Can you fail a Watson Glaser test?
The Watson Glaser test is an aptitude test given by law firms to test your ability to think critically. Firms often give it to students as part of the assessment process for a training contract and/or vacation scheme. It is an online test that takes around half an hour and has several multiple choice questions. There is no set pass mark or fail mark, as most firms assess students on a percentile basis compared to the other applicants. However, if you do not do as well as the other applicants it is unlikely that you will progress to the next stage. A few firms provide you with your percentile score, but there are many that do not.
What does the test assess?
The test assesses your ability to think critically; whether you can spot weak arguments and detect facts from assumptions. Questions will present a scenario and a few statements that are related to the question, and you will have to work out if the statements are true or based on assumptions (false).
Overall, there are five different sections and each one aims to assess your ability to do something different: make correct inferences, come to conclusions, evaluate arguments, make deductions and recognise assumptions. When taking the test, it’s important to focus only on the information on the page and not to think about outside sources or information you’ve read elsewhere.
How can I prepare for the test?
The important thing to remember is that the test differs from university exams in the sense that students cannot study for the test by reading law textbooks and practising essays. To some that may be a positive, but many people struggle with tests like these. There are many tests available online; for instance, Clifford Chance have their own free practice test.
To improve your critical thinking skills, it’s a good idea to read editorials in newspapers which are making a specific argument. Try to find articles about something you are interested in. While you are reading these articles, look to see which arguments you think are strong and which arguments you think are weak. Another good idea is to watch political debates such as Prime Minister’s Questions, although make sure you set your own biases aside.
The Watson Glaser test is an exam that many aspiring law students find difficult; however doing regular practice tests and actively practicing critical thinking skills can improve your likelihood of passing the test.
Selection & Assessment