The Watson Glaser Critical Thinking Appraisal (WGCTA) is a popular and well-established psychometric test produced by Pearson Assessments. The test has been in formal use in the United States since the 1960s, but it gained global popularity toward the end of the 20th century. Today, the Watson Glaser Critical Thinking Appraisal is used for two main purposes:
It is administered by employers as either an online test (usually unsupervised at home, or in some cases at a test center), or as a paper version in an assessment center.
The Watson Glaser test is split into five sections. The old and long variation (Watson Glaser Critical Thinking Appraisal - Form A) consisted of 80 questions that had to be completed in 60 minutes. The new and short variation consists of 40 questions to be completed in 30 minutes.
Critical thinking, as applied in the Watson Glaser test, is the ability to look at a situation and assess it, to consider and understand multiple perspectives, and to recognize and extract the facts from opinions and assumptions.
Critical thinking is used in several stages of the problem-solving and decision-making process:
These skills are necessary for the many professions in which you must be able to evaluate evidence thoroughly before making a decision. This is particularly the case in the law field, as lawyers need to read and evaluate large amounts of documents.
The Watson Glaser test is divided into five sections, and each section has its own question type that assesses a particular ability.
In this section, you are asked to draw conclusions from observed or supposed facts. For example, if a baby is crying and it is feeding time, you may infer that the baby is hungry. However, the baby may be crying for other reasons—perhaps it is hot.
You will be presented with a short text containing a set of facts you should consider as true. Below the text is a statement that could be inferred from the text. You need to make a judgement on whether this statement is valid or not, based on what you have read.
You are asked to evaluate whether the statement is true, probably true, there is insufficient data to determine, probably false, or false.
In this section, you are asked to recognize whether an assumption is justifiable or not. Here you are given a statement followed by an assumption on that statement. You need to establish whether this assumption is made in the statement or not.
You are being tested on your ability to avoid taking things for granted that are not necessarily true. For example, you may say, "I’ll have the same job in three months," but you would be taking for granted the fact that your workplace won't make you redundant, or that that you won’t decide to quit and explore various other possibilities.
You are asked to choose between the options of assumption made and assumption not made.
This section tests your ability to weigh information and decide whether given conclusions are warranted. You are presented with a statement of facts followed by a conclusion on what you have read. For example, you may be told, "Nobody in authority can avoid making uncomfortable decisions." You must then decide whether a statement such as "All people must make uncomfortable decisions" is warranted from the first statement.
You need to assess whether the conclusion follows or the conclusion does not follow what is contained in the statement.
This section measures your ability to understand the weighting of different arguments on a particular question or issue. You are given a short paragraph to read, which you are expected to take as true. This paragraph is followed by a suggested conclusion, for which you must decide if it follows beyond a reasonable doubt.
You have the choice of conclusion follows and conclusion does not follow.
In this section, you are asked to evaluate the strength of an argument. You are given a question followed by an argument. The argument is considered to be true, but you must decide whether it is a strong or weak argument, i.e. whether it is both important and directly related to the question.
Once you have completed your test, the five sections are marked, and your result is set out against the three keys to critical thinking. These three areas look at your comprehension, analysis, and evaluation skills:
Critical thinking is important to potential employers because they want to see that when dealing with an issue you are able to make logical decisions without any emotion involved. When making decisions, being able to look past emotions will help you to be open-minded, confident, and decisive.
The Watson Glaser test is frequently used in recruitment processes as critical thinking ability is considered one of the strongest predictors of job success. This is because all professions require the ability to question, analyze, and make decisions, often under pressure.
Though official test publishers claim there is no way to prepare for the Watson Glaser, our experience shows that pre-exposure to critical thinking concepts, combined with comprehensive practice, creates awareness of the types of analytical skills required for this test, thereby increasing individual performance.
JobTestPrep offers a Watson Glaser Critical Thinking Appraisal preparation package, customized to the high level of critical thinking found on the Watson Glaser test. It will walk you through each of the five sections to ensure you have mastered all the necessary skills prior to taking the test. Also included are two full-length practice tests to help you feel ready and confident on test day.
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