Clerical Reasoning Questions

Clerical workers must be able to reason, compute and communicate clearly.
Clerical workers must be able to reason, compute and communicate clearly. (Image: young secretary image by Ales Masner from

Clerical workers provide the administrative support required for the effective achievement of a company’s goals. They typically provide basic functions such as keyboarding, answering calls, distributing mail, filing, copying, record keeping and data entry. The assessment of a clerk’s ability to reason is critical in recruitment, training and promotion. Questions cover basic skills, numerical skill, verbal competence and mental aptitude.

Basic Clerical Skills

Spelling is an important component of effective reasoning and communication. Choose the correctly spelled word: confidance, confidence, confedense. Choose the correctly spelled word: disapppoint, disappoint, dissapoint Choose the correctly spelled word: legisliture, ligeslature, legislature.

Sorting questions also evaluate basic reasoning skills. Choose the appropriate category (company, product, telephone number, cost or street address) for the following items: What is 302-234-9870? What is 2206 Maple Drive? What is $20 per person, $35 per couple? What is Compaq LJ650 Series? What is Officeworks Inc?

Clerical workers also need to be able to discern similar items and lists. Simple comparison questions test that skill: Compare the two sets of lists. Are they exactly the same? If not, how do they differ?
How does Partheon Siding Company compare with Parthenon Siding Company? How does 13489 Southside Way compare with 13349 South Side Way?

Numerical Aptitude

Basic math drills test numerical reasoning. They can be fill-in-the-blank or multiple-choice problems:

Add 6 + 5. Add 3 + 2.4. What is 38% of 80? Subtract 256 from 1872.45. What is 87 – 35 (53, 42, 51, 51, 52)? What is 17 x 3 (47, 49, 51, 53, 54)? What is 91 + 25 + 3.45 (109.45, 119.45, 129.05, 99.5)? What is 20% of 225 (49, 85, 45, 40, 55)?

Verbal Competence

The ability to use words correctly is a further step in clerical reasoning. Questions for verbal aptitude cover word meanings and relationships:

Which of the following words are not similar to condemn (critique, disparage, criticize, censure)? Which word means to illustrate (cover, judge, exemplify, eradicate)? A king is to a throne as a judge is to a (lawyer, bench, court, trial)? Which word means passionate or intense feeling (temperamental, transitory, disconsolate, ardent)?

Identify the relationship between the words and choose the pair with the most similar relationship: A heel is to a foot as a (beam is to a ship; hand is to a palm; stern is to a boat; cruiser is to a vessel)? A car is to a garage as a (lock is to a door; boat is to a dock; radio is to a dashboard; wheel is to a spoke)?

Mental Ability

The ability to follow analyze, think logically and discern are higher level clerical skills. For example, questions can evaluate the ability to follow directions:

Select A if all are alike; select B if only the first and second are alike; select C if only the first and third are alike; select D if only the second and third are alike; select E if none are alike: How are David Jones, Davis Jones, and Davis Jones alike? How are 48766591, 48756691, and 48766591 alike? How are 847 Miner Way, 847 Minard Road, and 847 Miners Way alike?

Which one of the five does not belong: pineapple, guava, grapes, papaya and pear?

What is the color of turmeric if blue means pink, pink means green, green means yellow, yellow means red and red means white (green, yellow, red, pink, none)?

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