Once you’ve completed the initial form stage of your law application, you will most likely have to complete a psychometric or aptitude test. A psychometric test, also known as an aptitude test, measures a candidate’s cognitive ability or personality. Here is a breakdown ofthe  different psychometric tests you could be required to complete and how to succeed in them.

Watson Glaser Test

The Watson Glaser test is used by many law firms to assess your critical thinking skills. The test is made up of five sections, each assessing a different aspect of critical thinking.

These five sections are:

  1. Inference: This is where you will be presented a statement and have to determine how true or false a series of inferences are based on the statement. These inferences will be given to you in the test.
  2. Recognition of Assumptions: This is where you will have to determine whether a person’s statement, based on a given scenario, is an assumption or not.
  3. Deductions: This is where you will determine, based on a given premise, if the conclusion provided follows or does not follow. In this section, you are not to rely on common sense or intuition and make your judgement solely based on the premises provided.
  4. Interpretation: Confusingly, this section seems quite similar to section three. The interpretation section differs from deductions, because you must determine if the conclusion follows the premise beyond a reasonable doubt – making it a more ‘informal’ section.
  5. Arguments: In this section, you will have to determine if a series of arguments, based on a yes/no question, are strong or weak in answering the question.

Find out more on how to pass the Watson Glaser.

The tricky part about the Watson Glaser, is that there is no central benchmark for what constitutes a pass mark. What I mean is that whether a law firm progresses you depends on the highest percentile of candidate scores. This means that the benchmark can change every application year.

You also do not find out your scores or which questions you got right. The first time I ever did the Watson Glaser, which was with Clifford Chance, I passed, but I failed with other law firms. But if you follow the guide provided and keep persevering, you will surely succeed.

Some law firms may use their own aptitude test that is similar to the Watson Glaser test.

Find out which law firms use the Watson Glaser.

Reading blogs and guidance, watching YouTube videos and doing practice tests are great tools to make sure that you’re prepared for the test. Job Test Prep is a great resource for this, since they offer a diagnostic Watson Glaser test, 20+ additional practice tests and five interactive study guides. For the best results, it’s important to practice frequently, assess your performance and learn from any mistakes to keep improving.

Online Work Simulator

With some law firms you may be progressed straight to interview stage after passing the initial application stage or Watson Glaser, but for many other firms you will be invited to complete a form of an online work simulator beforehand.

This simulator may be as ‘simple’ as a situational judgement test or may include a launch pad where you will engage in a range of activities. These activities could include aptitude tests, video interviews, gamification, reasoning tests, numerical tests, written exercise, etc., which will not be discussed in further detail.

Situational Judgement Tests

Firstly, a situational judgement test (SJT) is a psychometric test used to assess a candidate’s decision making and judgement skills. Typically, in SJTs, you will be shown video-based work scenarios, which will involve interacting with lawyers from the firm, as an employee also.

Based on the scenario, you will be given a number of possible actions/responses and be asked to pick the likely response you would take in that situation. You could also be asked to rate how likely/unlikely it is you would do each possible response, or how effective/ineffective each possible response is.

For example: ‘You and your co-worker have been tasked with completing a group project. Your manager informs you both that the project is due in seven days. However, since starting the project, your co-worker has not been doing his share of the tasks and has stopped communicating with you altogether. You also have a lot of other work to complete for other projects and worry this project won’t be completed on time, as a result. What is the best response?’

  1. Report them to your manager. You don’t want to look bad and be blamed for the failure of the project.
  2. Speak to your co-worker and find out what is happening. Suggest coming together to find a method that will help you work together and juggle other commitments.
  3. Ask another co-worker who isn’t busy at the moment to help you.
  4. Complete the project by yourself and try to put in extra hours to complete it on time.
  5.  Ask your manager for advice on how to deal with the situation.

Your responses will mainly be used to predict possible job performance. It is also used to assess skills like critical thinking, flexibility, customer service, decision making, judgment, perception, communication, and prioritisation.

For more info on SJTs, check out our guide on how to pass Situational Judgements Tests.

You can also access free practice SJTs here.


Law firms, like Ashurst, use game-based assessments as a more interactive and fun way of assessing candidate’s potential. The games typically involve numerical, shape, pattern, memory, or word exercises. For example, you could play a game where you have to figure the code to a safe or guess the next shape formation in a pattern. Another example is matching emotions to a series of pictures of human faces.

Even though assessment games are perceived as more fun, these games can also be just as challenging or even more. Here are three things you should know before completing a game assessment:

  1. Getting points does not mean a good (overall) performance. Do not try to guess how recruiters will assess your performance and what your results mean. So, if you are unable to get to the last stage of a game, for example, don’t let that deter you or think it means you have failed.
  2. Each game is different so do not try to make choices based on predictions and instead treat every game with a fresh perspective. Of course, there will be games where you have to guess something within a pattern, but that is a different issue.
  3. You do not have to be an experienced gamer, just make sure to practise as much as possible and treat it like any other test.

Find more game examples here.

Numerical Reasoning

You may also have to complete a series of numerical reasoning tests. Numerical reasonings tests measure your ability to logically evaluate numerical information. Thankfully, you do not have to be an expert at maths. You can prepare by familiarising yourself with basic GCSEs maths and taking your time.

Take a practice numerical reasoning test here.

Written Exercises

In an online work simulator, you may have a few written exercises. In this exercise, it is likely that you will be asked to write an email from the perspective of an employee. Make sure to thoroughly check your grammar and follow professional writing etiquette based on the task.


Find A Training Contract

Take a look at training contracts currently open to applications.


Online Interviews

Finally, there may be a situation where you have to complete a video interview. This could make up your whole assessment or be part of an online work simulator. In this case, these online interviews are not live, and you will be given a few minutes to prepare your answer for the question and answer it.

The nature of the online interview is like any interview, but with the digital aspect there are some things to be aware of. It is likely that your video interview will be assessed by AI, and right now the technology for that isn’t perfect.

Here are a few ways to make sure that you excel in these type of interviews:

  1. AI uses indicators to determine if you are a good candidate. For example, AI will scan for your use of certain words. Therefore, it is important that you include words from the question in your answer. You should also include words used in the company’s values and strategy, as well as the necessary skills a lawyer needs.
  2. Controversially, recruitment AI tools may also assess your body language. Make sure to sit upright and answer the questions with passion and enthusiasm.
  3. Make sure to speak loudly and clearly, so your words can be understood.
  4. Make sure you are positioned in the centre of the video and in a room with bright lighting.

Check out our video interview tips.

To conclude, law firms take extremely diverse routes when it comes to further assessments, but they all have the same purpose. Just remember to be yourself and get enough practice!


Loading More Content