Verbal Comprehension

What are verbal comprehension tests?

Verbal comprehension tests assess a candidate’s ability to read a passage of information quickly, and identify relevant information from that passage. For example a question may require a candidate to scan through a passage of information regarding a current event, and the candidate will be presented with a list of statements which may or may not be correct, requiring the candidate to select which statement is correct/incorrect based on the passage above. This will be undertaken under timed conditions and the candidate will have to read the passage quickly, and answer the questions accurately.

Verbal reasoning or verbal comprehension?

Verbal comprehension is a form of verbal reasoning ability, and all verbal reasoning tests will assess verbal comprehension either directly or indirectly. Tests which only assess verbal comprehension are also common, and will not assess other areas of verbal reasoning, i.e. logical reasoning, English proficiency, verbal application etc. Verbal comprehension tests are likely to be encountered for administration, call centre and customer service roles as they require candidates to analyse and identify relevant verbal data very quickly.

Verbal comprehension advice

Here are some recommendations and practical tips to help you perform at your best for your verbal comprehension test:

1. Read quickly and thoroughly: Verbal comprehension tests are fast paced and candidates are provided little time to read the passage and answer questions. However it is an imperative that candidates read the passage, the question and the provided statements very thoroughly as at first glance it is easy to misread the question, and end up answering the wrong question, for example the question may ask which statement is INCORRECT, but when skim reading a candidate may assume it means which statement is CORRECT. Practicing these tests can allow candidates to find the correct balance between reading speed and accuracy.

2. Only use the passage for information: Many candidates will read a passage, but still let their own knowledge/opinions shape their answers to the question. When answering these questions you must only answer based on the information presented, or not presented in the given passage. Even if the statement contradicts what you already know to be true, you must answer purely based on the given passage.

3. Stay calm: Verbal comprehension tests can be particularly nerve racking due to their quick pace and strict time limits. Getting used to being tested under timed conditions is a highly effective method of preparing yourself for a verbal comprehension test, and practice verbal reasoning tests provide an ideal method for this. Taking deep breaths, ignoring your surroundings and not looking at the clock excessively can help calm you down, while insuring you work at the correct pace.

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