Spatial reasoning tests assess a candidate’s spatial reasoning abilities and more specifically the ability to mentally rotate an object in 2D or 3D, to spot patterns between shapes, and to visualise movements and change in those shapes. They contain pictorial figures rather than words or numbers and do not require analysis. They are purely a test of mental manipulation, and the ability to apply logical reasoning to identify the relationship between different shapes.
The tests are usually timed and may be multiple choice in nature. They are usually used as part of a wider selection process, either to screen candidates prior to a first interview, or later in the process prior to final selection.
There are different types of spatial reasoning questions:
Organising 2D shapes
These questions require candidates to demonstrate their ability to assemble and dis-assemble 2D shapes to identify which of the answer options represents the shape that could be formed by combining all the different shapes together; or to identify which group of shapes could fit together to create a displayed shape.
Transforming 2D nets to 3D shapes
A ‘net’ is a 2D representation of a 3D shape, almost has if the 3D shape has been unfolded along its edges and laid flat. In these tests, candidates are presented with a 2D net, usually of a cube or cuboid and asked to identify which of the answer options can be created by the 2D net. Each side of the shape will usually have a certain pattern or colour, requiring candidates to mentally work out how each side will look once it's been folded together and rotated.
Rotations and reflections
These questions test a candidate’s ability to mentally rotate 2D or 3D shapes to correctly identify which of the answer options is a rotation of the shape in question. In some cases, the answer options will have a distinguishing mark or marks such as a coloured-in block, shading or a dot. These are sometimes known as cube views.
These questions require candidates to find the mirror image of a 2D or 3D shape.
Candidates are presented with a series of cubes made from blocks and are asked to identify how many blocks have been used to make the shape, which includes taking account of blocks they are unable to see.
These questions are designed to assess a candidate’s ability to take instructions and navigate a 2D map or plan.