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Raven Test Guide
Contents
Raven - What Is This Test? ................................................................................................. 2
Introduction to Cutouts Questions .................................................................................... 2
Cutouts Questions Rules .................................................................................................... 3
Introduction to Matrix Questions...................................................................................... 6
Matrix Rules ....................................................................................................................... 7
Progression ..................................................................................................................... 8
Rotation .......................................................................................................................... 9
Frequency ..................................................................................................................... 10
Construction ................................................................................................................. 11
Motion .......................................................................................................................... 13
Complex Questions ....................................................................................................... 16
Solving Strategy ............................................................................................................... 19
Summary: ......................................................................................................................... 20
Terminology ..................................................................................................................... 21
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Raven – What Is This Test?
Raven Progressive Matrices is a cognitive ability test that assesses examinees' ability
to solve problems and draw conclusions. The test is delivered online and has two
versions. The Standard Progressive Matrices test consists of 60 questions, and The
Advanced Progressive Matrices test consists of 36 questions. Both tests must be
completed within a 40-minute time limit. Passing the Raven test successfully will
show your future employer that you possess critical reasoning skills, clear thinking,
and advanced learning skills. These abilities are crucial for almost any position. This
guide is a good way to start preparing for the test.
In this guide, you will find:
• A general explanation regarding the test's structure
• Common rules found on the Raven test followed by examples.
• Tips and strategies for solving the questions on the Raven test
Introduction to Cutout Questions
In these types of questions, you will be presented with a patterned background that has a
portion of it cut out. Your task is to identify the missing cutout from a series of six possible
options. It is important to note that there is only one missing piece that matches the given
background.
Cutout questions usually appear in the earlier parts of the tests and tend to be relatively easier
than the later matrices questions. However, you should familiarise yourself with them and
learn the tips and tricks for solving them.
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Cutout Questions Rules
In cutout questions, you will be asked to identify the correct missing piece out of six
alternatives. Let’s start with an example:
To solve this kind of question, you need to identify the patterns in the given background to
identify the pattern in the missing piece.
The background usually contains different kinds of lines or repeating shapes. These lines and
shapes could be different in many ways, for example:
1. Orientation – Horizontal, vertical, straight, curved, diagonal, crisscross, etc.
2. Style – Lines and shapes could change in their thickness, be solid, or dashed.
3. Direction – Lines could go inward, outward, straight, or change through the pattern.
4. Frequency – Lines or shapes could split or be expanded into multiple figures.
5. Space – The spaces between figures could be parallel or change through the pattern.
In the question above, you can identify curvy lines from two styles – solid and dashed. They
have several shifts in their direction through the pattern. However, they are always parallel to
each other.
Thus, the correct answer is the first option in the top-right corner:
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After identifying the properties of the given background, it is time to determine which parts
are relevant to finding the missing piece. Here are questions to ask while attempting to
identify it:
*Note that the explanation refers to the question above, and the same figure appears again at
the bottom of the page.
1. The piece’s surroundings – how many lines or shapes are going ‘into’ the piece, and
how many of them are going ‘out’ of it? How many items are above and under the
cutout? The figures on the cutout should match the pattern. In the example figure,
there are two dashed lines and two solid lines that are going ‘in’ and ‘out’ of the
missing piece.
2. Orientation – What is the orientation of the figures on the missing piece? Horizontal
lines? Diagonal shapes? Vertical solid columns? You can quickly disqualify options that
have the wrong orientation. In the example, the dashed lines are vertical, and the solid
lines are horizontal.
3. Parallel Figures – Is the cutout pattern identical to another part of the background that
is not hidden? You can identify the exact pattern in the parallel part of the figure and
search for it in the answers. In the example figure, the upper and lower parts, and the
left and right parts, are parallel to each other. Based on this information, we can infer
that the missing piece should be parallel to the same part on the left side of the figure.
4. Confusing Colours - Which colours and style of shapes should appear in the missing
piece? Note that sometimes the background’s colour does not match the cutout’s
colour. You will see this in the next example.
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The entire image consists of black triangles, whose bases are on the right side and whose tops
are on the left side, with white triangles being formed in the empty space. Since the missing
piece covers two black triangles fully along with a small piece of a third black triangle, the
correct answer choice should contain the pieces of those three black triangles as well as the
pieces of the two white triangles formed in the empty space between those three black
triangles.
Thus, the correct answer is the figure in the top row, upper right:
Note the alternating colours throughout the entire image and within the missing piece.
Summary:
When solving a cutout question, scan the entire figure to determine its main properties. Look
at the orientation, style, direction, and frequency of the figures in the entire image.
