify candidates who use analytical skills to evaluate and respond to complex situations.

Covered skills

Creating and adjusting schedules, interpreting data and applying logic to make decisions, prioritizing and applying order based on a given set of rules, analyzing textual and numerical information to draw conclusions, use the problem solving test to hire.

Any role that involves managing constantly shifting variables with tight deadlines. This may include administrative assistants, project managers, planners, and people working in hospitality or sales.

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About the Problem Solving test

Effective problem-solving requires a broad skill set that enables individuals, teams, and businesses to advance towards stated objectives. It involves the ability to define a problem, to break it down into manageable parts, to develop approaches to solve the (sub)problem using creativity and analytical thinking, and to execute flawlessly.

This problem solving test allows you to identify candidates who display these abilities. The test presents candidates with typical problem-solving scenarios like scheduling on the basis of a diverse set of conditions, identifying the right sequence of actions based on a number of business rules, and drawing conclusions based on textual and numerical information.

The test requires candidates to identify the right answers to the questions in a limited amount of time. Successful candidates can quickly identify the key elements of the problem and work through the problem at speed without making mistakes. This is a great test to include to check candidates' overall analytical skills.

problem solving cognitive test

The test is made by a subject-matter expert

The global IT industry has benefited from Anirban’s talents for over two decades. With a flawless reputation that precedes him, Anirban has earned a status as a sought-after agile project manager and consultant. He’s worked internationally as a Senior Project Manager with companies such as Ericsson, IBM, and T-Mobile.

Anirban’s love for learning helps him keep his skills sharp. He holds an MBA and a degree in engineering, is a certified Scrum Master, and has certifications in Prince2 and ITIL.

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problem solving cognitive test

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problem solving cognitive test

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problem solving cognitive test

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problem solving cognitive test

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problem solving cognitive test

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problem solving cognitive test

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Problem-solving test

Why problem-solving is a crucial skill

We’ve all been thrown a curveball at work. An unexpected problem crops up and we need to make a plan to solve it. This is called problem-solving and it’s an important skill in most job roles because employees will encounter difficult or complex situations or problems that need to be solved.

Interestingly, unlike some career skills, problem-solving translates to both an individual’s personal and professional lives, making it crucial to potential success. But this may make it harder for recruiters to find the right candidate for a job where problem-solving skills are needed. In this case, a problem-solving test can help you find the best candidate capable of handling situations that influence business functions.

Problem-solving in the workplace

In business, problem-solving relies on a candidate’s ability to create processes that mitigate or remove obstacles that prevent the company from achieving its goals. Consequently, these issues or situations can create a gap between desired outcomes and actual results. This means that problem-solving plays an important role in how employees meet this challenge and work through it.

Roles such as project management, administrative assistance, and planning work with changing circumstances and tight deadlines on a day-to-day basis. When recruiting for these roles, finding candidates who have good problem-solving skills is crucial to their success in the role.

To gain insight into a candidate’s skill in this area, you can use a problem-solving test. Through expert formulation, a skill-specific test can help you understand a candidate’s level of proficiency. And testing your applicants before you start the interview process can highlight the candidates with the skills most relevant to the role.

Problem-solving test

A process-driven skill

In the workplace, there are important steps that can contribute to a candidate’s ability to successfully solve problems. Let’s take a look:

Identify the problem

Problem-solving begins with accurately identifying the problem. This determining factor looks at whether a candidate can find the origin and the implications of the problem. It includes:

• Differentiating between fact and opinion

• Compiling data to determine the problem

• Identifying underlying causes

• Recognizing which processes are affected• Pinpointing the process standard

By accurately identifying the problem, individuals can proceed to the next step to solve the problem.

Determine alternative solutions

Once an individual has established the source of the problem, they can determine alternative solutions. The goal of plotting solutions to the problem is to remedy it and realign it with business goals. A creative problem-solving test may identify whether an individual has the competency to determine solutions. Key competencies in seeking solutions include:

• Establishing alternative solutions that align with business goals

• Determining whether a problem needs short- or long-term solutions

• Evaluating how solutions may impact on resources; and determining if there are any barriers to implementing the solutions.

Although any problem can have multiple solutions, the simplest or fastest one may not always be the best course of action. This is where solution comparison comes into play.

Compare solutions and plot a course

Once all possible solutions are determined, it is important to compare them. This involves evaluating each solution without bias to determine the optimal solution to the problem.

Through the evaluation process, the individual should rule out options that do not align with company goals, may take too much time and/or resources, or are unrealistic in their approach.

Some considerations when determining the best solution include the likelihood of solution implementation, whether all parties involved will accept the solution, and how it fits in with business goals. Additionally, it is important to note that the goal of the optimal solution is to solve the problem without causing additional or unanticipated problems.

In essence, problem-solving is about finding solutions that cause as little disruption as possible and correcting a project’s course.

Implement the solution

The last stage in problem-solving is the implementation of the final step. This step focuses on the remedial solution and requires continuous evaluation to ensure its effective implementation. For you as a recruiter, knowing if a candidate can find a solution as well as implement it may be important to the goals of the role.

Continually evaluating the solution will give the individual insight into whether the project goals are aligned, whether all stakeholders accept the new solution and whether the outcomes are managed effectively.

Problem-solving test

Considerations for recruiters

When hiring for a role in which problem-solving skills are crucial, it may be beneficial to test a candidate’s ability to define problems and analyze data and textual information to make decisions that best serve the business. Some of the considerations for a problem-solving test include:

Schedules are living documents that need to adapt as eventualities come into play. Candidates should be able to understand what they can realistically achieve with the time and how to adjust schedules to account for variable outcomes.

Data-driven decision-making should inform a course of action before an individual commits to it. For recruiters, this means candidates should have an aptitude for aligning data with business goals and making actionable decisions.

By using prioritization rules and supporting information, candidates can determine which project tasks take priority. This system aims to optimize resources for project delivery.

Examining textual and numerical information to reveal patterns, relationships, and trends can tell the candidate what connection exists among variables. Conclusions can then be drawn from the data to gain an accurate assessment of the overall situation.

When broken down, problem-solving is a skill that relies on a variety of disciplines to achieve success. Although this skill is transferable to many job roles, determining candidates’ proficiency can be difficult, so it can be beneficial to recruiters to use a problem-solving test to review candidates’ aptitude when recruiting for a role.

Using a pre-formulated problem-solving test will enable you to quickly assess your candidates and help you recruit the best person for the role.

An assessment is the total package of tests and custom questions that you put together to evaluate your candidates. Each individual test within an assessment is designed to test something specific, such as a job skill or language. An assessment can consist of up to 5 tests and 20 custom questions. You can have candidates respond to your custom questions in several ways, such as with a personalized video.

Yes! Custom questions are great for testing candidates in your own unique way. We support the following question types: video, multiple-choice, coding, file upload, and essay. Besides adding your own custom questions, you can also create your own tests.

A video question is a specific type of custom question you can add to your assessment. Video questions let you create a question and have your candidates use their webcam to record a video response. This is an excellent way to see how a candidate would conduct themselves in a live interview, and is especially useful for sales and hospitality roles. Some good examples of things to ask for video questions would be "Why do you want to work for our company?" or "Try to sell me an item you have on your desk right now."

Besides video questions, you can also add the following types of custom questions: multiple-choice, coding, file upload, and essay. Multiple-choice lets your candidates choose from a list of answers that you provide, coding lets you create a coding problem for them to solve, file upload allows your candidates to upload a file that you request (such as a resume or portfolio), and essay allows an open-ended text response to your question. You can learn more about different custom question types here .

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Yes. You can add up to five tests to each assessment.

We recommend using our assessment software as a pre-screening tool at the beginning of your recruitment process. You can add a link to the assessment in your job post or directly invite candidates by email.

TestGorilla replaces traditional CV screening with a much more reliable and efficient process, designed to find the most skilled candidates earlier and faster.

We offer the following cognitive ability tests : Numerical Reasoning, Problem Solving, Attention to Detail, Reading Comprehension, and Critical Thinking.

Our cognitive ability tests allow you to test for skills that are difficult to evaluate in an interview. Check out our blog on why these tests are so useful and how to choose the best one for your assessment.

Related tests

Basic math calculations, mechanical reasoning, understanding instructions, attention to detail (visual), intermediate math, basic triple-digit math, basic double-digit math, attention to detail (textual), numerical reasoning, critical thinking.

problem solving cognitive test

Pre-Employment Problem Solving Tests

Why problem solving is important in the workplace.

Problems arise in the workplace on a daily basis. The ability to evaluate and resolve problems is a powerful skill that is applicable to a wide variety of positions. Problem solving can take a lot of different forms, including resolving a customer complaint, managing a conflict between coworkers, reallocating funds within a budget, or coming up with ways to improve a product's design. Any employee who is responsible for making decisions, either independently or within a team, will need sharp problem solving skills. Creative problem solving can also lead to new innovations that help businesses grow and evolve, which makes employees who can solve problems incredibly valuable.

Because problem solving is associated with creativity, logic, and reasoning ability, it can be evaluated through employment aptitude tests. . One cognitive aptitude test that employers often use to evaluate problem solving skills is the  Criteria Cognitive Aptitude Test (CCAT) , a pre-employment aptitude test that measures an individual's aptitude, or ability to solve problems, digest and apply information, learn new skills, and think critically. The test assesses problem solving ability through math, verbal, and spatial reasoning questions.

Another aptitude test, the  Minicog Rapid Assessment Battery (MRAB) , is a series of nine short tests that measure a person's "information processing" functions. Funded by NASA to evaluate the cognitive functions of astronauts, the MRAB administers a fast-paced battery of different problems or tasks for the test-taker to solve. While the CCAT measures general aptitude, the MRAB is more of a test of cognitive fitness that assesses attention skills, concentration, working memory, and problem-solving ability.

If you're an employer interested in previewing these tests, start a  14-day free trial  or  book a consultation to learn more.

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Cognitive Ability Test - Prepare with Free Practice Cognitive Questions & Tips

What is a cognitive ability test.

Cognitive ability tests are widely used by employers to predict job performance  and serve as an indicator of general cognitive ability. Cognitive tests may differ in format, but they typically contain 20-50 multiple-choice questions that measure core elements of cognitive ability and must be answered under a tight time limit.

On this page, you will find accurate examples of cognitive ability test questions that represent the questions you could find in some of the industry's leading cognitive ability tests, including PI ,  Wonderlic , CCAT , WorkKeys , NOCTI , and  P&G . Each question is followed by a full answer with useful information and tips for you to learn from, just like what you would find in JobTestPrep's many cognitive ability preparation packs. 

What do Cognitive Ability Tests Measure?

By combining questions of varying complexity from several fields with a stressful time limit , the cognitive ability test challenges the candidate's problem solving and processing speed abilities, and provides the employer with a measurement of general cognitive ability - a central component of intelligence.

Cognitive testing is such a popular hiring process tool because it is one of the most valid predictors of job success . By giving the employer a preview of a candidate’s cognitive abilities, the cognitive ability test increases the chances that the hiring process will be successful – to the benefit of the organization as well as the candidate.

  What Topics are Included in Cognitive Ability Tests?

