PSYCHOMETRIC TESTS

Introduction:

Psychometric tests have been used since the early part of the 20th century and were originally developed for use in educational psychology. These days, outside of education, you are most likely to encounter psychometric testing as part of the recruitment or selection process. Tests of this sort are devised by occupational psychologists and their aim is to provide employers with a reliable method of selecting the most suitable job applicants or candidates for promotion.

Psychometric tests aim to measure attributes like intelligence, aptitude and personality. They provide a potential employer with an insight into how well you work with other people, how well you handle stress, and whether you will be able to cope with the intellectual demands of the job. Most of the established psychometric tests used in recruitment and selection make no attempt to analyze your emotional or psychological stability and should not be confused with tests used in clinical psychology. However, in recent years there has been rapid growth (particularly in the US) of tests that claim to measure your integrity or honesty and your predisposition to anger. These tests have attracted a lot of controversy, because of questions about their validity, but their popularity with employers has continued to increase.

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Psychometric testing is now used by over 80% of the Fortune 500 companies in the USA and by over 75% of the Times Top 100 companies in the UK. Information technology companies, financial institutions, management consultancies, local authorities, the civil service, police forces, fire services and the armed forces all make extensive use of use psychometric testing.

As an indicator of your personality, preferences and abilities, psychometric tests can help prospective employers to find the best match of individual to occupation and working environment. As a recruitment and selection tool, these tests can be applied in a straightforward way at the early stages of selection to screen-out candidates who are likely to be unsuitable for the job. They can also provide management with guidance on career progression for existing employees. Because of their importance in making personnel decisions it is vital that the tests themselves are known to produce accurate results based on standardized methods and statistical principles. A psychometric test must be:      Objective: The score must not affected by the testers’ beliefs or values Standardized: It must be administered under controlled conditions Reliable: It must minimize and quantify any intrinsic errors Predictive: It must make an accurate prediction of performance Non Discriminatory: It must not disadvantage any group on the basis of gender, culture, ethnicity, etc.

Psychometric tests fall into two main categories. Personality Questionnaires, which try to measure aspects of your personality, and Aptitude and Ability tests which try to measure your intellectual and reasoning abilities.

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Personality Questionnaires
Personality has a significant role to play in deciding whether you have the enthusiasm and motivation that the employer is looking for. It also determines how well you are going to fit in to the organization, in terms of your personality, attitude and general work style? In most working situations it’s the personalities of the people involved that affect the day-to-day success of the organization. If a manager can’t motivate their staff or the team doesn't work well together, then quality of service and productivity will suffer.

There have also been significant changes in the past 20 years in the way that organizations operate. For example, management styles tend to be less autocratic and there are usually fewer levels of management than there were. The move towards more knowledge based and customer focused jobs means that individuals have more autonomy even at fairly low levels within organizations. In addition, most organizations expect to undergo frequent changes in the way that they operate in order to remain competitive. All of these factors have contributed to your personality being seen as more important now than it was in the past. The companies that produce personality tests and the human resources staff who use them invariably refer to these tests as personality ‘questionnaires’ rather than ‘tests’. This is done to avoid giving the impression that there are right and wrong answers and that the test can be either passed or failed. Obviously, no one type of personality is necessarily better or worse than any other. However, remember that you are being given this test for a reason, the employer is plainly looking for something otherwise they would not be investing time and money on the testing process. How is Personality Measured Psychologists define personality as: “The particular pattern of behavior and thinking that prevails across time and contexts, and differentiates one person from another.” In trying to understand these behavior patterns, psychologists attempt to identify and measure individual personality characteristics, often called personality traits. A personality trait is assumed to be some enduring characteristic that is relatively constant. This is opposed to the present temperament of that person which is not necessarily a stable characteristic. Consequently, trait theories are specifically focused on explaining the more permanent personality characteristics that differentiate one individual from another. For example, things like being; dependable, trustworthy, friendly, cheerful, etc.

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sometimes worried. Agreeableness .Modern personality theory is a relatively new field and really began in the 1920’s. relaxed and rational. People who score high on this factor are neophile and curious and sometimes unrealistic. People who score high on this factor like to work in cooperation with others.     4 . and capable of multitasking. In 1990. Neuroticism Tendency to worry. People who score low on this factor prefer to work alone. competitive. People who score high on this factor are usually productive and disciplined and “single tasking”. difficult to understand. But there could be significant variation in the degree to which they are both agreeable. and can be perceived as cold.One’s level of orientation towards other people. Those who score high on this factor are usually co-operative. less productive. Each of these 5 personality traits describes. even a bit eccentric.Tendency to be speculative and imaginative. Everyone possesses all 5 of these traits to a greater or lesser degree. People who score low on this factor are often less structured. This has received significant support from other research and is now widely accepted among psychologists. and are concerned with the well-being of others. can be submissive. anxious. inventive. For example. relative to other people. enthusiastic and seek excitement. thoughts. Conscientiousness How “structured” one is. These 5 aspects of personality are referred to as the 5-factors or sometimes just ‘the Big 5’. There have been many attempts to define personality traits and some psychologists have developed models with hundreds of traits. are talkative. Whilst others believe that there are as few as three. two individuals could be described as ‘agreeable’ (agreeable people value getting along with others). the frequency or intensity of a person's feelings. People who score low on this factor may be challenging. sometimes even argumentative. People who score low on this factor are down-to-earth and practical and sometimes obstructive of change. People who score low on this factor are usually calm. They may sometimes be perceived as lazy and incapable of taking things seriously. but can be more flexible. the psychologists Costa & McCrae published details of a '5 trait' model. Openness to Experience . These 5 traits/factors are:  Extraversion How “energetic” one is. People who score high on this factor are alert. or behaviors.

Personality Factor Extraversion Facets Friendliness Gregariousness Assertiveness Activity Level Excitement-Seeking Cheerfulness Trust Morality Altruism Cooperation Modesty Sympathy Self-Efficacy Orderliness Dutifulness Achievement-Striving Self-Discipline Cautiousness Anxiety Anger Depression Self-Consciousness Immoderation Vulnerability Imagination Artistic Interests Emotionality Adventurousness Intellect Liberalism Agreeableness Conscientiousness Neuroticism Openness to experience 5 . which can be measured independently.All 5 personality traits exist on a continuum rather than as attributes that a person does or does not have. Each of these 5 traits is made up 6 facets.

These tests do not measure the big 5 traits plus others. Disagreeable people can make excellent scientists. How Personality Profiles are Used It is quite possible to come up with slightly different definitions of the big 5 traits and to attach more importance to some of the facets than to others. you may come across personality tests like the ‘16 Personality Factor Questionnaire’ or the ‘Occupational Personality Inventory’ which measures 32 personality traits. depending on the particular viewpoint of the test designer. agreeableness is not useful in situations that require tough or totally objective decisions. Agreeableness is obviously advantageous for achieving and maintaining popularity. or soldiers. 6 . Agreeable people are better liked than disagreeable people. An example personality profile is shown below. On the other hand. For example. This is an area that lends itself to endless debate and keeps many academic psychologists in work. critics. They are simply measuring facets or sub-traits of the big 5 and according them more or less emphasis. As well as providing lively academic argument. it also enables companies in the personality testing field to differentiate their products from those of their competitors. For example.When thinking about personality traits it is important to ignore the positive or negative associations that these words have in everyday language.

Your profile is no use to employers unless they have some way of knowing how your profile compares to the requirements of performing well in a particular role. A particular level on any trait will probably be neutral or irrelevant for most activities. Whilst all of this may be true. and detrimental for accomplishing others. average. scores and descriptions can only approximate your actual personality. and high scores on a personality trait questionnaire are neither intrinsically good nor bad.It is important to remember that low. helpful for accomplishing some things. results of similar questionnaires must be produced in the population as a whole and also for those people already working successfully in the relevant job. in the real world your test results will have a significant influence on your chances of being employed. 7 . Before the results can be used to select suitable candidates for a particular job. As with any personality inventory.

modifying test equipment or tests. Giving extra time for certain kinds of tests to test takers with dyslexia or other learning disabilities and administering a braille version of a test for the blind may be examples of reasonable accommodation. Testing People with Disabilities These situations must be handled with professionalism and sensitivity. 8 . Some of these individuals may experience difficulty on standardized tests due to cultural differences or lack of mastery of the English language. Employee illness and violence are very expensive from an employer’s point of view and questions aimed at screening out stressed or angry candidates are finding their way into personality questionnaires. Depending on the nature of the job for which they are applying. Stress and Anger In addition to the Big 5.000 US organizations and taken by as many as 5 million people each year. These tests may be either self-contained or the questions may form part of a general personality questionnaire.Testing for Honesty. banking. Accommodation may involve ensuring physical accessibility to the test site. People applying for jobs in retail. cheat. Integrity. It is also a precursor to ‘workplace rage’ which along with ‘road rage’ and ‘air rage’ is rapidly increasing. this can be accomplished without compromising the integrity of the assessment process. Personality Questionnaires and Diversity The modern workforce is made up of people from a diverse array of ethnic and cultural groups. or the security services industries are often asked to take an integrity test which claims to predict if they will lie. Stress is often defined as ‘anger turned inwards’ and is implicated in a long list of medical conditions from migraines to heart attacks. Properly handled. or steal on the job. this could mean that their test scores will not accurately predict their true job potential. These tests are administered by an estimated 6. or providing other forms of assistance. including many persons for whom English is not the primary language. there are other personality traits that are of particular interest to employers.

Every company that produces tests needs to differentiate their own test from those of other companies. In speed tests the questions are relatively straightforward and the test is concerned with how many questions you can answer correctly in the allotted time. However. You may be asked to answer the questions either on paper or online. professional or managerial level. This makes online testing particularly suitable for initial screening as it is very cost-effective. all of the tests you are likely to come across can be clasified into six basic types: 9 . These tests tend to be used in selection at the administrative and clerical level.Aptitude and Ability Tests Aptitude and ability tests are designed to assess your logical reasoning or thinking capabilities. They consist of a number of multiple choice questions and are strictly timed. The advantages of online testing include immediate availability of results and the test can be taken at an employment agency or even at home. This has produced a bewildering range of test names and acronyms. A power test on the other hand will present a smaller number of more complex questions and tend to be used more at the graduate. There are at least 5000 aptitude and ability tests on the market and every year new tests are devised and added to the already huge number of tests available. Aptitude and ability tests can be classified as speed tests or power tests.

the more straightforward types of question (spelling. Mechanical Reasoning Tests These tests are designed to assess your knowledge of physical and mechanical principles. architecture. In practice. This type of test is used to measure how quickly and accurately errors can be detected in data. Abstract reasoning tests are thought to give the best indication of your general intelligence and are very widely used. engineering. Abstract Reasoning Tests These tests are based on diagrams and measure your ability to identify the underlying logic of a pattern and then determine the solution. Spatial Reasoning Tests These tests measure your ability to manipulate shapes in two dimensions or to visualize three-dimensional objects presented as two-dimensional pictures. No specialist knowledge is required to answer these questions. However. number sequences and simple mathematics. These tests are widely used since most jobs require you either to understand and make decisions based on verbal or written information or to pass this type of information to others. technical and design jobs where plans and drawings are used. blocks of information are provided that require manipulation and interpretation. Questions are in the form of a question and a diagram and you will need to determine which mechanical principle is being illustrated. you will usually find some questions of this type whichever particular tests you are given. Mechanical reasoning tests are used to select for a wide range of apprentice and engineering occupations. Data Checking Tests These tests present you with number of tables of information which must be checked against each other.Verbal Ability Tests These include questions which test your ability to spell words correctly. as they also provide the best measure of your general intellectual ability. Numeric Ability Tests These include questions on basic arithmetic. for example. Spatial ability is required in production. Spatial ability questions often involve the visual assembly and the disassembly of objects that have been rotated or which are viewed from different angles or objects that have different markings on their surfaces. only an understanding of the principles. understand analogies and follow detailed written instructions. These tests are directly applicable to many administrative and clerical jobs but can also appear as a component of graduate and managerial tests. It is used to select candidates for clerical and data 10 . simple electrical circuits etc. surveying and design. In more complex data interpretation and numerical critical reasoning questions. It is also important in some branches of science where the ability to envisage the interactions of 3 dimensional components is essential. Sometimes these questions are designed to approximate the type of reasoning required in the workplace. This type of test is used to determine your basic numeracy. use correct grammar. These tests are of particular value when selecting people for technical jobs which involve working with abstract ideas or concepts. levers. pulleys. grammar and instructions) tend to be more applicable to administrative roles and the reasoning and deduction type of questions to management roles. For example.

