Law Firm Assessment Centres: Watson Glaser Critical Thinking Tests

Critical thinking skills are now assessed by more and more law firms as part of their graduate recruitment process. They are used for training contract and vacation scheme assessments because they indicate higher-order thinking.

Creative thinking is the method of evaluating problems in an open-minded and unorthodox manner. It involves analysing and evaluating different options objectively.

In order to think critically, you must have an in-depth understanding of the problem at hand.

These skills are extremely important for achieving success as a trainee solicitor and as a qualified lawyer and as such many law firms now test for these skills.

Watson-Glaser Critical Thinking Test

A specific test designed to measure critical thinking is the Watson-Glaser Critical Thinking Test. It is different from numerical and verbal reasoning tests although it can be used in conjunction with them.

It is used by more and more employers as part of their graduate recruitment processes, including.

  • Allen & Overy
  • Baker & McKenzie
  • Burges Salmon
  • Clifford Chance
  • Dentons
  • Government Legal Service
  • Hogan Lovells
  • Hill Dickinson
  • Ince & Co
  • Irwin Mitchell
  • Linklaters
  • Simmons & Simmons

Sometimes, it is used to filter-out training contract and vacation scheme candidates between the application form stage and the interview/assessment centre stage. At other times it can form part of the assessment centre itself.

Structure of the Watson-Glaser Test

The Watson-Glaser test is commonly made up of five sections:

  1. Inferences
  2. Recognition of assumptions
  3. Deduction
  4. Interpretation
  5. Evaluation of Arguments

You will be presented with short statements of text and you will have to decide if the assumptions that follow can be made.

You will have to choose from one of the two answers given apart from the Inferences section (where you will have to choose from five multiple-choice options).

The length of the test can vary but you can expect something in the order of half an hour (40 items) or an hour (80 items).

Practice Makes Perfect!

As with all psychometric tests, it is possible to greatly improve your score by practicing – and you can be sure the most determined of your fellow training contract competitors will be doing so.

There is a free shortened version of the Watson Glaser test on the Hogan Lovells website here: Watson Glaser Critical Thinking Test

You can also access some Watson Glaser Test sample questions and full-length practice tests here: Watson Glaser Full-Length Practice Tests

For a rundown of the do’s and don’t of training contract assessment centres and expert tips for other tests and exercises (and how to practice them) see our Essential Guide to Training Contract Assessment Centres.

Matt Oliver

Matt is a former FTSE 100 in-house lawyer, an experienced legal career coach and MD of Trainee Solicitor Surgery. He provides entry level law careers advice to students and graduates through his writing and mentoring. He also offers private one to one coaching to those struggling with training contract, vacation scheme or paralegal applications and interviews. Find out more about Matt's 1-2-1 Coaching >>>>

Learn How to Master the Watson Glaser Test

The Watson Glaser Test is a critical piece of the training contract puzzle.

Each year, more law firms use the Watson Glaser Test to filter our candidates from their recruitment processes.

It's simple, if you don't know how to pass it you won't get a job offer from them.

We teach you the nuts and bolts of this test and how best to practice it to get to the required pass level.