Although there is a wide variety of cognitive ability tests that differ in format and difficulty, they generally all set out to measure the same fields:

  • Numerical Reasoning – this is the broad term for number-based cognitive skill tests that range from basic math problems to complex numerical problem solving.
  • Verbal Reasoning – these cognitive tests evaluate your language comprehension through a range of English language skills, such as vocabulary, grammar, reading comprehension, and critical reasoning.
  • Deductive Reasoning – questions where you must deduce from certain rules given in a statement or argument in order to reach conclusions.
  • Logical Reasoning – these questions assess your ability to understand complicated texts and, most importantly, to utilize critical thinking skills to draw conclusions and recognize important facts.
  • Abstract Reasoning – these cognitive tests measure your ability to draw conclusions based on hidden information in symbols or matrices. You are asked to identify a missing item that completes a certain pattern of logic that you must recognize in a sample given to you.


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Cognitive Test Example Questions

In this section, you will find 20 cognitive ability example questions simulating those you would find in the most respected cognitive ability tests in use today. Read each question carefully and select the answer you think is correct, and then read the full answer that follows. Good luck! 

1. Verbal Analogy:  find the relationship between the pair of words below, and identify the most similar relationship in the answer options.


The answer is C.

REPLETE means “full with,” and FAMISHED means “very hungry.” If a person is FAMISHED, they are not REPLETE with food. In a specific context, these two adjectives directly contradict one another.

If something is BLATANT it is very obvious, while if something is MASKED it is hidden. If something is MASKED, it is not BLATANT – these two words also directly contradict each other, and is, therefore, the correct answer.

Incorrect Answers A – SHROUD means “to cover,” and HASTEN means “to do something quickly.” These two words do not have a strong relationship.

B – PLAUSIBLE means “reasonable,” and PLACATE means “try to please.” These two words do not have a strong relationship.

D – COMMENCE means to begin, and a person GRADUATEs upon completing a course of study. Often, GRADUATION ceremonies are referred to as COMMENCEment ceremonies. These two words are related but do not contradict one another.

E – A person who is DEPRESSED may not be SUCCESSFUL, but these two words do not directly contradict each other.

2. Number Series:  identify the hidden pattern in the series of numbers below, and use it to predict the next / missing number:

8 | 3 | 9 | 10 | 17 | ?

The answer is: 25.

Answer explanation: This series is a variation of the famous Fibonacci sequence: each term equals the sum of the two previous terms minus 2.

3. Abstract Reasoning - the numbers in the figures below have the same mathematical relationship to one another.

problem solving cognitive test

What number should replace the question mark in the figure below?

problem solving cognitive test

The correct answer is: 2.

When solving this type of question it is important to understand the pattern that the three circles exhibit and the numerical relationship between them.

Focus on the quarter that the question mark appears in and check to see if there is a common relationship that repeats itself between that quarter and the other quarters of each of the circles.

In this example, the circles share the following pattern: (Top cell) minus (Diagonal-bottom-cell) = 1.

e.g. left circle: 6 (top-left) – 5 (bottom-right) = 1, 9 (top-right) – 8 (bottom-left) = 1; right circle: 0 (top-left) – (-1) (bottom-right) = 1.

According to the reasoning above the (top-left) cell – (bottom-right) cell = 1. Therefore, the (bottom-right) cell = 2.

4. Deductive Reasoning -  These cognitive test  questions measure your ability to analyze sentences and reach a logical conclusion. Some of the questions are numerical, and some are verbal, and the conclusion is generally reached by applying general rules.

If the first two statements are true, is the final statement true?

Most snakes are green. Most snakes are quick.

At least one snake is both green and quick.

The correct answer is A - Yes.

The way to solve this type of question is to examine the ratios and see if there could be an overlap between the two groups - if most of the snakes are green and most of the snakes are quick, we can deduce that there has to be at least one green snake that is also quick.

This happens because the subgroups of "green" and "quick" each constitute more than 50% of the entire snake population (most of the snakes means more than 50%) and consequently must overlap.

​ 5. Numerical Reasoning: Percentages and Word Problems. Percentage problems can take the form of word problems and are usually structured in the following way: "(this) is (a percentage) of (that)", which translates to = (to a decimal) × (that)".

If there are 32 students in the classroom and 12.5% of them own at least one pet, how many students do not own any pets?

The correct answer is 28.

It helps to memorize the most common fractions that represent each type of percentages/decimals.

For example: 1\4 = 0.25 = 25% 1\8 = 0.125 = 12.5%

If there are 32 students in the class and only 12.5% of them own at least one pet then all that is left is to divide 32\8 to know that 4 students own a pet and 28 do not.

6. Verbal Reasoning: Vocabulary

Clout most closely means -

The correct answer is prestige. The word clout has two meanings: (1) A heavy blow, especially with the hand (2) The power to influence, usually regarding politics or business. Prestige is close in meaning to the second definition of clout and is therefore the correct answer.

7. Numerical Reasoning: Word Problems

Shelley has 7 dresses, 8 pairs of shoes, and 7 necklaces. If she wears one combination of clothes per day. How many days can she go without wearing the same outfit?

The answer is 392. 

This is a classic combinations question. In order to solve the problem, you must figure the correct number of choices in each category. We have 3 categories: Dresses= a choice between 7 options. Shoes = a choice between 8 options. Necklaces = a choice between 7 options.

The overall number of combinations equals to a multiplication of the number of options within each category: 7*7*8=392

8. Verbal Reasoning: Synonym / Antonym

IMPERIOUS is the opposite of:

The correct answer is subservient.

Imperious means "domineering in a haughty manner; dictatorial; overbearing," so the antonym is subservient. Arrogant is a similar word but not a synonym. Quiet, stormy, and gloomy are not related.

Therefore, the correct answer is subservient.

Questions 2-8 are the type of cognitive questions you will face in the Wonderlic Test . For a full length Wonderlic practice test, click here .   

9. Abstract Reasoning - Spatial  

Which of the following boxes should replace the question mark (?) to complete the pattern?

cognitive ability test spatial

The arrows move 90 degrees counterclockwise, and the colors change between black, grey and white in cycles of three.

Based on the progression of the arrows, the following arrow in the series must be gray and pointing downwards.

10. Logical Reasoning - Syllogisms are a type of deductive reasoning where a conclusion is drawn from two premises provided to you in the question. 

Assume the first two statements are true:

All athletes are hard workers.

Alice is not an athlete.

Alice is not a hard worker.

Is the final statement:

You can deduce from the first statement that all athletes are hard workers, but you do not have any information about non-athletes.

Therefore, according to the second statement, you cannot conclude anything regarding Alice, who is not an athlete.

The final statement is uncertain.

11. Numerical reasoning - Word Problems

In a popular music station, songs are played fully and uninterrupted (i.e., no commercial breaks). The popular music broadcast "Hits All Around Us" lasts 2 hours and 15 minutes, in which two-song lengths are played – songs that last 3 minutes and songs that last 6 minutes.

How many songs will be played during the broadcast?

Two hours and 15 minutes are 135 minutes in total.

The most songs that can be played are 45 (45 songs X 3 minutes each = 135 minutes).

The last songs that can be played are 23 (22 songs X 6 minutes each + 1 song X 3 minutes = 132 + 3 = 135)

12. Verbal Reasoning - sentence completion.  Choose the word that, when inserted in the sentence to replace the blank, best fits the meaning of the sentence.

Electronic information and automated systems are essential to ____ all major federal operations.

The sentence refers to electronic information that is fundamental to (something) all major federal operations. The sentence's general idea implies that electronic information is essential to practically / nearly / almost all primary federal operations.

Therefore, the only word accurately reflecting that meaning in the sentence's context is "virtually".

13. Abstract Reasoning - these types of cognitive questions require finding hidden patterns or rules in shapes. There are many types of abstract reasoning questions in cognitive tests, in which you need to pay attention to different elements. In the following question, you must pay attention to shape and movement. 

cognitive ability test abstract reasoning 2

In this series, alternating vertical lines or vertical chains of circles are added to each figure, depending on the previous figure.

The middle circle in the vertical chain is always black. Since the last figure in the series contained an additional vertical chain of circles, the next figure should include an additional vertical line.

The figure appearing in answer option A is the only one that fits.

 14. Letter Series -  What would be the next group of letters in the following series?

zone --> ynnd --> xmnc --> wlnb --> ?

The pattern in this question is that all the letters move one letter backward in the alphabet except the letter "n" which stays constant.  Therefore the answer is vkna.

Tip -  at first glance, this type of cognitive ability question seems confusing. It is in fact no different than a number series! To help you solve these questions quickly, write down the ABC with a corresponding number beneath each letter (A-1, B-2 etc.). This will help you identify the pattern.  

Cognitive question examples 9-14 are the type of questions you will encounter in the CCAT Test . To practice more questions, try our Free CCAT Practice Test.

15. Logical Reasoning -  In the following question you will be presented with a fact and a pursuant conclusion. It is up to you to decide if the conclusion can be proven or not. 

FACTS: If Jason is late to the meeting, Kevin will have to work late. Lois will not cook dinner for Kevin unless Kevin gets home from work on time. If Lois does not cook dinner for Kevin, Kevin will order pizza for dinner. Lois cooked dinner for Kevin.

CONCLUSION: Jason was late to the meeting.

The facts disprove the conclusion 

If Jason is late to the meeting then Kevin will not get home from work on time because he will have to work late. Lois will cook dinner for Kevin only if Kevin gets home from work on time Thus, if Lois cooked dinner for Kevin, Jason could not have come late to the meeting.

16. Verbal Reasoning - Odd One Out. In this type of cognitive question, you need to select the word that stands out in regard to its meaning.

Which word does not belong on this list?

The correct answer is archaic 

Archaic is a word used to describe something that belongs to an earlier period of time, while the other words are used to describe sad and gloomy states of mind or facial expressions. 

17. Abstract Reasoning - Odd One Out

Choose the odd one out:

cognitive ability abstract sample

The correct answer is C.

The logic: In all of the options except for option three, there is a vertical line which separates these boxes into two, equal, symmetrical halves which mirror one another. If these boxes were pieces of paper which were folded vertically, the items in the boxes would be matching and perfectly identical. The right and left halves are mirror-images of one another. This is not the case for option three. In option 3, there is no mirroring effect between the halves. Both hearts have to be either on the top or on the box's bottom for there to be symmetry.

You have probably noticed that the amount, shape and color of the items are insignificant features and are simply distracters.

 18. Numerical Reasoning - Word Problems

When a smartphone is connected to a charger the battery charge increases by 4.5% per minute. When applications are in use the battery decreases by 3% per 2.5 minutes.

What is the percentage of charging rate per minute if the phone is connected to a charger while several applications are in use?

The correct answer is 3.3%.

In order to tackle this question we will first need to understand that there are two opposite "forces" in this question - charging and discharging (i.e. application usage) of the battery. The charger works in a "positive direction" and the applications in a "negative direction". Now we can address the given information: Charger's work rate: 4.5/1 (4.5% charge per minute) Applications' work rate: -3/2.5 = -1.2/1 (1.2% discharge per minute) Thus, the total charging rate ("sum of forces"): 4.5/1 – 1.2/1 = 3.3/1, meaning: 3.3% per minute.

