Watson-Glaser Critical Thinking Skills

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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About

The Watson Glaser Critical Thinking Appraisal (WGCTA) is a popular and well-established psychometric test produced by Pearson Assessments. The test has been in formal use in the United States since the 1960s, but it gained global popularity toward the end of the 20th century. Today, the Watson Glaser Critical Thinking Appraisal is used for two main purposes:

  1. Job selection and talent management – The Watson Glaser Critical Thinking Appraisal is used for the assessment of managers and senior managers in a wide variety of organizations. It is also used in the selection of graduates and professionals in the fields of law, finance, and more.
  2. Academic evaluations – Many US students come across this test, whether in seminars or in advanced degree courses. It functions as a non-mandatory (but recommended) tool for the evaluation of critical thinking skills.

It is administered by employers as either an online test (usually unsupervised at home, or in some cases at a test center), or as a paper version in an assessment center.

The Watson Glaser test is split into five sections. The old and long variation (Watson Glaser Critical Thinking Appraisal - Form A) consisted of 80 questions that had to be completed in 60 minutes. The new and short variation consists of 40 questions to be completed in 30 minutes.


What Is Critical Thinking?

Critical thinking, as applied in the Watson Glaser test, is the ability to look at a situation and assess it, to consider and understand multiple perspectives, and to recognize and extract the facts from opinions and assumptions.

Critical thinking is used in several stages of the problem-solving and decision-making process:

  • Defining the problem.
  • Selecting the relevant information to solve the problem.
  • Recognizing the assumptions that are both written and implied in the text.
  • Creating hypotheses and selecting the most relevant and credible solutions.
  • Reaching valid conclusions and judging the validity of inferences.

These skills are necessary for the many professions in which you must be able to evaluate evidence thoroughly before making a decision. This is particularly the case in the law field, as lawyers need to read and evaluate large amounts of documents.


Watson Glaser Test Questions

The Watson Glaser test is divided into five sections, and each section has its own question type that assesses a particular ability.

Section 1: Inference

In this section, you are asked to draw conclusions from observed or supposed facts. For example, if a baby is crying and it is feeding time, you may infer that the baby is hungry. However, the baby may be crying for other reasons—perhaps it is hot.
You will be presented with a short text containing a set of facts you should consider as true. Below the text is a statement that could be inferred from the text. You need to make a judgement on whether this statement is valid or not, based on what you have read.
You are asked to evaluate whether the statement is true, probably true, there is insufficient data to determine, probably false, or false.

Section 2: Recognizing Assumptions


In this section, you are asked to recognize whether an assumption is justifiable or not. Here you are given a statement followed by an assumption on that statement. You need to establish whether this assumption is made in the statement or not.
You are being tested on your ability to avoid taking things for granted that are not necessarily true. For example, you may say, "I’ll have the same job in three months," but you would be taking for granted the fact that your workplace won't make you redundant, or that that you won’t decide to quit and explore various other possibilities.

You are asked to choose between the options of assumption made and assumption not made.

Section 3: Deduction

This section tests your ability to weigh information and decide whether given conclusions are warranted. You are presented with a statement of facts followed by a conclusion on what you have read. For example, you may be told, "Nobody in authority can avoid making uncomfortable decisions." You must then decide whether a statement such as "All people must make uncomfortable decisions" is warranted from the first statement.

You need to assess whether the conclusion follows or the conclusion does not follow what is contained in the statement.

Section 4: Interpretation

This section measures your ability to understand the weighting of different arguments on a particular question or issue. You are given a short paragraph to read, which you are expected to take as true. This paragraph is followed by a suggested conclusion, for which you must decide if it follows beyond a reasonable doubt.

You have the choice of conclusion follows and conclusion does not follow.

Section 5: Evaluation of Arguments

In this section, you are asked to evaluate the strength of an argument. You are given a question followed by an argument. The argument is considered to be true, but you must decide whether it is a strong or weak argument, i.e. whether it is both important and directly related to the question.


Watson Glaser Critical Thinking Test Results

Once you have completed your test, the five sections are marked, and your result is set out against the three keys to critical thinking. These three areas look at your comprehension, analysis, and evaluation skills:

  • Recognize assumptions – the ability to separate fact from opinion
  • Evaluate arguments – the ability to analyze information objectively and accurately, to question the quality of supporting evidence, and to suspend judgement
  • Draw conclusions – how you decide your course of action

Who Uses the Watson Glaser Test?

Below is a table of the most popular companies and organizations that utilize the Watson Glaser exam. Outscore the competition with JobTestPrep's PrepPack™ and ensure your success today.

Companies & Organizations
Bloomingdale'sCampbell's ISB Inc.

Circor

Payless PepsiCo Caesars EntertainmentCare Services 
Bird & Bird Macy's Wright ToolAmeren 

Why Is Critical Thinking Important to Potential Employers?

Critical thinking is important to potential employers because they want to see that when dealing with an issue you are able to make logical decisions without any emotion involved. When making decisions, being able to look past emotions will help you to be open-minded, confident, and decisive.


Watson Glaser Practice

The Watson Glaser test is frequently used in recruitment processes as critical thinking ability is considered one of the strongest predictors of job success. This is because all professions require the ability to question, analyze, and make decisions, often under pressure.

Though official test publishers claim there is no way to prepare for the Watson Glaser, our experience shows that pre-exposure to critical thinking concepts, combined with comprehensive practice, creates awareness of the types of analytical skills required for this test, thereby increasing individual performance.

JobTestPrep offers a Watson Glaser Critical Thinking Appraisal preparation package, customized to the high level of critical thinking found on the Watson Glaser test. It will walk you through each of the five sections to ensure you have mastered all the necessary skills prior to taking the test. Also included are two full-length practice tests to help you feel ready and confident on test day. 


Watson-Glaser and other trademarks are the property of their respective trademark holders. None of the trademark holders are affiliated with JobTestPrep or this website.


What's Included

  • Two full-length Watson-Glaser–style tests
  • Additional 290 Watson-Glaser–style practice questions
  • Normalized test scores per position 
  • Comprehensive explanations and solving tips
  • Study guides for inferences, deductions, interpretations, arguments
  • Video tutorials
  • Secured payment
  • Immediate online access
  • Exclusive to JobTestPrep

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