How to prepare for an assessment center (2) – logical tests

In part two of the Assessment Center series, I will focus shortly on logical tests. Logical tests (also called numerical or psychometric reasoning tests) are used by recruiters to measure your logical capabilities and in most cases are looked at to compare you with other candidates.

Some people panic at the sheer idea they will have to deal with numbers in a test. Especially people who weren’t the brightest at math in high school will probably feel uncomfortable when they hear that logical tests are part of the recruitment process.

No need to panic though! There’s very little mathematical knowledge required to prepare for these tests (unless it’s stated as such and mathematical knowledge or calculus is a job requirement – in which case you should be prepared anyway).

The process is simple and looks a lot like a school exam. You’ll be sitting alone or in a group in a classroom and you’ll either have to do it on PC or written. Usually, there’s a time limit in which you need to complete the test.

Logical tests can be a bit annoying. Especially if you get nervous under time pressure. You’ll usually get 60 minutes or so to complete a bunch of those tests and if that stresses you out it can be really daunting.

What kind of tests should I expect?

Usually you will get one or a mix of these:

  • Inductive reasoning – recognize patterns in a sequence of images
  • Diagrammatic reasoning – recognize the rules or process behind a sequence of images
  • Deductive reasoning – identify the missing link in a sequence (start, middle, or ending) often compared with Sudoku puzzles.
Example of a typical logical test question

How is this job related?

In general, these tests have little to no relationship with your future job role. However, there are some exceptions. If you’re applying for a job in the finance job the numbers or examples provided might be a bit more relatable to your job.

One example finance graduate positions might require is passing a test on ratios, percentages, yield calculations, etc. Very often these are included in the recruitment process as a separate business case or a specific finance aptitude test.

How important is this test compared to the other assessments?

A little. These tests are aimed at measuring your non-verbal skills. And whilst we expect most candidates to average around the same score it’s important to understand that you might be competing with other people who score better at this test and might be seen consequently as better candidates.

The impact of this test might be more limited if you ace the other parts of the recruitment process but generally speaking the advice is simple: take this part as serious as the rest of your assessment center.

Finally, how do I prepare?

There’s no golden way to prepare for any of these. The best option I can advice is to do three things:

  • Try to find out which exercise the assessment center will throw at you so you know what to expect more or less. Feel free to contact the recruiter, there’s no harm in that whatsoever.
  • Google said exercise and do a few of the tests on your own at home to get you back in the right mindset, especially if you struggle with understanding the basic topics of an exercise when you start or you haven’t done any of these for a while. There are numerous online reasoning tests you can find online. Take your time a few weeks before your test to complete a few of these tests!
  • Relax and make sure you are well-rested. Being focused and alert is what mostly makes the difference in these tests.

Good luck!


Tales from the office helps employees and managers find their way in the vast world of corporate life.

By sharing non-generic real life advice I hope to help anyone out looking for guidance on surviving the rat race.

My advice is based on +10 years of senior management experience in a Fortune 500 company.


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