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What are Psychometric Tests?

Psychometric testing is an integral part of the selection procedure used by employers. Psychometric tests are a structured systematic way of testing a candidate’s aptitude for performing specific tasks and how they will react to range of different situations in the work place. Psychometric tests are also known as ability tests. These tests will often not only provide information about a person’s ability to perform tasks but will also indicate the person’s ability to learn and understand new tasks and information. One often hears of Psychometric testing consisting of both Aptitude tests and Personality tests.

Aptitude tests measure abilities such as verbal, numerical and abstract reasoning. They are also used to measure a candidate’s personality type. The main difference between Personality tests and Aptitude tests is that with personality tests there is no right and wrong, whilst with aptitude tests there is a definite right and wrong answer. You are also given a certain amount of time to complete the aptitude test. You will need to work accurately and fast in order to complete the test on time.

The most commonly used aptitude test is that of reasoning. Mental reasoning involves a number of facets and the assessment is likely to measure:

Verbal Ability – includes spelling, grammar, and ability to understand analogies, and follow detailed written instructions. These questions appear in most general aptitude tests because employees usually want to know how well you can communicate.

Numeric Ability – includes basic arithmetic, number sequences and simple mathematics. In management level tests it may be more complicated and include charts and graphs, which you will need to be able to interpret. These questions also appear in most general aptitude tests because employers usually want some indication in terms of your ability to use numbers. Numeric ability tests are primarily tests of reasoning ability and the maths needed is relatively straightforward.

Abstract Ability – measures your ability to identify the underlying logic of a pattern and then determine the solution. Because abstract reasoning ability is believed to be the best indication of fluid intelligence and your ability to learn new things quickly, these questions appear in most general aptitude tests.

Special Ability – These measures your ability to manipulate shapes in two dimensions or to visualise three dimensional objects presented as two dimensional pictures. These questions are not always found in an aptitude test, unless the job specifically requires good special skills, such as for Architecture and in some branches of maths and sciences.

Mechanical Reasoning – these tests are designed to assess your knowledge of physical and mechanical principles. Mechanical reasoning questions are used to select for a range of industries and jobs, including technical, trade, emergency services personnel and engineering occupations.

Fault Diagnosis – these tests are used to select technical personnel who need to be able to find and repair faults in electronic and mechanical systems.

Data Checking – these tests measure how quickly and accurately errors can be detected in data and are used to select candidates for clerical and data input jobs.

Work Sample – these tests involve a sample of the work you will be expected to do. These types of tests can be very broad ranging. They may involve an exercise using a spread sheet or word processor, if the job is administrative. Otherwise it could involve giving a presentation, if the job is at a management or supervisory level.

It is not always possible to prepare for every type of psychometric test administered by employers and recruiters. The personality testing components are designed to indicate whether you are consistent in your answers and to what extent you have tried to portray yourself in an overly positive way. It is really important to be honest when answering these questions and to be yourself. It is however possible to improve your scores in certain areas of these tests e.g. the numeric questions, by practicing. There is plenty of information available online and practice tests in your psychometric tests. Psychometric testing is a very important part of the interviewing process for many companies, so don’t take them too lightly. Always do your homework and ensure that you practice before hand to give yourself the best chance to do well.

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