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Guide to Understanding Cognitive Skills
Guide to Understanding Cognitive Skills
Markellos Diorinos avatar
Written by Markellos Diorinos
Updated over a week ago

Psychometric research has found that cognitive skills assessments are powerful predictors of future job performance.

Literature findings have shown that cognitive ability is a strong predictor of important life outcomes, behaviors, and performances for over a century. Specifically, cognitive ability can act as a predictor of academic achievement, health-related behaviors, social outcomes, and creativity. A research study presented in 2016 by Schmidt, Oh & Shaffer concluded that general mental ability (also referred to as general cognitive ability) is the most valid predictor of future performance and learning.

There are three specific cognitive aptitudes (or skills) that are highly correlated with cognitive ability: logical reasoning, verbal reasoning and numerical reasoning. In the last decade an additional skill, attention to detail, has been shown to have a high correlation with job performance and has been used to select strong candidates for hire.

Cognitive ability tests in the selection process typically use questions or problems in order to assess an individual’s ability of verbal, logical and numerical reasoning, as well as other important skills that are fundamental to success in several different occupations. There are several advantages of using cognitive ability tests, such as their advanced ability to predict job performance, their ability to produce valid inferences for numerous organizational outcomes, and the fact that they are cost-effective and bias-free assessment methods. Cognitive ability tests can be used for hiring, performance appraisal, career development and talent management. One of their biggest advantages is that they can be checked for reliability, validity, and they are objective.

The Bryq Assessment uses a series of questions to determine the cognitive ability of individuals in the four cognitive skills: Attention to Detail, Logical Reasoning, Numerical Reasoning and Verbal Reasoning. By adjusting the weight of each of the skills, it is possible to predict future performance within a given role. Many individuals are strongest in two of the four skills, therefore it’s important to consider the profile of the skills and scores as opposed to simply considering the total cognitive score.

Below, you can find the key cognitive ability skills that we measure in Bryq.

Numerical Reasoning

Numerical reasoning is the ability to understand, comprehend, and draw logical conclusions from numerical data. In numerical reasoning tests, numerical data is presented in the form of a graph or table that requires interpretation to answer a question or a problem that needs to be solved.

Verbal Reasoning

Verbal reasoning is the ability to understand, comprehend, and critically evaluate written information. Verbal reasoning tests typically provide a short passage of information, and require individuals to answer questions related to the information presented in that passage. Questions are presented in multiple-choice format, and individuals will likely need to choose one of 3-5 possible answers.

Logical Reasoning

Logical reasoning questions measure a person’s ability to logically and rationally solve problems based on observed patterns. Individuals are provided with a series of questions that take the form of shapes, missing parts, or sequence identification following a pattern. Individuals will need to choose between 4-6 possible answers.


Attention-to-detail tests assess whether an individual has the patience, focus, and willingness to be thorough in their work, so it does apply to all jobs. It measures an individual’s ability to quickly grasp errors with speed and accuracy when answering a question. Individuals are presented with either alphanumeric data or nearly identical pictures that they must observe and decide if the options available are the same or different.

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