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What is Diagrammatic Reasoning?

Diagrammatic reasoning describes an individual’s ability to identify patterns, solve complex problems, and understand logical processes.

0:59 Quickly understand what diagrammatic reasoning means.

Psychometrically speaking, diagrammatic reasoning (also known as abstract, logical, inductive, or non-verbal reasoning) can be considered a facet of overall general cognitive ability, and thus large cognitive ability test batteries are likely to include sub-tests which are similar to diagrammatic reasoning tests. Diagrammatic reasoning itself is closely aligned to the concept of “fluid intelligence”, a person’s ability to solve problems using only logical reasoning (and not learned knowledge).

As a cognitive aptitude, diagrammatic reasoning is also particularly language free, relying on shapes, images, and diagrams to represent questions, making them especially culture-fair.

Within the commercial space, there is little agreement between test publishers as to what constitutes a diagrammatic reasoning test, and thus this term could refer to a wide range of different assessments. What one publisher calls diagrammatic reasoning, another could call logical reasoning, and vice versa. Nevertheless, there are a few common themes among diagrammatic reasoning tests. Firstly, diagrammatic reasoning tests all involve logical rules which alter the shape, size, colour, or layout of certain diagrams. Test takers are then required to identify these logical rules, and then choose the answer which best follows those rules. Secondly, diagrammatic reasoning tests will almost always have a single correct answer, usually with a number of possible answers. Lastly, diagrammatic reasoning tests tend to minimise any verbal loading, and thus should require as little reading as possible.

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