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Assessments & Examinations

Mental Ability Tests: Types, Examples & Tips To Score Well

Tips to Ace Mental Ability Tests

What is a mental ability test?  

A mental ability test, also known as a mental aptitude test, analyses the overall potential of a student and helps determine their strengths and weaknesses. It evaluates different skill sets through various types of questions, which are based on multiple abstract topics and need to be answered within a specific time frame. Students need to apply their presence of mind and logical reasoning skills while attempting a mental ability test. Thus, these tests help students develop skills that are required at different stages of life to build up a career.

Characteristics of Mental Ability Test

  • The difficulty level of these tests increases as they go on.
  • They are generally in the multiple-choice or short answer format.

Categories of Mental Ability Test

Various types of evaluation tests are used to examine students’ mental abilities and enhance their skill sets.  Mental ability tests can be classified as general ability tests or cognitive psychometric ability tests.

Generally, IQ tests fall under this category, which evaluates students’ ability to analyze and reason, as well as their problem-solving skills and ability to adapt to new challenges.

Cognitive and Psychometric Ability Test

It determines students’ strengths and weaknesses in different subjects or job-related areas; high-thinking ability; reasoning skills, such as verbal, abstract and analytical reasoning; quantitative skills and information-checking skills.

Types of Cognitive and Psychometric Mental Ability Test

The cognitive and psychometric ability tests are further classified into two: logical/abstract reasoning and verbal reasoning.

  1. Logical/Abstract Reasoning

Example of logical reasoning questions:

Dan is Joshua’s son and Guy’s brother. Margaret is Guy’s mother and Judy’s daughter. Which of the statements below is definitely true?

1. Judy is Dan’s mother-in-law

2. Margaret is Dan’s mother

3. Judy is Joshua’s grandmother

4. None of the above

Correct Answer: 4

The correct answer is 4) ‘None of the above’.

From the question, we know that Dan and Guy are siblings. However, we do not know whether they are full siblings or half-brothers. Margaret, who is Guy’s mother, might not be Dan’s mother, and Joshua, who is Dan’s father, might not be Guy’s father.

Tips to score well in logical reasoning tests

  • Jot down strategies: While preparing for these tests, jot down some easiest strategies like how to start with a question and from where to start solving it which will help in solving logical reasoning questions in a faster and smarter way.
  • Look for clues in the given options: Logical reasoning questions have a number of options from which the answers have to be selected. Look for clues in the options to find out the correct answer(s).        

2. Verbal Reasoning

Verbal reasoning questions examine students’ command of the language. They help students enhance the ability to analyze information and solve problems through a language-based reasoning approach. There are different types of verbal reasoning tests.

Rearranging sentences
This type of test examines students’ skills in rearranging sentences in a paragraph. Students are asked to arrange 4 to 5 jumbled sentences in chronological order.

In this test, students are asked to find out whether there is an interrelation between two sets of sentences. These questions are common in most competitive exams.

Example of reasoning questions:

  1. (A) Bangladesh imports jute from India.
  2. (R) Bangladesh has most of the jute mills.                 


  1. Both A and R are true and R is the correct explanation of A.
  2. Both A and R are true but R is NOT the correct explanation of A.
  3. A is true but R is false.
  4. A is false but R is true.
  5. Both A and R are false.

Correct Answer: E. Both A and R are false.

Justification: When Bangladesh was formed after the partition of India, jute production fields became a part of  Bangladesh while jute mills were left in India. Therefore, India imports raw jute from Bangladesh.

In this type of test, candidates are given a paragraph followed by a few statements.  They are required to choose the statement that accurately summarises the paragraph.

  • Reading comprehension
    In these types of tests, students are asked to read a paragraph and answer a few questions based on it. Students should go through the paragraph well before answering the questions.

Tips to score well in verbal reasoning tests

  • Keep the time frame in mind: Always remember that these tests are time-bound. Hence, plan out the time that should be spent on each question.
  • Read the questions attentively: Before answering questions, read them attentively to understand what exactly has been asked. Sometimes, questions can be a little tricky; so, reading them carefully helps in finding the answers fast.
  • Don’t struggle with one question for long:  If you do not know the answer to a question, leave it for the time being and move to the next. Do not spend a lot of time trying to find the answer to that.

3. Data Interpretation

These types of tests are the easiest; yet many times, it may be difficult to find their accurate answers. These questions generally include a lot of data, and thus, should be solved in an organized manner. If a correct approach is not taken, this might consume a lot of time. Generally, these are comprehensive questions with an infographic displaying a mathematical formula or pie chart.

Such questions require students to interpret the given data and find the answer.  Let us consider an example.

  1. Study the following table and answer the questions.

Expenditures of a company (in Lakh Rupees) per annum over the given years

YearItem of Expenditure

SalaryFuel and TransportBonusInterest on LoansTaxes

What is the average amount of interest per year the company paid during this period?

  1. ₹32.43 lakh
  2. ₹33.72 lakh
  3. ₹34.18 lakh
  4. ₹36.66 lakh

Answer: Option D

Tips to score well in data interpretation tests

  • Do not spend a lot of time on a single question: In a test of 30 questions, spend only one minute on each question to avoid leaving questions unanswered.
  • Choose answers carefully: Questions are followed by tricky, multiple-choice answers,  which might confuse you. So, use your intelligence to find the answers and don’t fall for the trick.

4. Puzzles

This is the oldest form of mental ability tests. These problems require extensive thinking. Let us consider an example.

  1. There are 8 batteries, out of which only  4 batteries work. You have to use them in a flashlight that needs only 2 working batteries. To guarantee that the flashlight is turned on, what is the minimum number of battery pairs you need to test?

Correct Answer: Best guess – Eight

Divide 8 batteries into 4 pairs and try them all. If none works, they all must have 1 bad and 1 good battery. Then, pick any two pairs and mix and match. The worst-case should take 4 more tries.

Tips to solve puzzles:

  1. Find out only one rule: The given questions may contain irrelevant data to confuse you.
  2. Look at only one aspect of the question to solve it quickly.

Need for Mental Ability Tests

Mental ability tests help in determining the temperament of students when something out of the box is asked of them. Such tests examine their time management skills and encourage a fresh perspective on life. In short, a mental ability test enhances:

  • the ability to take the right decision at the right time.
  • mental alertness and the ability to quickly interpret data.
  • intelligence and reasoning skills.
  • time management skills.

The above details about the mental ability test will help to narrate a clear picture of it to the students.


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