The Watson Glaser test is composed of a set of five tests. Each test is designed to address a different aspect of critical thinking:
- Recognition of Assumptions
- Evaluation of Arguments
Each of these skills is tested separately. We will explore each of these in more detail below:
An inference is a conclusion a person can draw from certain observed or supposed facts. In other words, an inference is a conclusion based on evidence and reasoning. For example, if someone turns the key in the ignition of a car and it won’t start, a person might infer that the tank is empty. But this inference may or may not be correct. Possibly the battery is dead or the spark plug is broken. The problem with inferences is that people often reach a conclusion based on insufficient data, and therefore the conclusion may not be correct.
In this test, each exercise starts with a statement of facts that you are to regard as true. After each statement of facts you will find several possible answers in the form of conclusions that a person might draw from the stated facts.
You have to select the one which you feel is most accurate. These options are:
- True: if you believe the inference is definitely true; that it properly follows beyond a reasonable doubt from the statement of facts given.
- Probably True: if you believe that, based on the given facts, the inference is probably true; meaning that it is more likely to be true than false, but not true beyond a reasonable doubt.
- Insufficient data to say whether or not it is true: if you decide that there is not enough data to make a decision based on the provided facts (or lack of/missing facts).
- Probably False: if you believe that, based on the facts at hand, the inference is probably false; meaning that is more likely to be false than true, but there is not enough evidence to suggest that it is definitely false.
- False: if you believe that the inference is definitely false, meaning it must be incorrect because it misinterprets the facts given, or because it contradicts the facts or necessary inferences from those facts.
2. Recognition of Assumptions
An assumption is something presupposed or taken for granted. When a person tells you, ‘I’ll you see this afternoon’, you take for granted that they will be around this afternoon, and that they will not have a last minute change of plans, preventing them from seeing you in the afternoon.
In this part of the Watson-Glaser test you are presented with a number of statements. Each statement is followed by a series of proposed assumptions. You are to decide for each assumption whether they are logically justified based on the evidence in the statement. If you think that the assumption is taken for granted in the statement, and is therefore logically justified, select ‘assumption made‘. If you think the assumption is not necessarily taken for granted in the statement, select ‘assumption not made‘. However, you need to remember to judge each assumption independently.
Each of the exercises in the deduction test consists of several statements (premises) followed by several suggested conclusions. In this test you must take the statement to be true. After reading each conclusion underneath the given statement, you are to decide whether you think it follows from the statement provided or not. If you think it necessarily follows from the statement given, choose ‘conclusion follows‘. If you think it is not a necessary conclusion from the statements given, choose ‘conclusion does not follow‘ as answer, even though you may believe it to be true based on your general knowledge.
So remember: you must select your answer based only on the information presented in the exercise, not using your general knowledge.
4. Interpreting Information
This section of the test consists of a short paragraph followed by several suggested conclusions. The provided information needs to be assumed as true. The problem is to judge whether or not each of the proposed conclusions logically follows beyond a reasonable doubt from the given information. Therefore you need to interpret the information based on the facts mentioned in the paragraph, not by using your own common knowledge. If you think that a particular conclusion follows, beyond a reasonable doubt, you select ‘Conclusion Follows’. If you think the conclusion does not follow beyond a reasonable doubt, you select ‘Conclusion Does Not Follow’.
5. Analyzing Arguments
Arguments are assertions that are intended to persuade someone to believe or act a certain way. When making decisions, it is helpful to be able to distinguish between strong and weak arguments. Analyzing arguments is the ability to analyze such assertions objectively. A strong argument is rational and has relevance to the scenario provided, whereas the weak argument fails to comply with either or both of the elements. This section of the test contains series of argument-based questions. The provided information needs to be assumed as true, regardless of it being weak or strong. If you think an argument is strong, select ‘Strong Argument’ and if you consider an argument to be weak, select ‘Weak Argument’.