19. Logical Reasoning


Most technicians work on the first floor. All accountants work on the second floor. No secretaries work on the third floor.

Conclusion:  Rose, a technician, works on the third floor.

If the assumptions are true, is the conclusion:

According to the first assumption, most technicians work on the first floor. This means that there is at least one technician who does not work on the first floor. Thus, Rose may or may not work on the third floor.

Therefore, the conclusion Cannot be determined based on the information

20. Abstract Reasoning - Next in Series

  Which block completes the following sequence:

Predictive Index Cognitive Assessment Abstract Reasoning 1

The correct answer is D.

The two black sections of the circle move around it clockwise in a different pattern: the section on the upper left side of the circle moves two sections each step. The second section (upper right side in the first frame) stays in the same spot for a step and then moves two sections in the next two steps. When the two sections land on the same spot, they appear as one, such as in the third frame.

In the next frame of the sequence, the first section should appear on the upper right side of the circle, so answers (A), (B), and (E) can be ruled out. The second section should stay where it is, which leaves the answer (D).

  Cognitive questions 15-20 are the types of questions commonly found in the PI cognitive assessment . To practice more questions like these, try our free Predictive Index Practice Test.

Prepare for your Cognitive Ability Test

Cognitive tests present two major obstacles: short time frames, and questions that include known tricks and distracters . Luckily, you can overcome these two obstacles with the right practice.

JobTestPrep's cognitive test preparation packs offer a comprehensive review of all the question types seen on contemporary employers' cognitive ability tests. Practicing the full range of numerical, verbal, deductive, spatial, and logical reasoning questions under strict time frames can greatly assist in improving your scores.

We also provide detailed answer explanations, helping you to understand the logic behind each question. Furthermore, our insightful score reports can help you assess your own cognitive abilities, strengths, and weaknesses.

Start preparing today with one of our specialized prep packs!

Tips to Help You Pass Your Cognitive Test

Cognitive tests can be daunting, and the stress that accompanies them due to the high stakes that are involved can make them even more so. However, there are a number of tips and hacks that can help you improve your cognitive test score before even beginning to practice!

  • Don't waste too much time on one question. There will always be a question that you don't get and find yourself wasting time on. You've been asked what placate means and you don't remember? The best option is to guess and move on. Good time management is one of the most vital tools you will gain with our cognitive ability practice. 
  • Read the instructions carefully. Reading the instructions for each cognitive test question will help ensure you are not missing any important details, and keep you from missing out on points you had in the bag.

Given that an incorrect answer yields the same 1-point reduction from your cognitive ability score, it is best to not leave any questions unanswered and try guessing instead. This strategy is great in helping you earn as many points as you can, rather than losing points for leaving questions blank.

Use scrap paper. 

The questions in cognitive tests are built to overload your brain. Using a piece of scrap paper to make calculations or visualize a tricky abstract reasoning question can make a big difference.

Types of Cognitive Ability Tests

While cognitive ability tests generally measure similar fields, they can vary significantly in length, time limit, and difficulty. Below are some of the most popular cognitive tests being used today, click on the link to learn more about how each one measures cognitive abilities:

  • Wonderlic – also known as the Wonderlic Personnel Test-Revised (WPT-R), this cognitive test pits you against 50 multiple-choice questions that must be completed in 12 minutes - meaning processing speed and time management are particularly important.
  • Criteria Cognitive Aptitude Test (CCAT) – a cognitive test that measures a candidate's cognitive aptitude , problem-solving abilities, skill-learning capabilities, and critical thinking. It consists of 50 questions and has a 15-minute time limit.
  • Predictive Index (PI) Cognitive Assessment  – formerly known as the Professional Learning Indicator (PLI), this is a 12-minute cognitive test comprised of 50 questions. The PLI is given to potential hires to test for skills not easily found on a resume or during an interview and measures your capacity to solve problems, learn, and adapt in the workplace.
  • The Universal Cognitive Aptitude Test (UCAT) is a job application assessment that measures your critical thinking, problem-solving, analytical, and mathematical abilities. It consists of 40 questions, and you are given 20 minutes to complete it. Unlike the CCAT exam, the UCAT excludes verbal reasoning and verbal ability sections.
  • The Revelian Cognitive Ability Test (RCAT) , previously known as Onetest, assesses three areas: verbal, numerical, and abstract reasoning. The test's difficulty increases as you proceed. You have 20 minutes to answer its 51 questions.
  • The Caliper Assessment , commonly referred to as the Caliper Profile, is a pre-employment test designed to measure the alignment of your personality traits and cognitive skills with the demands of the job you're seeking. It's frequently used for senior, managerial, and leadership positions.
  • Procter and Gamble Assessment - this cognitive abilities test is adaptive (changes in difficulty based on your answers) and fully interactive. It measures a number of cognitive abilities such as spatial orientation and memory, as well as personality traits through a personality test a situational judgment test. 
  • Pymetrics - The Pymetrics games test comprises a set of twelve activities crafted to evaluate your personality traits and cognitive abilities. The primary hurdle of the Pymetrics assessment lies in grasping the intended result of each test, along with the aspects being gauged and rated.
  • Free IBEW Practice  - The IBEW Aptitude Test stands as a notably demanding cognitive assessment, mandatory for aspiring licensed electricians to successfully clear.
  • The Hogan Business Reasoning Inventory - a cognitive test, typically used to assess reasoning and decision-making skills for senior positions. 
  • Aon Assessments - Aon’s assessment tests are unique in their interface, gamified assessments, and their particular ways of evaluating your competencies, abilities, characteristics, and behavioral tendencies required in the workplace.

Many tests include cognitive ability sections along with other topics. You can find army-related cognitive ability sample questions on our Free ASVAB Practice and Free AFOQT Practice Test . 

Cognitive Ability Test Scores

Cognitive tests measure your cognitive abilities - but how are the scores used to decide which candidate gets the job?

There are two main scoring methods to compare cognitive ability scores:

Relative score -  your score is placed on a bell curve along with the scores of other candidates so that your score is compared to theirs and a certain cutoff point is decided. For example, an employer might decide that only the top 10% of the scores move on to the next step of the hiring process. 

Absolute score -  a threshold is set by the employer in advance, and your cognitive ability score needs to pass it. For example, getting more than 30 questions right in the Wonderlic Test . 

  • What's on this page
  • Cognitive Example Questions
  • List of Cognitive Ability Tests
  • Free Cognitive Ability Practice Tests
  • CCAT Practice Test
  • SHL Practice Test
  • Wonderlic Practice Test
  • P&G Practice Test
  • PI Cognitive Assessment Practice Test
  • Raven's Progressive Matrices Practice Test

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Problem Solving (Advanced)

Problem-solving refers to the process by which individuals attempt to overcome difficulties, achieve plans, or reach conclusions through the use of higher mental functions, such as reasoning and creative thinking. Problem-solving tasks are one of the best predictors of future work performance.

The test is designed to help employers identify which candidates have strong problem-solving skills that will benefit their company.

About the HiPeople Problem Solving Test (Advanced)

The problem solving test at a glance.

When to use : This test can be used at any stage of the hiring process but may be most relevant in an early stage when getting to know the candidate.

Example question :

problem solving cognitive test

Response time : The candidate is required to answer as many sequences as possible within 10 minutes.

Result : An easy-to-interpret score that is benchmarked against hundreds of other candidates!

The Science Behind the Problem Solving Test (Advanced)

The Problem-Solving Test is a tool that is a component of cognitive ability. It is defined as a general mental capability to perform tasks associated with perception, learning, memory, understanding, awareness, reasoning, judgment, intuition, and language.

It is measured by using pictures to compare things, and this helps test your ability to find patterns and make guesses based on those patterns. You look for similarities between different pictures and use those similarities to make guesses about what might come next.

If you are looking for candidates with strong problem-solving skills. In that case, this test is a valid and reliable tool to identify those individuals who have the potential to be successful in your organization.

Qualities of a Candidate With High Problem Solving Test Scores (Advanced)

If you're looking for someone who can easily achieve plans look no further than someone with a high score on the Problem-Solving Test. This type of person excels at reaching conclusions through the use of higher mental functions, such as reasoning and creative thinking. This can be a valuable skill in any workplace.

Recruiting somebody with strong problem-solving skills can help to create a more logical and creative workplace overall.

Optimal Roles for a High-Scoring Candidate

  • Data Analyst: Data analysts are responsible for collecting, analyzing, and interpreting large amounts of data. They must be able to identify patterns, trends, and outliers in the data, and develop strategies to improve business outcomes.
  • Research Scientist: Research scientists conduct experiments, analyze data, and develop new products and technologies. They must be able to think creatively and develop innovative solutions to complex problems.
  • Surgeon: Surgeons perform complex surgical procedures to treat medical conditions. They must be able to identify and solve complex medical problems and develop surgical plans that minimize risk and maximize patient outcomes.

Ready to find this candidate? Try the Problem Solving Test now!

Did not find what you were looking for? Request a new test here.

The Role of advanced Problem Solving Tests in Pre-Employment Screening

Pre-employment screening is essential for ensuring that candidates possess the necessary skills and competencies required for a specific role. However, relying solely on interviews may not provide an accurate assessment of a candidate's problem-solving abilities. This is where PSATs can play a vital role. By incorporating PSATs into the screening process, hiring managers gain a more comprehensive understanding of a candidate's problem-solving skills, cognitive abilities, and soft skills. This leads to better-informed hiring decisions and more successful candidate placements.

Understanding the Purpose of Pre-Employment Screening

Pre-employment screening aims to evaluate the suitability of candidates for a specific role, considering their skills, knowledge, experience, and fit within the organizational culture. Traditional interviews often focus on assessing qualifications and experience, but they may not thoroughly evaluate a candidate's problem-solving capabilities. PSATs bridge this gap by providing a standardized and objective assessment of problem-solving skills.

Exploring the Limitations of Traditional Interview Methods

While interviews are a common and valuable tool in the hiring process, they have inherent limitations. Interviews heavily rely on a candidate's ability to articulate their problem-solving approaches verbally, which may not accurately reflect their true capabilities. Additionally, interviews can be subjective and prone to biases, leading to inconsistent evaluations. PSATs help address these limitations by providing a structured and objective assessment that can be compared across candidates.

Introduction to the Role of PSATs in Improving Candidate Evaluation

Problem Solving Assessment Tests are specifically designed to assess a candidate's ability to analyze and solve complex problems. These tests can be tailored to measure various dimensions of problem-solving, including cognitive abilities, critical reasoning, logical thinking, and soft skills relevant to problem-solving. By incorporating PSATs into the screening process, hiring managers can gain valuable insights into a candidate's problem-solving potential, allowing for better-informed hiring decisions.

Key Advantages of Using PSATs in Pre-Employment Screening

The utilization of PSATs in the pre-employment screening process offers several advantages for hiring managers:

  • Objective and Standardized Assessment : PSATs provide an objective and standardized method of evaluating candidates' problem-solving skills, eliminating subjective biases in the evaluation process.
  • Comprehensive Evaluation : PSATs assess a wide range of problem-solving skills, including cognitive abilities and soft skills, offering a holistic evaluation of candidates.
  • Improved Predictive Validity : By assessing problem-solving skills directly, PSATs provide a more accurate prediction of a candidate's job performance.
  • Time and Cost Efficiency : PSATs streamline the screening process by efficiently assessing a large pool of candidates, saving valuable time and resources.
  • Reduction of Bias : PSATs help minimize bias in the evaluation process by providing standardized assessment criteria, ensuring fair and equal opportunities for all candidates.

