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Psychometric tests WYNTK


Psychometric tests WYNTK

By Mark Johnson

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Maybe you’ve heard of psychometric tests, maybe you haven’t. Either way, psychometric tests are big in the world of recruitment and whether or not you’ve encountered one yet, the chances are you will at some point in the future.

Psychometric tests are tests that employers use to measure how good you are at various things that are important for jobs, and they are quick and easy way for employers to tell whether you have the ability to be successful in their job. They are sometimes also referred to as SHL tests after one of the most famous test publishers.  The three most common tests are:

  • Numerical Reasoning Tests – these test your ability to understand and manipulate numerical information. Think of this as a tricky and applied (i.e. set in the real world) maths quiz. The questions typically provide you with some information, like a set of graphs, a timetable or performance chart, and then you have to use the information they contain to answer the question. They are usually multiple choice. These tests tend to be used for jobs where there is a need for the person to work with numerical data, such as accountancy or engineering.
  • Verbal Reasoning Tests – these test your ability to understand and interpret written information. Typically, you’ll be given a passage of text and then you have to answer questions based on this. These questions usually focus on whether a statement is true, false or if it is impossible to say based on the information contained in the passage. These tests tend to be used for jobs where there is a need for the person to accurately understand written information, such as lawyers or customer service representatives.
  • Abstract Reasoning Tests – these are probably the most interesting and unusual of the tests and they test your ability to understand patterns in unfamiliar data. They do this by presenting you with a series of images and asking you to identify what image comes next in the sequence.

Here is an example: The top five boxes show the sequence; your job is to work out which of the bottom five boxes would come next.

How did you get on? Did you work it out?

The correct answer is E and to work this out there are 3 rules that you would need to notice:

  1. Exactly half of the squares (eight) are shaded grey in each image.
  2. The black square is moving clockwise around the outside of the box by three squares each time.
  3. The position of the black triangle is determined by the square: the black triangle is always two positions to the right and two positions above the black triangle. When it leaves the box on the right, it reappears on the left. Similarly, if it leaves the box at the bottom, it reappears at the top.

These tricky tests tend to be used when the person will need to understand novel situations or solve problems. They are often used for leadership roles or for graduate schemes.

What else to expect from a psychometric test?

Psychometric tests are almost always timed – and they usually won’t give you as much time as you’d like. This is because they want to put you under pressure in order to distinguish between different candidates – if they were easy then everyone would score well and the tests would be no use for showing who has particular skill in an area.

Tests are usually conducted online in the first instance with candidates completing tests in their own homes. Because this theoretically gives candidates the opportunity to cheat, tests are usually repeated under controlled conditions (i.e. with an assessor in the room) at the interview – so don’t be tempted to cheat as you’ll need to pass the tests yourself later on.

Tests are typically quite short, the exact length varies but they are usually between 15 and 30 minutes long. You’ll usually be presented with a practice question or two before the actual test starts so that you know what you need to do.

How to do well on psychometric tests

The best way to improve your performance on psychometric tests is to practice as much as possible. This will expose you to lots of different sorts of questions and help you understand how to go about solving them. This is particularly important for abstract reasoning tests where regular practice and learning some specific problem solving strategies can significantly improve your performance. Check out these SHL Test Tips for some useful guidance in this area.

It’s also important to revise for these tests (particularly numerical reasoning) – make sure that you are familiar with a range of common mathematical concepts such as fractions, decimals and ratios (and how they relate to one another), averages, measurements, and interpreting graphs or charts. The data may be presented to you in a variety of formats (e.g. currency or measurements) so you need to be comfortable working with this.

On the day, you should make sure that you’re able to take the test in a quiet place where you won’t be distracted. Turn off notifications on your devices and remind the people that you live with not to disturb you. Try to take the test at a time you feel particularly alert.

Of course, psychometric tests are only part of the process of successfully securing a job. Make sure that you are also investing time in preparing a killer CV (check out this article for good advice around preparing a CV), and practicing answering interview questions. It is clear when candidates have prepared fully for an assessment – and they almost always perform better than candidates who haven’t. So, if you’re serious about securing that dream job, then preparation is the key.

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