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man holding a pen during a psychometric test and aptitude test
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Psychometric and aptitude tests

Know what to expect from psychometric testing

Psychometric testing is commonly used in the graduate and internship recruitment process to identify candidates with the right skills and attributes for the job.

What is psychometric testing and what is it used for?

Psychometric tests are designed to objectively measure skills and attributes that relate to workplace performance. Some tests focus on cognitive skills such as numerical, verbal or abstract reasoning. Others examine your workplace behavioural style or key personality traits.

Data from psychometric tests assist employers to select appropriate candidates for the job. Cognitive test results offer an insight into your ability to use logic and reason to solve a problem, while personality test data may be used to understand your work style or determine how you might fit into a particular team. Many employers will consider your test scores in conjunction with the information provided in your application. Some, however, may impose cut-off scores that you must meet in order to proceed to the next stage of the recruitment process.

What does psychometric testing involve?

The majority of tests are taken online. The recruiter sends you a link to the testing site and you complete the tests at a time convenient to you. Alternatively, you may be required to complete a testing session at an assessment centre or interview.

Online tests

These will generally involve answering multiple choice or true/false questions. Check your internet connection and ensure you won’t be interrupted before you start the tests.

Assessment centre tests

Although these are usually presented online, they’re occasionally offered in hard-copy format. Follow the rules given by the assessor and ask any questions you have before the session begins.

Gamified tests

These tests present the tasks as a game. You may have to complete puzzles, rapidly differentiate between correct and incorrect information, or complete tasks associated with a scenario (e.g. building a theme park). Remember that your results matter even though it looks like a game!

Psychometric test examples

These measure your ability to reach a conclusion based on written information, may require you to:

  • read a paragraph and answer questions about the content.
  • determine if a statement is true or false.
  • solve a verbal puzzle.
  • choose the odd one out from a series of words or statements.

These tests measure your ability to use numerical data to solve a problem and may require you to:

  • perform calculations.
  • interpret graphs or tables.
  • determine ratios, proportions or percentages.
  • make recommendations based on numerical data.

These test your ability to reach a logical conclusion based on abstract information such as symbols, shapes or pictures. They may require you to:

  • complete a visual puzzle.
  • identify patterns.
  • determine how a 3D shape would look if it was flattened to 2D.

These offer some insight into your personality traits and behavioural style. Unlike cognitive tests, there are no right or wrong answers, and they may require you to:

  • indicate whether a statement applies to you by answering ‘true’ or ‘false’.
  • rate how much a statement applies to you on a 3 or 5 point scale.

Psychometric test tips

  • Practice! There are numerous free tests and resources available online. Take a variety of different tests as some are easier than others. Practising will help you understand the test structure and timing.
  • Read the instructions carefully. Are you allowed to use a calculator? Are points deducted for wrong answers? How much time do you have?
  • Answer verbal reasoning questions based on the information in the question, not on your knowledge of the subject matter or common sense.
  • Pay attention to units, scales and labels on graphs in numerical tests.
  • Abstract reasoning tests often require you to identify a pattern, relationship or rule within the data. Are any of the shapes or symbols moving in a particular direction, rotating, increasing or decreasing in size or number?
  • Keep an eye on the time. If you’re struggling with a question, it might be best to move on to the next one.
  • Answer personality test questions honestly as there are scales built into these tests to detect ‘socially desirable’ responding (i.e. responding the way you think the recruiter wants you to).