Then, observe the missing piece and its exact characteristics. Don’t be confused by alternating
colours or directions of the figures. Instead, ask yourself: What is happening above, under, and
to the sides of the missing piece? How many lines or shapes are going in and out of the
cutout? Which colours should appear in the missing piece? What is the orientation of the
figures on it?
Remember there is only one correct answer that matches the given background. Be sure to
choose the piece that will complete the image accurately.
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Introduction to Matrix Questions
Most matrix questions on the Raven test consist of three rows of three figures,
making a total of nine figures. Some of the questions consist of two rows of two
figures, making a total of four figures. However, the bottom right figure will be
missing, and the questions ask which figure out of six to eight options is the right one
to complete the matrix correctly (example to follow).
The matrix will have some sort of organising logic behind it, which might operate on
the level of the row, the column, or both. To determine which is the correct figure to
complete the matrix, you must first understand the logic by which the figures in the
matrix are organised.
Here is an example:
Here, for example, the organising logic of the matrix operates both in the columns and in the rows: the
three frames in each row and each column contain either a square, diamond, or a circle. The same type
of shape does not appear in the same row or column twice. Same happens with the type of fill the
shape has (no fill/ filled black/ containing diagonal lines)
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Of the six possible answers to this question, you must choose the one that will complete
the matrix correctly and keep the pattern established in the other rows/columns. Of the
three answers that feature a square, there is only one that matches the missing type of fill
(containing diagonal lines). Thus, the correct answer is:
It is important to note that a question can only have one correct answer. This means that
if more than one answer fulfils the pattern you have discovered, you either have the wrong
pattern or there is more than one pattern in the matrix.
Matrix Rules
The rules governing matrices vary from one question to the other. In some of the
questions, the rule considers the order of the objects in the row or column, while in
other questions, the order of the objects is of no importance.
The rule can also be based on different characteristics of the shapes, such as their
quantity, colour, size, location, alignment, position in the frame, and more. The
shapes in a certain question may have multiple characteristics, each governed by a
different rule.
The following section is meant to familiarise you with the most common type of rules
you are likely to find on the Raven test. This does not necessarily mean these are the
only types of rules you will find on the test but knowing how to identify these rules
when you see them will help you in most cases and save you precious time during
the real test.
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Progression
In this kind of matrix, the object changes with every step throughout the row or the
column (the direction may vary). The objects could be in the length or width, or in
the number of objects inside the frame, in the shape’s colour, or in any other of its
characteristics. For example:
In this example, in each step, one petals shape is added to the frame. This rule
applies to both the rows and the columns. In the rows, the addition progresses in a
clockwise direction, and in the columns, it progresses in a counterclockwise
direction. The first answer from the right is incorrect, even though it fulfils the
matrix's rules. That is because the object presented is rotated, which breaks the
pattern of the row and column.
Thus, the correct answer in this example is the bottom right:
There are two ways to look at the progression in the above example:
1. In each step, the object becomes more complete.
2. In each step, the number of petals increases by one.
The first way is more visual and the second is more detailed-oriented. When
answering a question, choose the method that fits you best. (You will learn how to
do this as you answer more practice questions.)
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Rotation
In questions of this type, the figures in the matrix rotate in a determined pattern across
either rows or columns. You need to identify the pattern of the rotation to answer the
question correctly. Let’s look at an example:
In this question, you can see that the rotation is operating in each row, rather than in
each column. You can see that the figure rotates upon its axis 90° clockwise in each
frame (looking from left to right). It makes sense to look at the changes occurring in
the rows from left to right, as the missing figure is the rightmost frame in the bottom
row. (This will always be the case for all Raven matrices). The missing figure, then, is
the one which completes this pattern. Look at the middle figure in the bottom row
and picture what it would look like if it were turned 90° clockwise. That is the correct
answer:
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Frequency
In questions of this type, the relationship between certain features of the figures in
the matrix determines the amount and/or order of their appearance. Let’s look at an
example:
In this question, the relationship is between the shapes’ alignment. You can see that
the pattern established in the top two rows is that two of the three shapes face a
certain direction, and the third shape faces the opposite direction. In other words,
within each row, the straight alignment has a frequency of two and the opposite
alignment has a frequency of one.
