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How to Prepare for the Watson Glaser

So you’ve been asked to take the Watson Glaser (Critical Thinking Assessment) – this blog post is designed to provide potential test takers with a bit of background on the assessment, what it measures, and the types of questions it covers.  

Firstly, we would suggest that you combine the information in this blog with the details provided by whoever has asked to take the assessment e.g. the deadline you need to complete the test by, and who to contact if you have any questions regarding the assessment.  

Secondly, we would recommend that you review our standard test taking tips: 


About the Watson Glaser  

The Watson Glaser Critical Thinking Appraisal has been around since 1964, and it has evolved considerably since then. It is designed to assess critical thinking - the ability to recognise that a problem exists, to look for evidence to solve it, and assess this evidence in a logical way in order to determine new knowledge and direction. Critical Thinking is seen as a great skill required in today’s current climate, and is linked to performance in many roles.  

The most recent and commonly used version of the assessment is the Watson Glaser III. This version of the test is provided online and typically taken as a timed assessment with 40 questions over 30 minutes (unless any reasonable adjustments have been made to the time allowed or an untimed version is being used).  

As with any GFB online assessment, full instructions will be provided before you start the questionnaire. We suggest you pay full attention to these and only click to start the assessment when you are happy that you have fully understood the instructions. 

With the Watson Glaser III there are example questions provided as part of the assessment. Some testing teams also provide access to practice tests too, to allow individuals to familiarise themselves with the content and if one of these is available to you we strongly advise you take a look. 

GFB’s version of the Watson Glaser III is item banked, this means that if you have taken the assessment before it would be incredibly unlikely that you will get the same set of questions when you take the test again. There are also a number of technical protection measures in place to check how respondents answer the questionnaire - this makes the test very secure, whilst also being accessible for those that use adaptive technologies to support their work. 

Whilst the way the questions that are asked change, the structure of this test is constant. Therefore it is useful for those who may not have taken this assessment before to become familiar with the types of questions asked, and response options available. Details of each of these sections are below.  

The format of the Watson Glaser

The Watson Glaser is a multiple-choice online assessment, split into five sections. Each of these sections begins with an explanation of the area being assessed and the types of answer available for those questions. There are no trick questions. It is really important that, as with any test, you pay attention to the detailed instructions for each set of questions. Below is an explanation of each section with a sample question:  

  • Inference - rating the probability of the truth of inferences based on the information given (5 questions).  Test questions are focused on a single statement that you must assume is true. You are not able to use any outside knowledge to influence your answer. The single statement is then followed by a series of inferences relating to it,. For each proposed inference you are required to select if it is either true, probably true, that you have insufficient data, probably false or false.  

  • Recognition of assumptions - identifying unstated assumptions or presuppositions underlying given statements. (12 questions) You are issued with another statement to assess, and you are then given a number of assumptions related to that statement. You need to deduce whether assumptions have, or have not, been made.  

  • Deduction - determining whether conclusions follow logically from given information/data. (5 questions) You are presented with a passage and a series of proposed conclusions to the passage. You will need to determine whether the conclusion follows, or doesn’t follow, the information contained in the passage.  

  • Interpretation - weighing the evidence and deciding if generalisations or conclusions based on data are warranted. (6 questions) You are presented with a passage in which you assume everything to be true. You must determine the level of importance of the information provided, and apply it logically – analysing whether or not the conclusion follows or does not follow.  

  • Evaluation - evaluating the strength and relevance of arguments with respect to a particular question or issue (12 questions). From the information provided, you must be able to decide whether the argument presented is a strong one or a weak one.  

How long is the Watson Glaser test? 

The standard time given to complete the Watson Glaser test is 30 minutes. Reasonable adjustments are available if required. Your time taken will not affect your score, however, you will not be allowed to answer any more questions after the time allowed. Once the timer starts it cannot be stopped so you should make sure you don’t run out of time. If you are taking the timed version of this assessment there will be a countdown clock displayed in the top right-hand corner of the screen to allow you to track the time remaining and a progress bar displayed at the bottom of the screen to you to track your progress. If you finish the questions before the time is up, you can go back to questions you weren't sure of. An example of the timer and progress bar is shown below:  


Watson Glaser test day tips 

  1. Use your time wisely - don't spend too much time on a single question. If you finish the questions before the time is up, you can go back to questions you weren't sure you answered correctly. The time it took you to complete the test does not affect your score, so make sure to use every minute and answer all the questions. There are no trick questions.  

  1. Brush up on the test instructions - being very familiar with the test instructions before the actual test will have a massive effect on both your score and your ability to finish the test on time. Make sure you read and understand the instructions perfectly.  

Tips on how to improve critical thinking skills 

Although critical thinking is widely considered an innate ability, what you can consider is how you approach your response to each question e.g. reviewing the information presented and the answers available. Here are some basic tips on what to consider in your responses:  

  1. Ask basic questions to identify assumptions. Ask yourself, “What is being taken for granted?”, “How do I know this is true?”  

  2. Rate the quality of different assumptions. Start by identifying and listing the assumptions underlying each scenario, then explore whether each assumption is appropriate (e.g., how likely is this assumption to hold for this situation?). Factor in the implications and consequences of each (e.g., what if this assumption is wrong?).  

  3. Watch out for persuasion techniques. Does the argument include excessive appeals to emotions in place of sound reasoning? Does it push you toward a conclusion without exploring alternatives? Has key information been left out? Is there anything suspicious about the figures or sources used to support the argument?  

  4. Be objective and balanced. Look for information that is clear, relevant, recent, credible and fair. Actively seek out strong evidence for and against all arguments, especially when you favour certain arguments. Take time to take control of your emotions. It is important to balance your emotions with objective evaluation approaches, especially when you deal with controversial topics.  

  5. Draw it out. Represent verbal information graphically by using pictures, matrices, hierarchical tree diagrams, flow charts, and/or any other visual representation that may be useful. You can clarify your thinking by translating the verbal into the visual. This will help you make connections that weren’t immediately apparent.  

  6. Evaluate different conclusions. Generate multiple alternative conclusions based on the evidence. Consider who stands to gain from certain conclusions. Be sure to explore the consequences and impact of different conclusions as part of this process. 

Further questions  

For GFB Watson Glaser testing questions feel free to reach out the GFB support team, they are a really friendly bunch based in the UK and available on phone: +44(0)3330 902150, or email:  If you are considering using the test for your candidates contact our sales team on or +44 (0)3330 902 580  

Further reading 

If you want to read more take a look at our previous Watson Glaser research and articles:

Are you taking the test now?  

Or if you are you are taking the test now make sure you have remove any potential distractions and can give it your full attention and good luck!  


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