Inductive Reasoning Tips: Our Strategy to Becoming Fast and Accurate

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Josh Hancock Updated:

Mastering inductive reasoning tests is all about being able to spot patterns quickly. This guide will help you improve with our #1 strategy to confidently crack the codes of inductive tests.

Get to know the format

We won't talk about what inductive reasoning tests are as that can be found on our inductive reasoning informational page, but it is important to know what type of inductive reasoning test you are taking.

Most inductive tests will be similar - a series of boxes containing various shapes and symbols and you must determine which of the answer option completes the sequence - however, some will be a little different.

Aon / Cut-e have inductive tests which take on a very unique format and so will require a different approach and different practice. We have both of these test types in our practice test library, however for this strategy guide I will only talk about the standard inductive reasoning format.

The best strategy for inductive tests

The key to answering inductive reasoning questions quickly and accurately lies in deconstructing the patterns into their individual elements. You will be able to tackle even the most complex sequences with laser focus and ease. Here is the breakdown of the strategy:

  • Isolate and track: Quickly scan and see which elements of the pattern are moving and changing. Now, pick just one of those elements to focus on (e.g. a circle). Identify the rule governing how this element changes position, color, size, or any other attribute across the sequence. Is it moving diagonally, increasing in size, or following a specific colour rotation?
  • Predict: Once you understand the element's rule, predict its behaviour for the missing pattern. Visualise where it will be located and how it will appear.
  • Eliminate incorrect answers: Examine the answer options. Identify those that match your prediction for your chosen element, and discard any that do not. This significantly narrows down your answer options. It's important not to skip this step, if you move straight onto the next element you may forget what you had just worked out previously. Remembering the possible answer options can be easier than juggling complex elements positions in your head.
  • Repeat: You must now apply the same process to another element in the pattern. With each element you decipher, your answer options become less and less, until finally there is only one left. That remeaning option will be the correct answer.

What if I can't identify the pattern?

If a particular element's rule remains elusive, it's important not to get hung up on it. Move onto the next element and see if you can answer the question without needing to know exactly where this particular element will be. If that's not possible, then make an educated guess based on your overall understanding of the pattern - your intuition stands a good chance of being correct.


If a pattern seems unclear, check to see if other elements are determining the state of your target element. Watch for arrows, colour changes, or other elements that might influence its behaviour. Not every element is independant, playing by its own rules. There will be questions where the pattern is more like a system where elements are working together.

Mastering the strategy

You may have read that strategy thinking 'how do I do all this in under a minute?!' We hear you - time constraints can feel daunting. But mastering inductive reasoning tests comes down to practice. While you may be slow at first, as you work through practice questions you will notice recurring rules that elements follow and soon you'll develop the ability to analyse elements swiftly.

Once you become an expert with this strategy, you can take it one step further. Soon you'll be able to tackle multiple elements simulataneously, instead of one at a time, accelerating the speed in which you can find the answer.

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