How to Answer Verbal Reasoning Questions in 5 Simple Steps

Your palms are shaking. Your legs are trembling. Your temples are glistening with a thin layer of sweat.

What else could this be indicative of but a test?

We’ve been there. If you’re feeling extra stressed about the dreaded day that’s about to creep up on you soon, we’re here to help. Tests are stressful enough as they are without having the added pressure of being verbal.

Here are five tips on answering questions and preventing that all-too-familiar rush of anxiety from kicking in:

1. Stay Focused on the Task at Hand

Verbal reasoning tests for civil service assess your ability to understand instructions and scenarios. It ultimately comes down to how well you process knowledge and react to it efficiently and effectively. You will be required to read a passage of text and identify whether it is ‘true’, ‘false’ or ‘impossible to determine’.

Try to focus on each section by zoning in on it and preventing yourself from getting distracted. You may feel a strong impulse to do too well which could backfire and leave your mind in a flurry. Leave the tactics at home and don’t try to sound smarter than you are. Trust your preparation, knowledge and decision-making ability.

A natural and effortless state of mind will help you answer best and prevent stressful over-thinking.

2. Manage Your Time Well

Time management is a make-it or break-it factor when it comes to answering questions, especially verbal reasoning questions. Keep an eye on the timer. While it shouldn’t make you haphazardly rush through answers, it will add the right touch of time-consciousness which will translate into logical, consistent and timely answering.

3. Read Carefully!

While you should be conscious of your pace, don’t forget to read and re-read the passage if necessary. You’ll have to strike the right balance between managing your time and patiently giving each question the attention it deserves.

Some passages may contain misleading information that could throw you off so read them carefully and look out for any such cues which may be easily overlooked otherwise. Each detail matters and could greatly impact the answer to the question!

4. Logic Over Assumption

It’s common for us to resort to making assumptions in cases where we don’t have clear-cut answers. If you don’t have a direct answer, you may consequently feel the need to make assumptions for missing elements in the passage.

We strongly recommend against this!

Try to take the test as literally as possible instead of giving your mind room to invent avenues for cues that you need to answer the question but cannot find. Instead of creating hypothetical pieces of data, use logic to determine a conclusion based on the information you have been provided in the passage.

Re-read if necessary but ultimately trust your decision-making abilities.

5. Don’t Stress Out!

This goes without saying but can ultimately be the biggest reason we fail to do our best. Have full confidence in your abilities and step into the room with self-assurance. You have spent days (maybe even weeks or months!) preparing for this and are bound to do well.

Trust your gut and fight any nervous energy or anxiety that tries to find its way in.

Want to know more about how you can ace your way through the competitive recruitment process for civil service positions in New York?

Head over to Civil Service Success and browse through a wide range of resources including interview tips, written exam guides and more!

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