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Watson-Glaser Critical Thinking Appraisal Sample Questions

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:

  • Critical thinking skills;
  • Ability to recognise whether conclusions follow or not;
  • Assessment of strong and weak arguments

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

  • Recognising assumptions;
  • Evaluating arguments;
  • Drawing conclusions

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.

  • 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.

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.

  • The majority of the students had not previously discussed the conference topics in their schools.

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.

  • The students came from all parts of the country.

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

  • The students discussed mainly industrial relations problems.

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.

  • Some teenage students felt it worthwhile to discuss problems of race equality and ways of achieving world peace.

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.”

  • Going by plane will take less time than going by some other means of transportation.

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

  • There is plane service available to us for at least part of the distance to the destination.

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.

  • Travel by plane is more convenient than travel by train.

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:

  • No clear days are boring.

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.

  • Some Sundays are not 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.

  • None of the children in this study had learned to talk by the age of six months.

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.

  • Vocabulary growth is slowest during the period when children are learning to walk.

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?

  • Yes; university provides an opportunity for them to wear university scarves.

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

  • No; a large percent of young adults do not have enough ability or interest to derive any benefit from university training.

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

  • No; excessive studying permanently warps an individual’s personality.

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.

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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Try a Watson-Glaser practice test and learn how to succeed in this success guide for the 2018 Watson-Glaser Critical Thinking Appraisal.

2 useful starting-point resources

Download A 5-Step Watson-Glaser Cheatsheet

Click Here to Download

Ok, let’s get started…

A Watson-Glaser practice test is a ‘must do’ if you’ll be sitting this test for real at an interview or assessment event.

It’s the ultimate Critical Thinking test used in modern business and practising beforehand will give your chances of success a significant boost.

What should you expect from your Watson-Glaser Practice Test?

Your ability to perform across five defined criteria will be measured. Let’s take a look at each one in turn.

Watson-Glaser Practice Test – Criterion 1: Drawing Inferences

How well can you draw conclusions from facts? Like all the elements of your Watson-Glaser practice test, this area is assessing your ability to make judgements based on limited information.

Each question in this part of the assessment contains a statement that is regarded as true, followed by a selection of inferences. You will be asked to select one of five options for each inference:  True, Probably True, Inadequate Data, False and Probably False.

Watson-Glaser Practice Test – Criterion 2: Recognising Assumptions

During your Watson-Glaser practice test your ability to assess whether a statement is justifiable based on a given assumption with be tested.

You’ll be shown two statements and you have to make a judgment call on whether the second statement can be justified by the assumptions of the first. There’s no room for ‘shades of grey’, your answer must be either ‘yes’ or ‘no’.

TOP TIP: There are two different types of Watson-Glaser tests out there: The original one, usually called “Form A” or “Watson-Glaser 1” and the more modern, shorter version, usually called “Form B” or “Watson-Glaser 2.0”. The older version has 80 questions and lasts almost an hour. The newer version has 40 questions, lasts for 35 minutes and scales to a higher difficulty.

Watson-Glaser Practice Test – Criterion 3: Deductive Reasoning

A key element of your Watson-Glaser practice test is deductive reasoning. You’ll have to decide whether a follow-on statement is true based on a prior statement.

Your own knowledge must be disregarded, general knowledge is not being tested here, your decision must be based 100% on the first statement. Again, you have a binary choice in your answer: pick ‘yes’ or ‘no’.

Try A Watson-Glaser Practice Test

Click here to try our recommended Watson-Glaser practice tests

(They are high quality industry-standard tests with clear explanations.)

Watson-Glaser Practice Test – Criterion 4: Logical Interpretation

The fourth pillar of your Watson-Glaser practice test is logical interpretation. How well can you assess the weight of different arguments given a predetermined assumed-to-be-true statement?

You’ll be shown a paragraph that you must accept to be valid, and then you’ll be shown a ‘conclusion’ that follows on from the initial paragraph. You must decide whether the conclusion is fair ‘beyond reasonable doubt’. Again, you can only answer ‘yes’ or ‘no’.

Download A 5-Step Watson-Glaser Cheatsheet

Click Here to Download

Watson-Glaser Practice Test – Criterion 5: Argument Evaluation

How well can you distinguish between strong and weak arguments? This is the final element that will be measured during your Watson-Glaser practice test.

Again, you’ll be shown two passages of writing, a question statement and an answer statement and this time you must decide whether the answer statement is ‘strong’ or ‘weak’.

Try a Watson-Glaser Practice Test Now

Get hold of Watson-Glaser practice tests here.

A note about the BCAT test

The BCAT (Bar Course Aptitude Test) is based on the Watson-Glaser Critical Thinking Appraisal methodology. It is extremely similar to a Watson-Glaser test but not as widely used. Trainee barristers are required to take the BCAT but most companies in both the private and public sector favour the Watson-Glaser test. You can get hold of a practice BCAT test here.

Some final questions for you…

  • Lastly the Tools and Resources page is packed with useful equipment and ‘A’ List recommendations that will make your life easier.

Good luck!

I hope you enjoyed this free guide? I’d love to hear your feedback so please do get in touch and let me know. Thanks and good luck with your Watson-Glaser practice test!

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