Abstract Reasoning Tests

Abstract reasoning tests are also known as diagrammatic or inductive reasoning tests.

  • What are abstract reasoning tests?

    You may have also heard the abstract reasoning test referred to as inductive or diagrammatic reasoning before. Abstract reasoning tests put your logical thinking skills to the test. If you want a career in the Armed Forces, you’ll already be aware that the army are always looking for natural problem solvers and those who think clearly under pressure; the abstract reasoning test helps employers find these people.

    The test requires you to quickly work out how a series of shapes or patterns are connected, and use this logic to decide what the next shape or pattern in the sequence would be. If you had all the time in the world it may be easy, but with only one minute to answer each question, part of what you’re being tested on is your ability to act quickly.

  • What is the abstract reasoning test format?

    An abstract reasoning test is a type of aptitude test that evaluates a person's ability to understand and analyze complex abstract concepts. The test format typically involves a series of questions that require the test-taker to identify patterns and relationships between abstract shapes, figures, or designs. The questions are usually multiple-choice, and the test is timed.

    The abstract reasoning test format typically includes a series of images, designs, or shapes arranged in a particular sequence or pattern. The test-taker is required to identify the underlying logic and relationships between the images and select the correct answer from a set of options.

    The questions become progressively more difficult as the test progresses, and the test-taker must use their abstract reasoning skills to identify the correct answer within the allotted time. The purpose of the test is to evaluate the test-taker's ability to identify patterns, make connections, and draw logical conclusions based on abstract information.

  • What skills do abstract reasoning tests assess?

    Abstract reasoning tests assess several critical skills, including the ability to identify patterns and relationships between abstract concepts, think critically, and draw logical conclusions. The test measures an individual's ability to understand complex abstract concepts and apply logical reasoning skills to solve problems.

    Abstract reasoning tests also evaluate an individual's ability to adapt to new and unfamiliar situations. The ability to think abstractly and identify patterns and relationships is essential in positions that require individuals to analyze complex data, make informed decisions, and solve problems creatively. Additionally, abstract reasoning tests assess an individual's ability to work under pressure and manage time effectively.

    Individuals who perform well on abstract reasoning tests tend to have strong analytical and critical thinking skills, making them better candidates for positions that require these skills.

  • What types of questions are on abstract reasoning tests?

    Abstract reasoning tests typically consist of a series of visual patterns or diagrams, and the test-taker is required to identify the underlying logic or rule governing the sequence. The questions may involve geometric shapes, numerical sequences, or other visual patterns.

    Alternatively, the test may involve a grid of shapes with missing elements, and the test-taker may need to identify the missing element based on the pattern or logic governing the grid. Abstract reasoning tests may also involve visual analogies, where the test-taker needs to identify the relationship between two sets of shapes or symbols and apply that relationship to a new set of shapes or symbols.

  • Why do military organizations use abstract reasoning tests in their Recruitment?

    Military organizations use abstract reasoning tests in their recruitment process to identify candidates with the problem-solving, critical thinking, and analytical skills required for success in the military. These skills are essential in the military, where individuals must be able to think quickly, make informed decisions, and solve complex problems under high-stress and high-pressure situations.

    Additionally, military organizations are interested in identifying recruits who can be trained to become effective leaders. Effective leaders in the military must possess strong problem-solving, critical thinking, and decision-making skills, which are all assessed in the abstract reasoning test. The test can help military organizations identify candidates who possess these skills and are more likely to succeed in leadership positions.

  • How To Prepare and Pass Your Abstract Reasoning Test

    Preparing for and passing an abstract reasoning test requires practice, knowledge, and strategy. Here are some tips to help you prepare and pass your abstract reasoning test:

    1. Familiarize yourself with the test format

    Start by familiarizing yourself with the test format, time limits, and instructions. Knowing what to expect can help reduce anxiety and increase confidence.

    2. Practice with sample questions

    Practice with sample questions to familiarize yourself with the types of questions that may appear in the test. Practice tests can help identify areas where you may need more practice or improvement.

    3. Identify patterns and relationships

    Abstract reasoning tests require you to identify patterns and relationships between shapes and figures. Look for commonalities between shapes and figures, and try to identify the underlying logic and relationships.

    4. Manage your time effectively

    Abstract reasoning tests are timed, so it's crucial to manage your time effectively. Allocate time for each question based on the difficulty level and move on if a question seems too difficult or time-consuming.

    5. Stay calm and focused

    It's important to stay calm and focused during the test. Take deep breaths, relax, and stay positive. Remember that confidence and a clear mind can improve your chances of success.