Common Types of Problem Solving Assessment Tests

Problem Solving Assessment Tests come in various forms, each designed to assess different aspects of problem-solving abilities. By understanding the different types of PSATs available, hiring managers can select the most appropriate assessments for their specific needs.

Cognitive Ability Tests

Cognitive ability tests measure an individual's mental capabilities, including verbal reasoning, numerical reasoning, and abstract reasoning. These tests assess a candidate's ability to analyze information, solve problems, and think critically. They provide valuable insights into a candidate's overall cognitive aptitude, which is crucial for roles requiring complex problem-solving.

Verbal Reasoning

Verbal reasoning tests assess a candidate's ability to understand and interpret written information, as well as their verbal comprehension and communication skills. These tests typically involve reading passages and answering questions based on the information provided.

Numerical Reasoning

Numerical reasoning tests evaluate a candidate's ability to interpret and analyze numerical data, perform calculations, and draw logical conclusions. These assessments often involve interpreting graphs, tables, and numerical scenarios to solve problems.

Abstract Reasoning

Abstract reasoning tests measure a candidate's ability to identify patterns, solve visual puzzles, and make logical connections between abstract concepts. These tests assess a candidate's creative thinking and problem-solving skills, particularly in situations where concrete information is not provided.

Situational Judgment Tests

Situational judgment tests (SJTs) evaluate a candidate's ability to assess and respond to work-related scenarios. These tests present candidates with hypothetical situations they might encounter in the workplace and require them to select the most appropriate course of action. SJTs provide valuable insights into a candidate's decision-making, problem-solving, and interpersonal skills.

Assessing Decision-Making in Work-Related Scenarios

Situational judgment tests present candidates with realistic workplace scenarios that require them to make decisions based on the information provided. Candidates must evaluate the situation, consider different perspectives, and choose the most effective response. This assesses their ability to apply problem-solving and critical thinking skills in practical settings.

Evaluating Problem-Solving Skills in Realistic Contexts

Situational judgment tests also assess a candidate's problem-solving skills by presenting them with complex situations that require analysis and effective decision-making. These tests evaluate a candidate's ability to prioritize, troubleshoot, and handle challenges in a work environment.

Case Study Assessments

Case study assessments involve analyzing and solving real-world problems typically encountered in specific job roles or industries. Candidates are presented with a detailed scenario or case study and are required to evaluate information, identify problems, and propose appropriate solutions. These assessments measure a candidate's ability to apply critical thinking, analytical reasoning, and problem-solving skills to practical situations.

Simulating Real-World Problem-Solving Scenarios

Case study assessments replicate real-world problem-solving situations that candidates may encounter in their prospective roles. These assessments gauge a candidate's ability to analyze complex information, identify key issues, and develop effective problem-solving strategies.

Analyzing Candidates' Problem-Solving Approaches

Case study assessments also provide insights into a candidate's problem-solving process. Hiring managers can assess how candidates approach problems, identify their reasoning skills, and evaluate the effectiveness of their proposed solutions. This allows for a more comprehensive evaluation of a candidate's problem-solving abilities.

Key Skills Assessed in Problem Solving Assessment Tests

Problem Solving Assessment Tests evaluate various skills that are essential for effective problem-solving in the workplace. By understanding the key skills assessed in PSATs, hiring managers can gain valuable insights into a candidate's problem-solving abilities and make informed decisions during the hiring process.

Cognitive Skills

Cognitive skills refer to the mental processes involved in acquiring, processing, and utilizing information. These skills are crucial for effective problem-solving and decision-making. Here are some of the cognitive skills assessed in PSATs:

Analytical Thinking

Analytical thinking involves breaking down complex problems into smaller components, analyzing information, identifying patterns, and drawing logical conclusions. Candidates with strong analytical thinking skills can effectively evaluate different options and make informed decisions based on data and evidence.

Critical Reasoning

Critical reasoning involves the ability to objectively evaluate and assess information, arguments, and claims. Candidates with strong critical reasoning skills can identify strengths and weaknesses in arguments, spot logical fallacies, and make sound judgments.

Logical Reasoning

Logical reasoning is the ability to follow and understand the structure of an argument or a sequence of events. Candidates with strong logical reasoning skills can identify relationships between ideas, assess the validity of arguments, and determine the most logical course of action.

Problem-Solving (Advanced) Skills

Problem-solving skills are crucial for identifying, analyzing, and resolving challenges or issues. They involve using creative thinking, decision-making, and analytical skills to develop effective solutions. Here are some of the problem-solving skills assessed in PSATs:

Creative Thinking and Innovation

Creative thinking refers to the ability to generate new and innovative ideas, approaches, and solutions to problems. Candidates with strong creative thinking skills can think outside the box, explore unconventional solutions, and bring fresh perspectives to problem-solving.

Decision-Making and Problem Analysis

Effective decision-making involves evaluating different options, considering potential consequences, and choosing the most suitable course of action. Candidates with strong decision-making and problem analysis skills can systematically assess problems, gather relevant information, and make informed choices.

Evaluating and Implementing Solutions

Candidates with strong skills in evaluating and implementing solutions can assess the feasibility and effectiveness of different approaches and select the most appropriate solution. They can plan and execute strategies to solve problems efficiently and achieve desired outcomes.

Soft Skills Relevant to Problem-Solving

In addition to cognitive and problem-solving skills, PSATs may also assess soft skills that are crucial for effective problem-solving and collaboration in the workplace. These skills contribute to an individual's ability to communicate, collaborate, and adapt in problem-solving scenarios. Some of the soft skills relevant to problem-solving include:

Communication Skills

Effective communication skills involve the ability to convey ideas, information, and solutions clearly and concisely. Candidates with strong communication skills can articulate their thoughts, actively listen to others, and collaborate effectively with colleagues in problem-solving situations.

Collaboration and Teamwork

Collaboration and teamwork skills are essential for problem-solving in a professional environment. Candidates with strong collaboration skills can work effectively with others, leverage diverse perspectives, and contribute to collective problem-solving efforts.

Adaptability and Resilience

Adaptability and resilience refer to the ability to adapt to changing circumstances, handle setbacks, and bounce back from challenges. Candidates who demonstrate adaptability and resilience in PSATs show their capacity to navigate through complex problems and remain focused and effective in challenging situations.

By assessing these key skills through PSATs, hiring managers can gain a comprehensive understanding of a candidate's problem-solving abilities, cognitive aptitude, and soft skills. This information enables them to make more informed hiring decisions and select candidates who are best equipped to tackle the challenges of the role.

Selecting the Right Problem Solving Tests for Specific Roles

Choosing the appropriate Problem Solving Assessment Tests (PSATs) for specific roles is crucial to ensure that the assessments align with the skills and competencies required for success in those positions. By carefully selecting the right PSATs, hiring managers can gain valuable insights into a candidate's problem-solving abilities in the context of the target role. Here are some key considerations for selecting the right PSATs:

Identifying Job Roles Suitable for PSATs

Not all job roles may require extensive problem-solving skills. It is important to identify the roles where problem-solving abilities are critical for success. Consider the nature of the role, the complexity of the tasks involved, and the level of decision-making required. Positions such as project managers, analysts, consultants, and leadership roles often require strong problem-solving skills, making them suitable for PSATs.

Determining the Desired Skill Set for Specific Roles

Once the target roles have been identified, it is essential to define the specific problem-solving skills and competencies required for success in those positions. Consider the core problem-solving skills, cognitive abilities, and soft skills that are relevant to the role. This can be done by analyzing the job description, consulting with subject matter experts, and understanding the challenges faced by professionals in similar roles.

Matching PSAT Types to Job Requirements

Different types of PSATs are available, each focusing on specific aspects of problem-solving skills. Assess the requirements of the target role and determine which PSAT types align with those requirements. Cognitive ability tests may be appropriate for roles that require analytical thinking and logical reasoning, while situational judgment tests can be effective for assessing decision-making skills in work-related scenarios. Case study assessments are ideal for evaluating problem-solving skills in practical contexts.

Considering Industry-Specific Needs and Challenges

Industries and sectors may have specific problem-solving requirements and challenges. Consider the unique aspects of the industry when selecting PSATs. For example, an industry that deals with complex technical problems may require PSATs that assess candidates' technical problem-solving abilities. Tailoring the assessments to industry-specific needs ensures that the evaluations are relevant and meaningful for the specific roles.

By carefully selecting the right PSATs for specific roles, hiring managers can ensure that the assessments effectively evaluate candidates' problem-solving abilities in the context of the job requirements. This leads to more accurate and informed hiring decisions, increasing the likelihood of finding candidates who are well-suited for the role.

Integrating Problem Solving Assessments into the Hiring Process

Once the appropriate Problem Solving Assessment Tests (PSATs) have been selected for specific roles, the next step is to seamlessly integrate them into the hiring process. By strategically incorporating PSATs, hiring managers can gain valuable insights into candidates' problem-solving abilities and make well-informed decisions during candidate selection. Here are some key considerations for integrating PSATs into the hiring process:

Designing the Assessment Framework

Develop a clear and well-defined assessment framework that outlines the purpose, objectives, and expectations of the PSATs. Determine the timing and format of the assessments, ensuring that they align with the overall hiring timeline. Consider whether the tests will be conducted online or in-person and determine the duration and logistics of the assessments.

Determining the Appropriate Timing and Format for Administering PSATs

Decide when in the hiring process the PSATs will be administered. PSATs can be conducted at various stages, such as during the initial screening phase or as part of the final assessment stage. Consider the optimal timing to gather meaningful insights without unnecessarily prolonging the hiring process. Choose the format that best suits the assessments, whether it is online, in-person, or a combination of both.

Balancing the Use of PSATs with Other Evaluation Methods

PSATs are a valuable tool for assessing problem-solving abilities, but they should be used in conjunction with other evaluation methods to gather a comprehensive picture of candidates' capabilities. Combine PSAT results with interviews, behavioral assessments, and reference checks to gain a holistic understanding of candidates' suitability for the role. Balance the weight given to PSATs with other assessment components based on their relevance to the role and the hiring priorities.

Ensuring Fairness and Unbiased Assessment

Design the assessments in a way that ensures fairness and minimizes bias. Use validated and standardized PSATs that have been tested for reliability and validity. Ensure that the assessments are accessible to all candidates, considering factors such as language proficiency and accommodations for individuals with disabilities. Train the evaluators to assess the results objectively and consistently to maintain fairness throughout the process.

Maintaining Candidate Engagement and Experience

The candidate experience is crucial in the hiring process. Ensure that candidates are well-informed about the purpose and expectations of the PSATs. Communicate clearly and transparently about the assessment process, providing any necessary instructions and guidelines. Strive to create a positive experience for candidates, offering support and feedback whenever possible.

By integrating PSATs into the hiring process, hiring managers can gain valuable insights into candidates' problem-solving abilities. This integration enhances the overall assessment process, allowing for more informed and effective candidate selection decisions.

