Psychometric tests – practice tests
Many graduate employers use online testing to select job applicants. Career Destinations offers current students the opportunity to practise realistic numerical and verbal tests online (see below).
See Further Information for background information on Psychometric tests and links to further sites, some of which include additional practice tests.
Graduate employers often use online testing to select job applicants. Career Destinations offers current students the opportunity to undertake the following tests:
Numerical and verbal ability tests - These tests look at your abilities to understand written material and to solve problems using numerical information.
Personality Tests - The Type Dynamics Indicator looks at your preferences or how you are likely to react and behave in different circumstances.
Learning styles - Your learning becomes more effective when it matches your preferred learning style.
Further information on Psychometric Tests
Psychometric tests are designed to measure your intellectual capabilities for thinking and reasoning, and various aspects of personality.
Aptitude or ability tests assess reasoning ability. The most commonly used tests assess verbal and numerical reasoning skills, other types will also assess your diagrammatic/spatial reasoning. Some organisations will test all 3, others only one or two depending on the position you have applied for. These tests are known as measures of maximum performance. Tests will generally be either paper and pencil based or, increasingly, on-line exercises, often in the form of multiple choice questions.
Situational Judgement Tests (SJTs)
Situational judgement tests assess the judgement required for solving problems in workplace situations. You are presented with a hypothetical but realistic workplace situation and have to respond. You select from several possible actions that you could take in order to deal with the problem presented.
These aim to measure whether your personal attributes are suitable for a particular work environment. They can assess individual behaviour, attitudes or opinions as well as motivation, values and interests. Such tests are known as measures of typical performance. The best way to approach this type of test is to answer the questions as straightforwardly as possible. Trying to guess what the employer is looking for could be counter-productive – you don’t want a job which doesn’t suit you!
Why are they used?
During the selection process a variety of methods can be used to give organisations a thorough assessment of your suitability for the post and help them to choose between candidates. These include: application forms/CVs, interviews, assessment centres, presentations and psychometric tests.
Some organisations use tests prior to a first interview and there is often a ‘pass mark’ to achieve before you can proceed to the next stage of the application process. Other employers use them at a later stage , such as at an assessment centre.
Psychometric tests have the advantage over other methods of assessment because they:
- are objective and fair
- tend to predict success in the role more effectively
- can provide useful information about an applicant’s personality, motivation or what they are capable of doing
- are useful for assessing training and development needs
How to prepare
It is not possible to look at the actual tests used by organisations. You are not able to buy these tests, take copies of them or get past papers as this would limit their effectiveness. There are however a number of things you can do to prepare:
- Practising will help to familiarise you with the demands of tests. This should help you to feel more confident
- Make use of books and websites with test questions
- Puzzles including word games and diagrammatic puzzles. These can help you develop an analytical frame of mind
- Brush up on your basic maths. Practice basic arithmetic including addition, subtraction, division, ratios and percentages
- Reading financial company reports can be good practice
- Verbal reasoning skills are more difficult to practice. Try reading broadsheet newspapers, technical reports and business journals. Practice extracting the main points from paragraphs of information analysing and summarising their meaning
- If you have a disability and require any special adjustments, such as extra time, or if English is not your first language, you should notify the employer in advance of the test
Advice on how to approach a test session
- Arrive in good time and make yourself comfortable
- Listen to the instructions carefully and ask the test administrator for clarification if you don’t understand
- If completing an on-line test, make sure you are in a quiet room and will not be disturbed. You may need to inform others of the situation to avoid interruption
- Follow the instructions you are given exactly
- Make or change answers clearly in the correct manner
- Many aptitude tests are designed with more questions than you can answer in the time allowed. Don’t worry if you do not finish all the questions
- Try not to spend too long on one question, move on if you get stuck
- If you have spare time at the end, check your answers
- After the test, ask for feedback
- If you have not done well, remember there may be a number of reasons for this including misunderstanding what you had to do, answering questions too slowly, a lack of practice or feeling tired and unable to concentrate
The following have useful information on a range of tests and include some which have practice tests:
The British Psychological Society www.psychtesting.org.uk
Practice Aptitude Tests
Online personality assessment
Professional test provider with online examples of ability tests
TARGETjobs: information about psychometric assessments and links to various practice tests
Mark Parkinson www.markparkinson.co.uk
Lists a wide range of websites which offer personality, ability and aptitude practice tests
Psychometric success www.psychometric-success.com
Offers help and advice on personality and aptitude tests as well as a wide range of practice tests
Numerical Tests E-Financial Careers Free online numerical tests similar to those used by Investment Banks
Situational Judgement Test
Download a free Practice Situational Judgement Test from from Assessment Day
Download a free Practice In-Tray exercise from Assessment Day
Graduate Record Exam www.gre.org
You will need a GRE score if you are applying for postgraduate study in the USA
Graduate Management Admissions Test www.mba.com/mba/TaketheGMAT
American and many European business schools need a GMAT score with applications
Graduate Australian Medical Schools Admissions Test www.gamsat.co.uk
Used in UK by some medical schools as part of selection procedures
Diagonal Thinking The Diagonal Thinking self-assessment is a free online tool, designed to aid recruitment into the advertising and communication industries. It tests the hypothesis that the most successful individuals working in the business are both Linear and Lateral Thinkers – they think ‘diagonally'. It will help you find out whether you are a diagonal thinker.
Loan materials from the Career Destinations Centre
Examples of this extensive collection:
- Psychometric tests for graduates and Practice psychometric tests - Andrea Shavick
- How to master psychometric tests - Mark Parkinson
- Brilliant selection test results - Susan Hodgson
- How to pass verbal reasoning tests - H. Tolley & K. Thomas
- Practice Tests for Critical Verbal Reasoning - Peter Rhodes
- Succeed at psychometric testing. Practice tests for verbal reasoning (advanced level) - Jeremy Kourdi
- How to pass numerical reasoning tests - Heidi Smith
- The advanced numeracy test workbook, Graduate psychometric test workbook and How to pass selection tests - Mike Byron