What Is Critical Thinking?
Critical thinking, also known as critical reasoning, is a form of decision making and reasoning using data and observations. Someone who is a strong critical thinker can find quality solutions efficiently and can evaluate issues objectively.
What Is a Critical Thinking Test?
Critical thinking tests provide companies valuable insight into the leadership, reasoning, and overall capabilities of candidates. Because strong critical thinking skills are highly sought after, the critical thinking test can be applicable to any field and discipline across multiple levels of expertise from recent graduate to executive. However, it is commonly administered to those applying for criminal justice and business-related occupations.
Job seekers with upcoming critical thinking tests will be evaluated on more than their ability to rationalize, critical thinking tests also measure the following subsets:
- Organizing & Planning
- Decision Making
- Problem Solving
The format of the critical thinking uses hypothetical scenarios to assess candidates. The scenarios are typically relevant to the field you are interested in to assess your knowledge of the role. There will also be general questions concerning more basic issues or problems that commonly occur in a workplace environment.
The critical thinking test is multiple-choice with thirty minutes to complete the assessment. Candidates will receive a notification stating whether or not they passed within a week of completion.
How Is the Critical Thinking Test Scored?
The critical reasoning test is scored based on your raw score and your percentile in comparison with your norm group. It’s important to note that these will not be the same number.
A norm group is a collection of scores from individuals in your field at your level of experience. The percentile score is used to alert employers if you exceed, meet or miss the benchmark for the average expectations of candidates. You will be rated on a scale of one to one hundred with fifty consisting of the mean and median scores.
A raw score is simply the number of correct answers. The critical thinking test comprises your raw score based on the performance in the following areas:
- Recognizing Assumptions
The candidate must be able to understand when a statement is made with no supporting evidence and how this can affect a decision. Further, candidates are asked to identify these discrepancies, whether they are stated explicitly or implicitly, and assess its relevance to the given scenario.
- Evaluating Arguments
Candidates must evaluate arguments without considering inferences or being subjective. Beyond that, candidates must assess the supporting evidence, the structure of the argument and the degree of its influence. It is very important to dismiss emotions for this portion of the critical thinking test.
- Drawing Conclusions
Drawing conclusions puts a large emphasis on reasoning. In this section, it’s important to assess all of the available evidence and data to form a plausible conclusion that accurately applies to all the given information. Employers also want to see candidates that will consider all possible solutions rather than making the evidence fit a desired narrative.
Employers will receive all of this information in a performance report construed by the assessment company. Employers will also be given insight into your overall potential, job knowledge, creativity and job performance per the report.
Where Will I Take a Critical Thinking Test?
Critical thinking tests are non-proctored online assessments that are typically sent via email after an initial screening. For some occupations, the company may ask that the candidate take the critical thinking test again on-site either before their final interview or during an assessment day. The most common test candidates are asked to take is the Watson Glaser Critical Thinking Appraisal (WGCTA) created by the popular assessment company, Pearson. This assessment company is on their third edition with new scoring and subsets described above. The WGCTA gained popularity because of its ability to assess a candidate’s potential alongside their aptitude. Another established assessment is the SHL Critical Reasoning Battery that contains sixty questions with a thirty-minute time limit. Both of the aforementioned critical thinking tests are multiple choice.
How to Prepare for the Critical Thinking Test?
The critical thinking test is difficult to study for because the test is designed to assess your bare knowledge and raw skills. In order to prepare successfully, it is important to focus on the areas of the test that you can equip yourself for. One aspect of the test that demands preparation is the time limit. Many candidates’ scores are negatively impacted because they skip or guess too many of the questions in an attempt to beat the clock. If you want to optimize your chances of achieving a good score, use online practice tests to acquaint yourself with the time constraint and the general theme of the questions. By utilizing the online practice tests, you can find the pace that works best for you. Another helpful way to prepare is running through sample questions. This way, you can warm-up your brain and gain an understanding of the expectations that both the test and the company have of you.