Sample Abstract Reasoning Tests question Test your knowledge!

Score: /6

Which of the boxes comes next in the sequence?

  • A
  • B
  • C
  • D
  • E

Imagine a sequence where each item flips horizontally and then vertically in the next step. If the first item is a horizontal rectangle, what shape comes third in the sequence?

  • A horizontal rectangle
  • A vertical rectangle
  • A circle
  • A triangle

If an arrow pointing upwards moves clockwise 45 degrees with each step, what direction will the arrow point at the fifth step?

  • Upwards
  • Downwards
  • To the right
  • To the left

Two shapes combine to create a new shape in the following pattern: square + triangle = pentagon. Following the same logic, what shape results from a circle + pentagon?

  • Hexagon
  • Nonagon
  • Square
  • Octagon

In a progression of shapes, each subsequent shape has one less side than its predecessor. If the sequence begins with a hexagon, which shape will be fourth?

  • Triangle
  • Rectangle
  • Pentagon
  • Circle

Patterns in a sequence alternate between adding a side to a shape and changing its size. If the sequence starts with a small square and then a large square, what will be the third shape?

  • A small pentagon
  • A large triangle
  • A small triangle
  • A large pentagon

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Abstract Reasoning Tests Tips

Understand the Patterns

Start by familiarizing yourself with various patterns and sequences. Practice identifying what comes next in a sequence to enhance your abstract reasoning skills.

Time Management

Focus on time management during the test. Work swiftly but carefully to ensure that you complete all tasks within the allocated time.

Practice Makes Perfect

Take advantage of Military Aptitude Tests' free practice exams to sharpen your abstract reasoning abilities and increase your confidence.

Stay Calm

Anxiety can hinder your performance. Stay calm and focused during the test, taking deep breaths if necessary to maintain composure.

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Abstract Reasoning Tests FAQs

What is this test used for?

Abstract reasoning tests are utilized by armed forces sector employers to evaluate a candidate's aptitude in recognizing patterns and logical problem-solving, which are vital skills in complex and dynamic environments.

What do these tests involve?

These tests involve a series of questions where you are asked to deduce the relationships between different shapes and figures, uncover the underlying rules, and apply them to find the correct answer.

What do these tests measure?

Our tests leverage dynamic technology to continuously refine their questions. They measure a candidate's ability to think abstractly and logically, which is crucial for adapting to the fast-paced and unpredictable nature of armed forces jobs.

Where can I practice these tests?

Military Aptitude Tests offers a comprehensive suite of practice tests designed to replicate the real exam experience, giving you the opportunity to hone your skills and prepare effectively.

Which employers use these tests?

Abstract reasoning tests are a common step in the hiring process used by many employers in the armed forces sector to help determine which candidates are best suited for the challenging roles they offer.


What our customers say about our Abstract Reasoning Tests

  • Australia

    April 06, 2022

    Puzzles and Patterns

    I enjoyed the puzzles, the alphabet one was a little confusing, but I gave it a go with what made sense to me.

  • United Kingdom

    April 06, 2022

    Thinking outside the box

    I am happy that I eventually understood the question when I looked and studied the question for a while.

  • United States of America

    June 01, 2022

    Take your time!

    It's important to take as much time to analyze the sequences so that you have the most reasonably deduced answer choice.

  • United Kingdom

    June 01, 2022

    There should be a way to go back on questions you've skipped

    Extremely difficult first few questions which I skipped – but then didn't have a way to review them afterwards.

  • New Zealand

    June 14, 2022


    Very good. Hard at first, but once the patterns are down and following the patterns and colours you should be on your way.

  • Australia

    September 06, 2022

    Read Everything properly and consider everything.

    After seeing what i did wrong and seeing ways of doing it differently, it isn't as intimidating now.

  • United States of America

    January 03, 2023

    New skill unlocked

    I enjoyed the test. I simply needed to figure out what was being asked. I now understand that it is about finding a pattern rather than finding a solution.

  • United Kingdom

    February 23, 2023


    It is very helpful and if you cannot comprehend the questions then a solution is there to help, if wanted.

  • United States of America

    March 01, 2023

    Take your time

    Like the test, I was initially confused, but then I realized that reasoning. Recognize numerical patterns.

  • New Zealand

    March 02, 2023

    The answer is easier than it seems. It just takes a little thinking outside the box.

    I enjoyed the pattern recognition based questions, especially when it forced me to think outside the box. Time isn't a factor when you focus on the questions and not the clock.