11 . your scores are compared with an appropriate norm group. Aptitude & Ability Tests . This type of assessment is generally associated with achievement testing and certification. There are two different styles of maximum performance test. for example. A power test on the other hand will present a smaller number of more complex questions. language cultural background and other demographic characteristics of the individuals making up the test group and the norm group to ensure their similarity. In general. In these tests you will usually be given two columns of data to check for consistency and you will be asked to mark up any differences. the questions appear relatively straightforward. How Your Aptitude Test Results are Interpreted There are two distinct methods that employers use to interpret your scores. The methods you need to use to answer these questions are not obvious. In criterion-referenced tests. The types of question you can expect will depend on which aptitudes and abilities are needed in the job you are applying for. if you do well in speed tests then you will do well in power tests as well. occupation. Once you have determined this. accounting and banking. These tests are concerned with how many questions you can answer correctly in the allotted time. This is done by comparing the educational level. arriving at the correct answer is usually relatively straightforward. In a speed test the scope of the questions is limited and the methods you need to use to answer them is clear from the form of the question.input jobs. In norm-referenced test interpretation.Speed versus Power Aptitude and ability tests are classified as maximum performance tests as they test what you can achieve when you are making maximum effort. Taken individually. particularly where accuracy is important. and working out how to answer the question is the difficult part. your test score is not compared to that of other candidates but relates solely to your degree of competence in the specific area assessed. These speed and power definitions apply only to maximum performance tests like aptitude and ability tests and not to personality questionnaires.

12 . the scores tend to cluster quite tightly around the average. This is the score most often used by organizations when comparing your score with that of other candidates. a score at the 60th percentile means that your score is the same as or higher than the scores of 60% of those who took the test. will score around 40. Most of the candidates. To calculate your percentile score. To illustrate this point. consider a typical aptitude test consisting of 50 questions. clustering and the use of percentiles has important implications for you as a job candidate. Some will score a few less and some a few more. For example. These may be. Aptitude tests have relatively few questions and the people sitting a particular test tend to be from a similar group in terms of their education and background. who are a fairly similar group in terms of their educational background and achievements. As a result. your raw score is converted to a number indicating the percentage of the test group who scored below you. The most important concept to grasp is that of the percentile score. It has the advantage of being easily understood and percentiles are very widely used when reporting results to managers. This combination of few questions. T-scores or stens and in order to interpret your scores properly. you need to understand what these mean and how they are derived.Whenever you take a psychometric test either as part of the selection process or as a practice exercise you will usually see your results presented in terms of numerical scores. raw scores. A small improvement in your actual score will result in a big improvement to your percentile score. percentile scores. standard scores. Z-scores. It is very unlikely that any of them will score less than 35 or more than 45.

nine times out of ten this is exactly what happens to these test results and a difference of three or four extra marks can take you from the 30th to the 70th percentile. This is why preparing for these tests is so worthwhile as even small improvements in your results can make you appear a far superior candidate.’ Assessment Centers are usually used after the initial stages of the selection process. According to the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development's ‘Recruitment. This figure will 13 . but to a process which is being increasingly used by organizations to assess staff. The Assessment Center involves a set of varied exercises which are designed to simulate different aspects of the work environment. rather than what you say you can do. and usually follow the initial job interview. 34 per cent of employers now use assessment Centers when recruiting managers. This is because a number of different selectors get to see you over a longer period of time and have the chance to see what you can do. It can be usefully defined as ‘A method for assessing aptitude and performance. Retention and Turnover 2004 Survey’. applied to a group of participants by trained assessors using various aptitude diagnostic processes in order to obtain information about applicants' abilities or development potential. professionals and graduates. However. because of the large amount of time and expense in conducting them. Assessment Centers are seen as one of the most effective ways of identifying top candidates who'll get on well with others and fit in with the organizations culture. either as part of the recruitment process or for internal promotion. They are commonly held either on employers’ premises or in a hotel and are considered by many organizations to be the fairest and most accurate method of selecting staff.Looking at these results in terms of percentiles is a very poor way of analyzing them and no experienced statistician would ever use percentiles on this type of data. Other measurements such as psychological tests may complement the selection process. The Assessment Center An 'Assessment Center' does not refer to a location.

using a prescribed performance scale. written communication skills. You will be judged on how well you can: handle complex information.even if this is just a note in the margin. which are measured in other tests.inevitably grow as organizations seek to make more accurate selection and promotion decisions. Each test measures a range of indicators within these factors. The most common type of Assessment Center exercises include: During each exercise. analytical skills. determine priorities. communication with team members and customers. They are highly structured in their design. and assessment procedure and are specifically adapted to assess factors such as your level of skills. Following test completion. aptitude and compatibility with the organization's culture. 14 . and delegation. display sensitivity to potential problems and communicate clearly. Try to imagine that you are at work doing the described duties. rather than just completing a test. Results are then cross compared against the same indicators. but make sure that the reasons for your actions are clear and documented . a group of observers will rate you on a range of set indicators. you may be asked to assume a particular role as an employee of a fictitious company and work through a pile of correspondence in your in-tray. observers meet to discuss the test results and reach a group consensus about your ratings. Assessment Centers may be conducted by HR personnel within the employer company or by outside consultants. application. make decisions within time limits. These tests commonly measure job skills such as: ability to organize and prioritize work. In Tray Exercises If you are asked to do an in-tray exercise.

Presentations These presentations need to be kept fairly short as the same assessors will usually observe all of the candidates in order to make sure that the assessment is fair. and group problem solving skills. You will usually be given a topic or possibly a choice of topics in advance and will also be told the duration of the presentation. usually an OHP. You can also expect to receive a list of the presentation equipment that is available. negotiation. Group exercises may range from 'leaderless group discussion' formats to problem solving scenarios. usually around ten minutes with five minutes at the end for questions. Questions may refer back to your first interview. to resolve a presented issue. teamwork. These exercises commonly measure interpersonal skills such as group leadership. Interviews at this stage are likely to be more indepth than those you experienced during the first stages of selection and could be with someone from the department to which you are applying or even with a potential future colleague. 15 . or sometimes a series of interviews with different assessors. Group Discussion Exercises Group exercises involve candidates working together as a team. to assessment center activities or to aptitude or personality test results. Panel Interview This may be either a panel or with one interviewer.

it does provides additional opportunities for those who feel that they are not able to demonstrate their abilities fully during an interview. remain positive. Just remember that the observers are usually looking for candidates who show evidence of being team players and fully commit to the tasks they are set. The Assessment Center Experience While the Assessment Center process is intensive and commonly viewed as stressful. At the very least you need to have good background knowledge of the sector. the assessors are looking to see whether you can exhibit sensitivity or toughness in those situations that require it. For example. team oriented and focused on the task. Be adaptable in your thinking and recognize other candidates' good ideas but remember that talking people round to your point of view will demonstrate good communication skills provided that it is done in a positive and inclusive way. Above all. 16 . and will provide opportunities for you to interact with other participants during group exercises. Role Plays usually use professional actors who are clearly briefed about their role and how to respond when you take a particular approach. Assessment centers also enable you to obtain a first-hand idea of what the employer expects. You may need to make a conscious effort to overcome your natural responses in these exercises. not whether you are a naturally sensitive or tough person.Role Play Exercise You will usually be asked to assume a fictitious role and handle a particular work situation. the organization and its products and services. Many candidates underachieve on the day as they are unsure of what to expect. A role play exercise allows the assessors to see if you can play the role that is necessary to address the situation they have created. Creating the right impression when everyone else is attempting to do the same can be difficult.

Resume’s and application forms show a work history. Interviewer bias can act against the interests of the recruiting organization by excluding the most capable candidate on entirely spurious grounds. There has also been a significant amount of research over recent years. Employee rights and the real risk of expensive litigation make it a vital to choose the right candidate at the outset. Whilst candidates who have gone too far in talking-up their achievements and abilities will usually be caught out at the interview stage. the number of courses and qualifications has grown rapidly in recent years and it is not always clear what a particular qualification means in terms of abilities. 17 . there is a strong motivation to exaggerate responsibilities and achievements. ethnicity. which has shown clearly that interviews alone are an unreliable way of selecting the best candidates. then the organization will suffer adverse publicity and possibly legal penalties. motivated and interested for the duration of the interview. They may be both pleased to lose the individual from their own organization and afraid of legal redress if they provide an honest appraisal. There is some debate as to whether educational achievements have become debased in the past few years. this is a very expensive and time consuming process for the organization which is recruiting. If the bias involves gender. It is also fairly easy for a candidate to appear good-natured. once they have been employed employment legislation makes it both expensive and risky for organizations to fire people. If an organization selects the wrong candidate then the potential costs are extremely high. No matter how unsuitable a person may be. However. There is also the problem of a growing industry in both books and online businesses which offer ‘help’ in writing the perfect resume. References are notoriously unreliable as previous employers have nothing to gain by warning a potential employer of an unsuitable candidate. even if this argument is ignored.Why are Selection Tests So Widely Used? The recruitment process is extremely expensive and time-consuming. or sexual-orientation and this can be demonstrated. The interview process has shortcomings since the candidate needs only to prepare for a short and relatively predictable series of questions. The exact details of which are difficult for the potential employer to check. and whilst the places and dates of employment are usually accurate.

These competency profiles are themselves seen as promoting access and equality of opportunity as well as reflecting the organizations skill requirements. more often means high turnover which in turn increases recruitment costs. the costs of a professionally delivered testing or assessment service is relatively inexpensive with occupational tests given individually or to groups of 20 or more candidates. Poor selection for example. The overall cost of poor selection is incalculable but almost certainly equals on average. the annual salary of the job incumbent – and in many jobs where severance pay is given it will be far greater than this. All types of organizations are using tests and are using more of them. The single most frequently given reason for increases in testing was the need to have a selection process which would withstand legal challenges. Tests offer two advantages in this situation. and are therefore fully compatible with equal opportunity policies. They can be seen to be objective measures of how a candidate’s skills align with the ‘competency profile’ for the job in question. Most if not all of the widely used tests have been proven not have adverse impact on minority groups. 18 . In certain jobs like fighter pilots. Incompetence produces pressure and stress on the individual as well as on work colleagues. loss of profits and loss of future business clients. Recruitment costs can vary between 10% of salary for more junior members of staff to 40% for senior managers. costs have been estimated at over a million dollars to train each one. The Growth of Psychometric Testing There is growing evidence indicating that the use of psychometric tests for selection purposes has increased in recent years. Poor selection will also lead to costs caused by incompetence and lost opportunity. Main Reason To predict candidates performance To assess whether candidate will fit-in To obtain information prior to interview 41% 34% 25% Additional Reason 73% 67% 48% There are several reasons for the increase in the number of organizations using tests: Increased Regulation and Legislation Increased test use can be seen as a defensive strategy. adopted in response to regulation and legislation.The Cost of Selection Errors The costs of selection errors can be broken down under a high number of different headings. Training of staff is becoming increasingly costly: the cost of training just one air traffic controller nears $200.000. at one ‘sitting’. The results of a survey conducted in 2004 across a wide range of organizations are shown below. Against the enormous costs of poor selection.

