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Psychometric tests: what they are and why graduates need to know

Many graduate employers use psychometric tests as part of the selection process for their graduate
schemes. Use our quick guide to find out what to expect, and have a go at some practice tests.
Psychometric tests: when they are used | ability tests | aptitude tests | personality
tests | 3D simulations | types of tests used by some top employers | free practice
tests | exercise your mind | tips for test days
If you apply for a place on a graduate scheme with a big graduate employer, chances are you’ll be asked
to take psychometric tests. They are often used as a filtering mechanism at an early stage in the
recruitment process.
As with any kind of test, you can improve your performance by knowing what to expect and by practising.
As long as you’ve done some preparation beforehand, you can approach psychometric tests confident in
the knowledge that you’re as well placed to succeed as anyone else.
Pychometric tests are impersonal, standardised and objective, and practice tests are readily available.
The psychometric test is a level playing field: employers value them because they are a fair way of
comparing different candidates’ strengths regardless of educational background.
This article will explain what to expect from the different kinds of tests and which tests are used by some
of the most popular graduate employers. We’ll also give you links to free psychometric tests from some of
the key organisations that devise these assessments for graduate recruiters, plus tips for preparation and
for doing your best on the day.

When you could be tested in the recruitment process
Psychometric tests may be used at different stages of the graduate selection process:


After you submit your online application form.
Alongside a first interview.
At a later stage, possibly with a second interview or as part of an assessment centre.
You may be re-tested at this point to confirm the results of earlier tests.

Types of test; ability, aptitude and personality
Ability tests measure either general or particular skills, capability and acumen. This category of test
can include:

Numerical tests: assess how well you interpret data, graphs, charts or statistics.
Can test basic arithmetic.

Verbal reasoning tests: assess how you well you understand written information
and evaluate arguments and statements.

Non-verbal reasoning tests: assess how well you follow diagrammatic information
or spot patterns. Can check spatial awareness. Diagrammatic or abstract reasoning tests
are sometimes described as inductive reasoning tests.

Logical reasoning tests: assess how well you follow through to a conclusion given
basic information, or using your current knowledge or experience. These include deductive
reasoning tests, in which you are given information or rules to apply in order to arrive at
an answer.
Employers may also run tests to assess your problem-solving skills or ability to identify mistakes
accurately: eg proof-reading or basic spelling and grammar tests.

Atkins tests include an open-ended personality questionnaire. They examine how likely you are to fit into the role and company culture. on a company-by-company basis. rather than simply telling you about it. They are very similar to the video simulations used by other companies. Here are some examples:     Jaguar Land Rover sets online verbal. If you are considering careers in IT you may be asked to complete a programming aptitude test (this could take the form of a diagrammatic or abstract reasoning test). be prepared to listen to what the characters are saying. Ability and aptitude tests are usually conducted under timed. The results compare your ability levels to a ‘normal’ expectation for a demographic group chosen by the employer or test provider (this could be the results of a group of previously successful applicants. and persuasive. exam conditions. Employers look for people with certain characteristics for particular jobs. These are 3D graphics which visually demonstrate a situation. This type of test is a written test that provides candidates with the information and methods they need and assesses how well they make use of them. Deloitte asks candidates to take an online numerical reasoning test after the application form stage. you may find that numerical and verbal reasoning tests are focused on the kind of information you would come across in your daily work. Personality tests assess your typical behaviour when presented with different situations and your preferred way of going about things. For other career areas. Find out more about inductive and deductive reasoning tests for graduate jobs Aptitude tests examine your potential to learn a new skill that is needed to do the job you have applied for. The difference is that they can be customised and branded to suit a company. Each Employer Insights report provides information about how to get hired by the employer and what to expect from their application forms. For a sales role they may want someone who is very forward. If they pass they are set a verbal reasoning test. a perception test and a communication test. If the job and employer isn’t looking for people with your personality. Royal Bank of Scotland sets candidates an ABLE (Aptitude for Business Learning Exercise) test. repeated at assessment centre to confirm results. Don't try to second guess what you think the employer wants to see – personality questionnaires assess consistency in responses. Which graduate employers use which psychometric tests? Our Employer Insights – in-depth reports on individual graduate employers that tell you what they look for and how they assess candidates – explain. . you’ll do fine. sociable. Most involve multiplechoice or true/false answers. and what form they take. They can be done on paper but increasingly employers use computer-based programs. numerical and diagrammatical reasoning tests. people typical of your level of education. or the general public). Talking 3D people can be a little off-putting at first. you’ll make a lucky escape. such as finance. so you may come across them more than once in your graduate job hunt. interviews and assessment centres. at what stage in the process psychometric tests are set. Assessors may match your responses with those of a sample of successful managers or graduate recruits. so if you think you’re going to be taking one of these tests. If you’re right for the job and the employer is right for you. Graduate Talent Simulations were recently introduced by SHL.

