Recently we have had a lot of enquires about psychometric tests and how best to prepare for these tests so I thought it would be a good basis for my next blog post.
What are psychometric tests?
Ability or aptitude tests are probably the most common and measure your verbal, numerical, abstract or diagrammatic reasoning. Personality tests are pretty self-explanatory and are used by employers to see if you have the right personal qualities for the job.
The type of psychometric test you are asked to take will depend on the employer and the type of role you have applied for. Verbal and numerical reasoning tests are used for a wide variety of sectors whereas abstract and diagrammatic reasoning tests tend to be associated with engineering and IT roles. You may be asked to carry out a psychometric test soon after the application stage or as part of an assessment centre.
How to prepare
Practice makes perfect- or at least gives you the best chance passing employers ability tests. Here at the Careers Service we have a range of different ways to help you prepare for these ability tests;
- Practice books –we have a range of practice test books (numerical, verbal, abstract and diagrammatic) you can use in the Careers Resource Centre. Check out our online database for a complete list of our resources. If you have a graduate library card you could also check the Main Library catalogue as some psychometric test books are available for short loan.
- Online test – If you can’t come into the Careers Resource Centre in person you can access a timed practice test online. Access the practice verbal, numerical and diagrammatic test here.
- Other online resources – There are various websites you can practice ability tests for free. For a list of recommended websites see here or page 13 in our Assessment Centres and Psychometric Tests resource.
- Practice test – At certain time during the academic year we run practice psychometric tests under exam conditions. Check out the times and dates on Careerslink. You will need to sign up at the Careers Resource Centre.
Personality tests are harder to ‘prepare for’ as they are testing what you are like as a person. It’s important to remember to answer these questions as honesty as possible and try not to second guess what the employer is looking for. The way I see it is if you don’t pass the personality test the job was probably not right for you anyway. If you are interested in finding out more about your personality profile or learning style take our online Types Dynamic Indicator test.
How to succeed
Practicing will go a long way to psychometric success but remember…
- Tests are timed and may be designed so that it is unlikely that you will be able to finish the test whilst achieving a high score.
- Some employers may use negative marking – where a point will be deducted from your score for every incorrect answer you give.
- Therefore it is essential that you balance speed and accuracy. Work as quickly and as accurately as possible and avoid guessing.
- If asked to take a test at home ensure you are in the right frame of mind and have peace and quiet to complete the set test.
- If you have factors which might affect your performance (for example disability, such as dyslexia or a visual impairment) let the employer know before hand, reasonable adjustments can be made to ensure and these considerations are taken into account.