Whether you like it or not, psychometric testing will be part of your next job interview process. The results from either an aptitude or personality assessment are valuable information that a hiring manager can use to help make the right decision.
Candidates generally are afraid of assessments and the results that they produce. As a candidate, the best way to make sure that you score well in your next psychometric test is preparation. Below we have discussed ways that you can prepare for your psychometric test and ensure that you come away with a positive experience.
The first step of any psychometric test will be an invitation email. The invitation email will contain a whole host of information that you need to make sure you read and digest. You’re looking for the type of psychometric testing, whether it’s written at an assessment centre or online, any information that has been given to help you prepare, the deadline and anything you need to bring with you to complete the assessments. All will help you prepare.
Typically, your invitation letter will tell both the type of assessment, Aptitude or Personality and the company you should be looking out for an invitation email. Once you have this information, your preparation can really begin.
Your first step is to review the top ten Psychometric Publishers to understand what type of assessments you’re likely to face. Companies will always outsource this part of their recruitment process. Therefore if you don’t find the company in our Psychometric resource, you will be able to find the company online.
If you need help with the different psychometric companies, click here. On their website, you’re looking for the specific test that you need complete and any information such as time limit, negative marking and example questions to help you prepare.
Abstract or Logical Reasoning
Abstract or Logical Reasoning tests can be complicated if you don’t understand how they work and how to choose the correct answer. As an example, below is a typical abstract question from a recent assessment. In this example, you need to select the next block in the series.
From the outset, it looks like I’m going crazy by asking you to do the impossible. However, once you understand how the process works, it’s straightforward. One point, often deciding which of the blocks is correct is virtually impossible. In this case, it can be much easier to choose which are not right, and whatever is left, must be the right answer.
(Image Source – https://www.aptitude-test.com/)
Once you’ve had a quick look at the image above, you can start looking at the changes from one image to the next. You’re looking for things like changes in the number of shapes, size of the shapes, colour or shading, Clockwise and counter-clockwise rotations, Mirroring and movements along the vertical, horizontal, or diagonal axes or degree intervals such as 45 or 90 degrees. You’re looking for the rule or rules that dictate how the shapes change.
In the above example, each column from the left side has a square, a circle and a pentagon. From left to right, the shapes are getting larger. This means the final block on the right side, is a large pentagon that is angled to the right – (Top Left).
This a quite an easy abstract question, however they do get more complicated. The below is an image of a more complicated question – write the answer in the comments if you can work it out?
Practice makes perfect. The more test examples you complete, the better you’re going to be able to familiarise yourself with the types of questions being asked and how best to answer them.
Luckily there are plenty online, so there is no excuse. One point, if you’re being asked to complete a personality questionnaire, it’s not as important to practice, however with an aptitude test such as a Numerical or Verbal Assessment, it’s vital to practice and reduce your nervousness whilst helping you to spot time-saving techniques that will help your speed and accuracy.
At the start of your assessment, there will often be a short introduction to the psychometric tests and a selection of example questions which will give you an idea of what questions you will likely face in the actual assessment. You must take these questions seriously as it’s your only chance of familiarizing yourself with the type of test that you’re considering.
10 Key Points
- When You’re Going To Take The Test – this might sound obvious, but deciding when you’re actually going to take the test is very important. The great thing about an online assessment is that it gives you the flexibility to take the test when you’re free, however like all professionals, we’re busy with work and our family life, meaning that often candidates take the assessments late and night when they are tired and wonder why they don’t perform well. Make sure that you pick a time when you’re at your sharpest and turn off your phone and any other distractions. You will need to concentrate fully to perform well.
- Choose Your Calculator – With all assessments, you’re allowed to use a calculator. Make sure that you choose one that you’re familiar with and know your way around. Psychrometric assessments are always time-pressured, and the last thing you want to happen is that you cannot make your calculator work correctly.
- Assessment Centers – are not a favourite place of mine and many candidates that I’ve spoken to over the years. Often they have been extensively used and have a selection of problems. If you’re concerned about anything, make sure that you speak up before your assessment starts. In the past, we have had candidates that have had to write on wobbly desk’s, broken chairs and even computers that don’t work correctly. Make sure that you check your area and speak up if there is a problem.
- Read The Instructions – at least twice. Too often, candidates fail online assessments simply because they have not read the instructions and miss the deadline or don’t complete the written aspect correct. Do the instructions ask you to tick the right answer or maybe put your answers in a separate book?
- Read the Question – at least twice. We often find that when a candidate fails an assessment centre, it’s not that they don’t know the answer, it’s that they have not read and understood the question. Psychometric tests are stressed, time-pressured environments which means that it’s easy to dive right in with what you think the question wants, rather than understanding what the question is about.
- Watch Out For the Distractor Questions – Nearly every type of psychometric tests have what are known as distractor questions. These have been designed to either confuse you by giving you a lot of information which don’t need or to provide you with what should be the answer, that is unless you have really read the questions and really understood what they are looking for. Watch out for these questions by carefully reading each question before you make your decision to what is the right answer.
- Watch Out For Double-Checking Answers – It’s a great idea to get in the habit of only answering the question once. You’re under a strict time-limit, and it’s probably better to spend your time answering the next question rather than making sure your first answer is correct. Often you will find your gut instinct is right, and by checking an answer, you’re only wasting time that could be better spent elsewhere.
- Speed Vs. Accuracy – When you’re taking psychometric tests the total number of questions that you get right will be added to an accuracy and speed rating that will show how many questions you answered and how quickly you answered the questions. It depends on what role you’re applying for, however generally companies don’t like candidates that have speed over accuracy. In business, this means that you’re likely to get all your work done, but it’s likely to all be wrong.
- Eliminate Answers – Often when you’re taking psychometric tests, you will not be sure of the answer. However, you will be able to make a decent assumption based on what’s not the correct answer. If you’re not sure of the answer, try to reduce the possible answers by rejecting those that are defiantly not correct – whatever is left must be the right answer.
- Cheating – Please don’t cheat by getting a friend to take your psychometric tests. It’s very obvious and easy to get caught out. Generally, with my candidates, we will test them once at home where they are free to complete the assessments when they choose, however, will recheck them as part of their final interview. If a candidate score’s 90% in the first psychometric test and 35% in the second, there is a problem.
Before you start your assessment, make sure you’ve both read and completed the practice questions in these ten great resources;
- Assessment Centre HQ
- Assessment Day
- Assessment Centre HQ – Numerical Reasoning Practice Test
- Verbal Reasoning – ACHQ
- Logical Reasoning Practice Test
Make sure you ask for feedback at every opportunity. In today’s hiring process, you’re likely going to be doing lots of psychometric tests. It’s, therefore, a great idea to make sure that you ask for feedback. This will help you improve your score in the future by allowing you to know where you went wrong and therefore, how to improve in the future.