In fact. In the past few years the cost of ‘buying in’ to psychometric testing has fallen. This can make for more interesting and productive discussions within interviews concentrating on areas which have been identified. some widely used personality questionnaires have been in use for over 30 years. some organizations have expressed concerns that using qualifications as a criterion for selection may create barriers to access and be viewed as contravening equal opportunity policies. This is particularly true among senior managers in organizations and has been widely reported in the press over the past ten years or so. Tests are also seen as providing data on a variety of skills which are not suited to formal certification.Test Results Are More Useful Now Than Previously It is important to understand that the tests themselves have not changed very much over the past few years. HR professionals are familiar with psychometric tests and tend to believe in their value which further encourages the use of testing. Many managers now accept tests as providing up-to-date information on skills such as quantitative reasoning which complement qualificationbased evidence. Tests also give the interviewer an indication of areas to discuss in detail at the interview. or with health and safety responsibilities. Loss of confidence in Academic Qualifications There is strong evidence for of a loss of confidence in school-based formal qualifications and/or the standard of degrees. the political and cultural environment in which organizations operate has changed significantly. The difficulty of dismissing staff means that decisions to hire are seen as increasingly high risk. The Result of More Formal HR Policies The increase in employment related litigation has encouraged many organizations to recruit more highly qualified human resources personnel. is treated with increasing seriousness. tend to promote more formalized methods of selection. Who. Testing Costs Have Decreased Increased test use is a response to the decreasing cost of testing relative to other methods of selection. In addition. Computer-based tests provide more or less instantaneous scoring and feedback which reduces the need to have sufficient trained assessors available for results to be fed back into the selection process quickly enough to be useful. It is a fact that organizations with larger training expenditures use psychometric testing more than those with smaller training expenditure. Increased Costs of Training Staff Changes in the economy have raised the cost of training and developing staff. In addition. for reasons of professional conviction and departmental self-interest. Psychometric testing also offers some ‘scientific’ credibility and objectivity to the recruitment process which otherwise can be seen as highly subjective. in administering tests and assessing the results. This is due to more providers entering the market and to the increased use of technology. This may be because the cost of staff development increases the value of all relevant selection information. However. 19 . and the placing of low-paid staff in customer facing jobs. particularly the internet. and in particular justifies the additional cost of testing.

Screening Large Numbers of Candidates Psychometric tests are used so extensively by large organizations because they are a quick and relatively cheap way of eliminating large numbers of unsuitable candidates in very early in the recruitment process. You will be provided with all of the materials you need including pencils and pocket calculators. psychometric testing can reduce the workload considerably as it can replace initial screening interviews which were traditionally used to shortlist candidates for a more rigorous second interview. For example you will be told the type of tests you will be taking and the duration of each.4% 39. Increasing you will find yourself in front of a PC and taking the tests on screen. This is obviously more cost effective for the employer as the results are available immediately and can be presented along with a computer generated analysis Before the test begins you can expect the test administrator to provide a thorough explanation of what you will be required to do. 20 . The Future of Psychometric Testing All of the above factors are likely to encourage further growth in psychometric testing in the immediate future.9% 63. This was shown clearly by the results of the Workplace Employee Relations Study (1998) but it is likely that the decreasing costs associated with administering psychometric tests will see this difference eroded.2% 100+ Employees 47. One point of interest is that there remains a significant difference in test usage between large and small organizations. This has led directly to more and more specific tests being produced for use within particular organizations or for particular jobs. You will also be given the opportunity to ask any questions you have before the test begins.2% All of the surveys of psychometric testing produced over the past 5 years are consistent in indicating that use has been growing steadily and that test use for recruitment is now very common and supports a substantial commercial sector of test creation and processing. No further changes in the external environment are needed for this to happen: simply the continuing influence of HR departments in a highly regulated labor market coupled with an increasing number of managers who are comfortable with tests. What You Can Expect on the Day Tests usually take place in a dedicated room with desks are laid out in rows and there may be up to 25 other candidates. Screening out these candidates as soon as possible. As more of these tests gain recognition and acceptance it is inevitable that psychometric testing will continue to increase. From the perspective of human resources. means that the organization can then concentrate more time and effort on the remainder. 10+ Employees Personality Questionnaires Aptitude/Ability Tests 19.

many organizations use verbal. However. as this will give you more time for those that you are more comfortable with. Although it is usually used to screen candidates prior to the first interview. either to check or to attempt to answer. it can be used later in the process. you may only have to take numerical reasoning tests if the job you're applying for requires good numerical skills. The remaining candidates will each be sent a letter 21 . for example prior to a second interview. After they have received candidates resume’s the organization will screen them against the job specification. some tests are designed to be impossible to finish and you will only under-perform if you deviate from your optimum pace. Pay no attention to how any other candidate is progressing. If you realize partway through the test that you will not finish: Don’t panic. discarding those where the qualifications or experience are judged to be insufficient. For example. If you are going miss a question then either guess (if you don’t plan to return to it) or make a mark next to it that you can easily find it later of you have time. This is something that you will have learned from experience and that is unique to you. numerical and abstract reasoning tests as a matter of routine irrespective of the precise demands of the job. Use this knowledge and do not change your pace even if you feel that you cannot finish the test in the allotted time. you have nothing to gain by knowing whether they are ahead of you and you will undermine your confidence if they are. You must of course tell the administrator what has happened at the end of the test. If you have practiced tests in a structured way you will have developed a feel for your optimum speed through the questions. When the Test Begins      Listen carefully to the instructions and if you don’t understand something then ask. For example. If the test is on a PC then make sure that it is working properly. The only change that you should make is to guess at questions that you know from experience that you find difficult. If you realize partway through the test that you will finish with time to spare: Do not deviate from your optimum pace but be sure to mark clearly any questions that you want to return to in the final minutes of the test. Some organizations apply psychometric testing in ways that are directly relevant to the job. This is the speed at which you are making the best compromise between progress and accuracy. Read the instructions for each question carefully. if you mark your answers on the wrong answer sheet then this will be taken into account and you will not lose any marks. There is nothing more frustrating than failing to find these questions at the last minute when taking a second to mark them up at the time would make it easy to find them.The test administrator is will try and make the test as fair as possible for all of the candidates. Preparing Yourself for Selection Tests Psychometric testing can take place at any stage in the recruitment process.

You may experience physical symptoms such as a lack of ability to get to sleep and psychological symptoms such as loss of concentration and mild depression. duration and whether there are any breaks scheduled. You can also make educated guesses as to which areas of your resume the interviewer will concentrate on. With regard to the psychometric test component of the selection process. The types of test you will be given. and probably have already. any materials that will be supplied and whether the test is paper based or uses a PC or palm-top computer. prepared for the most likely questions. you should:    Be briefed about the purpose of the test before taking it Have the results of the test provided to you in a private feedback session Be informed of organizational policy about distribution and storage of the results It is perfectly normal to feel some stress and nervousness when you are told that you need to take psychometric tests as part of the selection process. so that you have an idea of the type of questions used in the test. You can influence your scores in these tests significantly by understanding the question types and practicing 22 . you cannot predict or influence the personality or behavior of the interviewer or know in advance which questions you will be asked. When you receive this letter. In addition. The format. The job selection process will always involve an element of stressfulness which is mostly due to confronting a situation over which you do not have total control. This can be a particular problem if you haven’t taken this type of test before. The test date is usually set one to two weeks after all of the resumes have been processed. For example. if you are asked to sit a psychometric test as part of the recruitment process. your preparation can and should be far more straightforward. Most of the nervousness is simply a fear of the unknown and a feeling that you will ‘let yourself down’ and that the test will not be a fair reflection of your strengths and abilities. This would include disabled access and any eyesight or hearing disability you may have. time and place of the test. You will usually be told the date. This is to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to prepare for the test and that nobody is going to be upset or surprised when they see the test paper. Large text versions of the test should be available for anyone who is visually impaired and provision for written instructions should be made for anyone with a hearing disability. If you do not act immediately to tackle this stress then its effects will become more corrosive as the test date gets closer. if you have any special requirements you must notify the test center immediately. You will usually receive sample questions. However you can.telling them when and where the psychometric testing will take place and what form it will take.

them. Not only will this improve your test scores and increase the chance of you getting to the next stage of the selection process, but by taking positive action you will tackle the cause of the stress directly. You will hear a lot of advice for coping with the symptoms of stress and anxiety, including: relaxation, exercise and visualization. While all of these things can help, the most effective solution is to take direct action and spend your time practicing these tests in the most systematic and efficient way possible.

Psychometric Tests and Aptitude Tests - Expert Help & Advice There are two main types of psychometric tests used by employers as part of their selection processes; aptitude tests and personality questionnaires.

Aptitude tests measure abilities such as verbal, numerical, or abstract reasoning. They are always presented in a multiple-choice format and the questions have definite right and wrong answers. They are strictly-timed and to be successful you need to work through them as quickly and accurately as possible.

There are at least 5000 aptitude tests which employers can use in the selection process and new tests are continually being developed and added to the already huge number of tests available. The companies that sell aptitude tests need to differentiate their own test from those of their competitors and this has produced a bewildering range of test names and acronyms. However, all of the tests you are likely to come across when applying for a job can be classified into six types:

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Verbal ability: These questions appear in most job selection tests because employers usually want to know how well you can communicate. The test may include questions on spelling and word meanings as well as those that require you to understand analogies and follow detailed written instructions.
These tests usually involve grammar, analogies and following detailed written instructions. They can also include spelling, sentence completion and comprehension. Because they depend on understanding the precise meaning of words, idioms and the structure of the language they discriminate very heavily towards native speakers of the language in which the test has been developed. If you speak English as a second language, even if this is at a high standard, you will be significantly disadvantaged. You will usually find questions on all of the following:         Spelling Grammar Sentence Completion Analogies Word Groups Instructions Critical Reasoning Verbal Deductions

These tests are widely used since most jobs require you either to understand and make decisions based on verbal or written information or to pass this type of information to others. In practice, the more straightforward types of question (spelling, grammar and instructions) tend to be more applicable to administrative roles and the reasoning and deduction type of questions to management roles. Spelling Questions Questions where you have to identify incorrectly spelt words are common in all levels of verbal ability tests. The test designer needs to choose words which are fairly common and in regular usage but which are often spelt incorrectly. There would be little point in using obscure words which only a small percentage of candidates could be expected to know. This means that you will almost certainly have heard of the word and know its meaning. This requirement to use words which are in everyday use but which are commonly miss-spelt means that the test designer has a relatively restricted list of words to choose from. This makes improving your performance on these spelling questions relatively straightforward. The free downloadable spelling test on this web site contains the 500 most commonly used words for this type of test. It will take you about an hour to work through it. This will give you a list of words that you need to learn to spell correctly. Most people end up with a list of 50 to 100 words to learn.

