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Non Verbal Reasoning

Non-verbal reasoning involves the ability to understand and analyze visual information and solve problems using visual reasoning. These tests are also often referred to as abstract reasoning tests, inductive reasoning and/or diagrammatic reasoning tests. An overview and more information about these tests can be found below.


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More Information About Non Verbal Reasoning

Non verbal reasoning tests are often mentioned in the same breath as abstract reasoning, diagrammatic reasoning, and inductive reasoning tests. Although, they all have overlap in meaning, they are considered slightly different and not fully interchangeable. What they all do have in common is that they address to your ability to understand and analyze visual information. Therefore, the term “non verbal reasoning” can be treated as the umbrella term for all of these tests.


This section will give you a more detailed explanation of all terms and their relationship to each other which can be seen in the schematic below.


Abstract Reasoning

Abstract reasoning involves the ability to analyze and understand non-verbal or visual information and to figure out problems using non-verbal reasoning. Abstract reasoning questions it is typically consists of sequences or patterns of shapes and figures objects, and you need to recognize the similarities and differences in order to solve the question.




Abstract reasoning aptitude tests are a very powerful tool to assess someone’s general intelligence, because it does not rely on any learned language or math knowledge. People that do well on abstract reasoning tests to work out new concepts and abstract ideas. There are many types of abstract reasoning questions which will not be discussed here, but can be found here (url: examples and types)


Diagrammatic reasoning

Diagrammatic reasoning is often confused with abstract reasoning, although both require logical thinking, they are considered two different forms of testing. In diagrammatic reasoning tests you are given a diagram or a flowchart. In this flowchart you are given a set of rules and these rules have to be applied to a new situation. Diagrammatic reasoning is the ability to extract information from a diagram and apply it to a new situation.



The flowchart (example) provides information about the starting situation, followed by an operator, which changes the information to final situation. To solve the problem information must be extract about the fuction of the operator and has to be applied to different other situations. It involve evaluating processes represented via diagrams, understanding logical rules and process diagrams and identifying causes.


Inductive reasoning

Non verbal reasoning such as abstract reasoning is also often referred to as inductive reasoning. This is a form of logical reasoning which involves going from a series of specific cases to a general statement. Examples of inductive reasoning are for instance the abstract reasoning sequences mentioned earlier, and also number sequences, and a particular form of syllogisms. The conclusion in an inductive argument is never guaranteed as compared to the conclusion in a deductive argument. For more information about inductive reasoning please read (url: logical reasoning)


Spatial reasoning

Spatial reasoning is the odd one out in terms of non verbal reasoning vocabulary, since it not tests your ability to understand a logical series of patterns, but involves your ability to mentally rotate pictures and three dimensional shapes in your mind. Having a good spatial awareness is needed in engineering environments, architecture and interior design.

Non Verbal Reasoning in Jobs

The non-verbal reasoning involves critical thinking, and tests one’s ability to isolate and identify the various components of any given situation. A person with a higher non-verbal reasoning ability is better equipped to work in positions that require quick decision making. So, it is not a surprise that the non-verbal reasoning questions commonly appear in any placement tests, competitive exams or entrance exams.

Non verbal reasoning tests are believed to be a good indicator of general intelligence and for the ability to learn new things quickly, since they don’t rely on previously obtained verbal knowledge or knowledge of mathematics. They involve the ability to reason with novel material, without the need to draw on learned knowledge and measure how easily you may acquire new concepts in subjects such as mathematics, physics, computing, engineering, science, design and technology, architecture and other jobs which involve working with visual information such as air traffic controller and pilot.