Overall of Spatial Reasoning Tests: question types & samples

Spatial reasoning demonstrates the ability to think of objects in different dimensions and visualize the movement or the changing pattern of such objects. This is one of the most critical skills for positions relating to science, art, and math.

To see whether candidates possess such a skill, businesses and companies have been using spatial reasoning tests as part of their pre-employment procedures. In this article, we'll provide you with all the details about this specific aptitude test!

What is a spatial reasoning test?

Spatial reasoning tests are designed to identify whether test-takers have the ability to manipulate 2D and 3D objects, visualize movements, detect changes between shapes, and spot patterns among those shapes. Despite being a concept you encounter every day when interpreting objects and shapes, you may still struggle with a spatial reasoning test.

Nevertheless, spatial reasoning tests are more common for job applicants for technical and engineering roles. Spatial reasoning is typically a hard skill in spatial reasoning-related fields such as architecture, chemistry, art, engineering, process management, interior design, visual design, research, and organizational restructuring. You are required to take the test only if the position demands candidates with good spatial reasoning skills. 

Spatial reasoning question types

If you are looking for a position in architecture, engineering, industrial design, and 3D game design, then preparing for a spatial reasoning test is a must. A thorough understanding of test questions and format is crucial to help you achieve the desired test result.

There is a wide range of question types you might encounter in your spatial reasoning test. Therefore, it's highly recommended that you familiarise yourself with all the different types of questions for better performance in the real test.

Below we will take a look at a few examples of common spatial reasoning question types.

Shape matching

In shape matching or visual comparison questions, you will have to examine two groups of different shapes in different layouts and angles before deciding which one belongs to the same shape.

Question: Which shape in Group 2 corresponds to the shape in Group 1?


It's much like playing a pairing game at high speed. It helps reflect how good you are at visualizing two-dimensional objects.

It's important to watch out for reflected images - a factor that makes the test extra challenging for test-takers. 

Group rotation

Having the ability to mentally visualize different dimensions of a shape is one of the skills tested in a spatial reasoning test. You will encounter group rotation questions in a spatial reasoning test where you’ll have to identify the correct angle of the given shape from a set of answer choices.

Source: Mechanical and Spatial Aptitude by LearningExpress, LLC.

Question: Which of the answer figures is a rotation of the question figure?

Answer: C

One tip to tackle this kind of question is to detect the marker. Often the given shapes will have an identifying feature like a dot or a square. The placement of such features can help you navigate dimensions and determine which answer is correct.

Cube views

In cube view questions, there are three different views of a three-dimensional cube, with shapes or symbols on each face. You'll be presented with questions about those symbols. This is for assessing how capable you are at visualizing shapes from different angles of the same object.

Question: Three views of the same cube are shown above. Which symbol is opposite the X?

Answer: D

In the question above, you can simply use a process of elimination. If you can see a symbol on the same illustration as the “X" one, then it can't be the opposite symbol of “X". The second and third illustrations help eliminate A, B, and C. This leaves us with two options D and other. D has edges shared with A and B which would be consistent with the thỉd cube illustrated. Therefore D is correct. 

Mirror images

As the name indicates, mirror image questions require you to figure out the mirror image of either the two or the three dimension shape given. 

Source: Study and Score

Question: Which answer shows a mirror image of the image above?

Answer: 3

These questions may be tricky at first glance. However, it's often possible to use logic in this question type to eliminate wrong answers when finding the potentially correct ones. 

Combining two-dimensional shapes

You'll be presented with different pieces of a 2D shape. Your job is to analyze all the given pieces and identify which answer choices have a shape that these pieces can be composed into.


Question: Which of the cubes shown could be made from the pattern?

Answer: D

Block counting

In block counting questions, there are a series of cubes made from blocks and you are unable to see all of these blocks. Your job is to figure out how many blocks have been used to make the given shape.

Source: Mechanical and Spatial Aptitude by LearningExpress, LLC.

Question: How many blocks make up the shape above?

Answer: 28

The challenge lies in counting blocks that you cannot see. This is another testing aspect of your spatial reasoning ability.


Map questions are designed to evaluate your ability to take instructions and follow maps. The questions are often in the form of either a two-dimensional map or a plan that you are required to navigate. 

Source: Mechanical and Spatial Aptitude by LearningExpress, LLC.

Officer Harolds is sitting at a red light at the intersection of Fourth Street and Washington Road facing southbound. The dispatcher sends him on a one-vehicle collision call. A motorist has run into the northwest corner of the City Hall building. What is the quickest route for Officer Harolds to take to get to City Hall?

A. Turn west onto Washington Road, then south on Third Street, and then west on Main Street to Parker Road.
B. Turn west onto Washington Road, then south onto Parker Road, and then east to Lincoln Avenue.
C. Turn west onto Washington Road, south on Second Street, and then east onto Main Street to Parker Road.
D. Turn west onto Washington Road, then south onto Parker Road, and then east onto Main Street.

The correct answer is B.

The difficulty of these questions lies in how to make an accurate decision under great time pressure. You may also find such questions challenging without a good sense of direction. 

Spatial reasoning test tips

To prepare effectively for the test, we have a few tips here for you.

Beforehand research matters

Not all spatial test providers design the same type of spatial reasoning questions. Therefore, you might need to do some research beforehand.

As you know your test provider, you can focus on practicing for specific types of questions that might appear in your real test. You can also have an idea of how other contributing factors such as time limit, test difficulty, etc. might affect your performance and are more prepared.

Systematic and methodical approach helps

The most effective approach to resolving spatial reasoning questions is to be systematic and methodical instead of taking random guessing.

With each question, there are a number of factors you can look at to identify the possible correct answer. Here are a few features for your reference:

  • Number of sides of the objects
  • Elements are drawn inside the object
  • Color of the objects

Based on such features and patterns, you can apply your reason and justification to disqualify certain answer choices. This method works wonderfully when you don't possess a great visualizing ability.

Practice is the key

The most challenging factor when doing spatial reasoning tests is the variety of questions that each test has. The only thing you can do about it is to practice doing different question types.

As long as you practice properly and carefully, your ability to answer each question in time will improve over time. The more practice tests you take, the quicker and more confident you will be when it comes to taking the real spatial reasoning test.

There are a number of excellent resources that might help with your practice process such as well-written books and free practice tests from official test providers.

Here are a few books that you can refer to during your practice: 

You can find copies of these books in open-sourced libraries or buy them on Amazon to support the authors.

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