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Example Questions 1. Which of the following words are incorrectly spelt? A) separate B) ordnance C) obviously D) sucess E) none of these 2. Choose the pair of words that best completes the sentence The -------- of the timetable caused some ---------A) rivision A) inconvenience B) revision B) inconvenince C) revission C) inconveneince D) revition D)inconvenience

3. The following list of 20 words contains 10 that are incorrectly spelt. Write the letter that corresponds to each incorrectly spelt word in the answer box A) occurence B) dissipate C) weird D) accommodate E) embarassment F) ecstacy G) repetition H) batallion I) dispair J) irritable K) accidently L) liaison M) memento N) millenium O) yield P) existance Q) independent R) insistant S) excede T) privilege Answers 1. D 2. B A 3. A E F H I K N P R S In most cases the longer that you have been out of the education system the more your spelling will have deteriorated. Most people now use word processors with inbuilt spell-checking software and it is very easy to forget how words are spelt as we don’t physically write them down and often rely on the software to correct them for us. Many people find it quite embarrassing when they realize how much their spelling has deteriorated – this is one area where remedial action is straightforward and is guaranteed to produce positive results.

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Which of these words completes the sentence in the way that makes most sense? A spirit-level should be used to ensure that the surface is ----------A) straight B) flat C) horizontal D) parallel E) aligned 5. Example Questions 4. These questions are relatively straightforward but because more than one of the options will complete the sentence satisfactorily you must read it carefully and choose the best word. Example Questions 7. C B 6. Which of these words completes the sentence in the way that makes most sense? He avoided --------. These questions test your reasoning ability as well as your vocabulary. -----------.because he was -----------A) redundency B) indispensable C) redundancy D) indispensible 6. B A Related Word Questions To answer these word relationship questions you need to understanding of precise meaning of the words in the question and establish what exactly the relationship is between them.Missing Word Questions These questions are designed to measure your vocabulary. Which of these is the missing word? kick. specifically your understanding of precise word meanings. You should then look at the answer options and decide which one is the most appropriate. any of which could complete the sentence. walk A) throw B) toes C) shin D) feet E) hand B) revised C) rivised D) feasable 26 . Which of these words completes the sentence in the way that makes most sense? The plan must be --------.to make the project -----------A) feasible Answers 4. You will usually be offered a choice of four or five words. C 5.

Which of these words is the odd one out? A) verify B) authenticate C) confirm D) ask E) substantiate Answers 10. these word meaning questions test your vocabulary – you need to know the precise meaning of the words given in order to select the appropriate synonym (same meaning) or antonym (opposite meaning). -----------. over A) ice B) drive C) wet D) flow E) fall Answers 7. 11. Which of these is the missing word? key. E – Fall forms ‘waterfall’ and ‘fall over’ There will usually be more than one possible answer. Synonym and Antonym Questions These are words which have either the same or opposite meanings. Once again.8. Which of two of these words are opposite in meaning? A) lose B) winner C) victor D) loser E) vanquish 11. Which of these words is the odd one out? A) swindle B) harass C) provoke D) annoy E) pester 12. walk A) lock B) stand C) board D) fob E) stone 9. 8. C – Board forms the words ‘keyboard’ and ‘boardwalk’ 9. D – Feet are used for both kicking and walking. D – The others are synonyms 27 . B D – are exact opposites. so it is important to read the question carefully and pick the best option. A – The others are synonyms 12. -----------. Example Questions 10. Which of these is the missing word? water.

East Anglia and the north Midlands. They will often be about a topic which is unfamiliar to you. B – The word pairs are opposites 15. Fallow Deer were introduced by the Romans and. Example Questions 13.is to hide A) tree B) seek C) ox D) animal E) leather Answers 13. This can short circuit the process of considering and rejecting each option because you know in advance exactly what you are looking for. but there are significant wild populations in south-west and northwest England. Muntjac and Chinese Water Deer which have escaped from parks. There are seven species of deer living wild in Britain. Most of the Red Deer in Britain are found in Scotland. Dog is to canine as wolf is to --------A) vulpine B) ursine C) piscine D) bovine E) lupine 14. but this is an advantage rather than a disadvantage because you need to answer the questions based only on the information that you are given – not using any knowledge that you already have. Red deer can interbreed with the introduced Japanese Sika deer and in some areas. you need to establish the relationship between the ‘X is to Y’ words before you can arrive at the answer. E – lupine means ‘relating to the characteristics of wolves’ 14. E – Paper is made from timber. In addition. Paper is to timber as --------. Example Question 16. have been joined by three other non-native species: Sika. Sadness is to happiness as defeat is to --------A) joy B) victory C) tears D) victor E) none of these 15. a herd of Reindeer was established in Scotland in 1952.Word Pair Questions Firstly. referring back to the appropriate part of the text. since the seventeenth century. 28 . The Red Deer and the Roe Deer are native species. Most people find that the best way to tackle these verbal comprehension questions is to scan the text fairly quickly to get the general idea and then to attempt each question in turn. leather is made from hide Comprehension Questions These questions consist of a short passage and some related questions. Read the following short passage and say whether or not the statements are true. hybrids are common. Some people find it helpful to mentally express the relationship before they look at the answer options.

Reasoning Questions These questions are not concerned with measuring your facility with English. Red Deer cannot interbreed with Fallow Deer but. All of the Red Deer in Britain are found in Scotland. A 16d. you must answer ‘can’t say’ even if you know that the statement is technically false. Working together. A) true B) false C) can’t say 16d. Dick can not work as fast and needs 36 hours to paint the fence by himself. D – In 9 hours Tom would have painted half of the fence and Dick would have painted one quarter of it. There are no Reindeer in England. Tom could complete the task in 18 hours. A) true B) false C) can’t say 16c. 29 . This leaves one quarter to be painted by Harry who must therefore work at the same speed as Dick. Verbal reasoning questions are usually restricted to graduate and management level tests. They are designed to test your ability to take a series of facts expressed in words and to understand and manipulate the information to solve a specific problem. how long will it take Harry to paint the fence by himself? A) 9 B) 12 C) 18 D) 36 B) false C) can’t say Answer 17. Red Deer can interbreed with Fallow Deer. Example Question 17. Dick and Harry need 9 hours to paint a 400 meter long fence. because this is not stated in the text. The Fallow Deer is not native to Britain. A) true B) false C) can’t say 16b. Working alone. A) true Answers 16a. Tom.16a. C* 16c. B 16b. C *Note that you must answer these verbal comprehension questions using only the information supplied. If Tom and Dick take the day off.

for example. are designed to measure your problem solving abilities. The test designer needs to choose commonly misspelled words which are in regular use. These tests usually consist of 10 to 15 questions which need to be completed in 20 to 30 minutes and are designed to test your reasoning ability rather than your facility with the language. These tests usually consist of 30 to 40 questions which need to be completed in 15 to 20 minutes. While these questions are designed to measure reasoning ability rather than educational achievement. Verbal reasoning tests. These questions may take the form of comprehension exercises. Some questions measure your ability to perceive and understand concepts and ideas expressed verbally. Sample Spelling Questions Sample spelling questions where you have to identify incorrectly spelt words are common in all levels of verbal ability tests. synonyms and antonyms etc. class membership and the relationships between words. They are speed tests in that they don’t require very much reasoning ability. it is generally recognized that verbal reasoning test scores are influenced by educational and cultural background. on the other hand. This means that the test designer has a relatively restricted list of words to choose from and you will find that the same words tend to appear in many different suppliers tests. Verbal critical reasoning questions assess your ability to use words in a logical way. as it would be unfair to use obscure words which only a small percentage of candidates could be expected to know. 30 . which are straightforward (as long as you remember to read the relevant part of the text carefully) or more complex statements where the best tactic is to make notes about what you can deduce from each part of the text. grammar. spelling. The questions measure your understanding of vocabulary. You either know the answer or you don’t.Summary Verbal ability tests can be divided into tests of simple verbal ability.

Sample Spelling Questions 1) A missile A undoubtedley A severly A permisible A occasionially A guarentee A easiley A committee A amater A waether A likely A impliment A cemetery A miselaneous A suficient B misile B undoubtedlly B severeley B permissible B occasionally B garuantee B easely B comittee B amateur C missille C undoutedly C severely C permissable C occationally C guarantee C easaly C commitee C amatueur C wether C likelly C implement C cemmetery C miscelaneous C suffisient D misille D undoubtedly D severley D permisable D occasionaly D garanttee D easily D comitee D amatuer D weather D likeley D implemment D cemettery D miscellaneous D sufficeint 2) 3) 4) 5) 6) 7) 8) 9) 10) B whaether B likley B implament B cemetary B misellaneous B sufficient 11) 12) 13) 14) 15) 31 .

Improving your performance on these spelling questions is straightforward. This will give you a list of words that you need to learn to spell correctly. 32 . Work through these test papers methodically and make a note of the ones you get wrong. For example: Choose the pair of words that best completes the sentence.16) 17) A recieve A opportunity A necessety A collectible A defendent B recceive B opporttunity B neccessity B collectabel B defendant C receive C oportunity C necessity C collecteble C deffendant D resieve D opportunety D necesety D colectable D deffendent 18) 19) 20) Answers to sample spelling questions. A) rivision A) inconvenience B) revision B) inconvenince C) revission C) inconveneince D) revition D)inconvenience However. The free tests below contain the 300 most commonly used words for this type of test.of the timetable caused some ----------. what is being tested here is your ability to spell these words correctly rather than anything else. Please note that many test suppliers frame their spelling questions in a different way to those in this practice test. The -------.

Sample Word Relationship Questions 1) medicine is to illness as law is to ------A anarchy 2) B discipline C treason D etiquette square is to cube as circle is to ------A round B ball C pi D sphere 3) king is to throne as judge is to ------A lawyer B bench C court D trial 4) nib is to pen as lens is to ------A seeing B glass C focus D telescope 33 . capital. arch. you may be given a group of words and asked to identify the relationship between the words in this group. arch. 1) capital.Sample Word Relationship Questions: Analogies These questions assess your ability to identify the relationship between words and to then apply this verbal analogy. column A pilaster B edifice C bridge D temple In the example above. You can then select the word from the answer option which best fits with the group. column are all architectural features which can be found on buildings. For example. Answer A is obviously the only word in the answer group which shares these characteristics. These types of question appear in nearly all levels of verbal ability tests.

pennines. Circle the answer where the word pair shown has the most similar relationship. 6) levee : flood A dam : lake 7) color : spectrum A verse : rhyme 8) extort : obtain A purify : strain 9) heel : foot A beam : ship 10) slight : hurt A lag : tardiness B sound : noise C time : lateness D blind : light B hand : palm C stern : boat D cruiser : vessel B steal : borrow C explode : ignite D pilfer : steal B tone : scale C noise : waves D waves : sound B armour : helmet C helmet : injury D water : tide Instruction: Identify the relationship between the word group in the question. florist. draper A flower B cloth C milliner D hair 12) alps.5) settlement is to injury as pension is to ------A pensioner B maturity C retirement D age Instruction: Identify the relationship between the word pair in the question. 11) barber. pyrenees A rockies B dolomites C urals D himalayas 34 . Circle the answer which fits best with the group.