Analyzing and Utilizing Problem Solving Test Results

Once Problem Solving Assessment Tests (PSATs) have been administered, it is crucial to effectively analyze and utilize the test results to make informed decisions during candidate selection and placement. By leveraging the insights gained from PSATs, hiring managers can assess candidates' problem-solving abilities and align them with the requirements of the role. Here are key steps to analyze and utilize PSAT results effectively:

Interpreting Individual Candidate Scores and Performance

Start by interpreting individual candidate scores and performance on the PSATs. Review the assessment results and identify candidates who have demonstrated strong problem-solving skills, cognitive abilities, and soft skills relevant to problem-solving. Consider factors such as accuracy, speed, and the candidate's approach to problem-solving.

Comparing and Benchmarking Candidate Results

Compare candidates' PSAT results to establish benchmarks and identify the top performers. Determine the range of scores, percentiles, or other relevant metrics to assess candidates' relative performance. Benchmarking allows for a standardized evaluation and helps differentiate candidates based on their problem-solving abilities.

Using Assessment Results to Inform Interview and Selection Decisions

Integrate the insights from PSAT results into the overall candidate evaluation process. Use the assessment results as a guide to inform interview questions and probe deeper into candidates' problem-solving skills. The results can serve as a reference point to assess candidates' responses and validate their demonstrated abilities.

Identifying Potential for Growth and Development in Candidates

PSAT results not only provide insights into a candidate's current problem-solving abilities but also indicate their potential for growth and development. Identify candidates who have shown promising problem-solving skills and consider their capacity to further enhance their abilities through training, mentoring, or professional development opportunities.

Aligning Results with Role Requirements

Compare the PSAT results to the specific requirements of the role. Assess how well candidates' problem-solving abilities match the demands of the position. Look for alignment between the skills demonstrated in the assessments and the competencies needed for success in the role.

By effectively analyzing and utilizing PSAT results, hiring managers can make more informed decisions during candidate selection and placement. The insights gained from these assessments provide a comprehensive understanding of candidates' problem-solving abilities, enabling the identification of the most suitable candidates for the role.

Benefits of advanced Problem Solving Assessment Tests for Hiring Managers

Implementing Problem Solving Assessment Tests (PSATs) in the hiring process can bring numerous benefits for hiring managers. These assessments provide valuable insights into candidates' problem-solving abilities and contribute to more informed decision-making. Here are the key benefits of using PSATs:

Enhanced Predictive Validity of Candidate Performance

PSATs have been shown to have high predictive validity, meaning they are effective in forecasting a candidate's job performance. By assessing problem-solving skills directly, these tests provide hiring managers with a reliable measure of a candidate's ability to analyze complex situations, make sound decisions, and find effective solutions. Candidates who perform well in PSATs are more likely to succeed in roles that require problem-solving skills.

Time and Cost Efficiency in the Hiring Process

Integrating PSATs into the hiring process can streamline and expedite candidate evaluation. These assessments efficiently evaluate a large pool of candidates, saving valuable time and resources. By objectively assessing problem-solving abilities, PSATs help identify the most suitable candidates early in the process, allowing hiring managers to focus their time and efforts on the most promising candidates.

Improved Objectivity and Reduced Bias in Candidate Evaluation

PSATs provide a standardized and objective assessment of problem-solving abilities, minimizing subjective biases that can influence hiring decisions. The use of structured assessments ensures that all candidates are evaluated based on the same criteria, promoting fairness and equal opportunities. By reducing bias, PSATs contribute to more equitable hiring practices and help create diverse and inclusive teams.

Identifying High-Potential Candidates for Development Programs

PSATs not only assess a candidate's current problem-solving abilities but also offer insights into their potential for growth and development. Candidates who demonstrate strong problem-solving skills in the assessments may possess the capacity to further enhance their abilities through training and development programs. Identifying these high-potential candidates allows hiring managers to nurture talent and support their professional growth within the organization.

Reducing Turnover and Improving Employee Retention

By using PSATs to select candidates with strong problem-solving abilities, hiring managers can improve the likelihood of successful job performance and job satisfaction. Employees who possess effective problem-solving skills are better equipped to handle challenges, adapt to changing circumstances, and contribute to the organization's success. As a result, hiring candidates who excel in PSATs can lead to higher employee retention rates and lower turnover, saving costs associated with recruitment and training.

Incorporating PSATs into the hiring process brings tangible benefits for hiring managers. These assessments provide a reliable and objective measure of candidates' problem-solving abilities, enhancing the accuracy of candidate selection and contributing to the long-term success of the organization.

Addressing Challenges and Ensuring Success with Problem Solving Tests

While Problem Solving Assessment Tests (PSATs) offer valuable insights into candidates' problem-solving abilities, there are challenges and limitations that hiring managers should be aware of. By understanding these challenges and implementing strategies to address them, hiring managers can ensure the successful implementation of PSATs. Here are key considerations:

Mitigating Potential Drawbacks and Limitations of PSATs

PSATs may have certain limitations that need to be addressed to ensure accurate assessments. Some candidates may experience test anxiety or have limited familiarity with the assessment format, which can affect their performance. To mitigate these limitations, provide candidates with clear instructions, practice materials, and opportunities to familiarize themselves with the assessment format. Additionally, consider providing support and accommodations for candidates with disabilities or specific needs.

Strategies to Ensure Fairness and Minimize Bias in Assessment

Maintaining fairness and minimizing bias is crucial when implementing PSATs. To ensure fairness, select tests that have been validated for reliability and validity and are free from bias. Train evaluators to assess the results objectively and consistently, and establish clear evaluation criteria to minimize subjective biases. Regularly review the assessments and evaluation processes to ensure they remain fair and unbiased.

Overcoming Resistance to Change and Securing Stakeholder Buy-In

Implementing PSATs may face resistance from stakeholders who are unfamiliar with or skeptical about the use of these assessments. To overcome resistance to change, clearly communicate the benefits of PSATs, addressing stakeholders' concerns and highlighting how these assessments improve decision-making and candidate selection. Provide training and support to hiring managers and other stakeholders to ensure they understand the purpose and value of PSATs.

Monitoring and Evaluating the Effectiveness of PSAT Implementation

Regularly monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of PSAT implementation to ensure its ongoing success. Track key metrics such as candidate performance, employee performance, and retention rates to assess the impact of PSATs on the quality of hires and organizational outcomes. Gather feedback from hiring managers, candidates, and other stakeholders to identify areas for improvement and make necessary adjustments to the assessment process.

By addressing these challenges and implementing appropriate strategies, hiring managers can ensure the successful implementation of PSATs and maximize the benefits of these assessments in the hiring process.

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Cognitive Ability Tests

Assess what's relevant for you.

MIND is Maki's cognitive test assessing key aptitudes such as problem-solving, numerical, and abstract reasoning. This robust test efficiently evaluates capacities like logic, quantitative analysis and inductive reasoning that underlie real-world intellect and prediction of job performance across industries requiring analytical and critical thinking abilities.

This test is used to assess the ability to classify items in relation to a given statement.

This test assesses the ability to interpret, understand, and evaluate technical, mechanical, and physical knowledge in specific scenarios. It focuses specifically on mechanical calculation skills (finite element calculation, static/dynamic calculation, linear/non-linear calculation, RDM, thermomechanical calculation, etc.). ) This test combines the evaluation of theoretical knowledge and practical know-how, through concrete professional situations.

This test can be used to assess verbal reasoning ability. In particular, this test covers the verbal comprehension, the deduction ability based on text extracts and words, and the ability to establish logical links based on text extracts.

Problem solving is the ability that enables individuals to evaluate and respond to unexpected situations or deal with new or unfamiliar problems. The Problem Solving Starter test assesses people's ability to understand, define and solve problems. This test involves solving a range of challenges quickly and efficiently using a set of mental skills, including critical thinking, logical reasoning and knowing how to interpret information in tables and texts.

This test assesses the ability to process information to solve problems, draw logical conclusions and draw links Problem solving is the ability that enables individuals to evaluate and respond to unexpected situations or deal with new or unfamiliar problems. The Problem Solving Advanced test assesses people's ability to understand, define and solve problems. This test involves solving a range of challenges quickly and efficiently using a set of mental skills, including critical thinking, logical reasoning and knowing how to interpret information in tables and texts. data.

The purpose of the reading comprehension test is to measure a candidate’s ability to read a passage of written information quickly and identify relevant information from the passage. A number of questions or statements are presented based on the passage, and the test taker has to say, on the basis of the passage alone, whether it is true, false, or cannot say (i.e., the passage does not contain sufficient information to say ‘true’ or ‘false’). It is important that the test is completed as quickly and as accurately as possible, as given enough time, many/most people could work out the correct answer.

The Spatial Intelligence Test evaluates people's spatial awareness, including their ability to visualize different shapes, forms, and identify target objects within a specific framework or rule set. Spatial intelligence predicts orientation, map reading skills, and environmental awareness.

The Numerical Reasoning Test evaluates people's quantitative skills, in particular their ability to make fast mental computations, identify numbers' sequence and problems, and reason comfortably in the sphere of math and quantitative skills. It is design to capture performance under speed, and will identify people's potential for developing complex quantitative skills

The Attention to Details (Visual) evaluates candidates' ability to thoroughly scan through details while processing bits of information when working with images and forms. This test helps you identify candidates who are able to process lots of information while being on the lookout for potential errors.

The Attention to Details (Textual) evaluates candidates' ability to thoroughly scan through details while processing bits of information when reading paragraphs  or comparing statements. This test helps you identify candidates who are able to process lots of information while being on the lookout for potential errors.

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Cognitive Ability Tests

  • 456 questions

Cognitive ability tests are predictors of general intelligence. Like IQ tests, they examine your ability to solve problems and think logically, via verbal, numerical, mechanical, spatial and logical questions.

Cognitive tests are popular with employers, as the broad range of aptitudes covered can give a good overview of each candidate’s strengths and weaknesses, and indicate whether they have what it takes to succeed in the role.

What is a cognitive ability test?

Cognitive ability tests were first created at the end of the 19th century and are used as a measure of someone’s general mental ability .

Unlike more targeted aptitude tests (such as verbal or numerical reasoning) the cognitive ability test covers a range of aptitudes – often mechanical reasoning and spatial awareness – to assess an individual’s overall intelligence.

The shift between subjects can be challenging, especially if your strengths lie in one area, and the tight time limit makes it even harder. Practice and preparation is the key, especially for those aptitudes where you often get lower scores.

On a typical cognitive ability test, you might answer questions on any of these topics:

  • Numerical reasoning
  • Verbal reasoning

Logical reasoning

  • Mechanical reasoning
  • Spatial awareness

Getting familiar with the different styles of questions, the shift between topics and the speed in which you need to answer each question will really help when it comes to tackling the cognitive ability test as part of a job application.

Which employers use them, and why?

The cognitive ability test is recognised as one of the best indicators of a potential employee’s ability for the job they’re applying for.

Assessing not just your general aptitude, but your ability to work under pressure and shift between different styles of questions and challenges, the test can prove to an employer that you’ll make smart decisions, that you can think on your feet and that you know how to keep calm under pressure — all invaluable skills.

