Career Snapshot: Psychometric Tests
Many employers use psychometric tests as part of their recruitment process, for both internships and graduate roles. These could be aptitude tests (such as numerical, verbal or diagrammatical reasoning) or personality tests,or Situational Judgement Tests (SJTs).
In this section, you will find resources on how to best prepare for these tests and links to practice test websites. Watch the video here Career Snapshot: Psychometric Tests to get an overview of psychometric tests and our top tips, and see our handouts Psychometric Tests [pdf] and Assessment Centres [pdf].
Psychometric tests are designed to be reliable, valid, objective measures of aspects such as aptitude, ability or personality trait. Typically they are done online and can be encountered early on in the recruitment process, perhaps soon after you’ve submitted an application and may be repeated at the Assessment Centre stage as well. The tests are often timed and the results are standardised, which means they enable accurate comparisons to be made between test-takers.
- Aptitude or Ability Tests - these are designed to assess your level of ability in a particular skill required for the role. Typically they involve questions focused on verbal, numerical and diagrammatic reasoning. The level of academic knowledge required isn’t usually that high (e.g. GCSE level mathematics) but the way that the questions are asked can be different to what you are used to. The best way to get better is to practise!
- Situational Judgement Tests (SJTs) – these assess your approach to resolving problems in workplace situations. You are presented with a hypothetical workplace situation and will choose a response from pre-defined options or rank the responses from best to worst. Our top tip is to review the organisation’s values as often the best response connects to these values and the behaviours they expect from their employees. Consider any ethical aspects as well as current trends/challenges that the industry sector/organisation faces (e.g. environmental factors within the oil and gas sector). It can be helpful to think in terms of firstly ‘what will benefit the business and/or our clients?’ and also, a close second, ‘what will benefit the team and/or my colleagues?’. If you’re considering both these aspects when deciding how you’d respond then you should be on the right lines.
- Personality Questionnaires – these are designed to assess your personality traits or preferences, typically exploring your individual behaviour, attitudes, motivations or opinions. The tests help to identify candidates who are best suited for a specific position and estimate the likelihood of them excelling in the role. There are no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ answers however your responses can indicate if your personality matches that of the ideal candidate, e.g. a timid or shy person is probably not the right person for a job in sales. These assessments are not normally timed, cannot really be prepared for and generally feel less like an exam. Follow the instructions given to you, respond with what comes naturally and don’t try to second guess what the employer is looking for.
- Game-based Assessments – there is an increasing trend for organisations to gamify their psychometric tests using puzzles or simulations. These games can be used to check logic, cognitive problem solving skills, natural behaviour, goal setting, decision making or even attention spans. It’s not easy to prepare for these tests as you don’t know what each game will be measuring or what you may encounter during the process. Most games involve scoring points or completing tasks within timeframes which can add to the “enjoyment factor” and make them seem less like a test but do consider what might be being assessed by the organisation. For example, if a game allows you to score big points by taking risks, but the employer values caution over risk, then a high score is not necessarily a good thing! Make sure you read the instructions carefully, be yourself while being mindful of the possible attributes being assessed, take the games seriously but try to enjoy the process.
- Virtual Reality (VR) – a growing number of employers are actively embracing new technologies within recruitment activities one emerging trend is the use of VR at assessment centres. VR enables recruiters to create immersive and interactive environments in which candidates experience simulated scenarios and attempt to solve problems or complete challenges. The activities can be workplace scenarios for example preparing for a meeting using items available in the VR scenario through to more imaginative activities such as breaking into a vault or an Egyptian Tomb!
Whatever type of assessment you encounter in the recruitment process make sure you follow this advice. Practise to familiarise yourself with the different types of tests and questioning styles. Make use of practise resources and events, puzzle books and cognitive apps can help train your brain and ensure your basics mathematics is up to standard. Familiarise yourself with organisation values and potentially read some business reports or news articles and practise extracting key information from paragraphs of text through speed reading etc. When you come to take a test you should treat it like an exam and find a quiet location with minimal distractions. If you require any reasonable adjustments (for example if you receive additional time for exams at Imperial due to a disability) then you should speak to the recruiter in advance of taking the test as similar adjustments could be available for you when doing these tests.
