Everything You Need to Know
Initially developed by Goodwin Watson and Edward Glaser, The Watson Glaser Critical Thinking Appraisal Test (WGCTA) understands and measures a candidate’s critical thinking skills. It’s a simple test that allows an employer to evaluate the candidate’s ability to recognize assumptions, assess arguments and draw conclusions based on those assumptions.
Critical thinking is considered a crucial factor because candidates who have it are often good decision-makers and arrive at informed, precise, and objective conclusions instantly. Solid decision making, problem-solving skills, and strategic thinking set the foundation for a successful candidate, organizations use these to screen and hire talented people.
The test is available both without a time limit and a 30-minute timed version. Both versions consist of 40 questions divided into five sections. To pass the test, you need to have strong problem solving and analytical skills, and should be able to find a quick solution after examining all aspects of a problem. Critical Thinking Tests or Critical Reasoning Tests, such as the Watson Glaser, are mostly used as one of the factors for hiring graduates, professionals, and managerial staff.
In the timed version, you will be given only 30 minutes to complete the Watson Glaser Test of 40 questions.
Many legal firms and banks use this logical thinking test as a part of their selection process for ensuring they have only the most talented people on board. Available in English, French, Dutch, and Spanish, candidates can either take the test online or can make use of the pen-paper format.
Critical thinking can be defined as one’s ability to rationally or logically think about a particular problem. It is also defined as the ability to process information from different sources reasonably and creatively. Companies utilize this test to hire strong, dedicated employees who will go on to become future leaders. An employee’s ability to effectively use information and make the right decision will ensure passing the test.
Reliable & trusted
The test is internationally recognized, it is a scientifically-reliable and trusted by many companies as a primary tool to assess the candidate’s skills.
Although you have the ability to take the test online, you can also use the pen-paper format to take the test.
The test is available in many different languages: English, Spanish, Dutch, and French. This means you will not encounter a language barrier while taking the test.
Watson Glaser believes that it is essential for employee assessment to analyze and make decisions under pressure, which is why the test is timed. In the timed version, you will only have 30 minutes to complete the test.
Many established organizations like law firms, information technology organizations, and other companies use this test to bring critical thinkers on board.
Easy to administer
There are 40 questions you need to complete in the time allotted. The questions are multiple choice – there will be a number of available options, and you need to correctly choose the right answer.
The Watson-Glaser Thinking Appraisal Test (WGCTA) measures critical skills that are important for having well-reasoned, structured and talented people on board. The test will measure one’s ability to:
- Recognize assumptions
- Make deductions
- Make correct inferences
- Interpret and evaluate arguments
- Come to conclusions
The RED model for critical thinking
The Watson Glaser test works according to the RED model, i.e.:
- Recognize Assumptions: This test is all about understanding what the question states and analyzing whether the info mentioned is correct, or whether there’s any evidence that backs the stated information.
- Evaluate Arguments: Evaluating arguments means logically working with a problem and critically evaluating it. It is about symmetrically analyzing the argument and the evidence provided.
- Draw Conclusions: Candidates need to come to a logical conclusion based on the evidence provided. A candidate with strong critical thinking skills will be able to draw conclusions that would then lead to another conclusion.
What will the Watson Glaser Test measure?
The test will assess the critical thinking abilities of a candidate in five areas:
- Evaluation of arguments
How many questions will be there?
There will be 40 multiple choice questions that you need to complete in only 30 minutes in the timed version.
A mix of questions
The test evaluates the candidate’s critical thinking ability in five different areas, and candidates will be assessed on each area individually. Hence, the questionnaire includes 40 questions in five different sections.
Is the test online or offline?
While the test is online, you can also take this using paper-and-pencil format.
Results Scale and Interpretations
You will be assessed and scored on three skill areas of the RED model:
- Your ability to Recognize Assumptions
- Your ability to Evaluate Arguments
- Your ability to Draw conclusions
Candidates with skilled behavior in the area will identify what is being taken for granted, and explore diverse viewpoints on the subject. Identifying the assumptions will help you reveal information gaps and enhance your understanding of the subject.
If you scored ‘Strength To Leverage’ in this skill area, it means you possess strong skills in recognizing assumptions.
Candidates who can objectively and accurately evaluate arguments are likely to be hired by many organizations. Such candidates can overcome confirmation-bias and also possess the capability to analyze an argument’s reasoning and supporting evidence, and explore counter-arguments even when doing so is controversial. When evaluating controversial arguments, emotions can play a negative role, as they can cloud your evaluation capabilities.
If you scored ‘Further Exploration’ in this parameter it means that your skills are average when compared to other candidates.
Drawing conclusions mean reaching the conclusion which logically follows the evidence available for a particular problem. Furthermore, reaching a conclusion means evaluating information from diverse sources, and even changing your position on a subject when warranted by the available evidence.
The employer’s scorecard will include the following scores:
- Percentile – your percentile position within your peer group
- Stanine – your score on a nine-point scale (1-9)
- Raw Score – the number of correct answers (out of 40)
For instance, here’s a candidate’s sample score in measuring overall critical thinking
Note: there is no penalty for guessing an answer nor for a wrong answer.
The Watson Glaser test is administered in five different sections:
- Assumptions: In this section, you will encounter assumptions based questions.
- Analyzing arguments: To examine arguments, you will have to assess whether the provided statement is strong or weak.
