Your Guide To Psychometric Testing



So you've applied for a job or an apprenticeship and the employer likes you so much, they’ve invited you to complete a psychometric test. But what are they?

Psychometric tests might sound like something out of a Black Mirror episode, but you’ll be glad to know they don’t actually involve any probes or mind-reading tech.

Instead, they’re a chance for you to impress employers and stand out from other people who are applying for the same job.

Read on for our essential guide to psychometric testing - how they work, the different types, and some frightfully useful tips to help you triumph over rival candidates.

Or, like Speedy Gonzales, click below to skip to the bits you want to read.



What are Psychometric Tests?

A regular feature in assessment centres, psychometric tests take the form of behavioural and aptitude tests. They’re used to assess your acquired skills rather than your educational background. 

They are also an objective way of judging a group of candidates as CVs can exaggerate a person's skills and achievements. 

Employers regularly come across CVs that describe a candidate who is an expert on the oboe, and recently victorious in their local tap dancing championships - when in reality, the candidate is not very good at tap dancing or an oboe player.

Psychometric tests, on the other hand, give a fair and honest reflection of a person's skills. Furthermore, they reveal if the candidate has the specific skills or personality traits that are required for the job on offer.


Types of psychometric tests

NUMERICAL REASONING - tests simple and complex maths skills, depending on the level of the scheme on offer, and are commonplace for STEM schemes.

ABSTRACT REASONING - the purpose of these tests is to gauge general reasoning abilities and intellect.

VERBAL REASONING - tests your ability to evaluate detailed written information. Grammar and spelling are also under the spotlight.

APTITUDE TESTS - used to measure a candidate's knowledge level in a specific field, so can vary in content.

PERSONALITY TESTS - involves a large number of questions, to analyse motivations, personality type and your fit to a role.

SITUATIONAL JUDGEMENT - tests where you’ll be asked the most and least effective response by giving you hypothetical work situations.

ERROR CHECKING - these test how quickly and accurately you can spot errors. They are particularly common for data entry roles.



Psychometric tests for people with a disability 

If you’re worried that a disability might affect your test performance, speak with recruitment for reasonable adjustments.

Employers will want to work with you to make sure that testing is fair and that you can complete the test in comfort.

Some adjustments that can be made include:

  • Extra time to complete the test
  • Screen reading software
  • Magnifiers
  • Audio versions
  • Changes to font size

Read this article for further advice on how to approach psychometric tests when you have a disability.


Psychometric test tips

Before the test

  • Check the employer's website before you take a psychometric test. There might be useful information or advice on how to prepare for the specific tests you might face.
  • Did you know you can do a practice psychometric test online? The internet is truly thrilling. Have a go at some practice questions - it's the best preparation for a real test.
  • If you have any questions beforehand, speak with recruitment well in advance of the test happening.
  • Get some sleep! You’ll perform a lot better if you’re well-rested, so try not to stay up until 3am trying to cram in practice tests.

On the day

  • If you’re taking the test at home, sit somewhere quiet with no distractions and make sure you have a strong internet connection.
  • Read the instructions before you begin! Make sure you know what you're being asked to do, and how long you have to do it.
  • Each question is usually worth the same number of points, so if you get stuck on a particularly tough question, try and avoid getting bogged down - take a guess, move on and cut your losses!
  • Remember, psychometric tests are designed so that only 1-2% of takers answer all the questions correctly. Do not go crazy if you can't answer them all!
  • Are you a wizard at calculators? Most numerical ability tests allow the use of a calculator, so make sure you are familiar with the various functions and operations.

Watch: The Beginners Guide to Psychometric Tests


Let's look at some examples...

Below are some sample questions for different types of psychometric tests.

Answers can be found at the very end. Don't just jump straight there, we'll know.

VERBAL REASONING

On the planet Thone XL3:

MISD KUMP GOTH means MERRY CHRISTMAS DAD

GOTH WUIM FREK KUMP means DAD IS MERRY TODAY. 

KOMP WUIM FREK KUMP means MUM IS MERRY TODAY.

What’s the word for Christmas?

  1. MISD

  2. GOTH

  3. KUMP

  4. WUIM

  5. FREK


ABSTRACT REASONING

Which shape comes next in the pattern?

  1. A

  2. B

  3. C

  4. D

  5. E


PERSONALITY TEST

To what extent do you agree or disagree with the following statement?

I enjoy working with other people.

1. Strongly Disagree

2. Disagree

3. Neutral

4. Agree

5. Strongly Agree

Personality tests consist of 25-50 of these statement-based questions; below are a few more examples of statements you might have to respond to:

I would describe myself as an organised person.

I prefer to achieve my own goals rather than help others achieve their goals.

It's better to get a job done than aim for perfection.

I prefer working in a stable rather than a flexible environment.


Practice really does make perfect

Reckon you need a little bit more practice time? There are plenty of FREE psychometric practice tests for you to get stuck into online, including...

The more you practice, the more you’ll develop a technique and grow your confidence. Psychometric tests seem scary, but they’re extremely useful and can even be fun once you get into them!

Text example answers: Verbal Reasoning - 1. MISD, Abstract Reasoning - 2. B