Verbal reasoning practice test on the Uni of Kent website

Smith & Williamson

In preparation for a Smith & Williamson test, I’ve been doing the practice test at The following question is troubling me.

  1. Latin continued to be used in church services because of the continuing influence of the Roman Empire.


The text is:
H) When Christianity was first established by law, a corrupt form of Latin had become the common language of all the western parts of Europe. The service of the Church accordingly, and the translation of the Bible which was read in churches, were both in that corrupted Latin which was the common language of the country. After the fall of the Roman Empire, Latin gradually ceased to be the language of any part of Europe. However, although Latin was no longer understood anywhere by the great body of the people, Church services still continued to be performed in that language. Two different languages were thus established in Europe: a language of the priests and a language of the people.

To me, the correct answer here is that you can’t say. But the correct answer is false, apparently. I don’t follow that logic - nowhere is it said that the Roman Empire had no remaining influence, and nowhere does it provide an explanation for why Church services didn’t revert to original languages. Can anyone talk me through the logic behind this answer?


Another question from the same test:

  1. A quarter of all part-time workers in Japan are female.

For text:
F) In Japan, companies generally expect their employees to put in long hours of overtime. But it is difficult for women, who also have household chores to do and children to take care of, to work at the same pace as men, who are not burdened with such responsibilities. Many women inevitably opt for part-time jobs, which enable them to combine work and domestic duties. At present, 23% of all female salaried workers are part-timers and the ratio has been on the rise in recent years. Part-time work places women at a disadvantage. The wages of part-time workers are considerably lower than those of full-time employees, and part-time work tends to involve menial labour. Moreover, because salary and promotion in Japanese companies are often based on seniority, it is extremely difficult for women either re-entering the labour force or switching from part-time to full-time work to climb the ladder.

The correct answer is false, but I would have put ‘can’t say’ again, as the only fact it gives is “23% of all female salaried workers are part-timers”. That statement by itself doesn’t render the question-statement inaccurate. (e.g. If total number of part-time workers = total number of female salaried workers, then it would be true that ~1/4 of part-timers are female.) Again, can anyone explain this logic to me?


And another… sorry to be spamming my own thread here.

  1. The introduction of Buddhism to Japan led to great political unrest and social confusion.

E) Buddhism was introduced to Japan from India via China and Korea around the middle of the sixth century. After gaining imperial patronage, Buddhism was propagated by the authorities throughout the country. In the early ninth century, Buddhism in Japan entered a new era in which it catered mainly to the court nobility. In the Kamakura period (1192-1338), an age of great political unrest and social confusion, there emerged many new sects of Buddhism offering hope of salvation to warriors and peasants alike. Buddhism not only flourished as a religion but also did much to enrich the country’s arts and learning.

Correct: False

But isn’t false only implied by the text? There may have been great political unrest and social confusion in the 6th century which the text hasn’t mentioned. Or should I assume from the fact that it’s using the exact same words as a later sentence (“great political unrest and social confusion”) that the aim here isn’t to be unassailably correct, but to show that you didn’t misunderstand the facts presented?

(Numerical reasoning is sooo much simpler…)



I am not a great fan of some of the verbal reasoning tests, some are just so ambiguous it is unbelievable!

First Question:
My answer would have been ‘False’. Because of this sentence “After the fall of the Roman Empire, Latin gradually ceased to be the language of any part of Europe.” So we know that the Roman Empire didn’t have much influence over language after its downfall.

Question 2:
I would also have said ‘Can’t say’ for that question. To me there is no definitive statement nor implication that 1/4 of all part-time workers are female (that I can see from a quick read).

Question 3:
We can definitely rule out ‘true’ as the answer because of the following “In the Kamakura period (1192-1338), an age of great political unrest and social confusion, there emerged many new sects of Buddhism” there is mention of political unrest but it does not in any way imply a causal relationship with Buddhism. On a more detailed read I notice that Buddhism was introduced to Japan in the 6th Century (i.e. 500-599) and then the unrest was 1192-1338, so the two appear to be unrelated.

The verbal reasoning tests are normally the ones that I need to get in the correct mindset for (unlike numerical), and I have noticed that some days I am more indecisive and lean more towards ‘Cannot say’ answers. It is a matter of practice though, which you are already doing, and once you have done a lot you sort of get into the style of the questions and statement texts. If you are asked to do one of these, and haven’t in a couple of weeks, make sure you spend 20mins doing one of the many practice ones available beforehand (as I find I got out of practice). [P.S. Have you signed up for the SHL pilot testing?]

Good luck with your tests and application(s)!