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Watson Glaser Test

If you’re applying for a training contract, vacation scheme or open day, it’s very likely you’ll have to sit a Watson Glaser Test. But what exactly is it, and how can you find Watson Glaser practice?

This page outlines the different aspects of the test and how to tackle them. We give specific strategies on how to tackle the test and work through Watson Glaser practice questions to guide you through your preparation.

NEW FOR 2018: you can now prepare for your Watson Glaser Test properly with our free Watson Glaser Practice Test!

Go to Watson Glaser Practice Test

What is the Watson Glaser Test?

The Watson Glaser test is an aptitude test used by many law firms. It is also used in other fields. 

Law firms use the Watson Glaser Test because it is well aligned with the skills needed to be a good lawyer. It allows them to quickly evaluate decision-making and judgement-forming skills.

It is designed to examine a candidate’s:

Specifically, the Watson Glaser test targets your ‘R.E.D’ thinking skills. These are:

What is the Format of the Watson Glaser Test?

You usually have 30 minutes to complete a Watson Glaser Test. It consists of around 40 questions, split into five sections. These are:

  1. Assessment of inferences;
  2. Recognition of assumptions;
  3. Ability to decide if a deduction follows a passage;
  4. Capability to assess interpretations from a passage; and
  5. Your evaluation of arguments

Each section requires you to think in a different way. But ‘R.E.D’ thinking skills unite them all. So remember, you are always trying to recognise assumptions, evaluate arguments and draw conclusions.

Let’s look at each section in more detail, alongside some Watson Glaser practice questions and how to answer them.

1. Assessment of Inference

Watson Glaser’s ‘assessment of inference’ questions consist of a statement which is assumed to be true. You are then given a follow-up statement, which you must classify as ‘true’, ‘probably true’, ‘insufficient data’, ‘probably false’ or ‘false’.

In order to do this, you will need to look for clue words in the text, use logical inference and weigh the balance of probabilities. Remember – ‘true’ and ‘false’ suggest a complete absence of doubt!

Consider the following Watson Glaser practice question.

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.

Answer: PROBABLY TRUE. We know that the students ‘voluntarily’ attended. As an unnecessary adjective, this word stands out. 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.

Answer: 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.

Answer: INSUFFICIENT DATA. It’s quite straightforward, really: the topic is not mentioned!

Answer: FALSE.  The statement specifically says that: ‘the topics of race equality and means of achieving lasting world peace were discussed.’ Industrial relations problems are not mentioned.

Answer: 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.’

2. Recognition of Assumptions

An assumption is something presupposed or taken for granted. In this exercise, you are given a statement to examine. You are then given a number of ‘assumptions’ and asked if these have, or have not, been made in the statement.

Here’s the trick. The statement is usually like a conclusion. If the assumption is a necessary premise to reach that conclusion but hasn’t been mentioned, it’s likely to be an assumption!

Consider the following Watson Glaser practice question.

“We need to save time in getting there so we’d better go by plane.”

Answer: ASSUMPTION MADE. The initial statement relies on this being true but doesn’t state it.

Answer: ASSUMPTION MADE. In order to save time by taking a plane, one would need to be available, but the truth of this premise is not addressed in the initial statement.

Answer: ASSUMPTION NOT MADE. Convenience is not mentioned; only time is. (This could be one component of convenience but is not necessarily the whole picture.) It’s therefore not a premise of the conclusion drawn and not an assumption.

3. Deduction

You are given a passage, followed by a number of proposed conclusions to the passage. You must decide whether or not the ‘conclusion follows’, or whether the ‘conclusion does not follow’.

Think about the assumptions task above and apply the same logic here. A conclusion can only follow if the premises are in place and no assumption has been made.

Consider the following Watson Glaser practice question.

Some Sundays are rainy. All rainy days are boring. Therefore:

Answer: CONCLUSION DOES NOT FOLLOW. Think in terms of argument structure. Just because all X is Y, it doesn’t meant that Z is never Y.

Answer: CONCLUSION FOLLOWS. Logically, this is sound. We know some Sundays are rainy and that those days are all boring.

Answer: CONCLUSION DOES NOT FOLLOW. This one’s a little more tricky. We know, as per the above, that some Sundays are definitely boring because they are rainy. But we cannot assume that Sundays that are not rainy are not boring for some other reason!

4. Interpretation

You are given a short paragraph followed by several suggested conclusions. You are instructed to assume that everything in the passage is true. You must, on this basis, assess whether the conclusions follow beyond a reasonable doubt.

The technique here is, again, pretty much the same as the above. Just keep using those ‘R.E.D’ skills!

Consider the following Watson Glaser practice question.

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.

Answer: CONCLUSION FOLLOWS. The passage clearly states that vocabulary is ‘zero words’ at 8 months. With zero words, a child cannot have learnt to talk. That premise therefore supports the given conclusion.

Answer: 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 is not in the statement itself, and so is an assumption based on outside knowledge. 

5. Evaluation of Arguments

The aim of this exercise is to assess whether you can distinguish strong arguments from weak ones. Strong arguments are highly relevant, have material impact and are realistic. 

The key to answering these questions is to apply to above points as a simple checklist, disregard your personal opinion, and not let subjectivity influence your answer. 

Consider the following Watson Glaser practice question.

Should all young adults in the United Kingdom go on to higher education at university?

Answer: ARGUMENT WEAK. This is neither very relevant nor likely to have a material impact on the question. 

Answer: ARGUMENT STRONG. This is very relevant, with a high impact on the argument.

Answer: ARGUMENT WEAK. Were this true, it would have a huge impact, but it isn’t very realistic!

We hope this helped. You can practice more Watson Glaser questions with Pearson Vue.

Or read more about the basics of verbal reasoning here >>

NEW FOR 2018: you can now prepare for your Watson Glaser Test properly with our free Watson Glaser Practice Test!

Go to Watson Glaser Practice Test

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