As a result, the cognitive ability test is used by a wide range of employers in industries as diverse as finance and the armed forces. However, it’s particularly useful when hiring for jobs that are known to require complex decision-making; roles such as pilot, doctor, lawyer and engineer, because the relationship between a strong cognitive ability test score and overall job performance here is considered to be closely linked.

Setting a cognitive ability test can lead to a wealth of positives for an employer: better hires, reduced training time and a multitude of financial benefits. When you compare that to the relatively small financial cost of setting the test and analysing the results, small wonder it’s become one of the most widely used recruitment tools.

Types of cognitive ability test

When you take a cognitive ability test you’ll cover a range of different subjects and questions that can be practised in greater detail as full tests.

In particular, you should aim to prepare for:

Numerical Ability Tests

Numerical ability tests are designed to examine your aptitude for numbers. The questions cover mathematical problems such as ratios and percentages, fractions, data interpretation and even financial analysis .

This type of test is particularly challenging as the questions are complex and the tight time limits don’t leave much more than a minute for you to answer each question.

Practising as many numerical reasoning tests as you can, particularly if this is an area you’re weaker at, will help you to perform better at the cognitive ability test, and will prove to an employer that you’re able to work with numbers quickly and accurately.

Verbal Ability Tests

Verbal ability tests evaluate your comprehension and communication skills.

You’ll read through dense passages of text and then be faced with a series of questions on what you’ve just read, to which you’ll have to select a multiple-choice answer (usually ‘true’, ‘false’ or ‘cannot say’).

No prior knowledge of the subject matter is needed. In fact, it’s important that you answer based just on what you’ve read, paying particular attention to what’s actually been stated, and what’s merely been inferred.

Scoring well at the verbal ability section of the cognitive ability test shows an employer that you’re able to assimilate lots of information quickly, that you have good comprehension skills and that you’re able to differentiate between fact and fiction.

Logical Ability Tests

Logical ability tests use pattern- and shape-based puzzles to assess your problem solving and logical thinking skills.

You’ll be required to look at a series of different shapes or patterns and use your logical abilities to work out the rule that connects them all, in order to finish the sequence.

The questions might be unlike anything you’ve ever seen before. And you won’t have long to answer each question — so practising as many of these tests as you can before taking a general cognitive ability test will help to improve both your speed and accuracy.

Mechanical Ability Tests

Mechanical ability tests assess your ability to understand different mechanical and electrical principles. Covering everything from energy and transformation, to levers, pulleys and pressure, these tests are commonly used when hiring for engineers and the armed forces .

The knowledge you’re being tested on here is very specific; it really does require prior reading rather than guesswork on the day.

Practising a few mechanical reasoning tests before taking a cognitive ability test will help you to brush up on your understanding of mechanical and electrical principles. It will also ensure you’re used to the question style and the speed at which you’ll need to answer every question.

Spatial Awareness Tests

Spatial awareness tests are an opportunity for you to demonstrate your ability to manipulate images and shapes into their two- and three-dimensional forms, and draw conclusions from limited amounts of information.

Typically set by architecture and engineering firms, the spatial awareness test helps an employer to see how good you are at working with shapes, as well as your problem-solving skills and time management.

Again, this style of question isn’t something you’ll necessarily have come across, which makes practising past tests all the more important.

Publishers of cognitive ability tests

There are numerous publishers who administer cognitive ability tests. If you can find out which organisation is publishing the test you’re taking, it means you can prepare using past tests from that publisher, and get used to the specific style and format of questions.

Here are a few of the most popular publishers used in the UK:

Revelian — An Australian test provider that uses tests created by psychologists for employers across the world.

SHL — One of the biggest test providers, offering assessments for 150 countries in 30 different languages.

Predictive Index — A popular pre-employment assessment provider that specialises in cognitive and behavioural tests.

Prepare yourself for leading employers


Free Practice Cognitive Ability Test Questions

As mentioned, the cognitive ability test covers a huge variety of topics and question styles.

Most people will naturally be stronger at some areas and have to work a little harder on others, so it’s important to try your hand at all the various different types of questions as part of your preparation.

Below are five practice cognitive ability questions for you to try out. All answers are below.

Numerical Reasoning

numerical reasoning practice question

What was the total power in gigawatts generated by thermal power over the full year?

Verbal Reasoning

verbal reasoning practice question

Statement : A derivative could be used by an airline to secure the price of oil now, which it won’t use until six months time.

Logical Reasoning

logical reasoning practice question

Which of the given shapes would complete the sequence?

Mechanical Reasoning

mechanical reasoning practice question

How much force is required to lift the weight?

Spatial Reasoning

spatial reasoning practice question

Which of the given shapes is the unfolded net of the 3D shape?

Numerical reasoning : Q1 = 10 GW Q2 = 10 GW Q3 = 14 GW Q4 = 13 GW

So the total is C) 47 GW produced by thermal power.

Verbal reasoning : True – “to secure the price of a commodity which is to be “bought” at a future date, but at a price that is set today.”

Logical reasoning : The shapes are moving around the points of the polygon. The circle and arrow are both moving anti-clockwise 2 points, and the square is moving 4 spaces in a clockwise direction. So the answer is C.

Mechanical reasoning : There is only 1 load-bearing section of rope, which means that the force needed to lift the weight is the same as the weight itself. So the answer is 10kg.

Spatial reasoning : If you look at the two ends, you can see that the only correct answer could be C.

problem solving cognitive test

The tests were well suited to the job that I’ve applied for. They are easy to do and loads of them.


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Cognitive Ability Tests Tips

1 try out each of the different test types.

We recommend working through the different types of tests we’ve listed that sit within the overall cognitive ability test. This will help you identify your stronger and weaker areas.

2 Work harder on your weaker areas

It’s tempting to spend more time on the areas you enjoy, but ignoring this urge in favour of working on your weaker spots will pay dividends when it counts. So whether it’s logic slowing you down or verbal reasoning causing you a little uneasiness, spend the extra time on the topics you find more challenging.

3 Practice in a suitable environment

Practically speaking, there’s no substitute for a quiet environment when taking mock tests. Try to find as peaceful an area as possible when you’re taking a mock test, and ensure you have everything you need before you start.

4 Put the timer on

It’s essential to time yourself while doing any practice tests, so you can see how well you fare against the clock. At the end, go over your answers and spend time evaluating your score, and if there were mistakes, why they happened.

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Cognitive Ability Video Tutorials

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  • 30 Numerical reasoning tests
  • 30 Verbal reasoning tests
  • 30 Diagrammatic reasoning tests
  • 30 Situational judgement tests
  • 34 Publisher packages e.g. Watson Glaser
  • 252 Employer packages e.g. HSBC
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Reviews of our Cognitive Ability tests

What our customers say about our Cognitive Ability tests

United States of America

October 14, 2023


I found the test challenging and very exciting. I really had to slow down to think through the logic.

Preeti Borra

October 10, 2023

I like the test it's very difficult to solve in one attempt. It is very good test for practice the exam. But they are almost same type of questions still it is very difficult to solve. I would like to attempt more questions like this for practice. I try to understand the pattern.

Christopher Christopher Ward

United Kingdom

October 03, 2023

This required a thoughtful anyalysis of all information presented and required cross referencing of evidence provided.

Obialo Egwim

September 06, 2023

The test was challenging

The test was difficult to understand for the last few questions but decently easy to understand for the first few . But I understood the questions .

Pamela Almeida

July 24, 2023

Shapes and Positions

Interesting series of questions. Sometimes the answers come easier by visual review, sometimes by comparative review.

July 05, 2023

This Was Fun

This test seems t only be focused on spatial awareness and pattern recognition. Although, because I have not yet seen the results of the test I'm unfamiliar just how much these two skills play a role in the bigger picture.

Vladimir Nicolescu

June 29, 2023

Pretty Balanced

It was my first cognitive ability test. seems pretty balanced. Some harder but I managed to find some logic even in the toughest ones

Dylan Kovacevich

June 28, 2023

Good, like to see more.

Thought there would of been a mix of numerical and verbal reasoning, rather than just abstract reasoning.

Sayantani Halder

June 22, 2023

Best GCA questions to practice

I liked the way the questions slowly progressed toward increasing difficulty levels. It helps in getting a grip on the logical reasoning skills

Busi Mongwe

South Africa

June 21, 2023

Pay attention

There instructions were at the beginning of the test which made me panic and anxious so I just clicked on anything but caught on in the middle of the test

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Cognitive Function Test (Free Guide 2023)

What Happens During A Cognitive Test?

How do cognitive function tests work, why do employers use cognitive function tests, how to prepare for a cognitive function test in 2023, cognitive function test day: tips for approaching the test itself, a brief history of cognitive function tests, frequently asked questions, final thoughts, cognitive function test (free guide 2023).

Updated June 12, 2023

Edward Melett

All products and services featured are independently selected by WikiJob. When you register or purchase through links on this page, we may earn a commission.

Cognitive ability tests , such as the Wonderlic test , Revelian tests and Predictive Index tests , have become a screening tool and a crucial part of many companies’ recruitment processes. They are a form of psychometric test designed to measure intelligence through logic, reasoning and problem-solving exercises.

This article will provide a broad overview of what cognitive ability tests are, how they are structured and how to prepare for them.

During a cognitive test, you will typically be presented with a series of questions or tasks designed to assess your cognitive abilities.

Here's what generally happens during a cognitive test:

Introduction and Instructions: The test administrator or the test platform will provide an introduction to the test and give you instructions on how to proceed. They may explain the format, time limits and any specific rules or guidelines you need to follow.

Question Presentation: The questions or tasks will be presented to you one at a time. They may be presented in written form, on a computer screen, or through audio recordings, depending on the test format.

Answering the Questions: You will need to read each question or task carefully and provide your response. The format of the response may vary, such as selecting an answer choice, typing in a numerical answer or choosing from multiple options.

Time Constraints: Cognitive tests often have time limits for completing the questions or sections. It's important to manage your time effectively to complete as many questions as possible within the given time frame.

Variety of Cognitive Abilities: Cognitive tests typically cover a range of cognitive abilities, such as verbal reasoning, numerical reasoning, abstract reasoning, logical reasoning, spatial reasoning, memory, attention and problem-solving. The questions may be designed to assess different aspects of these cognitive abilities.

Multiple-Choice Format: Many cognitive tests use a multiple-choice format, where you need to select the correct answer from a set of options. It's important to read all the answer choices and choose the one that best fits the question or task.

Adaptive Testing (if applicable): In some cases, cognitive tests may employ adaptive testing. This means that the difficulty level of the questions is adjusted based on your previous responses. If you answer a question correctly, the subsequent question may be more challenging, while an incorrect answer may result in an easier question.

Test Completion: Once you have completed all the questions or reached the end of the test, the test will be concluded. You may receive a summary of your performance or feedback on your cognitive abilities, depending on the purpose of the test.

The classic cognitive ability test uses the following types of questions:

Numerical reasoning questions test your ability to understand, analyze and apply numerical and statistical data. You'll need to calculate percentages, fill out missing numerical data or work out the next number in a series.

Verbal reasoning questions test your ability to understand written information and use critical analysis. Classic questions will require you to read a passage then state whether statements about the passage are ‘true’, ‘false’ or ‘cannot say’.

