Abstract Reasoning & Selective School Exams

Abstract Reasoning an Important Test in Selective School Exams

The ability to think laterally is a facet of intelligence; non-verbal reasoning or abstract reasoning tests are often used to identify candidates for jobs and are also used in selective school exams in several states, such as New South Wales (as part of the General Ability test in the Selective High School Placement Tests), South Australia (in its Ignite Program selection) and Western Australia (in its GATE/ASET tests). Many private schools also use the abstract reasoning tests to identify students with high potential.

The Abstract Reasoning tests are used along with mathematical reasoning, reading and writing as one of the essential criteria for selection of the gifted and talented students.  

Abstract reasoning test measures the student’s ability to reason logically and work out new concepts. It assesses the general intellect of the student which is not based on some prior knowledge. It is the skill at the core of all analyzing, critical thinking and solving problems.

It is believed that candidates who score well for the abstract reasoning tests are able to –

Rapid Acquisition of New Information

Closely associated with fluid intelligence, abstract reasoning is the ability to quickly review the information to solve the problem based on those details, unfamiliar problems that are independent of any prior knowledge. The questions asked in abstract reasoning do not depend on the educational and cultural backgrounds or even language ability.

Creating an Innovative Approach to Problems

After having an understanding of the data and the information provided, students should come up with solutions to the problem beyond the most obvious. There is a direct relationship between students who do well in abstract reasoning with high performance in Maths and Science. Companies that require their employees to think out of the box also use abstract reasoning tests to sieve out the candidates.

Power of Analyzing

To successfully complete a challenging abstract reasoning test, the student needs to able to work out what the question is, collect the information and then find the solution. However, before reaching the answer, a student applies higher-order thinking skills to analyse the information logically to come up with the solution. For example, identifying some kind of patterns, rules, and trends in the data is the work of the analytical part of the brain and these are tested in abstract reasoning tests.


Making Decisions in a Rational Way

In abstract reasoning, the students need to extract analogies, rules, and structure from the data provided to identify a correct answer among the set of given possible options. It helps to identify the great minds who can think in a logical manner with a rational approach.

Let’s try some of the typical Abstract Reasoning Questions here –

Q1. Choose the odd one out

Q2. What are the missing numbers (on the left, then on the right)?

The brightest of the potential brains are identified through the selective test in Australia to provide them with the nurturing and challenging environments for their further growth. The power of abstract thinking and reasoning helps educators to find out the best of the minds of the crowd and polish them to become high achievers.

You may wonder why abstract reasoning questions are not taught in school. Fret not! Try the non-verbal/abstract reasoning questions found on the selective test practice in www.testchamps.com.au


Answers are :


Alternative sides of the shapes are shaded black. A violates the rule.


8-3=5, 8+3=11   19+4=23, 19-4=15

The pattern is adding 2 numbers in a square should give you another number in the square and subtracting 2 numbers in the square should also give you another number in the square. Try all the options, only C give you the right answer.

25+11=36, 25-11=14



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