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Thomas International GIA Test: Guide and Tips

Thomas International GIA Test: Guide and Tips

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What Is the Thomas International GIA Test?

The General Intelligence Assessment developed by Thomas International is an online aptitude assessment that measures a person’s skills in five key areas:

  1. Reasoning
  2. Perceptual Speed
  3. Number Speed/Accuracy
  4. Spatial Visualization
  5. Word Meaning

It is designed to give companies greater insight into the problem-solving abilities of their employees and future employees and to identify potential future leaders.

The Thomas International GIA test is considered to be among one of the more difficult employment screening tests available, mainly as it is so detailed and requires candidates to cover many questions in a short time frame.

To succeed on the GIA test, you need to be able to process information quickly and perform with accuracy under pressure.

Thomas International GIA Test Example Questions

The test is taken online using a computer. Each of the five key areas that the test focuses on is presented as a separate test section.

Before commencing each section of the test, you will have the opportunity to read some instructions and practice a few questions before you start the main test. These questions are not reflected in your overall score.

You will answer the questions by directing your mouse towards the correct answer and clicking on it.

If you are taking the test independently, make sure you know the size of your monitor or screen as you will be asked to indicate this to ensure you can view the test questions and answers in full.

If you are taking the test with an administrator, they should have everything set up for you in advance.


This section of the test will assess a candidate’s problem-solving abilities and to a degree, their memory.

You will be required to compare two sets of statements to decide who is happier, heavier, later, etc.

Once you have read the initial statement and understood it you will have to click the mouse.

This causes the statement to disappear and you will be presented with a question that directly relates to the statement on the previous page and TWO possible answers.

Example Question

Question 1:

Carrie is less punctual than Daniel.

Who is more likely to arrive early?

a) Carrie
b) Daniel

Example Question

Question 2:

John does not work as fast as Simon.

Who works slower?

a) John
b) Simon

Perceptual Speed

This section of the test is designed to measure how quickly a person can absorb and decode simple information in their head.

You will be presented with four pairs of letters. You have to decide how many of the pairs are the same.

Example Question

Question 1:

a x b h

a) 0
b) 1
c) 2
d) 3
e) 4

Example Question

Question 2:

y b d r

a) 0
b) 1
c) 2
d) 3
e) 4

Number Speed and Accuracy

Here, you are required to process numerical information and make simple calculations quickly.

This section requires you to look at three different numbers. You have to decide which one is the HIGHEST and which one is the LOWEST.

Next you have to work out which one of these is further away from the number that remains.

Example Question

Question 1:

8 | 3 | 6

Example Question

Question 2:

9 | 4 | 1

Word Meaning

This section assesses basic verbal reasoning skills.

It requires you to be able to quickly work out how words relate to one another and identify the one that does not fit from a choice of three words.

Example Question

Question 1:


Example Question

Question 2:


Spatial Visualization

This part of the test is designed to assess how well you can rotate and compare shapes and symbols.

This section requires significant visual/spatial skill and is probably the most difficult to practice.

From a set of options, you will have to decide how many boxes contain a matching pair.

For example, whether the shape or symbol can be rotated to match the symbol at the bottom or top, or whether they will never match after rotation.

Example Question

Question 1:

a) 1
b) 2
c) 0

Example Question

Question 2:

a) 1
b) 2
c) 0

How Is the Thomas International GIA Test Scored?

Unlike many pre-employment screening tests, the GIA test is scored both positively and negatively.

This means that while you are awarded points for correct answers, you will be deducted points for questions that you answer incorrectly.

As there are so many questions to answer in a relatively short space of time, it is important that you are able to strike a balance between speed and accuracy if you wish to score well on the Thomas GIA test.

The number of points deducted for a wrong answer varies from section to section.

At the end of the test a generalized score is generated as a percentile. This is done by ranking candidates from 1 to 100 against a norm group.

Thomas International GIA Test: Guide and Tips
Thomas International GIA Test: Guide and Tips

A score below 50 means that a higher number of the comparison group outperformed you.

For example, if your score is 20 then 80% of them performed better than you.

A higher score means that you outperformed others.

For example, if you are ranked at the 90th percentile then only 10% of the norm group scored better than you overall.

Score percentiles for the Thomas GIA test are as follows:

  • Low – less than 15
  • Below average – 16 to 34
  • Average – 35 to 64
  • Above average – 65 to 85
  • High – 86+

A passing score will depend entirely on the expectations of the company that requested you to take the test.

