The Watson Glaser test is an aptitude assessment used by law practices to test critical thinking ability among other skills.
One of several types of psychometric tests, the Watson Glaser critical thinking test is used by firms to shortlist candidates for training contracts and vacation schemes. This is because it tests for skills required for a career in law.
The Watson Glaser tests a candidate’s ability to:
The Watson Glaser test consists of around 40 questions split into five sections:
The Watson Glaser test questions follow a multiple-choice format.
Candidates normally have 30 minutes to complete the test, however, you will be given a time limit or deadline for completing it by the law firm you’re applying to.
In the Assessment of Inference section of the test, the questions are focused around one statement. You must assume that all of the information in these statements is true and not use any outside knowledge to inform your answer.
The statement is then followed by a series of inferences relating to it. You must label each of these inferences as:
In order to do this, you will need to look for clue words in the text and weigh the probabilities logically.
Two hundred students in their early teens voluntarily attended a recent weekend student conference in a city in England. At this conference, the topics of race equality and means of achieving lasting world peace were discussed, since these were the problems the students selected as being most vital in today’s world.
|1. As a group, the students who attended this conference showed a keener interest in broad social problems than do most other students in their early teens||PROBABLY TRUE||We know that the students ‘voluntarily’ attended so this implies they are interested in the broad social problems. We are also told that the problems discussed were selected by the students themselves. These points do not definitively prove that the statement is true. But they suggest it is likely the case|
|2. The majority of the students had not previously discussed the conference topics in their schools||PROBABLY FALSE||Had this been the case, it would have been hard for the students to agree upon them as ‘the most vital in today’s world’. But there is nothing to prove that it is definitely false|
|3. The students came from all parts of the country||INSUFFICIENT DATA||The answer is quite straightforward because the topic isn’t mentioned!|
|4. The students discussed mainly industrial relations problems||FALSE||Industrial relations problems are not mentioned in the above statement|
|5. Some teenage students felt it worthwhile to discuss problems of race equality and ways of achieving world peace.||TRUE||It is explicitly stated in the text and we are told that ‘the students selected [these issues] as being most vital in today’s world’
In the recognition of assumptions section of the Watson Glaser test, you’re given another statement to examine. You are then given a number of assumptions and asked if these have, or have not, been made in the statement.
We need to save time in getting there so we’d better go by plane.
|1. Going by plane will take less time than going by some other means of transportation||ASSUMPTION MADE||The initial statement relies on this being true but doesn’t state it|
|2. There is a plane service available to us for at least part of the distance to the destination||ASSUMPTION MADE||In order to save time by taking a plane, one would need to be available|
|3. Travel by plane is more convenient than travel by train||ASSUMPTION NOT MADE||Convenience is not mentioned; only time is|
With the Watson Glaser’s deduction questions, you are given a passage followed by a number of proposed conclusions to it. You must decide whether or not the conclusion ‘follows’, or ‘does not follow’ the information given in the passage.
Think about the assumptions task above and apply the same logic here. Bear in mind that a conclusion cannot be an assumption.
Statement: Some Sundays are rainy. All rainy days are boring. Therefore:
|1. No clear days are boring||CONCLUSION DOES NOT FOLLOW||This is an assumption. Just because all X is Y, it doesn’t mean that Z is never Y|
|2. Some Sundays are boring||CONCLUSION FOLLOWS||
We know some Sundays are rainy and that those days are all boring
| 3. Some Sundays are not boring||CONCLUSION DOES NOT FOLLOW||
We know that some Sundays are definitely boring because they are rainy as stated above. But we cannot assume that Sundays that are not rainy are not boring for some other reason
For the interpretation questions of the Watson Glaser test, you need to understand the significance of a piece of information and apply it logically. You are given a short paragraph followed by several suggested conclusions.
Again, you should assume that everything in the passage is true. On this basis, you will assess whether the conclusions given follow on from the information provided.
A study of vocabulary growth in children from ages eight months to six years old shows that the size of spoken vocabulary increases from zero words at age eight months to 2,562 words at age six years.
|1. None of the children in this study had learned to talk by the age of six months||CONCLUSION FOLLOWS||The passage clearly states that vocabulary is ‘zero words’ at 8 months. With zero words, a child cannot have learned to talk|
|2. Vocabulary growth is slowest during the period when children are learning to walk||CONCLUSION DOES NOT FOLLOW||It is tempting to make this assumption, because at the 8-month point vocabulary is described as zero, and this may coincide with when many children learn to walk. But this idea doesn’t appear in the statement, and so is an assumption based on outside knowledge|
The aim of the Watson Glaser evaluation of arguments questions is to assess whether you can distinguish strong arguments from weak ones. Strong arguments are highly relevant, realistic and challenge the argument given.
The key to answering these questions is to disregard your personal opinion and think logically.
Should all young adults in the United Kingdom go on to higher education at university?
|Yes; university provides an opportunity for them to wear university scarves||ARGUMENT WEAK||This is neither very relevant nor an impactful argument|
|No; a large percentage of young adults do not have enough ability or interest to derive any benefit from university training||ARGUMENT STRONG||This is very relevant and challenges the above argument|
|No; excessive studying permanently warps an individual’s personality||ARGUMENT WEAK||This is just not very realistic!
What is classed as a good score on the Watson Glaser depends on the firm you are applying to. The Watson Glaser pass mark varies from year to year depending on average Watson Glaser test results achieved from candidates to each firm.
To give yourself the best chance of being selected by the law firm you apply to, aim for a score of 75% or more.
You should never aim to just pass the test because most law firms will use the Watson Glaser test results to decide between candidates who are doing equally well as each other in other parts of the recruitment process, like in their training contract applications.
You can boost your chances of achieving the best score in the Watson Glaser by using our free Watson Glaser online practice test.
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