Abstract Reasoning Exam Tips

How to Pass the Abstract Reasoning Exam

Quick Tips

  • Answer easier questions first
    By the time you have completed the Acer Practice Exams or the practice exams found on this website, you will have a good idea of what types of questions you find difficult. When it comes to the entrance exam, skip these and come back to them later.
  • Understand the different types of patterns found in the Abstract Reasoning section
    Some questions, especially the logic-based questions, require careful reading of the question to ensure you don’t miss out on important information. Try not to rush it, take your time.
  • How hard is the Abstract Reasoning section on the entrance exam?
    Good news! The Abstract Reasoning section on entrance exam is a lot easier than the Acer practice exam. If you have scored well on the Acer exam or the Abstract Reasoning Practice Exams found on this website, you will have no issues with the entrance exam.

If you struggled with the abstract reasoning practice exam from ACER, you are not alone. I failed it on my first attempt, 29/45, doh!

But, in the actual Victoria Police Entrance Exam, I crushed it with 42/45. 

How? Two reasons.

1. Understanding the patterns behind the questions.
2. The Abstract Reasoning section on entrance exam was a lot easier than the Acer practice exam. A lot easier!

Let’s focus on point 1. This exam becomes a lot easier when you know what to look for, which is pattern recognition.

The patterns of the questions are determined by the following:

  • Sequence
  • Symmetry
  • Number of shapes
  • Rotating/reflection/movment of shapes
  • Odd-sided/even-sided shapes
  • Colour combinations

That’s it, 6 different patterns to look out for will allow you to answer all the questions in the exam. Simple yeah? 

Sometimes the patterns are used in combination and sometimes you might see 2 possible patterns being used, but after you look for the answer, it becomes clear only one pattern was used.

Let’s put these 6 patterns to the test with one of the Abstract Reasoning Practice Exams I created. 

Ask yourself first, what is the pattern I am looking for in this question?
Answers and explanations can be found at the bottom of this page.

Which shape in the bottom row is most like the top?


What is the pattern? Sequence.
All the shapes in the top row have been duplicated and ordered in a straight sequence. Following this pattern, the answer is ‘D’.


What is the pattern? Number of shapes.
All the shapes in the top row have the same number of black squares, 7. Only option ‘D’ has 7 squares.

Note: You may also notice the top 3 shapes are all symmetrical too. Option ‘B’ is symmetrical but only has 6 black squares. If it was to have 7 black squares, I would pick it as the answer but because none of the other possible answers have 7 black squares, the number of shapes is the stronger pattern.


What is the pattern? Colour combinations.
You can see all the shapes in the top 3 squares differ to each other. There is no obvious rotation or movement of shapes pattern.

One thing similar to all 3 top squares is each of them has 1 black shape, 2 white and 1 grey. Following this pattern, the answer is ‘D’.


What is the pattern? Sequence.
What can we see? Not much of anything really. In each of the top squares, one side of the line is touching the left side of the square but the other side is either touching the top, bottom or right side of the square = rotating pattern. 

Looking at the possible answers, we notice that options ‘A’ & ‘C’ have the lines touching corners of the square. This rules them out.

Option ‘D’ doesn’t touch a side so it’s out. Out of ‘B’ and ‘E’, which option matches the top 3 squares? ‘E’ has one side of the line touching the corner, which differs from the top 3 squares. This rules it out leaving ‘B’ as our answer.


What is the pattern? Odd-sided/even-sided shapes.
We see a shape within a shape for each of the top squares. Counting the sides of the shapes within each square, we see a pattern where the black outside shape has one more side than the white inner shape. The answer has to be D.

Which shape in the bottom row completes the sequence?


What is the pattern? Rotating.
We see the link within the box in each of the top squares rotates 45 degrees anti-clockwise. The answer has to be ‘E’


What is the pattern? Sequence.
These sort of questions are more challenging. We have to identify what is happening to each shape within each square. Keep in mind one thing, sometimes shapes can overlap each other blocking one of them completely. 

Lets start with the black square. It’s moving clock-wise each time by half the square.
The arrow looks to be moving anti-clockwise but in the 5th square, its back at the start. Therefore, it must only move at the bottom of the square.
The circle is moving from corner to corner in a clock-wise direction.

The answer is either ‘C’ or ‘E’ but then we see in ‘E’, the arrow is facing down breaking the sequence, therefore the answer is ‘C’.


What is the pattern? Sequence & Colour Combination.
What do we see? The first shape is a white shape that has two smaller shapes inside. Every second shape is a grey circle or triangle. Therefore the 5th square should be a white shape that has two smaller shapes inside.

Looking closer at the two smaller shapes inside the big white shape, what they have in common is; one grey shape and only 1 square, 1 circle and 1 triangle is used. Looking at the answers, only options ‘A’ and ‘E’ can be correct. ‘E’ is ruled out because it doesn’t have a grey shape leaving ‘A’ as the answer.

Which shape goes in the middle if the 5 shapes are placed in order?


What is the pattern? Rotation.
These sort of questions look hard at first glance so lets break it down. Out of the 5 squares, 5 have grey triangles and 3 have black/grey triangles. 

If we start off with ‘A’ and then move the grey square clock-wise or anti-clockwise, in the 5th square, the grey triangle should be at the bottom again. Problem is, our final leftover square doesn’t have a grey triangle at the bottom.

Squares ‘B’ & ‘E’ are the same so lets start off with ‘B’ and move the grey triangle either clock-wise or anti-clockwise.  In both situations, square ‘C’ is in the middle so that’s the answer.


What is the pattern? Number of shapes.
What do we see? Looks like the black square is increasing by 1 each time. As for the grey squares, they look to be decreasing by 1 square each time as the black squares increase EXCEPT for square ‘C’, where now there are 5 grey squares. Because the pattern of grey breaks, I would disregard their importance and focus on the black squares.

If we order the number of black squares first, square ‘A’ is in the middle. 

Final takeaway

The Victoria Police abstract exam is a whole lot easier with practice. Download the abstract practice exams here and go through them once a week. In 3-4 weeks time, you will be recognising the patterns with ease and should be getting really high scores each time.

Good luck with the prep!

If you would like extra help on a question, drop me an email. 

For further Victoria Police Exam Tips:
Numerical Skills
Verbal Reasoning
Oral Communication Task
Summary Writing
Extended Writing
Literacy Skills