Diagrammatic test guide

Another form of abstract aptitude test is the diagrammatic test. The diagrammatic tests are commonly used  to assess candidates ability to quickly integrate new information to solve problems. This style of test questions focus on candidates’ ability to understand logical processes.

Diagrammatic tests are a simpler form of measuring candidates’ abstract reasoning and are typically used in positions that require using process and flowcharts.

What is a diagrammatic test question?

Diagrammatic reasoning tests include test questions in the form of diagrams where a number of logical rules apply.

Each diagrammatic test question has a panel, an illustration, a set of input shapes, a set of output shapes and operators/effects. The panel describes, in words, the effect of a set of operators. The illustration shows the effects of each operator. A specific set of operators/effects are applied on input shapes to convert them to output shapes. However, one element in this process is missing. The missing element can be the input shapes, output shapes or operators/effects.

Some diagrammatic test questions will include more than one process or operator, then the operators are applied in a sequence from left to right.

Your task is to use the logical rules given to you in the panel and illustration to identify the missing element in each test question.

The key to solve diagrammatic tests is logical thinking, and although the level of difficulty and complexity of the diagrammatic test questions will vary based on the specific job requirements, it is based on the same ability type.

Let’s review the following example diagrammatic test question:



The question is:

This diagrammatic test question requires you to identify the correct sequence of ‘input’ shapes based on the provided sequence of ‘output’ shapes. For this style of question, you are not provided the input sequence, rather, only the output sequence and an “Effect Operator”. These operators modify the input shapes in different ways to transform them into the output result. To solve this task, you must work backwards starting with the output sequence with reference to the operator and applying the effect in reverse to identify the correct input sequence.

In this diagrammatic test question there is only one operator or effect. Based on the illustrated instruction panel, effect * changes the shapes and sizes of all white figures (from squares to circles or from circles to squares and from big to small or small to big). To reverse this effect, we need to change back all the white figures’ shapes and sizes.  This means changing the first small, white square into a big, white circle and changing the second figure, which is a big, white circle into a small, white square. The sequence of figures after reversing this effect is: a big, white circle, followed by a small, white square and a small, black circle.

Let's review another style of diagrammatic test questions:

 This style is used by companies such as Hudson and we prepare you for  it. In this style of diagrammatic aptitude test questions, you need to find what specific buttons do to a group of shapes in the question line based on several example lines in the Base Screen box. Once you find what the buttons do your then can find what the correct final figure is in the question line. Let's examine the following diagrammatic test example: 

In this diagrammatic aptitude test question you need to find what buttons 1, 3 and 5 do.

From the first line, we see that the original figure (the three shapes to the left) goes through two transformations to form the figure on the right: (i) a change in the shapes (square to circle, or circle to square); and (ii) a change in colours (black to white, or vice versa). Two buttons are active in this line (1 and 2); however, we still don’t know which one changes the shape, or which one changes the colour.

The second line also shows a figure that swaps the colour of its three shapes, but there is no change in those shapes. This time, buttons 2, 3 and 4 are ‘active’ – so, button 2 (the only common ‘active’ button with line 1) must be the one that swaps colours; and we can now deduce that it is button 1 that changes (or toggles) the shapes. Buttons 3 and 4 must, then, be the ones that modify the horizontal and vertical lines, so we will need to refer to the third line to work out their individual functions.

In line three, because buttons 1 and 2 are ‘inactive’, we know that there will be no transformation of colour or shape.  Buttons 4 and 5 are ‘active’, and we can see that the right figure has been made smaller and a vertical line removed. Line 3 shares only one active button with line 2 (i.e. button 4), and there is only one common transformation between these lines: the vertical line has been switched ‘on’ or ‘off’. Therefore, button 4 is a vertical line toggle switch, which means (from the previous line) that button 3 must be the on/off toggle for horizontal lines. Button 5, therefore, can only be for changing (or toggling) the size of the shapes in the figure (from big to small, or vice versa).

We can now summarise the button functions thus:

  • Button 1 – toggles the shapes within the figure (squares to circles, and vice versa)
  • Button 3 – toggles the horizontal lines on or off
  • Button 5 – toggles the size (big or small) of the shapes within the figure.

Now, we can apply those button functions to our question line:

  • Button 1 – will change the figure to a circle and a square.
  • Button 3 – will add a horizontal line to all shapes in the figure.
  • Button 5 – will toggle the shape sizes – the first from big to small, and the second from small to big.

The correct answer is:


How we prepare you for your diagrammatic test?

To ensure that you are ready for your diagrammatic test, our experienced psychometricians developed effective preparation packages for you:

Online practice diagrammatic tests with comprehensive reports

  • You can practice many diagrammatic tests based on real tests.
  • Each diagrammatic test has a timer to mimic the stress and pressure in your real test.
  • Each diagrammatic test report offers detailed answer explanations so you know how to solve similar questions in the future.
  • Immediate access.

The second preparation package is our 1-on-1 tutoring for the diagrammatic test

  • Delivered by experienced psychometricians.
  • Working at your own pace.
  • Our psychometricians will give you all the techniques how to solve diagrammatic tests quicker and more accurate.
  • You will receive a lot of material during your session to ensure that you correctly apply the techniques we taught you.

So if you are applying for a job, take the initiative and practice for this type of test, as preparation can make the difference between getting and not getting the job. Please try our free abstract test to test your logical thinking skills or purchase our online courses and practice abstract reasoning tests to ensure you get your dream job.



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