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The University of Southampton
Careers, Employability and Student Enterprise

Online Tests (Psychometrics)

When applying for a graduate job, you may encounter online ability tests and/or personality assessments, often referred to as psychometric tests. These are used by organisations to assess your suitability for the job and measure your intellectual capabilities for thinking and reasoning


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Psychometric Ability Tests are designed to assess the capability of candidates to perform important job-related tasks and can be challenging. There is a ‘pass mark’ to achieve before you can proceed to the next stage of the application process. Tests are normally at the early stage of the recruitment process. Practice is essential.

Psychometric Personality Assessments will sometimes feature at the later stages of the recruitment process. There is no ‘pass mark’ or correct answers to these assessments. They will be used to assess the relative strengths and weaknesses of candidates for the role applied for. Practice is not required, but can be insightful. 


Through our UoS Career Hub, you can practise a wide range of tests for free including Numerical Reasoning, Verbal Reasoning, Situational Judgement and E-Tray Excercises amongst many more to help you build your confidence. Click the button below to access these tests.


Click here to access free practice tests

You can also check out some useful resources we have compiled below, as well as some top tips for performing well and more information on the range of tests you may face.

In addition to this we have a large range of books and e-books available to help you with preparing for psychometric tests. Please see our Careers Library and e-books webpages for more information.

Aptitude/Ability Tests

These 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 three, others only one or two depending on the position you have applied for. These tests are known as measures of maximum performance. Tests will be either paper and pencil based or, more usually, on-line exercises, often in the form of multiple choice questions.

Situational Judgement Tests (SJTs)

These 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.

Personality Assessments

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. 

Games-based Assessment

Gamification is becoming increasingly popular with graduate employers and essentially consists of assessments in a game format. Although designed to be ‘fun’, they are based on neuroscience and will be assessing real traits and abilities. There are several different types of games-based assessment you may encounter:

  • Standard psychometric tests in a game setting e.g. a numerical reasoning test set in a jungle
  • A series of short games, activities or levels. These are usually designed to make it more difficult to determine what the employer is assessing. For example, one common activity involves pumping up a balloon and ‘banking’ money before the balloon bursts. This may be assessing traits such as your level of risk-taking or your ability to learn from past experiences
  • A longer scenario-based assessment, designed to simulate your future role. Here the employer can determine how you may think and act in the role you are applying for

Several large employers such as PwC and Airbus are using gamified assessments designed by a company called Arctic Shores. See more information about their assessment in the download at the bottom of the page. For more information and top tips, check out the Graduates First website.

Below are a number of sites where you can access a range of practice tests. We have tried to ensure that free practice tests are available on these sites but we cannot take responsibility if these are removed or you are directed to additional material or services that require a payment. If this occurs, please conduct your own checks to make sure that this is something that you want to pay for as we do not endorse third party providers.

Also see our new UoS Career Hub which gives you access to a wide range of free practice tests!


Major Providers

Assessment Day - this site includes advice and a good range of free sample tests including Watson Glaser critical thinking and Situational Judgement tests as well as other assessments such as practice In-Tray exercises

Graduates First - this site offers detailed step-by-step guides to over 100 top graduate employers’ recruitment stages and hints on how to pass their assessment processes. They also provide information and advice around a range of psychometric tests. A limited number of practice tests are available free of charge but please be aware that some may be chargeable.

Job Test Prep – psychometric test preparation site with a good range of practice on-line tests, plus some free tests and guides in pdf. Tests covered include personality, aptitude, situational judgement, inductive reasoning, critical thinking, mechanical reasoning and UKCAT tests

Keirsey is an online personality assessment (free). Provides useful insight to work styles questions

Morrisby – a major personality, preference and aptitude assessment provider, they provide limited free practice questions

Myers-Briggs Type Indicator - personality questionnaires such as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator provide analysis of personality and career choice

Norton Assessment are developing new psychometric tests and are looking for undergraduates to trial their numerical reasoning, verbal reasoning and situational judgement tests. These are free and all participant data gathered is anonymous:

Pearson TalentLens – Free trial tests and feedback in Numerical reasoning and critical thinking

Practice Aptitude Tests - as well as free tests, this site also has useful video clips explaining techniques and skills, such calculating ratios and percentages