Be aware of commonly misspelt words: Most English grammar books and websites have lists of commonly misspelt or 'confusable' words. Check you are also aware of the English spellings of words such as liaise. provided by SHL.uk):  Psychometric tests from SHL includes verbal. Do number puzzles: Number puzzles like Sudoku are good for helping you recognise number patterns. PwC sets verbal reasoning. Candidates sit further psychometric tests at the assessment centre. Tips for psychometric tests at assessment centres . Or at least try to get a good estimate of what your trolley-load will cost. verbal and logical reasoning tests. Various guides including verbal and numerical reasoning and comprehension.       Get back to the basics of maths: Numerical tests don't require advanced algebra: revising some GCSE-level maths should provide what you need. multiply and divide… in your head: When you're at the shops try adding up a few items in your head.  Personality report from Peoplemaps  Practice tests and questionnaires from Mark Parkinson. Do word puzzles: Never has there been a better excuse for frittering away time on the Saturday morning crossword. favourite and organise. and diagrammatic and spatial reasoning. subtract. Doing practice tests can improve your performance to some degree. after the online application stage. Think about meaning: When you read news stories.  Example verbal and numerical questions from Criterion Partnership.  L’Oréal invites candidates to take an online psychometric test. but each employer’s tests will be slightly different. Exercise your mind: do word and number puzzles If you have verbal and numerical reasoning tests coming up it’s good to increase your mental agility and get yourself into the habit of recognising word and number patterns through some simple activities. understood to be supplied by Kenexa. think about what statements really mean. Follow these links for free practice psychometric tests (not hosted by targetjobs. as part of its online application process and during the assessment centre. Free practice tests online The best way to approach graduate psychometric tests is to practise so that you become familiar with the typical formats they take and the way questions are asked. inductive reasoning. diagrammatic reasoning and numerical reasoning tests. This usually involves a numerical reasoning test.co. author of How to Master Psychometric Tests  Preparation guides for aptitude tests from Saville Consulting. or 'complement' and 'compliment'. It will also help you to improve on speed and accuracy and identify areas in your ability tests that need work. numerical. Just make sure you don’t get overconfident. accuracy and motivation tests. and how they could be interpreted. ratios and probability. Revise how to read information presented graphically and brush up on percentages. eg 'its' and 'it's'. Add.  Psychometric tests from Kenexa numerical.

You may be given a couple of practice questions to complete before the test starts. If you are given practice examples. and try not to take any notice of what other candidates say about it. contact the recruitment team before the test day. If you have a disability that may affect your performance. Make sure you know the number of questions and how much time is allowed. Stay focused. . upbeat and ready for the rest of the day. Time left at the end? Use any remaining time to check your answers. Wear a watch so you can keep track of the time if there is no clock in the room. or anything still doesn't make sense. this is your last chance to ask. make the most of them.Pack everything you might need: glasses or contacts. Don’t let the test throw you. Listen to instructions and follow them carefully. but don't be surprised or downhearted if you don't finish everything. If you don't understand how the test works. Get a good night’s sleep and leave plenty of time to get to the test centre. Psychometric tests are meant to be challenging. You may be given a calculator and writing tools to complete the test but it doesn't hurt to take your own kit. a hearing aid or an inhaler. Giving the recruiters sufficient notice will enable them to make appropriate arrangements for you.