the test designer needs to choose common homophones which are in regular use and this leaves a relatively restricted list to choose from. To achieve this. dictionary definitions and word pairs. ‘Allude’ means ‘referred’ and ‘elude’ means ‘escaped from’. silk. leather A cotton B nylon C linen D fur B oak C spruce D teak B grab C seize D catch Answers to Verbal Ability . volley. These types of question appear in all levels of verbal ability tests. specifically your understanding of word meanings.Word Relationship 1) 4) 7) 10) 13) A D D A A 2) 5) 8) 11) 14) D C B C C 3) 6) 9) 12) 15) B C C B D Sample Word Meaning Questions These questions are designed to measure your vocabulary. These are called homophones and an example would be the words 'allude’ and ‘elude’. in order to select the correct answer. fir. These questions often use synonyms and antonyms (words which have either the same or opposite meanings). cypress A mahogany 15) wool. 35 .13) throw. sling A hurl 14) pine. the questions focus on the relationships between words and the questions are phrased such that you need to know the precise meaning of the words given. Another type of word meaning question uses words which sound similar but have different meanings. Once again.

unjustifiably malicious. unmanageable A wanton B diffident C barren D trite 36 . immoral. compatible.populated A crowded B packed C populous D populace 5) Which word does not have a similar meaning to .outcome A affect 2) B result C upshot D effect Which word does not have a similar meaning to . to gather A abjure B assess C amass D deliberate 9) Which word means .to accumulate.tuneful.with passionate or intense feelings A temperamental B transitory C disconsolate D ardent 8) Which word means . marked by agreement A inclusive B harmonious C saturated D lucid 7) Which word means .energize A rejuvenate B strengthen C enervate D uplift 4) Which word does not have a similar meaning to .condemn A critique B disparage C criticize D censure 6) Which word means .Sample Word Meaning Questions 1) Which word does not have a similar meaning to .comprise A Compose B cover C contain D encompass 3) Which word does not have a similar meaning to .

pragmatic A irrational B impractical C exuberant D realistic 37 .10) Which word means .argumentative A strident B confrontational C irreverent D vociferous 14) Choose the word most similar in meaning to .contradict A gainsay B oppose C disparage D tarnish 13) Choose the word most similar in meaning to . eternal.tawdry A prosperous B clean C privileged D tasteful 18) Choose the word most nearly opposite in meaning to .perplex A dither B affiliate C discomfit D reiterate 12) Choose the word most similar in meaning to .fecund A productive B abundant C barren D unfriendly 17) Choose the word most nearly opposite in meaning to .condescend A criticize B usurp C patronize D contribute 16) Choose the word most nearly opposite in meaning to . never ceasing A indistinct B perpetual C vigilant D imperturbable 11) Choose the word most similar in meaning to .expedite A beckon B exterminate C disrespect D facilitate 15) Choose the word most similar in meaning to .continuous.

but this is an advantage rather than a disadvantage because you need to answer the questions based only on the information that you are given – not using any knowledge that you already have.exigent A strenuous B light C easy D difficult Answers to Verbal Ability . Can’t Say .Word Meaning 1) 4) 7) 10) 13) 16) 19) A D D B B C A 2) 5) 8) 11) 14) 17) 20) A A C C D D C 3) 6) 9) 12) 15) 18) C B A A C B Sample Verbal Comprehension Questions : Instructions These questions consist of a short passage of text and some related questions. You should read through each passage and evaluate the statements which follow it according to these rules below.There is insufficient information to say whether the statement is true or false.19) Choose the word most nearly opposite in meaning to .absolve A condemn B pardon C free D exonerate 20) Choose the word most nearly opposite in meaning to . True . 38 . False . Remember to answer the questions based only on the information that you are given.The statement is false given the information in the passage. They will often be about a topic which is unfamiliar to you.The statement is true given the information in the passage.

this is known as glacial ice. Over time the larger ice crystals become more compressed and even denser. A True B False C Can’t Say 4) Snow falls every year in areas where glaciers form. the contract is a separate matter from the power of attorney itself. If the attorney-in-fact is being paid to act for the principal.These types of question appear in all levels of verbal ability tests but may be more detailed and technical in graduate and management level tests. A True 2) B False C Can’t Say Firn is less dense than snow but more dense than ice. the snow turns into firn. an attorney-in-fact is a fiduciary for the principal. often takes a bluish or even green hue. After about two winters. Glacial ice. forming grains similar in size and shape to cane sugar. an intermediate state between snow and ice. meaning that the snow slowly becomes more dense. kept private between them. for example. As one kind of agent. so the law requires an attorney-in-fact to be completely honest with and loyal to the principal in their dealings with each other. Gradually the grains grow larger and the air pockets between the grains get smaller. A True B False C Can’t Say 3) Glacial ice is always greenish or bluish in color. The attorney-in-fact acts "in the principal's name. because of its density and ice crystals." signing the principal's name to documents and filing suit with the principal's name as plaintiff. New layers of snow compress the previous layers and this compression forces the icy snow to re-crystallize. whereas the power of attorney is intended to be shown to 39 . The person authorizing the other to act is the "principal" or "grantor". so if that contract is in writing. Sample Comprehension Questions Glaciers begin to form where snow remains year-round and enough of it accumulates to transform into ice. 1) Glaciers cannot form where snow does not remain all year round. A True B False C Can’t Say A power of attorney or letter of attorney in common law systems or mandate in civil law systems is an authorization to act on someone else's behalf in a legal or business matter. it is a separate document. A True B False C Can’t Say 5) The increase in density is caused by the grains becoming smaller. and the one authorized to act is the "agent" or "attorney-in-fact".

A True B False C Can’t Say 10) In civil law systems the power of attorney is referred to as a mandate. and the I. such as hospitals. A True B False C Can’t Say Answers to Verbal Ability . A True 9) B False C Can’t Say Only a legal professional can be granted the power of attorney. Many institutions. or may be in writing. require a power of attorney to be in writing before they will honor it. A True B False C Can’t Say 7) All contracts between the principal and the agent must be made public. The power of attorney may be oral.R. 6) The agent grants the principal the power to act on behalf of the grantor.various other people. such as asking someone else to sign your name on a cheque because your arm is broken. banks. and they usually want to keep an original for their records.S.Comprehension 1) 4) 7) 10) A C B A 2) 5) 8) B B A 3) 6) 9) B B C 40 .. A True B False C Can’t Say 8) The power of attorney may be granted verbally.

snowing and sunny then Pedro goes hunting. Sometimes it can be snowing and sunny. Which of the following assertions is best supported by this information? A B C D Labor costs in Korea are twenty percent below those in Germany. Which of the following statements must be true: A B C D E If If If If If it it it it it is is is is is not sunny and it is snowing then Pedro goes hunting. Consequently. The import taxes on a tractor imported from Korea to Germany is less than 41 . Employers use verbal reasoning questions to gain an insight into whether you have the key intellectual skills that are the foundation for success in a managerial position. windy and not sunny then Pedro goes hunting. it is still cheaper to import tractors from Korea to Germany than to produce tractors in Germany. Even after transportation fees and import taxes are added. They are designed to test your ability to take a series of facts expressed in words and to understand and manipulate the information to solve a specific problem. these questions are usually restricted to graduate and management level tests. Sample Verbal Reasoning Questions 1) Pedro goes either hunting or fishing every day. The costs of transporting a tractor from Korea to Germany is more than twenty percent of the cost of manufacturing the tractor in Korea. If it is snowing & windy then Pedro goes hunting. 2) The cost of manufacturing tractors in Korea is twenty percent less than the cost of manufacturing tractors in Germany. windy and sunny then Pedro goes hunting. windy and Pedro does not go hunting then it is not snowing. If it is sunny and not windy then Pedro goes fishing.Sample Verbal Reasoning Questions Verbal reasoning questions are not designed to measure your facility with the English. Importing tractors into Germany will eliminate twenty percent of the manufacturing jobs in Germany.

Which of the statements above make it possible to answer the question. The figures quoted may vary by plus or minus ten percent from the actual figures. twenty percent are from Europe. How long should it take Molly working by herself to fill the bottles? Statement 1 . but statement 2 alone is not sufficient. Both statements together are sufficient. Statement 2 . Comparing death rates per thousand members of each group rather than comparing total numbers of deaths. it can be concluded that it was more dangerous for doctors not to participate in the treatment of plague sufferers than it was for them to participate in it. A B C 13/20 15/20 13/15 42 . Examining the death rates for doctors in the years before and after 1695. Each statement alone is sufficient. 4) There are 900 bottles to be filled. 3) In 1695 about 11. 5) Of the teams competing in the world archery championships. Statements 1 and 2 together are not sufficient. Separating deaths due to natural causes during the treatment of plague suffers from deaths caused by other causes. Statement 2 alone is sufficient. It takes twenty percent less time to make a tractor in Korea than it does in Germany. Jim and Molly working independently but at the same time take 30 minutes to fill the bottles. the US or Africa. What fraction of teams are from neither Europe. Which of the following statements would cast most doubt on the conclusion above? A B C D E Expressing the difference between the numbers of deaths among doctors who had treated plague sufferers and doctors who had not treated plague suffers as a percentage of the total number of deaths. On the basis of these figures. Half as many are from the United States and one twentieth are from Africa.Molly fills half as many bottles as Jim.Jim would take 45 minutes by himself.400 doctors who had treated plague sufferers died and about 23. but neither statement alone is sufficient. A B C D E Statement 1 alone is sufficient.E twenty percent of the cost of manufacturing the tractor in Germany.670 doctors who had not treated plague sufferers died. but statement 1 alone is not sufficient.

Critical Reasoning 1) 4) B D 2) 5) D A 3) D Sample Verbal Reasoning Questions: Verbal Deduction Verbal reasoning questions are not designed to measure your facility with the English. Employers use verbal reasoning questions to gain an insight into whether you have the key intellectual skills that are the foundation for success in a managerial position.D E 17/20 13/17 Answers to Verbal Ability . windy and sunny then Pedro goes hunting. The cost of manufacturing tractors in Korea is twenty percent less than the cost of manufacturing tractors in Germany. If it is sunny and not windy then Pedro goes fishing. windy and not sunny then Pedro goes hunting. Consequently. windy and Pedro does not go hunting then it is not snowing. these questions are usually restricted to graduate and management level tests. snowing and sunny then Pedro goes hunting. Even after transportation fees and import taxes are added. it is still cheaper to import tractors from Korea to Germany than to produce tractors in Germany. Sample Verbal Reasoning Questions 1) Pedro goes either hunting or fishing every day. Which of the following statements must be true: A B C D E 2) If If If If If it it it it it is is is is is not sunny and it is snowing then Pedro goes hunting. 43 . If it is snowing & windy then Pedro goes hunting. They are designed to test your ability to take a series of facts expressed in words and to understand and manipulate the information to solve a specific problem. Sometimes it can be snowing and sunny.

