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What is a Revelian test and how do I prepare for one?

Jaymes Carr

Careers Commentator
Graduate program applicants: find out what a Revelian test is, why it matters and how you can prepare for it. A must-read for all graduates.

What is a Revelian test?

With every advertised graduate position attracting an average of 33 applications, employers face an enormous challenge when it comes to identifying top candidates. To solve this problem, many graduate employers are turning to a time-tested method for figuring out which applicants possess the necessary skills and attributes for a given role: psychometric testing.

The Revelian test is a standardised psychometric test administered by a private company called Revelian (formerly Onetest). While Revelian is tight-lipped about the specific employers with which it works, news reports confirm that current adopters include Ashurst, KPMG, and PwC, as well as other graduate recruiters in the aviation, finance, mining, telecommunications, construction, logistics, and professional services industries. By some accounts, Revelian administers 200,000 tests a year around the globe.

Notably, three of the Revelian tests are presented in the form of interactive games (Cognify, Emotify, and Theme Park Hero). Their other assessments include a cognitive ability test, a verbal reasoning test, a personality test, a work safety test, and a values inventory.

Of course, we can’t tell you how to ace a values inventory or a personality test (except to suggest, somewhat unhelpfully, that you aim to have an appealing personality). However, we can give you some tips on how to conquer the verbal reasoning, cognitive ability, and gamified tests.

Preparing for a Revelian cognitive ability test

The Revelian cognitive ability test (RCAT) features 51 questions that candidates must answer within 20 minutes. You’ll need to think fast: that’s roughly two questions a minute! Having said that, Revelian reports that most candidates don’t finish all 51 questions. Instead, the interface is such that you can focus on the questions you feel confident about and then, if there’s time remaining, use it to take a stab at any trickier brainteasers.

Revelian warns that ‘the RCAT is designed to measure abilities that don’t rely on any specific knowledge, so it’s not something you can effectively study for’. However, it also provides sample questions and some basic test information—namely, that the questions fall into three categories: numerical, verbal, and abstract reasoning. From this, we can infer some basic facts about the test, and some tips on how to approach it.

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Numerical reasoning questions

The numerical reasoning questions require you to think about the relationships between different quantities, which are often presented in an abstract format (for example, a series of digits or incomplete sudoku grids). A common question type asks you to consider an incomplete set of numbers and then fill in the blank. For example:

Find the number that best completes the following sequence:

1, 2, 4, 7, 11, ?, 22

The answer, of course, is 16—each number in the series is the previous number plus one, two, three, four, and so on. Easy enough. Here’s another:

Find the number that best completes the following sequence:

55, 30, 14, 5, ?

This one’s a little trickier. Do you have it? If not, here’s the answer: 1. The difference between each number is a decreasing squared series of 5, 4, 3, and 2 (i.e. 25, 16, 9, 4).

In truth, numerical reasoning questions can be tough—they’re supposed to be! So, if you’re not confident, it’s a good idea to oil your mental gears by trying some out. You can find a zillion online by searching for numerical reasoning questions or even ‘online IQ test’. Alternatively, preparation materials for certain entrance tests, such as the UMAT, GAMSAT, and LSAT, will cover similar question types.

Verbal reasoning questions

Verbal reasoning questions require you to consider various factual statements and then use them to determine the truth of a proposition or draw a logical inference. Others may test your knowledge of semantic relationships (for example, synonyms and antonyms). Here’s an actual example from the Revelian sample questions:

Which two statements together PROVE that Megan has brown hair?

1. Jane likes the colour of Megan’s hair

2. The only hair that Jane likes is brown

3. Megan likes long hair.

4. Jane has long hair

5. Megan’s hair is not blonde

The correct answer is statements one—which tell us that Jane is very superficial—and statement two, which confirms that Jane happens to like Megan’s hair. Here’s another example:

‘It was said that, in the presence of Cleopatra, Marc Antony was often sycophantic.’

Select the word that is closest in meaning to sycophantic: deferential, flirtatious, taciturn, or incredulous.

The correct answer is ‘deferential’. However, given their eventual romantic entanglement, it’s safe enough to assume that Marc Antony was a bit of a flirt as well. Here’s one more example:

Which word is a definition of the description on the left and, as an anagram, defines the word on the right?

Base of the neck ____ _____ Piece of a window

Basement ____ _____ Visitor

Be thrifty ___ ____ Container

Southeast Asian primate ____ ____ Runs late

The answers? Nape (pane), cellar (caller), save (vase), and tarsier (tarries).  

As with the numerical reasoning questions, there’s no specific best way to prepare for the RCAT. Instead, you could select an enjoyable way to get your neurons firing in the right direction. So consider trying your hand at crosswords, online tests, or the ‘word wit’ style puzzles that often appear in newspapers.

Abstract reasoning questions

For a sense of how abstract reasoning questions work, it’s best to try your hand at online IQ tests and focus on puzzles with a primarily visual component. For example, you may be asked to consider a series of images in which there is a pattern of movement or change. As with the numerical questions, you will be asked to select the next in the series or eliminate the odd one out. To see what this may look like, see the Revelian test questions.

Preparing for the Revelian games  

The Revelian games are called Cognify, Emotify, and Theme Park Hero. Cognify has a 30-minute limit; Emotify has a 20-minute limit, and Theme Park Hero is untimed. Only Theme Park Hero must be done on a desktop computer: the other games are mobile and tablet compatible.

Revelian stresses that none of the games rely on specific knowledge or previous study, and reveals only that Emotify includes two games called Matching Faces (in which you have to match faces to corresponding emotions) and Emotional Ties (in which you have to select the most predictable emotional consequence of a particular situation). The other two games involve a range of interactive puzzles that cover various problem-solving skills (such as verbal, numerical, and abstract reasoning). As stated by Revelian, ‘The best thing you can do to prepare is to ensure you’re in a comfortable, distraction-free environment, and that you read all of the instructions carefully. As with all Revelian assessments, you will also be able to see an example question before you begin the assessment, so you will know exactly what is required of you.’

Getting ready to get results

The thing about the Revelian tests is that they rely, in large part, on the naivety of first-time participants. In fact, Revelian is so careful to prevent preparation, and the impact it may have on results, that they prohibit candidates from taking their tests more than once every 12 months (lest their first attempt lead to better performance on their second).

However, there’s a positive flip-side to this philosophy: you can’t really pass or fail the emotional perception tests, and preparing for the numerical, verbal, and abstract reasoning tests requires only that you familiarise yourself with the types of questions you might encounter (see above). Otherwise, as Revelian itself advises, the best thing you can do to boost your chances of success is to get a good night’s sleep, find a quiet place to complete the tests, focus intently, and take things as they come.