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.

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The Watson Glaser Test is divided into five sections: (1) inferences, (2) recognition of assumptions, (3) deduction, (4) interpretation, and (5) evaluation of arguments. While every company treats scores differently, a 75% score will give you the best chance to be hired by a top law firm. Candidates who do well are able to think critically, and move through the different test sections quickly.

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.

For example, leading law firms in the United Kingdom require new employees and recent university graduates to take the test. If you would like to practice law at Hogan Lovells, Clifford Chance, Linklaters, CMS or Freshfields you will need to do well on the Watson-Glaser. The test is also the basis for UK’s BCAT exam.


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The Watson-Glaser Critical Thinking Appraisal test is an internationally recognized, trusted test used by companies around the world to assess a candidate’s ability to:

  • Draw logical conclusions based on given facts
  • Analyze and interpret written information
  • Recognize the difference between assumptions and facts
  • Evaluate the strength of an argument
  • Draw correct inferences

These test questions are divided into three different categories: Recognize Assumptions, Evaluate Arguments, and Draw Conclusions. There are timed and untimed versions of the Watson-Glaser. Those taking the timed version have 30 minutes to complete the 40 questions. 

The test can be taken either online or using paper and pencil. It is available in US English, UK English, French, French Canadian, Dutch, Spanish and Latin American Spanish.


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Fast Facts (tl;dr)

  • Total of 40 questions.
  • The test is 30 minutes long.
  • Question types: Inferences, assumptions, deductions, interpretations, and evaluation of arguments
  • Bring a form of ID.

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. 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.


Watson Glaser – an international test

The Watson-Glaser Critical Thinking Appraisal Test is published by Pearson Assessments, an international company with offices in 14 countries. The test features critical reasoning questions and is available in tens of languages and countries around the world including United States, United Kingdom, and Canada. The test is identical no matter the geography.


There are 40 questions on the Watson-Glaser Critical Thinking Appraisal Test (WGCTA).

The test is divided into 5 sections:

  1. Inferences
  2. Recognition of assumptions
  3. Deduction
  4. Interpretation
  5. Evaluation of Arguments

All questions are multiple choice (five choices in inference and two choices in all the rest of the questions).

Two versions are currently available:

  • Watson-Glaser II forms D & E (computerized or pen & paper)
  • Watson-Glaser III (only computerized). 

The main difference between the two versions is that Watson-Glaser III is based on an item bank of questions and does not need a test proctor. 

The test is given by thousands of organizations and schools to measure job candidates and students’ ability to think critically. 

The test can be taken either online or offline.

There is no penalty for guessing the wrong answer.

Icon Results Scale & Interpretations White Results Scale and Interpretations

Watson-Glaser results are broken down into two different reports, which are provided to the prospective employer. Some organizations may share results with test takers, especially if the test was given for developmental purposes:

  • Profile Reports
  • Development Report

Profile Report

The profile report rates you with an overall percentile score, which is further broken down into the candidate percentile in three subscales:

  • 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.

While the Profile Report does include the raw number of correct answers, the percentile rank is more important, as it not only factors in the number of correct answers, but the difficulty of those questions as well. The percentile scoring system of WG-III accounts for question difficulty. The final percentile differs according to the norm group of the candidate (i.e. occupation, position, level of education).

The Profile Report will include the following information:

  • 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 is a candidate’s sample score in measuring overall critical thinking:

Contrary to Watson-Glaser III, the WGCTA-II Profile Report also shows employers your raw scores in the three different categories, as seen below:

Development Report

The development report shows employers the strengths of their employees. When given to the candidates/employees, it also guides them how to further explore specific skill areas and improve their skills.

Recognize Assumptions

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.

Evaluate Arguments

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.

Draw Conclusions

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.

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What is the Watson-Glaser test?

The Watson-Glaser Critical Thinking Appraisal test measures an individual’s ability to digest information and understand situations. It is frequently administered as part of the hiring process, both for new hires and for existing employees looking to move up within their organization.Watson Glaser at a glance

What are the main differences between the Watson-Glaser test versions (i.e. Watson-Glaser ii, forms D and E, and Watson-Glaser iii)?

There are two current versions of the test. The Watson-Glaser II Critical Thinking Appraisal (WGCTA II) forms D & E and Watson-Glaser III (WG III). While both versions of the test measure the same type of skills, there are some differences. 
WG III, which is the newest version, draws its questions from a large bank of items. Since every instance of the test is different, candidates can take the test without supervision. WG III is almost always timed (with some exceptions in limited locations). WG II, on the other hand, requires a proctor, and is not timed. 
Watson-Glaser I forms A, B, C, and S (Short) are obsolete and are no longer used in most cases.

What is a good score on the Watson-Glaser test?

Each company that administers the test has different standards. However, a score of 75% or higher will give you the best chance to be selected by a top law firm. Note that the scoring system takes into account the level of difficulty of each question—incorrectly answering easy questions or correctly answering difficult ones has higher significance on the final score.

Is the Watson-Glaser test hard?