Examining the death rates for doctors in the years before and after 1695. Each statement alone is sufficient. it can be concluded that it was more dangerous for doctors not to participate in the treatment of plague sufferers than it was for them to participate in it.Molly fills half as many bottles as Jim. Comparing death rates per thousand members of each group rather than comparing total numbers of deaths. but neither statement alone is sufficient. Statement 2 alone is sufficient. Statement 2 . Both statements together are sufficient. Statements 1 and 2 together are not sufficient. Jim and Molly working independently but at the same time take 30 minutes to fill the bottles. 3) 44 . Which of the following statements would cast most doubt on the conclusion above? A B C D E 4) Expressing the difference between the numbers of deaths among doctors who had treated plague sufferers and doctors who had not treated plague suffers as a percentage of the total number of deaths. but statement 2 alone is not sufficient. A B C D E Statement 1 alone is sufficient. It takes twenty percent less time to make a tractor in Korea than it does in Germany. Which of the statements above make it possible to answer the question. How long should it take Molly working by herself to fill the bottles? Statement 1 .670 doctors who had not treated plague sufferers died. Separating deaths due to natural causes during the treatment of plague suffers from deaths caused by other causes.Which of the following assertions is best supported by this information? A B C D E Labor costs in Korea are twenty percent below those in Germany. The figures quoted may vary by plus or minus ten percent from the actual figures.400 doctors who had treated plague sufferers died and about 23. On the basis of these figures. In 1695 about 11. Importing tractors into Germany will eliminate twenty percent of the manufacturing jobs in Germany. The costs of transporting a tractor from Korea to Germany is more than twenty percent of the cost of manufacturing the tractor in Korea.Jim would take 45 minutes by himself. There are 900 bottles to be filled. but statement 1 alone is not sufficient. The import taxes on a tractor imported from Korea to Germany is less than twenty percent of the cost of manufacturing the tractor in Germany.

powers. etc). This type of test can be categorized as a speed test and is used to determine your basic numeracy. Half as many are from the United States and one twentieth are from Africa. What fraction of teams are from neither Europe. A B C D E 13/20 15/20 13/15 17/20 13/17 Answers to Abstract Reasoning Questions 1) 4) A C 2) 5) C A 3) A Numerical Ability Tests The first type of numerical ability test covers basic arithmetic (addition. Obviously you will not be allowed to use a calculator. twenty percent are from Europe. fractions. subtraction multiplication and division). 45 .5) Of the teams competing in the world archery championships. the US or Africa. number sequences and simple mathematics (percentages.

Arithmetic Questions 1. A 4. 5 x 16 = A) 80 4. B 2. You can therefore expect 25-35 questions in 20-30 minutes. D 3. C 5. 15% of 300 = A) 20 B) 45 C) 40 D) 35 6. 139 . as most people could achieve a very high score given unlimited time in which to answer. C These questions are directly applicable to many administrative and clerical jobs but can also appear as a component of graduate and managerial tests. ½ + ¼ x 3/4 = A) 3/8 Answers 1. B 6. The speed at which you can answer these questions is the critical measure.235 = A) -69 3. B) 13/8 C) 9/16 D) 3/4 46 . 139 + 235 = A) 372 2.5 B) 4 C) 5 D) 6 B) 86 C) 88 D) 78 B) 96 C) 98 D) -96 B) 374 C) 376 D) 437 5. 45 / 9 = A) 4.

However. Find the missing number in the series 54 A) 47 49 -B) 44 39 34 C) 45 D) 46 10. Find the next number in the series 3 A) 30 6 11 B) 22 18 -C) 27 D) 29 12. This missing number may be at the beginning or middle but is usually at the end. The need to avoid any ambiguity means that if the number 47 . Find the next number in the series 4 A) 48 8 16 B) 64 32 -C) 40 D) 46 8.Number Sequences These questions require you to find the missing number in a sequence of numbers. Find the next number in the series 48 A) 32 46 42 B) 30 38 -C) 33 D) 34 These number sequences usually consist of four visible numbers plus one missing number. 11. 7. you will often see more complex questions where it is the interval between the numbers that is the key to the sequence. Find the next number in the series 4 A) 32 8 12 B) 34 20 -C) 36 D) 38 9. Find the first number in the series -A) 12 19 23 B) 15 29 31 C) 16 D) 17 These number sequences can be quite simple like the examples above. This is because the test designer needs to produce a sequence into which only one number will fit.

A D – There are 2 simple interleaved sequences 1. division.14. For example.7. 13. D – The numbers are primes (divisible only by 1 and themselves) 11. B – The numbers double each time 8. beginning with 3. A – Each number is the sum of the previous two numbers 9.4. C A – There are 2 simple interleaved sequences 5. Then look at the intervals between the numbers and see if there is a relationship there.13 and 6.15 15. and particularly if there are more than 4 numbers visible. beginning with 2. B – The interval. You will occasionally find multiplication. B – The numbers decrease by 5 each time 10. or powers used in these sequences.9 To solve these number sequence questions efficiently.7. Find the missing number in the series 4 A) 32 3 5 B) 30 9 12 C) 24 17 -D) 26 14.10.8. increases by 2 and is subtracted each time 13. C – The interval.10. Find the missing numbers in the series 5 A) 19 6 7 B) 17 8 10 C) 15 11 14 D) 16 --- 15. but test designers tend to avoid them as these operations soon lead to large numbers which are difficult to work out without a calculator. 48 . you should first check the relationship between the numbers themselves looking for some simple arithmetic relationship. D – Each number is the sum of the previous and the number 3 places to the left 14.7. Find the missing numbers in the series 1 A) 6 -4 B) 3 7 7 C) 11 8 10 D) 13 9 -- Answers 7. increases by 2 each time 12.sequence relies on a more complex pattern then there will need to be more visible numbers. then there may be two number sequences interleaved. If not.8.19 and 6.11.

If you see more than one of these questions in a test then it is almost certainly worth taking the time to write out the letters of the alphabet with their ordinal numbers underneath. Find the next letter in the series T i) Y V X ii) B Z -iii) A iv) W Answers 16. Find the next letter in the series B i) L E H ii) M K -iii) N iv) O 17. so N is next 17. This would be very difficult to achieve with numbers.C and Z. It is implicit in these ‘alphabetic sequence’ questions that the sequence ‘loops’ back around and starts again. Question 17 for example can use 2 interleaved sequences even though only four letters are visible. 16. Find the next letter in the series A i) C Z B ii) X Y -iii) D iv) Y 18. B=2 etc. 49 . so B is next Because arithmetic operations cannot be performed on letters there is less room for ambiguity in these questions. It may seem strange to consider these as numerical reasoning questions but they actually work in the same way once you have changed them back into numbers. It is important to recognize this as it is not usually stated explicitly – you are just expected to know it. See question 18.Letter of the Alphabet as Numbers Another type of sequence question which appears in these tests involves the substitution of letters of the alphabet for numbers. You can then treat these questions in a similar way to number sequence questions. ii – Miss a letter each time and ‘loop’ back.Y.B. This means that interleaved sequences can be used with fewer visible letters than in questions that use numbers. This can save a lot of time overall and avoid simple mistakes. so C is next 18. iii – There are two letters missing between each one. i – There are 2 interleaved sequences A. For example A=1.

an understanding of these areas is not required to answer the question. Which server had its unit price changed in March? A) ZXC43 B) ZXC53 C) ZXC63 20. You may use a calculator for this question. 19. for example the question may present financial data or use information technology jargon. 19a. 50 . However. These data interpretation questions will often use very specific illustrations. Below are some figures for agricultural imports. How many ZXC43 units could be expected to sell in April? A) 56 B) 58 C) 60 19d. In which month was the sales value highest? A) January B) February C) March 19b. What is the unit cost of server type ZXC53? A) 12 B) 13 C) 14 19c. Below are the sales figures for 3 different types of network server over 3 months. Answer the following questions using the data provided.Data Interpretation Information is provided that requires you to interpret it and then apply the appropriate logic to answer the questions. Sometimes the questions are designed to approximate the type of reasoning required in the workplace.

12 tons 20b. multiply and divide quickly and accurately. 30 tons out of a total of 141 20c.500 B) 25.456 made up of 176 tons at an average of $156/ton Summary Numerical ability tests can be divided into tests of simple numeracy. Which month showed the largest total decrease in imports over the previous month? A) March B) April C) May 20b. 51 . where you are told which arithmetic operations to apply. B – April. What was the total cost of wheat imports in the 5 month period? A) 27.000 C) 22. and numerical reasoning tests where you are presented with some data and questions but the methods required to answer the questions are not specified. What percentage of rice was imported in April? A) 17% B) 19% C) 21% 20c. subtract. C 20a. A .20a. B 19c. Your score in the simple speed tests will be very much influenced by your ability to add. C 19b. C . A 19d.21%.$27. In all cases you need to prepare by practicing your mental arithmetic until you are both quick and confident.000 Answers 19a.

you should make a habit of mentally estimating your answers as a way of checking them. Conversely. vocabulary. Although you are allowed to use a calculator for some questions. mathematics. there is no point in working out how to arrive at the answer if you make a simple mistake when calculating it. As a result of this research Spearman developed a two-factor theory of intelligence. This led him to believe that there are one or more factors that are common to all intellectual tasks. 52 . numerical transformations. seem to consist of questions which have little or no application in the real world. Yet these types of question appear in most graduate and management aptitude tests.g. He concluded that people who do well on some intelligence tests also do well on others (e. Abstract reasoning tests on the other hand. Numerical Reasoning questions assess your ability to use numbers in a logical and rational way. The questions measure your understanding of such things as number series. the relationships between numbers and your ability to perform numerical calculation.Even though you will need to do fewer arithmetic operations in the reasoning tests. Abstract Reasoning Tests The aptitudes and abilities measured by verbal and numeric reasoning tests can easily be related to real world tasks and jobs. The questions require a basic level of education in order to successfully complete and are therefore measuring numerical ability rather than educational achievement. spatial abilities). if people do poorly on an intelligence test. as many jobs require some degree of skill with words and numbers. Spearman used a statistical technique called factor analysis to examine relationships between people’s scores on different tests or sub-tests of intelligence. they also tended to do poorly on other intellectual tests. Why is this? Abstract reasoning tests date back to the research done by the psychologist Charles Spearman in the 1920’s.

e. while another would be very good verbally. i. However. ‘s’. Even though Spearman’s research was done many years ago. Which of the Answer Figures belongs in neither group? 53 . Spearman placed much more importance on ‘g’ and believed that the most important information about someone’s intellectual ability is an estimate or measurement of ‘g’. as they test your ability to perceive relationships and then to work out any co-relationships without you requiring any knowledge of language or mathematics. Example Questions 1. and dull people having less. Spearman defined ‘g’ as: “the innate ability to perceive relationships and educe co-relationships” If we replace the word ‘educe’ with ‘work out’ then you can see why abstract reasoning questions are seen to be a good measure of general intelligence. Which symbol in the Answer Figure completes the sequence in the Problem Figure ? 2. one person might be better at maths. with bright people having a lot. Spearman said that intelligence is mainly made up of ‘g’.As the diagram shows. People may also vary according to their specific abilities. his theory of ‘g’ is still widely accepted by psychologists and a great deal of research has supported it.

However. 2. 3. C . Which of the Answer Figures belongs in neither group? 4.The question figure is rotated clockwise through 90 degrees each time. D . 54 . B & D . A.Same color shapes are diagonally opposite (Group1) or above/below (Group 2). group 2 shapes are all curved. These tests are of particular value when the job involves dealing with abstract ideas or concepts as many technical jobs do. Which of the Answer Figures fits the missing space in the Question Figure? Answers 1. D & E . 4.3.Each row and column contains one line of each type.Group 1 shapes are all straight lines. as they also provide the best measure of your general intellectual ability they are very widely used and you will usually find some questions of this type whichever particular tests you are given.

