28 February 2024

Your Guide To Psychometric Testing

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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 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.

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, knowledge and personality rather than your educational background.

Behavioural TestsAptitude Tests
These come in the form of personality tests which are there to determine what makes you tick. Your interests, your values and how you’ll fit in with the wider team. Some examples of these include situational judgment and emotional intelligence.These tests are all about your skills and how you’re able to demonstrate them. They’ll largely reveal to employers how you work. Some examples of aptitude tests include data analysis, verbal reasoning and error checking.

Psychometric testing will usually happen in the beginning stages of the application process and can either happen before or during an assessment centre. Tests are online and have time limits for each type/section of psychometric test you do.

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

The type of test you do largely depends on the job you apply for. Apprenticeships that are numbers-based will likely use numerical reasoning tests whereas if you’re going for a role in engineering, you might take a mechanical reasoning test.

Numerical Reasoning.
These tests help to determine your numerical skills and how quickly and accurately you can deal with numbers. Expect number sequences, ratios, percentages and currency conversion.
Situational Judgment.
These tests show employers how you’d approach hypothetical workplace situations. You’ll be asked to note down what your initial reaction would be
Mechanical Reasoning.
These tests are usually for entry-level roles across engineering, production and machine operation. Expect questions on electrical circuits, gear operation, force/movement and fluids.
Personality tests.
These are tests to help employers find out what kind of person you are. There are hundreds of tests out there. Some of the most popular ones include The Myers-Briggs Personality Types test and 16 Personalities.
Verbal Reasoning.
These tests are used to understand your comprehension skills. You’ll be given several questions after reading a piece of text. These will usually be in the form of multiple choice ‘true’, ‘false’, and ‘cannot say’ questions.
Abstract Reasoning.
These are fun! Abstract reasoning psychometric tests look at how you’re able to differentiate shapes and find patterns. These are great for employers who are looking for problem solvers.
Error Checking.
During an error-checking psychometric test, you’ll be tasked with various bits of data and it’s your responsibility to fact-check and examine if there are any errors within the data. These can range from numerical to pieces of text or data entries.
Logical Reasoning.
Known as the Kattis test (pioneered by Swedish Fintech company Klarna), this looks at your logical skills through inductive reasoning, spotting patterns and trends in sequences. These will usually be shapes and patterns.

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

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.

50 Questions To Pass Your Psychometric Test!

Practice really does make perfect

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!