The Watson-Glaser test is difficult, especially for individuals who aren’t familiar with the question types in the test. Familiarizing oneself with the test through practice tests will make it easier to move through the test quickly, and the tips and tricks available through most practice test companies will help you quickly answer questions.

How do you pass a critical thinking test?

The most important thing you can do to pass a critical thinking test is to take a practice test beforehand. The practice test will familiarize you with the type of questions you can expect to see on the test, and help you understand what the test is measuring.

What does the Watson-Glaser test measure?

The test will measure your ability to do the following:
1. Draw Inferences
2. Recognize assumptions
3. Think critically and logically interpret information
4. Draw conclusions based on given facts
5. Evaluate arguments as weak or strong

What are the sections of the Watson-Glaser test?

The test is divided into 5 sections: 
1. 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.
2. Recognition of Assumptions: In this section, you will encounter assumptions based questions.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. Analyzing arguments: To examine arguments, you will have to assess whether the provided statement is strong or weak.

How many questions are on the Watson-Glaser test?

There will be 40 multiple choice questions that you need to complete in only 30 minutes in the timed version.

Why is there a timed version of 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.

Icon Tips White Watson Glaser Test Tips

1. Answer strictly based on the provided info

Answer each question solely based on the conditions and facts provided in the question, and not by using your own industry knowledge.

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. 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.

5. 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.

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  • Test Location: The Watson-Glaser test is either administrated online at home by accessing a link sent to the candidate or by the hiring company, typically in their office.
  • Test Schedule: The test generally takes place following at least an initial interview. 
  • Test Format: Multiple choice questions delivered either online or in pen-paper format (Watson Glaser II forms D & E only)
  • Test Materials: Computer or pen-paper.
  • Cost: None.
  • Retake Policy: Determined by each employer.

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The Watson-Glaser test is the property of the Pearson’s Clinical Assessment Group. It is part of the Pearson TalentLens portfolio, which focuses on pre-employment talent assessment and employee growth. 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.

About this Course

(105 Ratings)

Welcome to iPrep’s Watson Glaser Critical Thinking Appraisal (WGCTA) Course.

This course will help you boost your skills and with it your confidence towards your upcoming Watson Glaser test. The course will provide you with the following tools and benefits:

  • You will become familiar with all of Watson Glaser’s five types of questions – Inference, Recognition of Assumptions, Deductions, Interpretations, and Evaluation of Arguments.
  • You will be given two full-length 40-question Watson-Glaser-style simulation tests. These simulations include similar questions to those you will encounter in the real test with the same level of difficulty. They also have the same estimated time limit as the real test. Experiencing the test’s time pressure will ensure it will not come as a surprise on test day.
  • You will be provided with a great variety of helpful tips for the different types of questions. Some of the tips are in the guidance sections and additional ones in the detailed explanations that follow each question.

15 Learning Hours9 Practice Tests246 Questions30 Day Access


By the end of this course, you will be more knowledgeable and comfortable with the Watson Glaser Test – Knowledge and familiarity with the test are the two most significant factors that can help you maximize your score and improve your chances of success.

The course is comprised of two parts – guidance and the test simulations. In the guidance section, we will review each type of question, its purpose, and its underlying logical mechanism. You will also have a chance to practice several test-level questions before approaching the test simulation to get a feel for the challenge ahead.

Afterward, you will proceed to the simulation of full-length tests that accurately follow the structure and concepts of the Watson Glaser. Once done, you will be able to get full question explanations and even see how well you performed in comparison with other people who have taken the test.

Wishing you an enjoyable learning experience!


Skills You Will Learn

Recognition of AssumptionsEvaluation of ArgumentsDrawing Conclusions


Curriculum

  1. Course Introduction
  2. Question Types Guidance
  3. Full-Length Watson-Glaser-Style Simulations
  4. Course Conclusion

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dr. Roy van den Brink-Budgen

Co-founder and Director of Studies of the Centre for Critical Thinking

Dr. Roy van den Brink-Budgen has been working in the field of critical thinking for over thirty years. His experience has included the development of various assessments in critical thinking, and teaching the subject to a wide range of groups (students from primary to postgraduate, teachers from primary to college, juvenile offenders, and business managers). He has also written seven books on the subject, many journal articles, and online courses for secondary students and MBA students (as well as having produced a critical thinking card game). He has given presentations to various international conferences on critical thinking and creative thinking.

His work in critical thinking has taken him to many countries (including France, India, Malaysia, New Zealand, Spain, the UK, and Singapore – where he is the Director of Studies at the Centre for Critical Thinking). He serves as a consultant on critical thinking to PocketConfidant, an international company that is developing AI for personal coaching. In addition, he runs a company that provides various services in critical thinking – if…then ltd – based in the UK.

 


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CUSTOMER TESTIMONIAL

I am 100% sure that working through the examples & reading the explanations provided by iPrep has improved my scores!


Mike Walter

June 12, 2019 at 12:37 PM

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(105 Ratings)

Get to know what the Watson Glaser Critical Thinking Appraisal Test (WGCTA) will be like by taking this free Watson Glaser Practice test: