The levels of difficulty of the abstract tests

The abstract reasoning test can be used to assess individuals at different organisational levels (such as graduate, professional and managers) as well as in different occupations. Psychometric testing companies typically use abstract reasoning tests with different difficulty levels and benchmarks to ensure that the test is appropriate to the occupation and organisational level and accurately measures candidates’ abilities and potential against these. Employers expect you to demonstrate stronger abstract reasoning skills as a graduate than a non-graduate. Similarly, if you apply for a management role, you are expected to show stronger abstract reasoning skills than a graduate. The type of occupation also determines the level of difficulty of the test. For example, if you apply as a graduate for an engineering role, you will be expected to show higher abstract reasoning skills than if you applied as a graduate for a marketing role.

When taking the abstract test, you are likely to find some of the abstract reasoning questions to be simple, some more difficult, and some very difficult. However, the overall test’s level of difficulty will match that of the job you applied for.

What is a more difficult abstract reasoning test?

There are several abstract reasoning tests that are typically used for selecting candidates. Each test has a certain level of difficulty. This level of difficulty is similar across all the test questions. The level of difficulty is determined by:

  1. the number of logical rules used to define a group of shapes
  2. the complexity of the rules
  3. the time constraints.

An abstract reasoning test with a low level of difficulty will typically have only one simple, logical rule for each group of shapes and allow a reasonable amount of time per question. For example, a sequential series of shapes in which each shape turns 90 degrees counterclockwise to make up the next shape is considered a to have a low level of difficulty.

As the number of rules and their complexity increases and the time allowed is shortened, the test is considered to be more difficult. Abstract tests that include groups of shapes that are based on two or three rules and allow between 30 and 45 seconds for each question are considered to be of medium level of difficulty. Abstract tests that include groups of shapes that are based on three or more complex rules and allow less than 30 seconds for a question are regarded to be of high level of difficulty. 

The abstract reasoning test is designed so that only a small number of test-takers can correctly answer all questions within the time limit.