OD-Tools Abstract Reasoning Test

OD-Tools Abstract Reasoning Test provides an efficient way to measure "General Mental Ability". It was designed to be a faster and "workplace oriented" alternative to the classic Raven's Progressive Matrices. The difficulty level is suitable for working adults. The measuring range is between 55 - 145 IQ points, making it suitable for most jobs. The test items were developed by Kaori Takenaka, Fiona Chan, and Michal Kosinski of Cambridge University Psychometrics Centre and have been validated on an international sample of more than 40000 respondents. Features:

  • Fast and efficient: it takes 30 minutes;
  • Free from biases caused by cultural background or subject knowledge;
  • Administration: computer based.

The test is designed according to classical test theory. It contains 25 items of progressive difficulty. It begins with a clear explanation, and the progressively increasing difficulty assures that candidates of all IQ levels understand what they are supposed to do.

What does the Abstract Reasoning Test measure?


British psychologist Charles Spearman (1863-1945) observed that children's performance ratings across seemingly unrelated school subjects were positively correlated. Analyzing large amount of data, he concluded that “clever” students tend to be “clever” in most subjects. He theorized a central factor “g” (General Mental Ability) to explain this phenomenon. Spearman's definition of "g", the central factor of intelligence, is: "the innate ability to perceive relationships and educe co-relationships", often referred to as intelligence or IQ. Using the metaphor of computers, we could say our hardware is basically similar, but with a degree of individual variance: some of us has a little bit slower CPU, some has a faster one. The slow CPU will run all programs slower, the fast will run all programs faster. The Abstract Reasoning Test aims to measure this central “g” factor, which is not related to any subject knowledge or culture.

Why is Abstract Reasoning important at work?


Frank Schmidt and John Hunter published a summary on the various studies under the title “General Mental Ability in the World of Work: Occupational Attainment and Job Performance” (2004, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology). The authors conclude: “This article presents the research evidence that GMA predicts both occupational level attained and performance within one’s chosen occupation and does so better than any other ability, trait, or disposition and better than job experience.” The evidence includes studies from a wide range of jobs and occupational levels.

Abstract Reasoning Tests are as free from cultural bias or subject knowledge bias as possible (they are culture fair), therefore they are often the preferred instruments for measuring the GMA, and they are widely used in occupational settings. The most famous abstract reasoning test, the grandfather of all others, Ravens Progressive Matrices is near 80 years old. The OD-Tools AR builds on the same principles as Ravens, but to provide a better protected (less known by test takers) test designed for use in occupational settings.

To sum it up, the Abstract Reasoning score can predict employees' capability for:

  • Learning new knowledge;
  • Analyzing data, identifying trends and connections, and applying them to solve problems;
  • Making logically correct judgment and decisions;
  • Thinking strategically and grasping the bigger picture;
  • Interpreting trends and changes within the relevant business field.

These capabilities are useful in a wide range of jobs.

The downside of Abstract Reasoning is its low content validity: the test items on the surface are not similar to job tasks. Therefore employers should conduct a local validity study to verify relationship between test score and work performance, and determine the ideal score ranges for different positions.