Generally, you can calculate how you performed by comparing your score to the ‘average’ field.

For example:

  • If your score percentile is above 65 you did better than average.
  • If you ranked below 35 you performed below average.
  • A score of more than 86 puts you in the top 15% of candidates and is generally considered a very good score.

The score report for the test will show a breakdown of how well you scored on each of the five sections of the test, in addition to your overall score.

It will also indicate your strengths, weaknesses and potential areas for development.

The test has a time limit; therefore, you will be scored on speed as well as accuracy.

Pausing on a question and taking too long to answer will negatively impact your test score as well as reduce the time you have to answer subsequent questions.

The way your score report is interpreted will depend on the company in question and the role you are being considered for.

Scoring highly in a certain area may be of more interest to the hiring manager than the others.

If the role you want is in a highly pressurized environment, where quick decision-making is critical, your speed will likely be more highly scrutinized.

How to Prepare for the Thomas International GIA Test

If you are hoping to perform well on the assessment, it is important that you take some steps to prepare yourself in advance of taking the test.

Step 1. Find Sample Questions Online

You can find sample questions for the Thomas GIA test online. You can also download an example booklet with several questions, answers and explanations in it from the Thomas website.

By practicing some of the questions in advance of taking the test, you will become familiar with both the questions and the format of the test.

As you practice more, you may also get quicker at answering the questions; remember, speed is a critical component of the Thomas GIA assessment.

Step 2. Read the Questions Carefully

As time is of the essence with this type of test, when you practice make sure that you read the questions carefully so that you understand exactly what is being asked of you.

On the test day you will also get to run through a few practice questions before you start the actual test, so make the best use of this time and focus.

Step 3. Practice Self-Care

Make sure you are getting enough sleep and are eating a healthy, balanced diet and staying hydrated.

You will not perform at your best if you are not looking after yourself in the run-up to, or on, test day.

Step 4. Stay Calm and Focus

Although the test may seem nerve-racking, it is important to focus on the task at hand. There are up to 200 questions to answer, so it is important that you concentrate and know exactly what is being asked of you with each question.

If you are panicking or getting anxious, try to breathe and refocus your attention on the assessment.

Try to remain calm – if you are hoping for a good score, it is unlikely you will perform well if you are stressed.

The test is taken online, so make sure you have a quiet space, free from distractions and with a reliable internet connection.

Frequently Asked Questions

The Thomas International GIA test has between 150 to 200 questions.

Each test section lasts between two and five minutes. You can expect the whole test (including the instructional parts) to last 30 to 45 minutes.

You can download a practice booklet for the Thomas GIA test here.

You should practice the tests and try to do so under timed conditions.

When you are preparing for taking the test it is important to focus, remain calm and practice self-care so you are not stressed or burned out come test day.

The test is hard to pass mostly because there are so many questions to answer in a short space of time – candidates may have as little as five seconds per question.

You may be required to retake the test if you apply for another position that requires candidates to take the GIA test. You should ask the recruiter or hiring manager about this.

You can find sample tests with questions, answers and instructions online.

The test is taken online using a computer and mouse. You may be asked to take the test with an administrator or you may take it independently.

The test will assess speed, accuracy and the ability to process information. It is designed to highlight candidates who have good problem-solving abilities or those who may be suitable for leadership roles.

If you pass the test, you will most likely be able to progress to the next step in the recruitment process.

Depending on what stage of the hiring process you took the test, you may progress onto further rounds of interviews, orienteering or a job offer.

Performing exceptionally well may highlight you for a leadership role.

You might be invited to take the assessment at some point during the hiring or promotion process at a company that uses the Thomas General Intelligence Assessment to help it identify the best candidates for a position.

The test was originally designed to assess candidates for the military but now companies across a range of backgrounds and industries have incorporated the Thomas GIA test into their recruitment process, including:

  • Siemens
  • Metro Bank
  • CBRE

Final Thoughts

The Thomas GIA test requires candidates to demonstrate high levels of both speed and accuracy to stand a chance of performing well.

Being asked to take any kind of intelligence assessment may initially seem like a daunting task.

The current job market is highly competitive, meaning many companies are willing to go the extra mile to make sure that they hire the best candidates for the job, making these kinds of screening assessments more commonplace.

If you want to give yourself the highest chance of performing well on the Thomas General Intelligence Assessment (GIA) it is important that you set aside time to practice and prepare adequately ahead of test day.

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