FREE ONLINE TESTS
- Assessment Training Free Tests - free test publisher packages and aptitude tests
- Collection of Quant Riddles with Answers - a number of worked-through examples to quantitative interview questions from banking and City interviews. A number of the 'riddles' are from the book 'Head on The Street: Quantitative Questions from Wall Street Job Interviews', available for reference in the Careers Service
- Cubiks - free practice verbal, numerical and business reasoning tests
- Efinancial Careers - provides examples of numerical tests used by employers in the financial services sector
- EY - have a couple of example strengths assessment questions available on their website which gives a helpful insight into situational judgement tests
- Grad Diary - provide six free practice numerical reasoning tests which allow to see your score and the answers to the questions on completion
- Hogan Lovells - practice psychometric test available in both pdf and online format. Found under 'Apply Now' in 'Critical Thinking Test'. There is also a practice version of the Watson-Glaser Critical Thinking Appraisal
- JobTestPrep - has free practice tests including verbal, numerical, inductive and situational judgement
- JP Morgan - online practice numerical test under 'Application and Interview hints & tips'
- Jung Personality Test - Typology Central - This free personality test uniquely combines two powerful systems for evaluating personality type – David Kiersey’s Temperaments and Jungian Cognitive Functions
- University of Kent Careers Service - examples of online tests to work through, with explanations
- Kogan Page - follow instructions to get access to full practice psychometric test
- Linklaters - provide a practice critical thinking test based on the Watson Glaser model
- Macquarie- downloadable practice test available in a number of languages
- Mark Parkinson - hosts links to a number of different types of psychometric tests
- Mydiscprofile - provides a free online DISC personality test that summarises your personality type, tells you about your key personality factors, and matches your personality type to a general career area and job within that category.
- Numerical Guru - provides two free practice tests
- Practice Aptitude Tests - two free practice verbal, numerical, and diagrammatical reasoning tests, as well as some video tutorials
- Practice Aptitude Tests: Employer Profiles - outlines of the application processes for some of the UK's biggest graduate employers, and how to prepare for them
- Practice Reasoning Tests - tips, training and free practice tests.
- Proctor & Gamble - downloadable pdf practice test booklet
- Psychometric Success - free site which provides everything you need to pass a job selection tests
- Psychological Testing Centre (PTC) - provides information and services relating to standards in tests and testing for test takers, test users, test developers and members of the public
- PwC Psychometric e-Learn - online module which has been designed to give an insight into psychometric testing, explains how these tests are scored and gives suggestions of how students can prepare for different types of tests. Includes practice numerical, verbal and inductive reasoning tests with answers
- Saville Consulting - practice and preparation advice, including analysis, comprehension and technical tests
- See 'Realise Potential's' frequently asked questions on psychometrics ‘Realise Potential’ state on their website that they offer psychology-based solutions to support test users and test takers
- SHL Direct - gives direct example questions, practice tests and information about the graduate selection process
- TalentLens - practice aptitude tests for numerical reasoning and critical thinking
- Top Employers - numeracy Game Sponsored by J.P. Morgan
- WikiJob - free practice numerical, verbal and diagrammatical reasoning and situational judgement tests available
TEST WEBSITES FOR GRE, GMAT AND BMAT
- The Admissions Testing Service (part of Cambridge Assessment, a not-for-profit department of the University of Cambridge) provides online tests and examples of the Biomedical Admissions Test (BMAT)
- The Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) provides online resources for the GMAT (Graduate management Admission Test)
- ETS is a non-profit organisation that administers TOEFL® tests and the GRE® General and Subject Test
SITUATIONAL JUDGEMENT TESTS
- Assessment Day - free site offering practice aptitude (numerical, verbal & situational) tests comparable with those used by graduate recruiters
- Capp - a strengths-based assessment provider (including situational judgement tests)
- Capp Assessment Tests: Numerical, Verbal + Critical Reasoning - a guide with helpful hints and practice for the Capp Assessment Tests
- Fast Stream - has two online questionnaires including situational and behavioural judgement tests
- Graduates First - free and comprehensive range of psychometric tests, including situational judgement tests
- Norton Assessment trial tests, each with four questions, and the opportunity to trial a real SJT. The site gives advice and information to help you when preparing and taking a test
- Practice Aptitude Tests - will assess how you approach situations regularly encountered in the workplace
- Psychometric Test - presents the candidate with realistic workplace situations and a variety of ways in which they could respond to them
- UKCAT Official Guide - provides information on the format of the UKCAT test and includes practice questions on verbal reasoning, quantitattive reasoning , abstract reasoning, decision analysis and situational judgement.