These tests are particularly valued where the job you are applying for involves:     A high degree of problem solving Dealing with complex data or concepts Developing strategies or policies Performing non-routine tasks where initiative is required Abstract Reasoning assesses your ability to understand complex concepts and assimilate new information beyond previous experience. You need to use the diagram to determine what effect each of these functions has. 55 . Diagrammatic Reasoning Tests The term diagrammatic reasoning is often used interchangeably with abstract reasoning. These are referred to on this web site as diagrammatic reasoning tests to differentiate them from 'normal' abstract reasoning tests. The questions consist of items which require you to recognize patterns and similarities between shapes and figures. Apply them to the input shape in the question to arrive at the correct output. These questions are often found in tests aimed at selecting information technology specialists who need to work through complex problems in an analytical way. If you are applying for a job in information technology then you may be faced with questions which test your abstract reasoning ability in a very specific way. As a measure of reasoning. If you are told that you need to sit a diagrammatic reasoning test then it may be just another name for an abstract reasoning test. These diagrammatic reasoning tests measure your ability to infer a set of rules from a flowchart or similar diagram and then to apply those rules to new situation. Example Questions 1) The functions 'M' and 'S' transform the input shapes in a certain way. Some of the companies who produce psychometric tests refer to abstract reasoning tests as diagrammatic reasoning tests. it is independent of educational and cultural background and can be used to provide an indication of intellectual potential. Or it may not. This is presumably because abstract tests use diagrams or pictures rather than words or numbers.

In the next example. The sequence of operations is from top to bottom. Each operator acts on the figure that it is attached to. 2) Which figure results from the operations shown? 3) Which figure results from the operations shown? 56 . Use this information to answer the questions.Another type of question that appears in these tests measures your ability to follow a set of logical instructions. the operators are defined in the first diagram.

Spatial ability questions may test either speed or power. These tests are usually of 20-40 minutes duration and contain 20-30 questions. and if possible to supply some example questions. Function 'S' rotates shape anticlockwise through 90 degrees. form mental images.Function 'M' inverts color (black > white and white > black). if the questions involve the manipulation of 2 dimensional objects then they are probably fairly straightforward.Remember some of the operations involve changing the relative position of figures. These are speed questions and you will need to work quickly and attempt to answer as many as possible in the given time. Generally speaking.Answers 1) B . but you will be challenged to answer them all in the time you are given. 2) B . Shape Matching: In these types of question you will be presented with a number of objects only two of which are identical. 57 . and visualize movement or change in those images.work from top to bottom. making a note of the effect of each operator at each stage. if the questions involve the manipulation of 2 dimensional objects then they are probably fairly straightforward. but you will be challenged to answer them all in the time you are given. These types of question are usually restricted to technical jobs in information technology but may also be used to select for technical jobs in the finance industry. Generally speaking. Spatial Ability Tests Spatial Ability can be defined as ‘The ability to interpret and make drawings. If the employer has made any mention of diagrammatic reasoning then you should ask them to clarify exactly what they mean. Spatial ability tests often involve the visual assembly and the disassembly of objects that have been rotated or which are viewed from different angles or objects that have different markings on their surfaces.’ Spatial ability tests measure your ability to manipulate shapes in two dimensions or to visualize three-dimensional objects presented as two-dimensional pictures. 3) D . you are unlikely to be asked questions if this type unless the job calls for a high level of analytical abstract reasoning skills. Remember.

O 2. T 13. flat objects and find pairs that are exactly the same size and shape. C 14. Each group has about 25 small drawings of these 2-dimensional objects. The objects in the second group are labeled with letters and are in random order. H 22. V 9. Y 19. These questions use a large number of shapes that are presented close together.Example Shape Matching Questions In this example. R 5. 1. Some people find this very distracting and find it easier to work through the shapes in the second group systematically. 58 . The objects in the first group are labeled with numbers and are in numerical order. I This is very much a speed test as you will be given far more of these questions than you can comfortably answer in the given time. J 24. Each drawing in the first group is exactly the same as a drawing in the second group. S 21. L 25. Q 4. P 7. U 18. Which shape in Group 2 corresponds to the shape in Group 1? Answers 1. W 16. you are asked to look at two groups of simple. K 23. M 8. N 3. F 20. B 15. A 11. The objects in the second group have been moved and some have been rotated. G 10. X 6. E 17. D 12.

as you may think that it is quicker just to look at all of the shapes until the answer’ jumps out’ at you. When you are confronted with a large number of similar types of question on a single page. C and E are the only two pictures which are identical The best strategy for these types of question is to begin with the shape on the left and work through the shapes to the right of it systematically looking for an exact match. It can be quite difficult to discipline yourself to adopt this systematic approach to these types of question. The way that the question is worded will make this clear. If this is the case then you should be especially careful to look out for reflections in the second group. For example: The shapes in Group A are rotations of each other. the questions other than the one you are trying to answer can be distracting. Once again these are speed questions and you will need to work quickly and attempt to answer as many as possible in the given time Example Question 26. If there isn’t one then move on to the second shape and repeat the process. However none of the shapes in group A are rotations of those in Group B. 59 . These are often put in by the test designers to trap the unsuspecting. Which two pictures are identical? Answer 26. Visual Comparison – Two Dimensional In these types of question you will be presented with a number of objects only two of which are identical. You may find that it helps to cover them and concentrate only on the two shapes you are comparing.In some questions of this type there may not be a one-to-one match and some of the shapes in the first group may not appear in the second. The problem with this is that if the answer doesn’t ‘jump out’ fairly quickly then panic sets in and you usually resort to the systematic approach anyway. The shapes in Group B are also rotations of each other.

B and D cannot be rotations of the Question Figure. This means that A. the white square is clockwise from the arrow. The best strategy is to choose the most asymmetrical shape in the group – in this case the arrow. ‘left’ ‘above’ or ‘below’ as ‘clockwise’ etc are constant even when the figures are rotated. Then determine the shapes ‘clockwise’ and ‘anticlockwise’ and opposite.Spatial Ability Tests > Group Rotation These are questions where a group of five or six two dimensional shapes or elements are presented and you need to determine which groups are rotations of each other. This leaves only C as a possibility which can quickly be checked element by element. Thinking in these terms is more logical than ‘right’. In the example above. 60 . This is slightly more complex than the rotations in the two-dimensional shape matching questions. 1) Which of the Answer Figures is a rotation of the Question Figure? Answer 1) C You need to be careful that you don’t identify reflections.

In the example above.Spatial Ability Tests > Combining Shapes These questions involve 2-dimensional shapes that have been cut-up into pieces. One thing to remember is that if the Complete Shapes don’t have any bits ‘sticking out’ (they usually don’t) then the components must fit together so that sides of the same length are together. The best strategy for answering these questions is to look at the Complete Shapes and see if there are any distinct features that would make it impossible to construct such a shape from the components. You are asked to match the pieces to the shape that they came from. Example Question 1) Which of the complete shapes can be made from the components shown? Answer 1) B – is the only shape that can be made from the components shown. this is not very obvious but sometimes there are one or two shapes that can be immediately discounted on the basis of size alone. 61 . This reduces the number of combinations considerably.

The pattern and the cubes have symbols or marking on each face. Therefore D must be opposite the ‘X’. Which symbol is opposite the X? Answer 1) D Some people seem to have a natural talent for imagining objects in 3 dimensions and find these questions straightforward. This leaves only D and ‘other’ as possibilities. Cubes in 2 and 3 Dimensions These questions show a flat (2-dimensional) pattern which can be folded to make a cube and a number of 3-dimensional cubes (usually 4). In the example above. you can simply compare the first and third illustrations. if you’re not one of them and you find thinking in three dimensions difficult. which symbol is on the opposite face? Example Question 1) Three views of the same cube are shown above. You need to look at the pattern and decide which of the cubes. This means that even in cases where elimination is not possible. B and C. you can simply use a process of elimination. Therefore D is correct. Although it is not usually specified in the instructions. In the question above for example. If you can see a symbol on the same illustration as the ‘X’ then it cannot be opposite. The second and third cubes eliminate A. For example. However. it is sometimes quite easy to see the solution without mentally manipulating the cube too much. D has edges shared with A and B which would be consistent with the third cube illustrated. there are other ways to get the answer. if any could be made from it.Spatial Ability Tests > Cubes These questions show you several (usually 3) views of a 3-dimensional cube with unique symbols or markings on each face and then asks you a question about it. 62 . The third illustration shows a 90 degree clockwise rotation (looking at the cube from above) of the first illustration. it is almost always true that in these questions each symbol is used only once.

this means that you need only to consider the relationship between the three visible elements on each cube and see if the same relationship exists in the pattern. You can then: look at the front of the cube. Here you have a single 3-dimensional cube and a number of 2-dimensional patterns. thinking of the problem this way makes it much easier to ‘see’ the relationship between the faces of the cube. find that face on the pattern. 63 .Example Questions 2) Which of the cubes shown could be made from the pattern? Answer 2) A . For example: This is obviously an arbitrary decision as you could look at a cube from any side. The best strategy for this type of question is to call one face of the cube the ‘front’ and then to name the other faces of the cube in relation to it. use the pattern to identify the other face that touches the ‘front’ (in this example LHS) and eliminate any options that do not match. However. Another type of question poses the problem the other way around. will make the cube. only one of which when folded.The key to these questions is to remember that only three faces of the cube can be shown in the illustration. use the pattern to identify the ‘top’ and eliminate any options that do not match.

64 . which you can then try to locate in the answer figures. remember don’t be intimidated by these problems even if imagining things in 3 dimensions does not come easily to you. The problem can always be reduced to the relationship between three elements.3) Which of the patterns when folded will make the cube shown? Answer 3) B .The same strategy can be used to solve these questions.

Once again.Spatial Ability Tests > Solid Shapes These questions are similar to the cube questions above. but rather than cubes they use other solid shapes which may be irregular. each face of the solid shape has a shape of its own rather than just being square. which does not appear on the pattern. This makes thinks easier because even though the solid shape may have more faces than a cube. it is unusual for more than four faces to be shown. Shape C can be eliminated because is shows an un-shaded face below a triangular face. In other words. Shape A can be eliminated because is shows an un-shaded face below a triangular face. paying particular attention to shading or other patterns on them. Example Question 1) Which of the solid shapes shown could be made from the pattern? Answer 1) D is correct. This means that you need to consider the relationship between the four visible faces. Shape B can be eliminated as it has a shaded roof above the shaded side. 65 . these questions are easier than the cube questions as there are more relationships to work with. both of these faces (below the triangular face) are shaded on the pattern. you can reduce these problems to the relationship between the visible elements on the 3-dimensional picture. both of these faces (below the triangular face) are shaded on the pattern. In some respects.

You may also need to know the intermediate compass points as shown below: As well as knowing the points of the compass you may also need to pay attention to traffic regulations if the question shows a city or town plan. You will usually see an arrow showing which way is north. East and West) sometimes just North. By convention this is towards the top of the page. 66 . It is very common for these to show one-way streets which you can only drive down in the direction of the arrow. You can of course walk in either direction and the question should make it clear whether you are walking or driving. police and emergency services jobs where the ability to follow or give directions based on a map or street plan is a day-to-day part of the job.Spatial Ability Tests > Maps & Plans This type of question often appears in tests for military. For example: Sometimes all four directions will be given (North. you can work out the others if you remember the saying "Never Eat Sour Wheat" as this gives you all of the compass points reading clockwise from North. If only North is given. South.

