Anagrams are commonly used as a way to assess problem-solving abilities. They are so-called goal-driven tasks that cannot be solved in a single step, which equates to problem-solving as the search for a path through the problem space1.
Good performance in solving anagrams has been linked to creativity2, which is not surprising since that innovative solutions seem often to result from the selective combination of apparently unrelated elements3.
This Anagrams Test consists of 10 questions in total. For each question, you will see sets of jumbled letters. Some of the options are anagrams and can be reordered to form English words.
Select all the sets that hide a dictionary-approved word.
Example: ENW is an anagram for NEW and RCA is an anagram for CAR. Both options should be selected.
This test is designed as an entertaining and educational tool. The results do not constitute a psychological or psychiatric evaluation of any kind and may not offer an accurate portrait of the mental fitness of the test taker. We do not guarantee the accuracy of the results and these should not be used as an indicator of the capacities of the individual for a specific purpose.
Responses may be recorded and used for research purposes or to be otherwise distributed. All responses are recorded anonymously.
Anagrams are often used as an intelligence measuring method. They are common exercises in IQ tests and are also used as specific intelligence tests on their own. That is because they are a good strategy to measure both verbal and problem-solving skills.
On one hand, anagrams can disclose verbal intelligence. This refers to the ability to analyze information (verbal, in this particular case) and to solve problems by employing language-based reasoning. While doing an exercise of anagrams, the participants’ language knowledge is put to the test. The richer their vocabulary, the more likely they are to succeed. However, even if they do not know the precise word, they might still try to “invent” one, following the most common patterns and spelling rules in that language.
On the other hand, anagrams also serve to analyze problem-solving skills in general. The test takers are faced with sets of scrambled letters that seemingly have no meaning or pattern behind them. However, they know that those letters are very likely an anagram of an existing word. Their problem is the mixed letters and they must find a path to the solution that is the word they make out.
The most effective way to try to solve anagrams is by doing it in parts. Remember that in a test of anagrams, not all options on an exercise can actually be rearranged to form an existing word. Therefore, when trying to unscramble all the letters at the same time you are providing your brain with an overload of information that it will need to analyze to find if those letters are anagrams or not and, if so, of what word.
If you focus on only a few letters or in trying to build a word by sections it can be more effective. The majority of the time, the brain can recognize the anagram or the word the question is trying to trick you into believing is there, even before you finish your analysis.
There are only a handful of words that contain a Q without a U, so QU is the most obvious pair. If they are among the letters you are trying to unscramble, you can immediately set them aside and begin forming the word.
H is another great letter to focus on. Unless it is starting a word, it usually follows T, W, C, S, G, P.
Another useful trick to try to solve anagrams is to focus only on the consonants and try to arrange them in their most common order. The brain fills in for vowels much quicker than it does for consonants. Therefore, if you find the correct order of the consonants, you will quickly perceive which vowels should be in there to complete the word.
If those vowels are within the scramble letters, you have solved the anagram. If not, then it is very likely that there is no word hidden in there.
When analyzing the letters try to arrange them by common prefixes and suffixes. If the word you are trying to unscramble starts or ends with them, then you will have fewer letters to arrange to find it.
Common prefixes include “un-”, “re-”, or “in-”, while common suffixes are “-ing”, “-d”, “-er”, “-tion”, “-ity”, “-er”, “-ness”, “-ism”, “-ment”, “-ant”, “-ship”, “-age”, and “-ery”.
If you can spot any of these in the set of scramble letters you are analyzing, it will increase your chances of solving the anagram in less time.
1 Valerjev, P., & Dujmović, M. (2018). The impact of length and solvability of anagrams on performance and metacognitive judgments. Conference Proceedings 21st Psychology Days in Zadar. 217-230
2 Mendelsohn, G.A. & Griswold, B.B. (1966). Assessed creative potential, vocabulary level, and sex as predictors of the use of incidental cures in verbal problem solving. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 4, 423-431
3 Ansburg, P. & Hill,K. (2003). Creative and analytic thinkers differ in their use of attentional resources. Personality and Individual Differences. 34(7), 1141-1152.
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