The Watson Glaser Test for Law Training Contracts

Law Training Contract Application Specialists

The Watson Glaser Test is a psychometric aptitude test used by law firms across the UK to test its candidates’ ability to think critically. It is used both by the Law industry and through a range of others – examples of employers that use it include Linklaters and Hogan Lovells, but also others from Deloitte through to The Bank of England. The Watson Glaser will be used in the shortlisting process to decide who is invited to an assessment centre, although it could equally be used as part of the decision-making process after that point. The test focuses on five areas. These are:

– Thinking critically
– Drawing conclusions
– Assessing strong and weak arguments
– Recognising assumptions
– Evaluating arguments

You should expect around 40 questions, which are divided into five sections. These sections are labelled as follows:

– Assessment of Inferences
– Recognition of Assumptions
– Deduction
– Interpretation
– Evaluation

All questions are multiple choice and you will need to complete the test within 30 minutes.

Assessment of Inferences in The Watson Glaser Test

In this section, each question is focused on a particular statement. You must assume that the information contained in the statement is true, and use only information given to decide on your answer. Each statement will have multiple inferences, which you must then label as either true, probably true, insufficient data, probably false, or false. An inference is drawing a conclusion from a combination of information given to you and your own reason – i.e. drawing a conclusion despite something not being directly stated to you. Remember that inferences can be wrong. As an example, consider that your friend Ron says he finds the coffee shop too expensive for lunch, and will instead eat a sandwich he made. You might therefore make an inference – that Ron is short on money – which could be incorrect (he might be saving, and therefore unable to afford it, for example).

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Recognising Assumptions in The Watson Glaser Test

In this section, you will be provided with a statement and a set of assumptions. You will need to decide whether each one is made in the statement. We make an assumption when we decide something to be true without proof. We make assumptions frequently, and you will barely notice yourself doing so. In the Watson Glaser test you will need to decide whether an assumption is made by breaking it down and deciding whether there is proof in the statement, or whether proof is lacking. As an example, consider the statement, ‘we’re losing the match, get Tom on the pitch.’ The statement Tom is a better player than the one currently on would not be an assumption made for the statement to make sense (he might be less tired, for example) whereas the statement Tom has the ability to win the game for us is an assumption made for the statement to make sense.

Deduction in The Watson Glaser Test

This section requires you to assess a set of conclusions, and then decide whether these conclusions follow from a passage that you are provided with. Your options are ‘follows’ or ‘does not follow.’ Deduction requires you to draw logical conclusions. A very simplified example would be:
Tom’s car is bigger than Daniel’s car. Daniel’s car is bigger than Roger’s car.

You can therefore deduce that Tom’s car is bigger than Roger’s.

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Interpretation in The Watson Glaser Test

This section of the Watson Glaser Test requires you to read and understand a piece of information, and then logically apply it. For this section, you are provided with a short paragraph and a few possible conclusions. You will need to assume that everything within the paragraph is true, and then assess the conclusions. An interpretation is defined as ‘the act or result of explaining or interpreting something: the way something is explained or understood.’

An example statement might be:

There are no trees above 6000m in the Himalayas, although moving from that height their number increases rapidly.

If you were then provided with the conclusion that ‘there are few trees above 5000m in the Himalayas’ then you would select ‘conclusion does not follow’ as we know that their number increases rapidly below 6000m – implying there would be a significant number above 5000m.

Evaluation of Arguments in The Watson Glaser Test

This section of the Watson Glaser Test assesses your ability to decide whether an argument is weak or strong. A strong argument is one that is focused on the topic and makes a logical counterargument. In general, more relevant detail is indicative of a stronger argument in a test like this. Remember to forget your own personal opinion and be entirely objective.

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