The Watson Glaser Critical Thinking test is one specific type of psychometric test often used in the recruitment process of many big law firms such as Clifford Chance, DLA Piper, Hill Dickinson, Dentons, Simmons & Simmons etc. Therefore, it is important for any aspiring lawyer to learn how to approach the Watson Glaser accurately and efficiently.
Preparation: PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE
1. My TOP TIP is to create a tracker chart. Not only does this highlight the areas you need to work on, but it will give you a confidence boost as your marks improve (note I got 0% in the assumptions component for the first ever full test I did). As you can see from the chart, it took me two months of determined practice to finally get the hang of the Watson Glaser - but once it clicked, it clicked for good. So be kind yourself and don't expect results overnight!
2. Read the feedback and take notes. With every practice you do, read the answers provided – even if you got the question correct, you need to make sure your reasoning matches the answer. Keep a record of any example questions so you can continuously revise them and ensure you understand the logic behind each answer.
It is important to remember WG is a specific kind of logic test, which may differ from other critical thinking tests. E.g. ‘not all’ could mean ‘none’ or ‘some’ could mean ‘all’. There is also an element of algebra to the deduction section so it helps to visualise the question as A > B C=A etc.
3. Approach literally. Most sections ask you to regard everything as true, so try to minimise your own knowledge and focus specifically on the text in the question. This was my weakest area, but it is very important to separate your own personal views - especially when faced with a controversial statement.
Breaking down the components:
ASSUMPTIONS. Here you will get a statement followed by a series of proposed assumptions and you have to establish whether the proposed assumption is being taken for granted. To answer these, I asked myself the following two questions:
Has the assumption that [insert] been made in the statement that [insert]?
Does statement X rely on the assumption Y?
However you could also consider exactly WHAT is being taken for granted and whether the contrary is true. I will point out this was consistently my worse category so check out other resources for more info!
INFERENCES. This asks you analyse the degree of truth of various statements. You must regard EVERYTHING as true!
TRUE: beyond reasonable doubt so must be written in the text.
PROBABLY TRUE: inferred but not explicitly written. Often uses words e.g. such as/suggests ~ therefore not ‘more info required’
MORE INFO REQUIRED: take a guilty/not guilty approach. On the facts, could you argue true/false equally? Or the statement may be absent altogether.
PROBABLY FALSE: same as probably true. On balance more likely false than true.
FALSE: misrepresents or contradicts the facts. Is it written in the text?
DEDUCTION. You must decide whether the conclusion logically follows the prior statement. Can involve an element of algebra and Venn diagrams so make sure you know the basics!
All A = B
All B = C
Therefore, some A = C
‘Some’ could be ‘all’.
‘Not all’ could be ‘none’.
E.g. apples are tasty — all apples are tasty (including rotten ones).
Therefore if a statement says ‘some’ but conclusion says ‘all’, this does not follow.
Also, just because something applies to X and Y, doesn’t mean it will apply to Z (unless specified).
INTERPRETATION: This varies from Deduction as you have to be sure the conclusion follows beyond all reasonable doubt. Assume all the facts given to be true (even if they are not true in the real world). I haven’t got a specific trick to this, just make sure you take everything literally!
EVALUATION: You have to evaluate whether the argument presented is strong/weak. Double check to see if the assumption is actually addressing the question.
STRONG: relevant/impactful, addresses the statement clearly and directly, explains view point and states outcome.
WEAK: merely describes its position without offering advantages/disadvantages, not a similar debate, no links between cause and effect.
Firms that offer practice tests: Clifford Chance, Hogan Lovells, Linklaters.
4th Year LLB
Please note: I am not an expert but this is just what worked for me - and I hope it works for you too!