In the street plan above. 67 . for example. Shakespeare Road is one-way between Cole Street and Trenchtown Road. This means that if you were driving south on Trenchtown Road you could not turn right into Shakespeare Street.

first right heading South. first right . What direction is she facing? A North B South C East D West 2) She turns and walks to the junction with Main St.Example Map Questions 1) Officer Wilkinson is in Depp St and can see the Town Hall to her right. third right – heading West. then taking the next right. fourth left .heading East. He proceeds West for one block.heading North. Which location is nearest to her current position? A M B N C R D P 3) Officer Garcia starts from location ‘N’ and proceeds as follows: right onto West St . Where is location ‘P’ in relation to his current position? A North B South East C North East D North West 68 . and walking half a block.heading East. She turns left and proceeds two blocks before turning right.

architecture. These questions approximate the type of reasoning and maths that are needed to estimate materials costs etc. Mechanical Reasoning Tests Mechanical reasoning tests measure your knowledge of straightforward mechanical and physical concepts. You should also expect some shop arithmetic questions. 69 . This is very different from craft and technical tests where you will usually be expected to make calculations. The same is not usually true of mechanical reasoning where your score will depend significantly on your knowledge of:        Levers Pulleys Gears Springs Simple Electrical Circuits Tools Shop Arithmetic You may have come across: levers. springs and simple circuits in elementary science and the questions on these topics are fairly straightforward. Spatial ability is required in production. This is thought to be because there is a genetic factor involved in spatial reasoning ability. it is also important in some branches of science where the ability to envisage the interactions of 3 dimensional components is essential. about 5% of the adult population find it impossible to imagine two-dimensional shapes being moved through a third dimension. For example.Answers to Questions 1) B 2) A 3) A All spatial ability tests rely on you being able to imagine what would happen in your mind's eye. for example. technical and design jobs where plans and drawings are used. then you may be asked some questions about tools and how they are used. surveying and design. you could sit an abstract reasoning test without having seen one before and still get a reasonable score. gears. If elementary science classes seem like a long time ago then you may need to refresh your memory. For example. They do not measure your underlying mechanical aptitude in the same way that abstract reasoning questions measure your underlying intellectual ability. Mechanical Reasoning for Craft and Technical Jobs If you are taking a test as part of the selection for a craft or apprenticeship job. Mechanical Reasoning for Emergency Services and Military Jobs If you are taking a mechanical reasoning test as part of the selection process for the emergency services or the military then the questions you can expect will tend to concentrate on principles rather than on making calculations. pulleys. However. Unfortunately. engineering. you may be shown 3 diagrams of a lever and asked which one is the most efficient.

Remember. The way that most organizations operate has also changed in the last 30 years. tests used by the fire service tend to frame the questions in terms of firefighting whereas tests used to select for an aircraft maintenance job would tend to frame the questions in aviation industry terms. It is the substance of the question that is important – the scenario is incidental. in terms of your personality. In most working situations it’s the personality of your co-workers and managers that affect the day-to-day success of the organization. The effects of 70 . then productivity and quality of service will suffer. It doesn’t matter if the questions you practice on aren’t specific to the industry you are applying for. If the team doesn't work well together or a manager can’t motivate their staff. are you going to fit in. do you have the required enthusiasm and motivation? Finally. In addition. do you have the right skills and experience? Secondly. towards more knowledge based and customer focused jobs means that individuals have more autonomy even at fairly low levels within organizations. There are usually fewer levels of management than there were and management styles tend to be less autocratic. attitude and general work style? Personality has a significant role to play in providing answers to the second and third of these questions. For example. the move in the western world at least.Mechanical Reasoning . Work Sample Tests Personality Tests > Introduction There are only three questions the employer really has to answer during the selection process: Firstly. the scenario is incidental Many of the questions in mechanical reasoning tests are ‘industry’ specific.

For more information on this topic see Personality Tests . the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator .these changes means that your personality is seen by a potential employer as more important now than it was in the past. There is a historical association with academic and occupational psychology which gives the personality testing industry a degree of credibility that it does not always deserve. The single most frequently given reason for increases in testing is the need to have a selection process which can withstand legal challenges. 4. Increased test use can therefore be seen in part as a defensive strategy. However. See Example. Widely Used But Still Controversial In 2006. claiming that this information is ‘proprietary’. Many people quite happily complete online personality profiles in their own time outside of the recruitment process. There is no need to print and distribute printed material. personality testing is $450 million industry which has been expanding by about 10% per year. honesty and integrity. Many of the well established companies who provide personality tests do operate to the highest ethical and professional standards. The usefulness and accuracy of even the most well established tests. There are currently well over 2. 71 . Another factor is the ease with which these tests can now be delivered online. (for example. 3. This approach has distinct advantages over paper-and-pencil tests: 1.Understanding the Industry . There are now more suppliers producing a greater variety of tests. Some of these products are broad-spectrum tests designed to classify basic personality types. Results can be processed immediately with no human input. remain highly controversial among psychologists. There has been a growing acceptance of personality testing among the general public.500 personality questionnaires on the market and each year dozens of new companies appear with their own ‘new’ products. This situation is made more difficult since most of the companies that produce personality tests are very secretive about their methodologies and refuse to make public crucial information about how their tests were developed or how well they work. This has driven costs down even further and increased the choice of tests available to recruiting organizations. adopted in response to regulation and legislation. some are designed to test candidates for suitability for a particular job and some are designed to test for particular traits – for example. This has dramatically lowered the cost of test administration. 2. there has been a dramatic increase in the use of personality tests over the past ten years or so. The test administration software can produce very detailed and impressive looking reports. Why Test Use is Increasing Despite the controversy surrounding some of these personality tests. it is inevitable that such a growth industry with low barriers to entry and little official regulation has attracted entrants with varying degrees of competence and integrity.first published in 1962 and the subject of thousands of research papers).

It is simply an attempt to understand why so many HR people buy into the accuracy of personality questionnaires on the basis of such poor evidence. However. Some of these products are broad-spectrum tests designed to classify basic personality types. Certainly. some are designed to test candidates for suitability for a particular job and some are designed to test for particular traits – for example. claiming that this information is ''proprietary." For some personality tests. It is unusual to find someone who has risen to this level 72 . technology or marketing. There are currently well over 2. secure in the knowledge that they are very unlikely to be challenged. This is supported by a study conducted by the American Psychological Association which found that over 80% of job applicants actually hired after taking a widely used personality test had intentionally manipulated their answers to make themselves look better. This is insecurity is made worse by the following factors: Firstly. Some of the companies that produce psychometric test are very secretive about their methodologies and do not make public crucial information about how their tests were developed or how well they work.Understanding the Personality Test Industry In 2006. Are HR Departments Skeptical Enough? The following is not meant to disparage the many dedicated and professional people who work in HR. Cheating or Faking is Easy Despite the claims of test producers. personality testing is $450 million industry which has been expanding by about 10% per year. Many of the well established companies who provide tests do operate to the highest ethical and professional standards.500 personality questionnaires on the market and each year dozens of new companies appear with new products. to spot these questions when most tests consist of less than 150 questions in total. it is very easy to cheat. or lose a career opportunity to someone who's willing to do so. almost all CEO's and senior board members have a background in finance. in 2006 this market should be seen for what it is. One with low barriers to entry and that is very poorly regulated." reported a task force appointed by the American Psychological Association. Critics of personality tests would argue that they present people with an unpleasant choice: Lie a little. most tests contain some so-called ‘impression control’ questions. designed to catch out candidates who are trying to give an overly good impression. ''almost no evidence at all is available beyond assurances that evidence exists. Anyone can set up a company to develop and sells these tests and can make whatever claims they feel like. This is one of the areas where the claims of the test producers and common sense are at odds. After all how difficult can it be with a little practice. honesty and integrity. One reason may be that HR personnel tend to see their role as lacking much scientific or technical credibility at a time when these things are perceived to be increasingly important.

Few HR staff have university degrees compared with IT for example. are at the administrative level. Even the most purely motivated HR people probably don’t have a background in psychology. Most will be relying on the salesmen employed by the companies who produce the tests to tell them. These tests are administered by an estimated 6. despite platitudes like ‘people are our most important asset’. there are other specific aspects of your character that are of particular interest to employers. or personnel departments as they were known until the mid 1980s. Jobs within HR are almost always the first to go. or the security services industries are often asked to take an integrity test which claims to predict if they will lie. banking. Secondly. There is concern in the testing industry regarding some of the companies who have recently entered this particular sector of the psychometric test market. Testing for Honesty and Integrity In addition to the Big 5. These tests may be either self-contained or the questions may form part of a general personality questionnaire. This means that HR rarely has powerful advocates at the top level within organizations. Thirdly. The American Psychological Association found that more than half of integrity-test publishers do not require any training or other qualifications of people who administer their tests and many of these tests simply aren't valid. where very few staff are not university graduates. People applying for jobs in retail. or steal on the job. These factors mean that HR has traditionally been the first department to feel the effects of cost-cutting when times get tough.from within human resources. but also crucially because HR people are. 73 . which means that very few are qualified to make objective judgments about how personality questionnaires should be used.000 US organizations and taken by as many as 5 million people each year. A review conducted by the US federal government's 'Office of Technology Assessment' found that over 95% of people who fail integrity tests are incorrectly classified as dishonest. many HR people have been keen to latch onto something that gives a scientific or technical aspect to the HR function. This is partly because the company is no longer recruiting. Personality questionnaires do this very well as they are seen to give the notoriously subjective selection process some objective and scientific credibility. probably unfairly. most of the jobs in HR. Unsurprisingly. seen as relatively easy to replace. companies invariably see HR as a cost center rather than a profit center. cheat.

The increasing use of integrity tests begs the question. The reasons are not hard to fathom. The increase in socalled ‘McJobs’. and corporate ethics. these tests may also invade your privacy. this is obviously untrue. and while test takers are told that ''there are no right or wrong answers" to these questions. law enforcement. whether it involves the theft of goods or time. Such tests are not seeking to understand your personality so much as to enforce conformity. 74 . In some jobs the results of employee dishonesty. In addition. most of which are not based on any worthwhile psychological research. Some of the marketing material is extremely inflammatory and it is disturbing that these companies can actually find a market for their product. It is therefore vital that you recognize these integrity questions and respond to them appropriately. organizational loyalty has largely disappeared as a result of companies’ willingness to restructure or downsize at home and move jobs offshore where labor costs are cheaper. Many of these same companies have put minimal effort into the development of their tests. may go unnoticed for long enough to be very costly. Organizations are therefore likely to err on the side of caution and reject you if there is any doubt about your integrity. drug use. these two factors have made many people suspicious of and hostile to this type of test and some of this negative feeling has unfortunately and unfairly transferred itself to personality questionnaires generally. inquiring into your beliefs about politics. the answer to this question is probably ‘yes’. are employees more likely to be dishonest nowadays than in the past? Unfortunately. some companies selling these tests have opted to use sales messages which cultivate distrust and suspicion. where investment in staff training and development are minimal and the job itself is unrewarding and stressful have further eroded employee’s loyalty to their employer. however unfounded this doubt may be.In addition. Unsurprisingly.

organizations are likely to err on the side of caution and reject you if there is any doubt about your stress level. illness and violence. are very expensive from an employer’s point of view and questions aimed at screening out stressed or angry candidates are finding their way into personality questionnaires. It is also a precursor to ‘workplace rage’ (known in the US as ‘going postal’) which along with ‘road rage’ and ‘air rage’ is a recent and rapidly increasing occurrence. As is the case with integrity. however unfounded this may be. 75 .Testing for Workplace Stress Stress is regarded as a bad thing by employers. Both of these outcomes. Stress is often defined as ‘anger turned inwards’ and is implicated in a long list of medical conditions from migraines to heart attacks. It is therefore vital that you recognize these stress questions and respond to them appropriately.

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