What Is a Psychometric Test and How To Prepare for It

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 27 April 2022 | Published 27 September 2021

Updated 27 April 2022

Published 27 September 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Psychometric tests play a significant role during the recruitment and job selection process. It helps employers assess a candidate's suitability for a job position by measuring their psychology, abilities and traits. If you're preparing for an upcoming psychometric test, then understanding what the test is all about and how to prepare for one can help prepare you and boost your confidence to sit for the exam. In this article, we answer the question, what is a psychometric test, list the different types of psychometric tests and show how to prepare for one.

What is a psychometric test?

A psychometric test is a scientific and standard method used in assessing an individual's personality, mental capabilities and behavioural style. It's a recruitment strategy that enables employers to measure a candidate's ability to thrive in a particular career or job. They determine the extent to which an individual's cognitive skills and aptitude match those needed to carry out the job tasks.

This test stems from the knowledge that a CV or a face-to-face interview with a candidate may sometimes not reveal all the important aspects of the individual's personality. The test, therefore, provides employers with sufficient data to make an intelligent hiring decision.

Related: 10 Best Skills To Include on a CV

Different types of psychometric tests

There are different types of psychometric tests. Below are the two essential categories of psychometric tests:

Personality and behaviour test

The personality and behaviour psychometric test seeks to measure a candidate's suitability based on their character and approach to work. This test helps an employer assess an individual's motivations, interests and values. It can also show hiring managers how their character blends with the role and the organisation's values and goals. It highlights the candidate's behaviour, task management preferences and interpersonal style, including whether they can cope with criticism or work well in a team.

Personality tests rarely have a strict time limit and have no particular right or wrong answers. It simply uses different scenarios and situations to analyse a candidate's emotions and relationships.

Aptitude and ability test

Depending on the job you're applying for, aptitude or ability tests aim to assess certain specific and general skills in an individual. It evaluates your cognitive ability and determines whether you possess the right skill set for the particular role. It assesses how an individual applies lessons from past experiences in current situations using problem-solving skills, verbal ability, critical thinking skills and logical reasoning. Unlike personality tests, you typically complete an aptitude test within a certain amount of time in an exam room. This test may measure your intelligence quotient through the number of correct or incorrect answers you give.

Some of the tests found under the aptitude and ability test include:

  • Numerical reasoning test: This test seeks to assess your ability to quickly and accurately deal with numbers using data, graphs, charts or statistics. It assesses your mathematical abilities and your knowledge of ratios, rates, currency conversions and percentages.

  • Verbal reasoning test: The verbal reasoning test is used to analyse your ability to understand written information, concepts and arguments so that you can make a well-informed decision. The format is usually a short passage of text that evaluates your ability to think constructively and make error-free conclusions.

  • Abstract reasoning test: In this test, you get to prove your ability to spot patterns, quickly learn new things, recognise existing rules and apply them to situations. It's commonly used for engineering and IT roles and requires candidates to choose the picture that best completes a series of different pictures.

  • Situation judgement test: Here, candidates may respond to work-related hypothetical situations, and they choose the best possible course of action. The instructions may also require you to choose the course of action that is most and least effective and rate them in their order of effectiveness.

  • Error checking test: The error checking test seeks to measure how accurately and quickly you can identify errors in complex statistics or data such as combinations, codes and alpha-numeric characters. It also tests your ability to approach problems logically, therefore they're helpful for recruiting for technical roles like data analyst, computer scientist and software engineer.

Related: Important Soft Skills Employers in Hong Kong Look For

How to prepare for a psychometric test

Psychometric tests come in different forms depending on the test sought to be done. However, the preparation steps and procedures are the same. Here are seven steps on how to prepare and pass your psychometric test:

1. Be clear on the test you're taking

Different companies use different psychometric tests, so make adequate findings of the psychometric process to be adopted. This includes being clear about the psychometric reasoning test format, the test publisher and how long the test lasts. A hiring manager may discuss this information in the recruitment process correspondence, but if they don't, you can reach out to the hiring company through an email to know if you can have more information about the test. Doing these help in the preparation process and also boosts your confidence in the coming test.

2. Practice with online psychometric tests

Remember that employers conduct psychometric tests as a way of assessing your personality and abilities. However, no matter how great a skill you may have, lack of knowledge and nerves may stand in the way of you getting the job. Thus, try to find out the style and format of the questions and practice how to respond to them in advance. A good way of doing this is by utilising the numerous online psychometric tests and assessments. Consider finding tests that are similar to the format and style of your upcoming test and familiarise yourself with the processes and procedures.

3. Mentally prepare yourself

Your mental state as you prepare and plan for your psychometric test is important. It's helpful to have a positive, calm and clear mindset so you can focus on your test. Try to begin your practice and preparation ahead of time, eat healthy meals and get a good night rest before your test. This can help you feel refreshed, relaxed and confident in your ability to do your best.

4. Arrive early for your test

Some companies conduct their psychometric tests online, but some require their candidate to convene at a physical location. Where the latter applies, aim to arrive 10 to 15 minutes early at your testing location. Check your bus or train schedule beforehand so that you can predict your commute time. This way, you can plan for any unexpected delays. By arriving early, you get a chance to conduct any pre-test procedures or you can use the time to calm down, such as using the restroom or touching up your make-up, if necessary.

Related: How To Succeed in a Virtual Interview

5. Read the instructions carefully

Before beginning your psychometric test, read all the instructions carefully and find out what you're required to do and how long you have. This may take a few minutes of your test time but can help you succeed. Ensure you double-check all tables and graphs so as not to miss anything.

6. Use the right tools

Although most companies may provide candidates with test tools, it's better to come prepared. Whether the test is to be taken in your home or at a testing centre, come with a pen, paper, watch, dictionary and calculator, especially if you're taking a numerical aptitude test. Familiarise yourself with these tools ahead of time, as this can improve your speed and efficiency. If your test is online, remember to test your technical equipment to make sure it's working correctly. This could include confirming that your Internet browser is up-to-date and that you have a reliable connection and sufficient battery.

7. Work with time

Most aptitude and ability tests are time-bound. This makes it necessary to regiment the time spent in answering each question. Begin by checking the duration of the entire exam and calculate how long it may take you to answer each question. Even when you don't know the answer to a particular question, try not to spend too much time on it. Simply continue with other questions and come back to it when you're done answering others. Consider circling the number or leaving a note for yourself so you remember to revisit the question at the end.

If you have time after completing, review your answers for accuracy and completion. This can help you identify mistakes or questions you missed. When practising, try to follow a similar timeline to help you prepare and feel more confident.

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