Looking at the columns, you can see the relationship is not one of alignments, but of
shapes. Three shapes are present: an equilateral triangle, a trapezoid, and a right
triangle. Moreover, each is present once, or has a frequency of one. In the final
column, you can expect the same pattern of frequency. Thus, the correct answer will
be a right triangle in the opposite direction to the prior triangles in the bottom line:
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There are many different elements which can come into play using the frequency
rule. If you think you are facing a frequency question, try examining the following
features of the figures and shapes:
• Quantity
• Colour
• Alignment
• Position in the row/column
Construction
In this kind of matrix, two objects from the same row or column are combined to
form the third object. In simple matrices, this combination might look just like a
simple addition equation. For example:
In this matrix, you can see that the third object in every row (left to right) and
column is a combination of the previous two objects. The correct answer will be a
combination of the first two objects of the bottom row, or alternatively, the
combination of the first two objects on the right column.
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Thus, the correct answer is:
For some matrices, you will be asked to find the result of the equation, while for
others, you will be asked to find one of the components of the equation.
In more complicated matrices, the combination will not be as complete and
immediately clear as in the example above. There might be certain rules that
determine which parts of the objects combined will merge and which will not.
For example:
The construction rule here is less clear than the previous example. Before we unfold
it, here are the main things you should focus on while trying to solve this type of
question:
1. Shapes and Objects – Which shapes and objects are used to form the figures that
appear in the matrix? What are their colours, patterns, and orientation?
2. Frequency – Do shapes or objects repeat themselves throughout the matrix?
How many times do each of them appears in one row? In what order?
3. Overlap – Some construction rules focus on whether there are overlapping items
(objects, shapes, colours, or patterns) among the figures in a row. An overlapping
item is an item that appears in both the first and second frame. The matrix’s rule
could determine that the third frame in each row will contain only overlapping
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items. Or alternatively, it can determine to delete all overlapping items and
contain only the items that do not overlap (items that appear in either the first or
second frame, but not both). In an even more complexed question, this rule
could be varied according to the shape or object. For example, the third frame
will contain overlapping ‘ X ’ shapes but delete overlapping ‘ | ’ shapes.
The correct answer to the matrix above is:
The third frame in the first two rows is the result of copying any lines and dots
that only appear in the first or second frame, but not both (according to the
previous explanation, these are items that do not overlap). Thus, the third frame
in the bottom row must be the result of copying any lines and dots that only
appear in the first or second frames, but not both. Meaning, copying all the items
that do not overlap in the first two frames.
To summarise, construction questions can vary in their difficulty level. It is
important to pay attention to the details of every shape and object in the matrix
and follow its pattern through the row.
Motion
In motion matrices, the objects within each frame change their position with each
step. Let’s start with an example:
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In each frame, there are three letters: X, O, and W. In each step, the three letters
change positions in a clockwise direction. Therefore, in the correct answer, the ‘X’
should be at the top-left corner of the frame, the ‘O’ at the bottom-left corner, and
the ‘W’ at the bottom-right corner:
There are three main things to pay attention to while looking at a motion matrix:
1. Direction - Objects inside a frame can move in a clockwise direction, or a
counterclockwise direction.
2. Outer Frame Shape - When answering motion matrices, you should use the
outer shape or the frame to locate the changes in an object's motion. For
example, when the outer shape of the frame is a square (as in the question
above), focus on the corners and the sides. Here is an example with another
type of outer shape:
When the outer shape is a circle, try to look at the circle as a clock and locate the
inner shapes on its hours. The inner objects' motions will never be random, but
rather fixed to certain coordinates in the outer shape or frame.
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The question above is a simpler motion question. The shapes in each row are
repeated, but they can also be seen to be rotating 45° clockwise in each frame
(looking from left to right). In the bottom row, the shapes from the first two rows
are combined, and the rotating pattern is repeated.
Thus, the correct answer is:
3. Individual Movements - In the previous examples, the same rule is applied to all
shapes in each frame. It is not always like this. In some cases, you may need to
look at each object or shape individually, since each one of them could have its
own movement.
Moreover, the motion of each shape could change with each step, as long as the
change in motion is governed by a constant rule. In the row below, for instance,
looking from left to right, the black circle’s movement is constant: it moves from
corner to corner in a clockwise direction. The triangle, however, changes its
movement: in the first 'step,' it moves from corner to corner in a clockwise
direction, but in the second step, it moves in a counterclockwise direction.
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Summary
When answering motion matrices, you should focus on these following features:
1. Direction – clockwise or counterclockwise, constant or changing
2. Outer Frame shape – number of corners or sides, hours in a clock view or angles
3. Individual shapes – Does the same rule apply to all the shapes in the frame?
Looking at these three features of each frame in the matrix should help you
accurately answer most motion matrices.