- Deductions: You will be asked to make deductions using the information from the passage. Given a few proposed conclusions, you will be asked to decide for each if it: ‘follows’, or does not ‘follow’ the passage’s logic.
- Inferences: In this section, you will be provided with a list of possible inferences which you will be asked to rate as true or false.
- Interpreting information: In this section, you will need to interpret information from the questions to decide if each conclusion is based on the given information or not. Your answer should be based solely on the provided information and not on prior knowledge which may mislead you.
The Watson Glaser test is the property of the Pearson’s Clinical Assessment Group. With more than 80 years of experience in the assessment field, Pearson’s Clinical Assessment group offers innovative and comprehensive products and services. Some of the company’s brands include the Wechsler and Kaufman families of products, MMPI, BASC, OLSAT, CELF, and PLS.
The Pearson’s Clinical Assessment Group serves 300,000 customers in the U.S. with assessments for psychologists, speech-language, pathologists, occupational therapists, and related professionals. They have over 700 employees worldwide.
Disclaimer – All the information and prep materials on iPrep are genuine and were created for tutoring purposes. iPrep is not affiliated with Pearson’s Clinical Assessment Group, which is the owner of the Watson Glaser test.
Sample Question 1
Two hundred school students in their early teens voluntarily attended a recent weekend student conference in Leeds. At this conference, the topics of race relations and means of achieving lasting world peace were discussed, since these were problems that 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 people in their early teens. (PT, because, as is common knowledge, most people in their early teens do not show so much serious concern with broad social problems. It cannot be considered true from the facts given because these facts do not tell how much concern other young teenagers may have. It is also possible that some of the students volunteered to attend mainly because they wanted a weekend outing.)
- The majority of the students had not previously discussed the conference topics in the schools. (PF, because the students’ growing awareness of these topics probably stemmed at least in part from discussions with teachers and classmates.)
- The students came from all parts of the country. (ID, because there is no evidence for this inference.)
- The students discussed mainly industrial relations problems. (F, because it is given in the statement of facts that the topics of race relations and means of achieving world peace were the problems chosen for discussion.)
- Some teenage students felt it worthwhile to discuss problems of race relations and ways of achieving world peace. (T, because this inference follows from the given facts; therefore it is true.)
Sample question 2
‘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. (YES, it is assumed in the statement that the greater speed of a plane over the speeds of other means of transportation will enable the group to reach its destination in less time.)
- There is a plane service available to us for at least part of the distance to the destination. (YES, this is necessarily assumed in the statement as, to save time by plane, it must be possible to go by plane.)
- Travel by plane is more convenient than travel by train. (NO, this assumption is not made in the statement – the statement has to do with saving time, and says nothing about convenience or any other specific mode of travel.)
Sample Question 3
Some holidays are rainy. All rainy days are boring. Therefore:
- No clear days are boring. (NO, the conclusion does not follow. You cannot tell from the statements whether or not clear days are boring. Some may be.)
- Some holidays are boring. (YES, the conclusion necessarily follows from the statements as, according to them, the rainy holidays must be boring.)
- Some holidays are not boring. (NO, the conclusion does not follow; even though you may know that some holidays are very pleasant.)
Sample Question 4
A study of vocabulary growth in children from eight months to six years old shows that the size of spoken vocabulary increases from 0 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. (YES, the conclusion follows beyond a reasonable doubt since, according to the statement, the size of the spoken vocabulary at eight months was 0 words.)
- Vocabulary growth is slowest during the period when children are learning to walk. (NO, the conclusion does not follow as there is no information given that relates growth of vocabulary to walking.)
Sample Question 5
Should all young people in the United Kingdom go on to higher education?
- Yes; college provides an opportunity for them to wear college scarves. (WEAK, this would be a silly reason for spending years in college.)
- No; a large percentage of young people do not have enough ability or interest to derive any benefit from college training. (STRONG. If it is true, as the directions require us to assume, it is a weighty argument against all young people going to college.)
- No; excessive studying permanently warps an individual’s personality. (WEAK, this argument, although of great general importance when accepted as true, is not directly related to the question, because attendance at college does not necessarily require excessive studying.)
Tips for Passing
- Answer strictly based on the provided info – The test is designed to assess your critical thinking ability which means you should answer each question solely based on the conditions and facts provided in the question, and not by using your own industry knowledge.
- Be familiar with the context of the question – Different questions have different perspective and logic. Only after you fully understand the question, move on to answer it. First, get familiar with the question, read it once or twice and then make a decision.
- Read each question carefully and don’t skip paragraphs or sentences – You might encounter long questions which you may be tempted to skim through. Don’t! By quickly scanning the question, you may miss valuable information you will need to get the right answer. Read thoroughly and then make your decision.
- Try finding logic in the statements – Answering each question in the Watson Glaser test requires finding a logical connection between the statements. Analyze the statements and try to find logic between them.
- Learn to manage the time – Since there will be both long and short questions, the time spent on each question is difficult to assess in advance. However, through practice, you should know how to manage time without skipping any question. Learn to pace and compete with time. This tip only applies to the timed version of the test.
- Be aware of negative and complex words – Some questions may have tricky words that you can find difficult to put in context. To succeed, read the question thoroughly and divide the statement into different sections which can make it easier to reach a clear answer.
- Plan and practice – Lastly, to ace any test, precise planning, and continuous practice are a must! Therefore, practice as many questions as you can beforehand. But first, plan your roadmap of practicing and then dive into it. Choose to practice the easier parts first and only then move on to the harder ones.
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