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What Are Spatial Reasoning Tests?

Spatial reasoning exams are designed to test your capability to understand the spatial relationship between various objects. They test your ability to manipulate images (both 2D and 3D) mentally and deduct the patterns that appear between the images. These tests are typically held under time constraints, so candidates need to be as fast as possible when answering them.  

You’ll come across spatial reasoning tests in various scenarios like job aptitude tests, IQ tests, academic entrance exams, etc.

What Is the Relevance of Spatial Reasoning Tests?

Spatial reasoning is essential in everyday life for things like reading a map, visualizing road and human traffic, locating people or buildings in a new environment, orienting yourself in a new environment, etc.   

Spatial reasoning is highly important in careers like law enforcement, law, engineering, architecture, astronomy, economic forecasting, and design. You will need to imagine several scenarios and manipulate images mentally if you choose to have a career in any of the above fields.

Some test experts also see spatial reasoning tests as a proper way of testing people’s intelligence and academic proficiency. It is believed that smart people have better developed spatial reasoning skills than others. So, these tests are incorporated in almost every IQ test you’ll find both online and offline.

Types of Spatial Reasoning Tests and Tips for Solving Them

  1. Combination of shapes: You will be given about four or five shapes, and then you will be asked to identify the single shape or object that will be formed when all the shapes are combined. It could also be the other way around where you are given one shape and asked to select the combination of shapes that will form the shape given in the question. Check the angles, lengths, and breadths of all the shapes you are given and compare them with each other.     
  2. Mirror images: You will be given a shape or group of shapes and asked to identify the shape from another perspective. The shape could be a 2D or 3D shape. This tests how well you can manipulate a given object mentally without distorting the identity or properties of the objects. One good way of answering this question is to eliminate options in which the property of positioning of something isn’t where it is supposed to be.
  3. Block counting or shape-in-shape counting: Here, you’ll be asked to count how many blocks make up a shape or how many triangles that you can find in a larger triangle, etc. This will require to visualize as many of the shapes as possible as you can find in the larger shape. The shapes or blocks mustn’t all be the same size. The small ones and the large ones both count. You can start by identifying smaller shapes before identifying larger shapes and vice-versa.
  4. 2D shapes to 3D objects: Here, you’ll be given some 2D shapes and asked to transpose these 2D shapes to form a 3D object. This tests how well your ability to rotate images mentally. A lot of questions involve an open die with arrows and other shapes on the squares that make up the die. Visualize the position of each shape next to the other and use this to get the right shape of each die.            
  5. Matching shapes: You will be given one shape and asked to identify the shape that best resembles the given shape among the options. This is usually the easiest question to answer in a spatial reasoning test. Check the given shape properly and identify all notches, cuts, and other little quirks that make the shape unique. Observe the given options for shapes that have the same quirks and traits with the given shape.

How to Ace a Spatial Reasoning Test?

  1. Elimination methodSpatial reasoning questions are one of the most confusing ones you can find in any test. They are unlike tests like numerical reasoning where you can almost be certain of one right answer. Elimination method will make the answers less confusing. Among all the options, some do not fit in at all. Eliminate these options first before spending time on the other options.
  2. Check mirror images of objects like boxes and a die: You can hold up objects, letters, and other things in front of a mirror and observe the mirror images. Observe how things turn around and rotate in the mirror images.
  3. Sketch images in your spare time: Sketching images in your spare time can give you a good idea of the spatial arrangements of shapes.
  4. Practice: As they say, “practice makes perfect.” You must practice a lot of spatial reasoning questions to acclimatize yourself with these questions. The more you practice them, the better you get at visualizing images and manipulating them. The thing is lots of these shapes look deceivingly similar. But the more you practice, the faster you get at distinguishing the images from one another.
  5. Time yourself during practice tests:  It isn’t enough to practice these tests. You must practice them under stringent time conditions. Find out the time limit of the test you are writing, then try to answer all your practice questions under this time limitation.
  6. Doodling in the exam hall helps: If you are given a spare sheet of paper, you can doodle the shapes or make rough sketches on the paper. This will help you visualize the images better and solve the questions faster. It will also give you a better chance of getting the correct answer. Please, do not carry spare sheets of paper into the exam hall unless you are explicitly allowed to do so. 
  7. Skip tough questions: No matter how you try to manipulate and visualize some questions, they just won’t make any sense to you. You are advised to skip these questions. If you aren’t careful, you might spend too much time on one question and find that you don’t have enough time for the other questions. You can come back to questions that you have skipped later.    

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