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The "crazy" hard cognitive test UBS interns must pass

Good news for students: UBS is recruiting for its spring cohort of budding interns. Bad news: getting in requires the completion of a cognitive assessment, and even elite performers don't appear to progress. It's a two stage test of both inductive and numerical reasoning, and this is what it entails.

The inductive portion of the UBS assessment is all about pattern recognition, using 3x3 grids of multicolored shapes. Two grids appear on the left with an identifiable pattern. Four grids appear on the right, of which two also share that pattern. You must identify which two those are. The final score for this section is potentially limitless; it has a six-minute time limit and will accept as many answers as you can provide before time is up.

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The numerical portion of UBS's spring insight test is all about data analysis. You're given a number of tables (around five or six) containing data such as revenue for a company, market shares and number of employees. You're then given a statement and asked to label it as 'True', 'False', or 'Cannot Say.' There are some psychological tricks here that might cause you to second guess yourself. For example, after answering one statement, you might be presented with something stating the exact opposite. Unlike the inductive section, scores here are finite. There are 18 questions; you also have six minutes to complete them.

The average, defined as "quite fast" by the report on your answers that's subsequently given, appears to be around 45–50 questions attempted. Some students claim to have achieved "crazy scores", reaching as high as 71 correct answers. 

A high score doesn't automatically translate to success, however. One student said that they got a score of 68 and still didn't get through to the next round; this is likely because the test has an accompanying "culture match" assessment, which might prove trickier for some.

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Photo by Olav Ahrens Røtne on Unsplash

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AUTHORAlex McMurray Reporter

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