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Spatial Reasoning

Spatial reasoning tests are a common part of psychometric aptitude tests, pre-employment tests and admission tests. It determines your ability to mentally re-arrange objects without physically touching them. An overview of the the most common spatial reasoning tests accompanied by additional information follows below.


Choose a Spatial Reasoning Test to Start



More Information about Spatial Reasoning Tests

Spatial reasoning, often also referred to as spatial awareness is the ability to understand and remember the spatial relations among objects. This ability can be viewed as a unique type of intelligence distinguishable from other forms of intelligence, such as verbal reasoning ability, logical reasoning ability, and memory skills.


spatial reasoning Venn diagram


Spatial Intelligence

Spatial intelligence typically consists of two main abilities namely spatial visualization ability, which is your ability to imagine or visualize spatial images in your mind and spatial reasoning, the ability to mentally manipulate and reason with these images.

To better understand these concepts try to visualize a room in your mind. The more details you can imagine in this room the better your spatial visualization skills are. Now rotate this room in your mind, the easier your can mentally rotate or rearrange this room, the better your spatial reasoning skills are.

However your spatial visualization ability also influences your ability to mentally manipulate these images in your mind and therefore is a balanced team play of your spatial visualization ability and your spatial reasoning skills. So being good at one can enhance the other, however most people are either good at both or at none.

There is however, compelling evidence that people can improve their spatial abilities with practice and the most common practice methods are discussed below.


Rotating Shapes and objects

The classic spatial reasoning test involves mentally rotating shapes and objects as a measure of one’s spatial intelligence. Take a look at the following two shapes, are they different? Or are they just differently orientated?

rotating shape example question


Constructing 2D patterns into 3D shapes

This type of spatial reasoning tests requires you to fold a two dimensional shape into a three dimensional object. Subsequently, you have to select the right three dimensional object to answer the question. Take a look at the following example.

spatial reasoning example question

A lot of these type of questions can be found on our spatial reasoning test page.


Organizing shapes

In this kind of spatial reasoning tests several ‘cut-up’ shapes will be shown and you will have mentally to re-arrange the shapes so that it matches one the designated shapes. Below is an example of an organizing shape test question at the courtesy of JobTestPreb.

organizing shapes example question

These type of spatial reasoning tests practice tests with detailed tips and explanations are available at Jobtestprep.

Mirror images

In other spatial awareness tests the you have to choose a mirror image of a shape after it has undergone a spatial change. Below follows an example at the courtesy of JobTestPreb.

mirror images example question

These type of spatial reasoning tests practice tests with detailed tips and explanations are also available at Jobtestprep.


Making a mental model

Another type of question, however fairly uncommon, is making a mental model based on textual information. Below follows an example.


  1. X is on the right of Y.
  2. Z is on the left of Y.
  3. A is in front of Z.
  4. B is in front of Y.

What is the relationship between A and B?

Why is spatial intelligence important?

Spatial reasoning is essential for solving everyday problems such as how to use a map to guide you trough a location when on vacation, or to orientate yourself in a new city, parking your car, playing 3D games, or predicting where the ball is going to land during ball games, such as basket ball, football soccer, tennis, all these involve spatial reasoning.

Other more common examples are determining the size of a box and how many items could fit in that box, or when looking at your mirror image in the mirror and still be able to comb your hair. Spatial reasoning is a very important and powerful problem solving tool and are therefore often tested during selection processes.


Spatial Reasoning in Jobs

Having a good spatial intelligence is an essential competence in many technical engineering jobs such as in architecture, chemistry, engineering, astronomy, mathematics, archeology, meteorology. All require a good spatial intelligence and for these jobs, spatial reasoning aptitude tests are an essential part of psychometric test job evaluations.

For instance, an architect has to visualize a 3d spatial orientation when designing new buildings, and must be able to transfer this mental image into a 2-dimensional drawing.

Good chemists must be able to translate abstract 2D chemicals formula’s into the correct 3D molecules with different spatial orientations. This is especially important when it comes to molecules with mirror images (called chirality), because one can be a medicine while the mirror can have serious side effects.

Representation of chirality in chemistry in comparison to human hands

An engineer has to be able to visualize the synergy of the individual parts working together in a machine in order to solve problems. Medical doctors must be able to interpret an X-ray image. Astronomers must visualize the arrangement and motion of the planets in solar systems and the list goes on.. Having a good spatial ability is therefore very important for success in many of these technical careers.