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Psychometric tests are often used
by employers as one of their selection methods. There are two main
Employers may use these tests at various
points in their selection process. Some use them early on, perhaps
interviewing only those who achieve a certain score in an aptitude
test. Others use them later, towards the final stages of their selection
These are multiple choice questions,
given under exam conditions with strict time limits. They assess
your powers of logical reasoning and the questions have definite
right and wrong answers.
If an employer asks you to sit an
aptitude test, this will typically have two or three separate sections.
There are lots of different types, but typically one part will measure
verbal reasoning, another numerical reasoning, and perhaps a third
will measure spatial or diagrammatic reasoning.
To get a good score you have to do
better than the 'norm group', which is likely to be people successfully
doing the job you are applying for. You don't know what the standard
is, but a rough rule of thumb might be that you should aim to complete
70% to 80% of the questions, and get most of them (say 70% to 80%)
See if your Careers Service runs
practice test sessions.
Reach the test location in good
time, well rested, and in a positive frame of mind.
At the start of the test, quickly
work out how much time you have for each question. Put your
watch in front of you, jot down the finish time, and work with
'quiet urgency'. Keep aware of the time as you work through
You need to be both quick and
accurate. The faster you go, the more errors you may make; the
slower you go, the fewer questions you have the time to answer.
If you get stuck on a question,
don't spend too long on it, but move on to the next one. However,
don't abandon a question prematurely, if with a few extra seconds
you might have solved it. You have to get the balance right
and achieve a rhythm where you don't get bogged down. On the
other hand don't skim over questions in too superficial a way.
Resist the temptation to check
each answer thoroughly until you are absolutely convinced it
is right: you will waste too much time if you do.
If you aren't sure of an answer,
bear in mind that you won't have time to come back to it later,
so put down your best guess and move on. However, avoid wild
guessing - in some tests marks are taken off for wrong answers.
Sometimes the questions get harder
as you work through them. Later questions might therefore take
longer to answer than the earlier ones. So it's important not
to fall too far behind the clock: time lost on the first few
items is almost impossible to make up, Of course, early on you
are getting the hang of the questions, but don't dawdle.
If calculators are allowed, use
your own - you are familiar with how it works.
The test will have some practice
questions at the start. Make sure you understand these thoroughly
before the test itself begins.
Finally, try not to be overawed
by the formal nature of the test, or to be panicked by the time
These are used to see how you react
to different situations. They measure a variety of personal qualities,
usually characteristics such as how determined you are and your
social skills. The questionnaires are usually untimed, but you will
be asked to put down your first reaction to the questions and not
spend time pondering their meaning.
You won't know exactly what personal
qualities the selectors are looking for. Quite often they are looking
for a variety of different personalities rather than just one 'profile'.
Many employers want candidates with
a balance of different personal qualities: for example, being able
to get on with people, take charge and organise, be persistent and
The particular requirements of the
job you are applying for might give a clue to the qualities the
employer seeks. For example, a sales job may look for people who
enjoy meeting new people, while a job where you have to analyse
information may favour those who like paying attention to detail.
These differing requirements might be reflected in slightly different
profiles which the employer will look for.
However, don't be too clever. There
may be checks within the questionnaire to detect whether you are
giving a false picture of yourself. In addition, the employer is
unlikely to be looking for just one personality type. The best advice
is probably to 'be yourself'.
How to Pass Graduate Recruitment
Tests, Kogan Page
How to Succeed in Psychometric
Tests, Sheldon Business Books