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Raven’s Progressive Matrices Assessment Test Preparation

Aptitude Employment Tests Prep

The Raven’s Progressive Matrices was developed in the 1930’s by J.C. Raven to look at how genetic aspects and environmental factors influence intelligence. Since the test was designed without a cultural or ethnic bias and is a fair indicator of fluid intelligence, the test became widespread quickly and is commonly used as a pre-employment psychometric test now. Employers use it to help them get a better grasp on each candidate’s non-verbal reasoning capabilities.


What Is Raven’s Progressive Matrices Assessment?

The Progressive Matrices Assessment is a non-verbal reasoning test meant to assess abstract and cognitive functioning, spatial reasoning, analogical ability, and problem-solving ability. The test is also a good measure of fluid intelligence, which is the ability to reason and solve problems with new information only and without relying upon previously gained knowledge or skills.

The test has three different forms: standard, coloured, and advanced. The standard version was the original form of the test published in 1938. Usually, the advanced form is the one given to adults, though the coloured version may be used for those who are mentally or physically impaired in a way that would make the black-and-white versions too difficult to take. The questions are all non-verbal, and the test can be given verbally if necessary.


What Is the Format of Raven’s Progressive Matrices Assessment?

The format varies a bit depending on whether or not it is standard, coloured, or advanced. Since the advanced is the test usually given to graduates and job-seekers, that is the one this article will cover. As mentioned earlier, the questions are all non-verbal, as are the answers, and they are given in order of increasing difficulty. Usually the advanced progressive matrices assessment is given for higher level or more demanding positions.

Patterns are presented to candidates in a matrix form, and the task is to identify the missing element necessary to complete the pattern. The matrices are usually 3×3 matrices with geometric designs and label to represent the missing piece that should be selected. There is only one correct answer from among the set of eight responses on each question, and the answers are listed in multiple choice.

Depending on the version of the advanced test, the number of questions will vary from forty-eight to sixty questions. All questions will be listed in order of difficulty, and the questions are grouped into sets. Candidates will only have to choose one answer per question. The most recent version of the advanced test contains forty-eight problems, and most applicants complete it in twenty to forty-five minutes.


Rules and Scoring for the Raven’s Progressive Matrices

There are some key rules that are used to establish patterns in the Raven’s Progressive Matrices. The most common ones are discussed below.

  • Constant in a row: the pattern is the same for each row but changes for a column.
  • Quantitative progression: there is an increase or decrease between adjacent items with size, position, or number.
  • Figure addition or subtraction: figures from one column are added or subtracted from one column to produce the third.

There are other rules that may be applied to the matrices, and the goal of the test is to identify them and which ones have been applied to the shapes in the matrices in order to find the missing shape.

Shapes may be rotated, moved around the grid, changed in size or shape, have their filling altered, or more. These combinations give the test many different options for patterns and the rules governing them. Fortunately, the Raven’s Progressive Matrices Assessment has a set of fixed rules, and only those rules can be used to alter the shapes in the grid.

The Raven’s Progressive Matrices Assessment is scored on a percentile basis, which is converted from the percentage the candidate received. This percentile is compared to the national scores to give employers an idea of where the candidates rank in comparison to others who took the test.


How to Prepare for the Ravens Progressive Matrices?

Preparation for the Raven’s Progressive Matrices test is much like preparation for any IQ or abstract reasoning test. You should focus on your speed and accuracy when testing and be prepared to take it either online or in an assessment centre. Typically, the test is given online and used as follow-up after initial job applications or resumes are accepted. The test is strictly timed, so it is important to stick with the time limit and keep moving.

Paper is allowed for most situations on this test, so you should use it to keep close track of the patterns and rules you have already identified. Since there is only one correct option, you can use these rules to eliminate the incorrect answers and make your job easier. The timing you are given will depend on the goal of the employer who has asked you to take the exam, but this can help you to complete the test on time.


Tips for Success

Below are some tips and advice for doing well on the Raven’s Progressive Matrices. These can be used to both increase your speed and help you to do better with identifying the patterns on the actual exam.

  • Write down rules as you figure them out.
  • Keep track of any patterns you have noticed.
  • Focus on one rule at a time.
  • Practice identifying patterns in non-verbal reasoning practice tests or do logic puzzles that are non-verbal.
  • Keep an eye on the time.



At first, the Raven’s Matrix test may seem difficult and daunting. Preparing and practising for it may appear impossible. However, it is possible to do well on the test. It will require diligence and proper preparation, but candidates are able to gain percentile scores that stand out against other applicants. Your goal to be one of those individuals is within your reach.

Since the test is non-verbal, there is no bias against one candidate or another. The way to stand out is solely through your own cognitive ability and the practice you put into it. So, do the online practice tests and review sample problems until you feel confident, and then go take the test knowing you will be able to do well.