Personality test, aptitude test, verbal reasoning test. Certainly familiar terms if you’ve started applying for internships, placements or graduate schemes. These are all types of psychometric test. Not familiar with psychometric tests yet? Chill. The bark is worse than the bite. They are simply tests used during the selection process for many graduate employers.
Psychometric tests are impersonal, standardised and objective tests used basically to filter out candidates in the recruitment process. When applying to a big employers graduate scheme, you’ll likely be asked to take a psychometric test – don’t panic.
What is a psychometric test?
There are 3 types of psychometric tests you might come into contact with;
1. Ability Test
Test skills, like problem-solving or the ability to identify mistakes accurately (such as proof-reading or basic spelling/ grammar test). They tend to fall in to four categories:
- Numerical Reasoning tests: Assess your ability to interpret statistics, data, graphs or charts. Also basic arithmetic.
- Verbal Reasoning tests: Assess your ability to evaluate statements and arguments as well as written information.
- Abstract Reasoning tests: Otherwise known as Diagrammatic Reasoning tests, are inductive (essentially the opposite to instinctive) reasoning tests. They assess your ability to follow diagrammatic information or spot patterns.
- Logical Reasoning tests: Assess your ability to follow through to a conclusion when given basic information, or using current knowledge/ experiences. These are inductive and deductive reasoning tests.
Deductive vs. Inductive
- Deductive = you use a theory to form a conclusion based on evidence.
- Inductive = you form the theory based on an observation.
A key tip: don’t panic if you run out of time! Some tests are devised so that it is almost impossible to finish before the time is up, but do remember you are competing with others so don’t waste too much time on one.
2. Aptitude Test
Assess your ability to learn a new skill. Specifically, a skill that will most likely be needed for the job you applied to.
Situational judgement and critical thinking assessments are designed to be fun and appealing test to assess the natural responses to given situations and measure suitability, for the company and role, rather than ability. Failure is not necessarily a bad thing it just means you have avoided a job or company you do not match to.
A key tip: To nail these tests, simply remember to be calm and to answer honestly. But most importantly is to make sure you understand the scenario and only use the provided information.
3. Personality Test
Examines your fit with the company culture and for the role. Employers might be looking for specific characteristics in applicants for each role, they may use a sample of successful graduates or managers to then match your response to theirs. If you’re right for the job and the employer is right for you, you’ll do fine. If they not looking for people with your personality, cut your losses. Chances are you’ll find something that suits you more elsewhere!
A key tip: It’s important that you don’t try to guess what you think the employer wants to see, personality questionnaires assess consistency in responses.
How to nail a psychometric test? Easy. Practice, practice, practice.
You’ll become familiar with the way the questions are asked and the typical formats. Not to mention you will improve on accuracy and speed, and be able to identify areas you struggle on and need to work on. While practice helps to improve your performance each employer’s tests will be slightly different.
Some free practice tests:
- Psychometric tests from SHL includes verbal, numerical, inductive reasoning, accuracy and motivation tests.
- Personality report from Peoplemaps
- Practice tests and questionnaires from Mark Parkinson, author of How to Master Psychometric Tests
- Preparation guides for aptitude tests from Saville Consulting. Various guides including verbal and numerical reasoning and comprehension, and diagrammatic and spatial reasoning.
- Example verbal and numerical questions from Criterion Partnership.
- Trial aptitude and critical thinking tests from TalentLens (UK), Pearson.
The no-shit-Sherlock last-minute advice
We’re not trying to be patronising… promise!
- Get a good night’s sleep and leave plenty of time to get to the test centre.
- Wear a watch so you can keep track of the time incase there is no clock in the room.
- Listen to instructions and follow them carefully.
- If you are given practice examples before the test, make the most of them. If you don’t understand how the test works, or anything still doesn’t make sense, this is your last chance to ask.
- Make sure you know the number of questions and how much time is allowed.
- Time left at the end? Use any remaining time to check your answers, but don’t panic if you don’t finish.
- Don’t let the test throw you, and try not to take any notice of what other candidates say about it. Stay focused, upbeat and ready for the rest of the day.
Good luck with your psychometric test, you will nail it! Still looking for jobs? Then check out Magnet.me to connect with companies that are looking for someone like you!