Abstract reasoning questions test your ability to work with abstract ideas and concepts. Questions often include visual diagrams, which you must use to identify missing information or complete a sequence.

Spatial awareness questions test your ability to work with patterns and shapes. Common questions include mentally rearranging shapes to make new ones, or visualizing patterns and images when they are rotated or flipped.

Mechanical reasoning questions test your ability to use basic principles of mechanics, such as working with cogs, levers, springs and pulleys.

Practice a Free Cognitive Ability Test

Most tests can be completed using a computer. Typically the test will be made up of multiple-choice questions of varying difficulty for cognitive screening; the results will present an accurate profile of your intellectual capabilities.

Usually, cognitive ability tests will have a time limit for completion. Some will require you to complete all the questions; others will ask that you complete as many questions as possible in the time allowed.

You should always familiarize yourself with how your particular test will be timed during your preparation. Be aware that the length of time it takes you to complete the test may be taken into account in your results.

Psychologists tout cognitive ability tests as being an excellent assesment tool and predictor of a prospective employee’s future performance at work. The tests measure abilities such as:

  • Comprehending concepts
  • Abstract thinking
  • Problem-solving
  • Planning and organization
  • Learning quickly from experience
  • Adapting to unknown situations
  • Applying new knowledge

Demonstrating a high cognitive ability indicates that a candidate is good at adapting to new work environments , making intelligent decisions and learning new skills quickly – essential skills for excelling at a new job.

Candidates with higher test scores tend to be more productive and require less training than their lower-scoring counterparts. This can equate to significant financial benefits for the employer.

For these reasons, cognitive ability tests are a crucial and sometimes deciding factor in many employers' recruitment processes .

If you're planning to take the CCAT cognitive test, check out this video from JobTestPrep for some helpful tips.

Take a Test Now

Types of Cognitive Function Test

Employers source their cognitive ability tests from a variety of test providers depending on their individual needs. Here are some of the test providers and the companies which use them:

Wonderlic Test

The Wonderlic test assesses job candidates' aptitudes using a mixture of logic and puzzle recognition, fact recognition, word problems and verbal reasoning questions.

There are two versions of the test:

  • The Wonderlic Personnel Test: 50 multiple-choice questionnaire with a time limit of 12 minutes.
  • The Wonderlic Personnel Test – QuickTest: 30 multiple-choice questions with a time limit of 8 minutes.

Some companies known to use Wonderlic are:

  • MENSA International
  • ThoughtWorks
  • Gulf Coast Commercial Group
  • Apple Chevrolet

Predictive Index Test

The Predictive Index Cognitive Assessment tests skills such as verbal reasoning, numerical reasoning and pattern recognition. It comprises 50 questions to be answered in 12 minutes.

Companies that use Predictive Index tests include:

SHL is one of the leading providers of employment aptitude tests. Each SHL test is designed to assess one particular competency .

The test is usually conducted in two stages. First, the candidate completes the test online. Then, if the candidate is invited to an assessment day, they will be asked to complete another shorter version of the test to verify their answers.

Types of SHL test include:

Verbal Reasoning Test – 30 questions to be answered in 19 minutes, or 18 questions in 11 minutes, at an assessment day .

Numerical Reasoning Test – 18 questions to be answered in 25 minutes, or 10 questions in 15 minutes, at an assessment day.

Inductive Reasoning Test – 24 questions in 25 minutes; designed to evaluate your logic skills.

Deductive Reasoning Test – 20 questions to be completed in 18 minutes. Requires you to use logic to come to conclusions, identify errors in information, and evaluate arguments.

Companies that use SHL tests include:

  • Philip Morris
  • Gannett Company
If you need to prepare for a number of different employment tests and want to outsmart the competition, choose a Premium Membership from JobTestPrep . You will get access to three PrepPacks of your choice, from a database that covers all the major test providers and employers and tailored profession packs.

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Revelian Tests

Revelian tests are taken by over 200,000 people worldwide and are the most popular psychometric test taken by graduate jobseekers in Australia.

Revelian has identified various characteristics typical of candidates with the cognitive ability required to succeed at work, and has developed aptitude tests in the following areas:

  • Cognitive ability
  • Verbal reasoning
  • Numerical reasoning
  • Abstract reasoning

Companies that use Revelian tests include:

  • Medina Hotels

problem solving cognitive test

Many job candidates believe there's no benefit in preparing for cognitive ability tests. Some think their intelligence will speak for itself; others think that, since the questions are random and cannot be predicted, it's not possible to prepare.

In fact, you can (and should) prepare for cognitive ability tests by familiarizing yourself with:

  • The structure of the test.
  • The time frame in which you need to complete the test.
  • The types of questions that will come up.

The more familiar you are with the overall format of the test, the more time you can spend focusing on answering the questions during the time limit.

There are also countless cognitive ability sample questions and tests you can access online to prepare for the test to achieve the correct answers. Although the questions won't be the same as on the real test, practising similar styles of questions and timing yourself is the best way you can prepare.

If you’re looking for free cognitive test samples , here is a free numerical practice test sample and a free verbal reasoning test sample to get you started.

You can also find practice tests on sites such as Job Test Prep .

As most practice tests aren’t timed, set yourself a timer of one minute per question to ensure your practice reflects true test conditions as closely as possible.

Practice More with Free Tests

Get a full night’s sleep the night before your test and eat a good breakfast to ensure you are in top condition and to avoid cognitive decline.

Drink plenty of water and don’t forget to take water to the test (if it’s being conducted under controlled conditions).

Work out the maximum time you can spend on each question (for example, one minute per question).

Take a stopwatch to time yourself and ensure you’re not spending too long on each question.

If you’re taking the test online, have a notepad or piece of scrap paper and a pen ready for the problems you can’t work out in your head.

Read every question twice and try not to answer too quickly . This is particularly important in verbal reasoning tests – look out for negatives, double-negatives or other modifying words, which could trip you up if you skim over them.

Don’t apply outside knowledge to the questions – all the information you need to work out the answer logically will be in the question.

Cognitive ability tests began to develop at the end of the 19th century as a way to measure ‘general mental ability’. Initially, such tests were highly inaccurate, leading to psychologists developing standardized methods of qualitatively scoring intelligence and comparing test results.

For example, psychologist William Stern coined the term ‘Intelligence Quotient’ in 1912, as a means of finding the difference between a child’s mental age and their chronological age.

In 1904, psychologist Charles Spearman recognized that individuals who demonstrated the ability to complete one task, such as identifying patterns, would also do well at other tasks, such as solving arithmetic problems. Spearman theorized that individuals possess a ‘general mental ability’ similar to intelligence. Thus, the concept of a test to assess cognitive ability began to develop.

Since the groundbreaking work of psychologists such as Spearman and Stern, cognitive ability tests have become common recruitment tools across multiple industries, from the military to sales and everything in between.

In the United States, around 43% of all companies now use psychometric tests like cognitive assessments to measure a job candidate’s suitability, and the figure is 70% for FTSE 100 companies .

It is therefore highly likely that you will be asked to take a cognitive ability test by a prospective employer.

What is a cognitive ability test?

A cognitive ability test is a type of psychometric test that measures intelligence through reasoning, logic and problem-solving activities.

Many employers use cognitive ability tests as part of the recruitment screening process. There are many different providers of cognitive ability tests; these include Revelian, Predictive Index and Wonderlic.

What are examples of cognitive tests?

Cognitive ability tests are available from a range of different test providers, including Revelian, Predictive Index and Wonderlic.

Cognitive tests are designed to assess a candidate’s skills in areas such as numerical reasoning, verbal reasoning, abstract reasoning, mechanical reasoning and spatial awareness.

What is an example of cognitive ability?

Cognitive ability refers to the skills that your brain needs to learn, think, read, remember, reason and pay attention.

Cognitive ability includes sustained attention, selective attention, divided attention, short and long-term memory, logic, reasoning, auditory processing, visual processing, and processing speed.

What does a cognitive ability test measure?

A cognitive ability test is not about learning or schooling, and there is no previous knowledge needed to answer the questions.

These types of tests are about your general intelligence, your mental ability, and the way you think, instead.

Questions in a typical cognitive abilities test are based on the way you think about:

  • Attention to detail
  • Comprehension
  • Verbal and mathematical ability

Through questions on these subjects, test takers can demonstrate that they are capable of abstract thinking and understanding complex concepts.

Can a gifted student fail a cognitive ability test?

Although it might seem counterintuitive, a gifted student could fail a cognitive ability test for several reasons. These baseline reasons include:

  • Overthinking – Taking too long to answer
  • Showing off – Looking for the clever answer rather than focusing on the right answer
  • Overconfidence – Not really trying because the student thinks the test is ‘too easy’
  • Unmotivated – Not really concerned about performing well or making the required grade
  • Perfectionism – A similar problem to overthinking, causing too much time to answer.
  • Specific giftedness – Only being above average in a certain subject or area
  • Too stressed – Anxiety can make a student underperform

Does ADHD affect cognitive ability test results?

According to several psychological studies, a diagnosis of ADHD can have a negative effect on cognitive ability, and on the results of cognitive ability tests .

Various testing accommodations can be used to help a student with a diagnosis of ADHD to be able to perform in a cognitive abilities test, including things like extra time, a proctor reading the questions aloud, or each item presented separately at paced intervals – all of which can be discussed with the test center.

How do you pass a cognitive ability test?

All cognitive ability tests are different, but there are a few things you can do to improve your chances of passing.

Finding out the publisher is a good way to learn more about what to expect from the format of the test.

When taking a cognitive ability test , time management is important, so if you’re not sure of an answer then it is best to move on to the next question.

It is a good idea to work out how long you can afford to spend on each question, as this will help you to manage your time effectively on the day of the test.

Preparation and practice are key . Try to spend the same amount of time (or more) on the areas of the test you find most difficult.

What is a good cognitive ability test score?

Scoring systems vary across the different cognitive ability tests. It is important to find out which scoring system is used for the test you have been asked to take.

Employers may set score thresholds according to the job they are recruiting for.

If you are taking the Criteria Cognitive Aptitude Test (CCAT) , your score will be worked out using your raw score, which is the number of questions answered correctly.

Your raw score is used to calculate your percentile score – this helps the employer to compare your performance with other test-takers in your norm group.

When taking the CCAT , you will need to score within the top 20% of test-takers. This translates to a raw score of around 31.

Can I take a cognitive test online?

Many cognitive tests can be taken online . The organization requesting the test will let you know whether you can take the cognitive test online.

When preparing for a cognitive ability test, you can access many useful resources and practice cognitive tests online.

What are the 5 cognitive skills?

The 5 cognitive skills are: reading, thinking, learning, remembering and paying attention.

What are the 8 cognitive skills?

The 8 cognitive skills are: remaining focused for a sustained period, remaining focused despite distractions or interruptions, effective multitasking, retaining information in the short-term, retaining information in the long-term, reasoning, visual/auditory processing, and processing speed.

Where can I practice cognitive ability tests?

There are hundreds of free online resources that have practice cognitive abilities tests available.

The most reliable and effective way to practice tests is to know what publisher has produced the test that you will be taking so that you can practice those specifically.