Complex Questions
Until now, we've looked at questions which had one dominant rule operating in
them. However, some questions have two or more rules operating in them
simultaneously. This means you might have to identify some or all of the rules to
answer the question correctly. Questions in which several different rules function
simultaneously are called complex questions. Easier complex questions might have
only two rules which are closely linked and easy to spot. Harder questions might
have several rules operating independently or in a linked way that is not easy to
spot.
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Let’s look at an example:
In this question, you can identify several rules operating simultaneously, and all are
needed to solve the matrix correctly:
1. Frequency Rule of Colour
First, you can see the shapes which appear in the left frame in each row also
appear in the right frame, although they switch colour.
2. Frequency Rule of Shapes
You can see the shape in the middle frame is different in all three rows — the
shape itself has no effect on the other shapes in the row. You can see this
because in the right frame of each row, the white shapes are identical. You can
assume it will also be identical in the correct answer.
3. Rotation Rule of Lines
The line which crosses the shapes in the middle frames rotates 90° in the right
frame. So, if it is horizontal in the middle frame, it will be vertical in the right
frame.
4. Motion Rule
You can see that the alignment of this line affects the motion of the shape it
crosses: If the line is vertical, the shape will not retain its position in the right
frame. Instead, it will move from its original position to the opposite position (as
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you can see in the top row). However, if the line that crosses the shape is
horizontal, the shape will retain its position in the right frame (as you can see in
the middle row).
According to the rules we found and explained above, the correct answer should
contain:
- Frequency Rule of Colour – The 2 ‘plus’ shapes should alternate their colours. Darker
shape in the top-right corner, and a lighter one on the bottom left.
- Frequency Rule of Shapes – We learned to ignore the heart shape (but not the line
inside of it!).
- Rotation Rule of Lines – The line inside the white shape on the third frame will be
horizonal (because the line inside the heart shape on the second frame is vertical).
- Motion Rule – The location of the new shape will be in the bottom-right corner. That
is because the line inside the heart shape is vertical, which indicates a change to the
opposite location of the new shape.
Combining all these rules together will bring you to the correct answer:
Complex questions may also contain less than four rules, and these rules may not be
related to each other at all. When you encounter a question in which you have
identified a pattern and yet the answer cannot be reached, it is possible you are
facing a complex question and should look for additional patterns in the matrix.
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Solving Strategy
There are different ways to approach matrix questions, and after attempting to solve
the practice tests you will begin to develop your own way. Nonetheless, you must
remember that the test is time-limited, and thus you must balance between speed
and accuracy.
Below is a suggested strategy for approaching these questions. It will teach you what
to look for as well as how to know when it’s best to move on.
1. Always start by quickly scanning the matrix, both the rows and the columns,
to see if anything draws your attention. Sometimes, when the rule operating
in a matrix is obvious, the answer immediately pops up. This can be enough.
2. If the rule is not immediately discernible, examine the figures in the matrix
carefully, focusing on one characteristic at a time. Remember that the rule
might operate on a figure's shape, colour, alignment, motion, or quantity,
among other features. Additionally, remember that the rule might operate in
the matrix’s rows, columns, or both, and it might not necessarily give
importance to the order of the figures. Examine each feature and see if there
is a pattern governing its operation in the different figures.
3. Once you identify a rule, examine the answers and apply your rule to them:
which one of the answers maintains it? Try to narrow down your possible
answers and visualise each possible answer in the missing frame. If an answer
cannot be reached, it is possible you have the wrong rule, or that more than
one rule is operating in the matrix.
4. Do not waste time on questions you cannot solve. You only have about 60
seconds to answer each question, so do not waste precious time on a single
answer. If a question is proving too difficult, move on.
5. When you have finished going over all the questions, and if you have some
time left, return to the questions marked as unanswered.
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Terminology
For your convenience, a glossary is attached. In this section, you can find clarification on the terms used in the explanations of the different types of matrices.
Shape – Simple geometrical forms which appear in matrices are called shapes. In this group, we include triangles, circles, rectangles, and other standard geometrical forms.
Object – Forms appearing in matrices which are not standard geometrical shapes, but are also not complex figures constructed from several parts, are called objects. These are various single-part forms of relatively simple complexity. In this group, we include arrows, dots, lines, and irregular geometrical forms.
Figure – The most complex forms appearing in matrices are called figures. These are forms constructed from several shapes, objects, or a combination of both.
Frame – Many matrices have a square framing the figures or objects inside it. A Raven matrix contains nine frames. Within this frame, the figures/objects might move, rotate, or change in various ways.
Step – The changes in some matrices occur along the row or column. When examining these changes, from frame to frame in a row or a column, each advancement is called a step.
Step Step
Good luck,
JobTestPrep team