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The Watson Glaser test and other psychometric tests for lawyers

Published on: 8 Mar 2018

After applying for a position in a law firm in the UK, one of the first challenges you'll be faced with are the various psychometric tests used by legal firms and graduate employers. These tests are standard for barristers, solicitors and a range of other graduate jobs in the legal field. Preparing for these tests is essential, as many candidates fail to pass them and are subsequently never invited to interview for the position.

Aptitude testing for Lawyers and Legal Careers

As a prospective lawyer you are most likely to come across the following three types of psychometric test:

1.    Watson Glaser/Critical Reasoning Tests
2.    Situational Judgement Tests
3.    Verbal Reasoning Tests


Watson Glaser and other Critical Reasoning tests

Over the last few years, critical reasoning tests have become an increasingly important element of the recruitment process for lawyers. The most established of these tests is the Watson Glaser test.

A large number of law firms now use the Watson Glaser as their primary assessment tool for new candidates. The test takes from 40 to 55 minutes, and is composed of five sections; each of which tests a different aptitude. The sections are: inference; interpretation; deduction; recognition of assumptions; and evaluation of arguments. The test is by no means easy, and thoroughly examines your critical reasoning faculties. Click here to practise the Watson Glaser test.

NB The BCAT – a requirement for students who intend to sit the Bar Professional Training Course – is almost identical to the Watson Glaser test. Click here to practise the BCAT test.


Situational Judgement Tests for lawyers

Unlike most other types of aptitude test, Situational Judgement Tests (SJTs) don't actually test for a specific ability such as reading comprehension. Instead they seek to assess an applicant's values and how well they fit with those of the hiring organisation.

SJTs will present a number of workplace-related scenarios, the aim of these tests is to see how well your responses mesh with the company culture. The questions are multiple choice and scenarios will generally revolve around resolving hypothetical workplace conflicts and prioritising tasks.

There are two keys to succeeding in these tests. The first is to check the company's website to see what their values are and what they'll be looking for on a SJT. Secondly, make sure that you practice mock tests so that you get a feel for the type of questions that will be asked and the best way to approach the tests. Click here to practise Situational Judgement Tests just like the ones used by law firms.


Verbal Reasoning tests for lawyers

As a lawyer, much of the work that you will be expected to perform will involve assessing, interpreting and understanding texts. For that reason, law firms and in-house legal departments use verbal reasoning tests to assess an applicants' level of verbal comprehension and logic. 

Verbal tests normally present a number of connected paragraphs and/or sentences, which you will need to answer using your reading comprehension and logic skills. The most common format has multiple-choice answer options in the form of true/false/cannot say, although there are many verbal tests that use other forms of multiple choice. The purpose of the test is to evaluate the test-taker's ability to comprehend the text, and then analyse and interpret the information.

Click here to practise Verbal Reasoning tests for lawyers.


You can get hold of practice tests, with thorough strategy guides and test tips, for the psychometric tests used in the law sector's recruitment processes at JobTestPrep.