Your Guide To Psychometric Testing

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Psychometric testing

So you've applied for a job or an apprenticeship. The employer's name is McCoy. He doesn't like crisps, strange as it is.  

Mr. McCoy has read your cover letter and been dazzled by your CV. Now he wants you to complete psychometric tests to analyse your reasoning and personality characteristics. 

They are common in the application process, however, just the mention of 'psychometric tests' and it spreads fear like a tiger that has escaped from a local zoo. 

Psychometric tests are not as scary as a hungry tiger on the loose. They are a chance for you to impress employers, and to stand out from other people who are applying for the same job. 

So 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?

Psychometric tests regularly feature in assessment centres, taking the form of behavioural and aptitude tests. Employers use tests like this to assess your acquired skills rather than your educational background. 

They are also an objective way of judging a group of candidates. CV's can exaggerate a person's skills and achievements. Employers regularly come across CV's that describe a candidate that 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. 

Psychometric tests 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. The skills and traits that are relevant! An employer might think, 'this chap can play the oboe and they're red hot on the dance floor - they must be a real character. But can they do the job?'


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Types of psychometric tests

  • NUMERICAL ABILITY -  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.  

Need help writing a CV and cover letter? Check out Apprenticeship CV: Your Guide & Template and How To Write An Apprenticeship Cover Letter.


psychometric testing

Psychometric test tips

  • 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. 
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    Each question is usually worth the same number of points. So if you think about it, there is no advantage answering all of the most difficult questions.
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    If you get stuck on a particularly tough question, move on. Try and avoid getting bogged down in a few tricky questions - guess, move on and cut your losses!
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    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!
  • Did you know you can do 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. 
  • 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. 
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    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.  

In this short (but dramatic) video, career experts explain how psychometric tests work and why they are so important to the recruitment process. 


Examples of psychometric tests

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

VERBAL REASONING EXAMPLE

The waiters in a delightful Mexican restaurant follow a set of rules for their work rota:

1. When Julio works, Luis also works.

2. When Luis works, Camila does not. 

3. When Camila isn't working, Isabella doesn't work either.

Which of the following statements is true from this information?

a. If Luis works, Julio also works.

b. If Julio works, Isabella does not. 

c. If Luis isn't working, Isabella doesn't work either. 

d. If Isabella isn't working, Luis doesn't work either. 


ABSTRACT REASONING EXAMPLE

The question below is an example from psychometricinstitute.com

psychometric testing

PERSONALITY TEST EXAMPLE

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 Psychometric Tests Online

Psychometric tests may seem as frightening as a bear-sized badger, but there are some really useful websites that will allow you to practice them online. Below are some of the best examples of sites where you can practice psychometric tests online for FREE!

Remember! Confidence is key to succeeding in all types of psychometric tests. Your confidence will grow, and your technique will naturally improve as you practice. Good luck to you.


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