SHL Talent Measurement – one of the major providers with a broad range of free tests

The British Psychological Society provides a guide for test takers

The Profiler - short assessment developed by branding agency ‘The Team’ and the University of Cambridge's Psychometrics Centre to determine your workplace personality type. This may be best used to help you articulate your skills to employers after having done some work experience or when moving on from your first job

123Test - this site provides many free personality assessments including a Big Five personality test, career test and DISC personality test. You can also try a situational judgement test and spatial reasoning test too

16 Personalities - access this personality assessment to help you develop your self-awareness and understand how your personality affects the way you think, work and interact with others

Examples of Employer Specific Tests

These are a few practice examples of employer situational judgement tests:

BP Skills Refinery - Test and develop your abilities in five 5 key areas: critical problem solving, innovation, influence and communication, cognitive flexibility and emotional intelligence

European Personnel Selection Office (EPSO)

• EY - situation strengths assessment

Mechanical Comprehension Tests

A limited number of free tests sites, but also look at Inductive and Diagrammatic reasoning tests. Prepare for mechanical comprehension tests by revising basic principles and practicing. Sketching a quick diagram can also help with understanding the problem posed. Some of these tests may be used at apprentice or technician entry level.

Psychometrics - sample ACER mechanical reasoning tests

• Job Test Prep – free Mechanical Test Practice

Watson Glaser and Critical Reasoning

The Watson-Glaser test is a high level test for critical reasoning and analytical skills. Law firms often use the tests and some of the examples below are on law firm sites. The American GMAT tests are also useful preparation for critical thinking tests (see Postgraduate Study below).

Job Test Prep provide some examples of the principles behind critical thinking tests

Linklaters provides some critical thinking questions which are similar to the Watson-Glaser test

Wikijobs also provide guidance on understanding and completing Watson-Glaser tests and links the Job Test Prep tests above

AssessmentDay provide free practice critical thinking tests in addition to guidance on how critical thinking tests work and video tutorials

Postgraduate Study

Graduate Record Exam - You will need a GRE score if you are applying for postgraduate study in the USA

Graduate Management Admissions Test American and many European business schools need a GMAT score with applications. The Careers and Employability Service has a printed guide to GMAT published by Kaplan

BCAT those seeking entry to a Bar Professional Training Course are required to pass the BCAT

Medicine, Dentistry and Veterinary

Graduate Australian Medical Schools Admissions Test (GAMSAT) used in UK by some medical schools as part of selection procedures

• AcerGAMSAT provides free resources for preparing for the GAMSAT exam

BMAT the Bio-Medical Admissions Test is a subject-specific admissions test taken by applicants to certain medicine, veterinary medicine and other related courses

UCAT Used by a consortium of UK university Medical and Dentistry Schools

NHS Foundation Training (Medics) Full practice paper with answers and rationale


Rational and Creative Thinking

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.

Entrepreneurial Type - The GET2 Test (General measure of Enterprising Tendency) is a free self-assessment test that will give you an idea of your enterprising potential across several key characteristics. An enterprising tendency is defined as the tendency to start up and manage projects - highly enterprising people do this more often and are more innovative in their approach. Enterprise may be expressed by starting your own business, operating as an intrapreneur within an organisation or setting up community ventures.



The Career Readiness Test has been developed as part of the Graduate Capital Model by the Careers and Employability Service, alongside academic colleagues at the University of Southampton, to support all students with your career development.

The model is made up of 5 equal parts, or capitals which can be developed through a wide range of experiences such as your degree, work experience and extra-curricular activities. The capitals are: Human, Social, Cultural, Identity and Psychological.

Taking the Career Readiness test will help you to identify your strengths and areas for development.

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 can help you develop an analytical frame of mind
  • Brush up on your basic maths. Practise 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. Practise 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 as additional arrangements may be made

How to approach a test session

  • Arrive in good time and make yourself comfortable.
  • Listen to or read 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 from friends, family and/or housemates
  • 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 possible
  • 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

You can also attend a Psychometric Tests workshop, see the Events Calendar for details. There is range of reference and loan copy materials available in our Resource Centre.

Useful Downloads

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