You can usually find practice tests on the publisher websites or look for test aggregation sites that have dupe tests based on the structure of the assessments.

Bear in mind that free sites might have limited practice tests available, but if you want to get the best results you can look for publisher-specific test prep packs which include revision tips and scoring for the practice tests.

How do I pass a pre-employment cognitive abilities test?

One of the most important tools for pre-employment cognitive ability tests is effective practice.

There are lots of resources online, including practice tests . When you are revising and practicing, make sure that you work to the time limit and under exam conditions.

Take your time when answering the questions – even though you are answering under time constraints, rushing could mean missing simple answers. Make sure you read the instructions too, so you know how to answer correctly.

Most cognitive ability tests have multiple-choice answers, and this should help you to be able to narrow down the possibilities. In many cases, tests are not negatively marked, so you have nothing to lose by making an educated guess if you don’t know the answer – a one in five chance is better than no chance at all for getting a mark.

On the test day itself make sure that you are well-rested, hydrated and eat well to give yourself (and your brain) the best chance to perform.

How long does it take to pass a cognitive ability test?

The length of time it takes to complete a cognitive ability test depends on the publisher that has produced it, but most tests will last less than half an hour.

The time it takes to know if you have passed or not depends on the recruitment team. Some recruiters will just let you know if you have passed or failed, whereas others will produce a report based on your scores that can help you improve in the future and understand where your strengths lie.

How does a cognitive ability test differ from an IQ test?

An IQ (Intelligence Quotient) test is one way to assess general mental ability rather than specific learned knowledge or skills and is a type of cognitive ability test.

There are so many ways to assess mental performance , and all could be considered cognitive ability tests, including what is recognized as an IQ test.

What is the Wonderlic Cognitive Ability Test?

One of the popular publishers of a cognitive ability test is the Wonderlic Contemporary Cognitive Test , which consists of 50 multiple choice questions to be answered in 12 minutes.

This test has had many iterations since it was introduced in 1939 and has been popularised via use in recruiting for the NFL.

Today, Wonderlic tests tend to be taken online through a cloud-based version called WonScore, and there are four types of questions including spatial reasoning, speed, word problems and verbal comprehension.

Are cognitive ability tests inexpensive?

Practice cognitive ability tests can be found online for free, although it is worth bearing in mind that there might not be many variations between them.

If you know the publisher of the assessment that you will be taking, you can often find free tests on their website, which is a reliable source of information about what you will be facing.

Other sites might have free tests based on the same structure, type of questions and answering procedure of the specific publisher assessment.

If you want to get more tests and some revision help, then cognitive ability test prep packs are available, along with paid test packs. These will usually offer more (and different) tests so you have more opportunities for meaningful practice, rather than memorizing the answers after multiple tries on the same test.

Why do I need cognitive testing?

Cognitive testing, also known as cognitive assessment or cognitive ability testing, serves several important purposes.

Here are some reasons why cognitive testing may be beneficial:

  • Employment and Selection
  • Academic Placement
  • Personal Development
  • Rehabilitation and Therapy
  • Research and Diagnosis
  • Educational and Career Guidance

Overall, cognitive testing provides valuable insights into an individual's cognitive abilities, helping in various areas of life, including employment, education, personal development and healthcare.

It serves as an objective measure to assess cognitive skills and can guide decision-making processes in a range of contexts.

Some final tips to bear in mind:

Ask prospective employers what cognitive ability tests they require as part of their application processes, so you can get a head start on preparation.

Practice, practice, practice . Replicate true test conditions by timing your tests.

Check whether you will be allowed to take notes during your test . If not, practice answering sample questions using just your memory and mental ability.

Don’t spend too long on each question , as this can affect your overall score.

Finally, try these helpful practice tests to help you get a feel for the real thing.

You might also be interested in these other Wikijob articles:

The McQuaig Mental Agility Test in 2023

Or explore the Aptitude Tests / Test Types sections.


Cognitive Test to gauge natural learning aptitude and job performance

The Cognitive Ability Test evaluates an individual's overall intelligence, which includes abstract thinking skills, the ability to grasp complex concepts and make rational inferences, and a swift aptitude for learning. 


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Experience Level

Difficulty level, test duration, total questions.

44 Questions

Relevant Job Roles

Experienced professionals in Operations, Management trainees, Design Strategist

Scores Reported

About This Test

Skills & Subskills

Customize This Test

Assessment Features

Inside this Cognitive Skills Assessment

The Cognitive Test, a type of psychometric assessment, aims to evaluate various facets of cognitive abilities, encompassing perception, memory, reasoning, problem-solving, and verbal skills. It is a convenient tool for employers to identify candidates with high potential. 

The Cognitive Ability Test targets two crucial competencies for success in diverse roles. It gauges an individual's proficiency in absorbing information and applying acquired knowledge to solve problems swiftly and take decisive actions. Abstract reasoning and critical thinking questions serve as the evaluative tools for these abilities. This aptitude test measures a candidate's ability to understand ambiguity, formulate innovative concepts in response to new information, question assumptions, and make fair and accurate evaluations. It necessitates the skill to identify and prioritize relevant information while drawing conclusions.  

Crafted by subject matter experts, this test comprises 44 questions to be completed within a 60-minute time limit. 

Key applications: 

Identifying high potential:  Abstract reasoning and critical thinking are essential skills for roles that demand strategic thinking, creative problem-solving, and effective decision-making. These skills call for precise and accurate thinking, identifying problems well, assessing situations comprehensively, and evaluating potential solutions in line with all available information. 

Hiring and succession planning:  To build a dedicated team and ensure a smooth succession, consistently identifying the best candidates is crucial. This cognitive assessment helps evaluate if a person approaches ideas logically, clearly, and precisely, making it a valuable tool for hiring and promotions. 

Training and development:  Assessment reports derived from this cognitive test are valuable for training and development managers. They assist employees in enhancing their skills for greater effectiveness and productivity, fostering improvements in decision-making and strategic thinking abilities. 


A Cognitive Assessment is a pre-employment aptitude test employers utilize to evaluate candidates' cognitive skills. This testing method acts as a powerful screening tool, facilitating the identification of the most suitable candidates and expediting the hiring process. Renowned for their reliability in predicting general intelligence, cognitive assessments are widely favored by employers seeking a comprehensive understanding of each candidate's strengths, weaknesses, and potential success in new roles. 

Understanding Cognitive Assessment: 

Cognitive Test focuses on evaluating mental agility, ranging from specific tasks like solving numerical problems to gauging general intelligence. This assessment delves into an individual's problem-solving and logical thinking abilities through questions designed with the same intent. 

Significance of Cognitive Ability Test 

Predicting work performance 

Cognitive Test plays a pivotal role in predicting an individual's work performance in  dynamic environments. Individuals with high cognitive abilities will likely learn new skills faster, adapt to change more swiftly and offer innovative solutions to unfamiliar problems. 

Identifying exceptional talent 

Beyond the limitations of CVs and qualifications, Cognitive Ability Test helps shed light on exceptional talent with the skills necessary for organizational success. 

Time and cost efficiency 

The Cognitive Ability Test demonstrates commendable cost-effectiveness and efficiency as integral components of the recruitment process. The preliminary assessment of candidates'   cognitive skills facilitates an accelerated interview process, resulting in substantial time and monetary savings for recruiters. With innovative assessment platforms like Mercer | Mettl, the efficacy of these tests gets further maximized. 

Improving organizational retention  

Cognitive Test contributes to better organizational retention by aiding employers in selecting and engaging the best candidates from the start. Given the substantial costs associated with employee turnover, this becomes a crucial key performance indicator for HR managers. 

How it benefits employers  

The Online Cognitive Test offers a fail-safe method for determining a candidate's suitability for a specific job. It assesses various facets of cognitive performance, including general aptitude, the ability to work under challenging situations, and flexibility in addressing diverse challenges. Employers across industries, from finance to defense forces, utilize the cognitive ability test to make informed talent decisions, identify training needs, improve retention, and achieve stipulated objectives. 


This Cognitive Test is a part of following Skills Libraries

Abstract reasoning and critical thinking are essential skills for roles involving problem-solving and decision-making, strategizing and analyzing, etc. This cognitive test measures the ability to analyze, organize ambiguous thoughts and solve problems.

Blender Test

Mettl cognitive speed test, evaluación de habilidades cognitivas, mettl cognitive abilities assessment - arabic, cognitive test competency framework.

Get a detailed look inside the test

Cognitive Ability Assessment Competencies Under Scanner

Competencies:, critical thinking.

This section assesses candidates' proficiency in drawing conclusions, evaluating arguments, and recognizing assumptions.

Abstract reasoning

This section evaluates skills related specifically to abstract reasoning.

Customize This Cognitive Test

Flexible customization options to suit your needs

Set difficulty level of test

Choose easy, medium or hard questions from our skill libraries to assess candidates of different experience levels.

Combine multiple skills into one test

Add multiple skills in a single test to create an effective assessment. Assess multiple skills together.

Add your own questions to the test

Add, edit or bulk upload your own coding questions, MCQ, whiteboarding questions & more.

Request a tailor-made test

Get a tailored assessment created with the help of our subject matter experts to ensure effective screening.

The Mercer | Mettl Cognitive Ability Test Advantage

Our robust platform empowers you to assess, interview, analyze test-takers.

  • Cutting Edge proctoring capabilities
  • Coding Simulators Designed By Developers
  • 24 x 7 Support
  • Robust Data security
  • 20+ Languages in 80+ countries

problem solving cognitive test

The Mercer | Mettl Edge

  • Industry Leading 24/7 Support
  • State of the art examination platform
  • Inbuilt Cutting Edge AI-Driven Proctoring
  • Simulators designed by developers
  • Tests Tailored to Your business needs
  • Support for 20+ Languages in 80+ Countries Globally

Cognitive Assessment Can Be Setup in 4 Steps

Step 1: add test.

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Step 2: Share link

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Step 3: Test View

Candidate take the test

Step 4: Insightful Report

You get their tests report

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. what does cognitive ability mean.

Cognitive ability encompasses the brain's proficiency in executing fundamental tasks such as thinking, memorization, attention, visualization, and interpreting the surroundings. These combined skills contribute to crystallized and fluid intelligence, shaping an individual's overall cognitive ability. 

2. What does cognitive performance entail?

The cognitive skills used to perform crucial tasks determine an individual's cognitive performance. It includes a person's ability to use reasoning and problem-solving skills to perform day-to-day activities.  

3. Why do employers conduct a Cognitive Test?

Research has shown that the Cognitive Assessment Test has better predictive validity than other often-used talent assessment tools for recruiting candidates. This test offers a precise and comprehensive reflection of an individual's job performance, setting it apart from alternative tools. 

4. What is the purpose of a Cognitive Test?

The Cognitive Ability Test assesses a person's reasoning abilities and intellectual functioning. Beyond recruitment, this test finds widespread application in clinical settings. 

5. Is it possible to administer a Cognitive Test Online?

Absolutely! Recruiters can conduct an Online Cognitive Ability Test, enabling candidates to conveniently write the assessment from the comfort of their own space. All that is needed is a computer or a hand-held smart device with an active internet connection. 

6. How is cognitive ability assessed?

The most efficient method for evaluating cognitive skills is administering a Cognitive Test. 


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