Verbal Ability and Reasoning Tests

These tests are designed to assess your ability to understand and conduct written communications. Verbal ability questions involve spelling, grammar, sentence completion, analogies, and comprehension.

When they are being used for management selection, these tests usually focus on higher-level skills like critical reasoning and analogies.

Management Verbal Aptitude Tests

However, unless you know in advance that this is the case, it is worth ensuring that your re-familiarize yourself with the definitions and correct spellings of commonly misused words because this is an essential part of effective communications.

Spelling Questions
Focus on the most commonly mis-spelt words, for example. The answer is shown in bold.
1. Which of the following words are incorrectly spelt? A) separate B) ordnance C) obviously D) sucess E) none of these

2. Choose the pair of words that best completes the sentence 'The -------- of the timetable caused some ----------'
A) rivision B) revision C) revission D) revition
A) inconvenience B) inconvenince C) inconveneince D) inconveniance

3. Highlight the incorrectly spelt words from this list.
A) occurence
B) dissipate
C) weird
D) accommodate
E) embarassment
F) ecstacy
G) repetition
H) batallion
I) dispair
J) irritable
K) acidently
L) liaison
M) memento
N) millenium
O) yield
P) existance
Q) independent
R) insistant
S) excede
T) privilege

The use of computers and devices that automatically correct our spelling means that our spelling skills have deteriorated, but practice tests will quickly restore this ability.

Missing Word Questions
These questions look at the level of understanding of the exact meaning of words used in your vocabulary. These types of questions use a multiple-choice format for your answers to aid test takers to complete the majority of the test. Some examples are shown below, with the answer in bold.

4. Which of these words completes the sentence in the way that makes most sense?
A spirit-level should be used to ensure that the surface is -----------
A) straight B) flat C) horizontal D) parallel E) aligned

5. Which of these words completes the sentence in the way that makes most sense?
He avoided --------- because he was ----------- (answer C & B respectively)
A) redundency B) indispensable C) redundancy D) indispensible

6. Which of these words completes the sentence in the way that makes most sense?
The plan must be --------- to make the project ------------ (answer B & A respectively)
A) feasible B) revised C) rivised D) feasable

It is important to take care when reading the sentences to ensure you select the most appropriate word. This is because it can be testing either: your spelling skills, your understanding of how best to use a specific word, or both.

Related Word Questions
These questions are designed to assess your reasoning skills as well as the extent of your vocabulary. You need to be familiar with the exact meaning of words to ensure you establish the correct relationship. By practicing this type of question you will be able to more easily recognize the required relationships, as shown in the questions below.

7. Which of these is the missing word?
kick, -----------, walk
A) throw B) toes C) shin D) feet E) hand
(feet are used for both kicking and walking)

8. Which of these is the missing word?
key, -----------, walk
A) lock B) stand C) board D) fob E) stone
(board forms the words 'keyboard' and 'boardwalk')

9. Which of these is the missing word?
water, -----------, over
A) ice B) drive C) wet D) flow E) fall
(fall forms 'waterfall' and 'fall over')

These questions assess how carefully you read the words in front of you and discern the correct meaning - an essential part of communication for managers.

Synonym and Antonym Questions
These questions use another way to assess your ability to discern the exact meaning of words and the breadth of your vocabulary. The sample questions below ask you to select the appropriate synonym (same meaning) or antonym (opposite meaning). The answers are in bold.

10. Which two of these words are opposite in meaning?
A) lose B) winner C) victor D) loser E) vanquish
(exact opposites)

11. Which of these words is the odd one out?
A) swindle B) harass C) provoke D) annoy E) pester
(the others are synonyms)

12. Which of these words is the odd one out?
A) verify B) authenticate C) confirm D) ask E) substantiate
(the others are synonyms)

Word Pair Questions
This group of questions measures your ability to recognize a relationship between two words. Mentally repeating the question to yourself is a useful technique enabling you to recognize relationships more quickly. Practicing this will make a significant difference to your speed and accuracy. The answers to the sample questions are shown in bold.

13. Dog is to canine as wolf is to ---------
A) vulpine B) ursine C) piscine D) bovine E) lupine
(lupine means 'relating to the characteristics of wolves')

14. Sadness is to happiness as defeat is to ---------
A) joy B) victory C) tears D) victor E) none of these
(the word pairs are opposites)

15. Paper is to timber as --------- is to hide
A) tree B) seek C) ox D) animal E) leather
(paper is made from timber, leather is made from hide)

Comprehension Questions
When tackling comprehension questions it is important to ONLY use the information provided in the text. Do not be tempted to bring in your own personal knowledge. Remember this type of question is evaluating your ability to extract the relevant facts.

The example below shows you the type of thing you can expect.

16. Read the following short passage and say whether or not the statements are true.

There are seven species of deer living wild in Britain. The Red Deer and the Roe Deer are native species. Fallow Deer were introduced by the Romans and, since the seventeenth century, have been joined by three other nonnative species: Sika, Muntjac, and Chinese Water Deer which have escaped from parks. In addition, a herd of Reindeer was established in Scotland in 1952. Most of the Red Deer in Britain are found in Scotland, but there are significant wild populations in south-west and north-west England, East Anglia, and the north Midlands. Red deer can interbreed with the introduced Japanese Sika deer and in some areas, hybrids are common.

16a. All of the Red Deer in Britain are found in Scotland.
A) true B) false C) can't say

16b. Red Deer can interbreed with Fallow Deer.
A) true B) false C) can't say
(You must select this answer because the passage does not tell you if this is possible, even if you know it to be false.)

16c. The Fallow Deer is not native to Britain.
A) true B) false C) can't say

16d. There are no Reindeer in England.
A) true B) false C) can't say

Verbal Reasoning Questions
These questions are popular for management recruitment because they evaluate your ability to discriminate a series of facts and then use them to resolve an issue. This is best illustrated in an example (answers are in bold).

17. Working together, Tom, Dick, and Harry need 9 hours to paint a 400 meter long fence. Working alone, Tom could complete the task in 18 hours. Dick can not work as fast and needs 36 hours to paint the fence by himself. If Tom and Dick take the day off, how long will it take Harry to paint the fence by himself?

A) 9 B) 12 C) 18 D) 36

(Explanation: You are told Dick works at half the speed of Tom - the whole fence would take Tom 18 hours and Dick 36 hours. If the whole fence takes them all 9 hours then this means Tom would have painted half of it and Dick and Harry between them would have painted the other half. So the 400m fence would take Harry 9 hours x 4 = 36 hours.)

In summary, verbal ability tests are speed tests where you need to answer 30-40 questions in 15-20 minutes. They are simply testing whether or not you know the answer. Verbal reasoning tests assess your reasoning and problem-solving skills, asking between 10-15 questions with 20-30 minutes to complete them. They also gauge your ability to recognize and comprehend verbally expressed ideas and concepts.

You may also be interested in:
Management Aptitude Tests | Verbal Ability and Reasoning Tests | Numerical Ability and Reasoning Tests | Abstract Reasoning Tests | Spatial Ability Tests | Scoring and Ranking Results.

Key Points

  • Verbal ability questions involve spelling, grammar, sentence completion, analogies, and comprehension.
  • Management-level tests tend to focus on higher-level skills like critical reasoning and analogies.
  • If you are expecting a test of this type then it is a good idea to download some free practice tests and work through them systematically.
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