Online testing: overview

Online tests. Aptitude tests. Psychometric tests.

All different names for essential the same test – a scary one. The next stage in most Vacation Scheme or Training Contract applications is a test of some sorts. Different firms use different tests such as the GMA test or a Watson Glaser test. However, they’re all timed!

This blog is going to walk you through the 3 most common types of tests I’ve come across and what they involve.

1 – Verbal reasoning

This is the most common type of online test. You get a passage of text and then you are asked to answer a series of questions based on the text. They are designed to examine your ability to think logically, critically and accurately. All skills good lawyers require.

The Watson Glaser is a common verbal reasoning online test provider and is one used by many law firms. It contains 5 different sections: arguments, assumptions, deductions, inferences and interpretation.

The answers are usually multiple choice and it could range from having 2 options (e.g. ‘conclusion follows’ or ‘conclusion does not follow’) to 5 options (e.g. ‘definitely true’, ‘probably true’, ‘insufficient data’, ‘probably false’ and ‘definitely false’).

2 – Numerical reasoning

The ‘lawyers can’t do maths’ phrase is one I’ve heard many times when it comes to numeracy-based tests but unfortunately, we just have to get on with it. These tests are here to assess how you handle information in a variety of forms such as graphs, charts and tables. You then have to extract the correct information from the data available and carry out your calculation.

It’s usually a multiple choice and completed with a calculator. Always keep some paper by your side for your working.

3 – Abstract reasoning and diagrammatic tests

These are tests that are shapes or patterns based.

Abstract reasoning is more shapes based. You’ll be shown some shapes and then asked which of the 2 groups the shapes belong to. You first have to work out what the difference(s) between the 2 groups are and then go on to match the given shapes up to one of the groups.

Diagrammatic tests shows you patterns and functions. For example, the ‘input’ and ‘output’ are shown in big boxes. The ‘operators’ or ‘processes’ are shown in small boxes. You need to determine what effect each of the ‘operators’ or ‘processes’ is having on the ‘input’ in order to produce the ‘output’ shown.

Less common types of tests

These tests are less common in the legal industry but I have seen them pop up occasionally in some application processes:

  • Error checking tests
  • Logical reasoning tests
  • Situational judgement tests
  • Personality/behavioural tests

Related content

Now that you have a brief idea of the main types of tests, have a look at my related blogs below on how to ace the tests!

Good luck!

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