Many employers and recruitment agencies use a form of psychometric testing as part of their selection process. These tests measure your competence and intellectual capabilities as well as your logical and analytical reasoning abilities in a very specific area. They aim to assess your abilities to use specific job related skills and to predict subsequent job performance.
In an employment context this form of testing adds structured information to the informal information gained from other sources such as interviews and observations.
Regardless of the position you are applying for (management, graduate, professional, IT, administrative, engineering or any other), you are likely to face a psychometric test either before, during or after the job interview.
For some people this testing can be quite daunting, particularly if it's your first time or it's been some time since you were tested. This anxiety can lead to poor test performance and scoring, which may not reflect your true abilities. However, by using valid and reliable practise psychometric tests to prepare not only will know what to expect but you can identify areas where you need to improve.
How psychometric testing works - what it is, why and how it's used, the different types of tests and what the results mean. An understanding of the basic principles and administration of psychometric testing will help you to avoid some of the most common mistakes people make.
This section includes a selection of free online psychometric tests including the Wonderlic Cognitive Ability test and career specific versions for the Defence Forces and Fire Services.
Free psychometric tests give you an idea of how the tests work and a general indication of your strengths and weaknesses. The results are limited though and the test taking process doesn't reflect true test conditions.
If you're an active job seeker or candidate who is unfamiliar with the testing process, or you need to improve your test taking speed, skills and confidence, then for best results you need to prepare with valid practice psychometric aptitude tests.
Get all the tools you need for an optimal learning experience and watch as your scores improve after practising with real test simulations.
The psychological tests that measure our minds generally fall into two broad categories:
Psychometric Tests (also known as Aptitude Tests) are frequently used during job recruitment and academic selection. They are becoming increasingly common with employers, up to 75% of medium to large sized organisations are now using tests or questionnaires during the recruitment process.
These tests focus on specific abilities required for a certain job or role and try to predict a candidate’s future performance in a particular field, rather than measure their overall general intelligence.
Psychometric tests, such as personality questionnaires and 360-degree (multi-rater) feedback systems, are also playing a growing part in graduate, management and leadership development, as well as the internal performance appraisal process.
Psychometric tests can come in many forms, depending on the skills required in the job. For example, more specialised aptitude tests are often required for senior management, military, police, medical, IT, engineering and science careers. The most common forms are numerical, verbal and abstract reasoning tests. These are typically presented in a multiple-choice format, with definite right and wrong answers, and they are usually timed.
There are generally three time limit categories however the important thing to remember is that even when there is a time limit, it will be the same for everybody.
Strict Time Limits
Some tests have very strict time limits, to ensure that people cannot complete all the questions in the test in the time available. These tests are designed to see how fast you can work. Usually the questions are not very difficult, but you have to work fast to do well.
Relaxed Time Limits
Other types of maximum performance tests have more relaxed time limits, or may have no time limit at all. For these tests the questions may be quite difficult, or sometimes start off easy and get progressively more difficult as you work through the test. In these tests the emphasis is on how many questions you can get right, rather than on how quickly you work.
Speed and Accuracy
In most cases, tests fall somewhere in between these two extremes. There will be a time limit, but this will be set to allow most people sufficient time to get to the end of the test. To be successful, you need to work through the test as quickly and as accurately as possible.
Online | Computer | Pen and Paper Tests
Although it is increasingly common for psychometric tests to be administered online, they can be administered through pen and paper or a computer at a recruitment centre or an employer's premises. These are called test modes and where possible you should practise in the mode that will be used by the employer or recruiter. (Although any practise is better than none)
If you are required to complete an unsupervised online test early on in the recruitment process, and you make it through the pre-selection stage, be prepared to repeat a supervised test. This step filters out any candidates who may have cheated on the first test. (Surely not!)
While there is a total score for the number of correct answers the results of ability tests are expressed in terms of percentiles, e.g. you have scored at the 65 percentile. What this means is that compared to a representative sample who have completed the test in the past, you have scored in the top 35%, or conversely, you have done better than 65% of the population.
Many components in psychometric tests are based on acquired knowledge and skills therefore, those who received a better education are more likely to do well in the test. Also recent graduates are likely to perform better than people who completed their education a few years ago however, all of them are likely to find a psychometric test much more difficult than those who recently experienced psychometric testing.
There are basically five ways which explain the impact of test practice (Hausknecht et al):
By becoming more at ease with the tests and more familiar with the testing process, you are able to work through quantitative and analytical problems more quickly, which ultimately leads to a higher score. The greatest benefit of practise though for most test takers is learning how to work better under time pressure.
The conclusion is clear, you can prepare for psychometric testing to improve your performance and results but you must undertake the proper practice and training to ensure you maximise the benefits.
Know the Type of Test
Some recruitment consultancies provide practise materials that are similar in form and content to the actual tests they use however, the actual questions in the test will be different. You should be notified well in advance of the test session whether practise materials are available. If they are not, then you should be told what types of tests you will be administered. If this doesn't happen then make sure you ask. You have a right to know.
Practise in the Same Test Mode
The problem with psychometric and assessment testing is that it can get very complicated very quickly so at the risk of oversimplifying the research the most straightforward advice is this - it is better to practise in the same test mode.
Don’t take test after test without reviewing what is going wrong
In order to improve between tests, you need to think about what it is that you are doing wrong, and how you can solve the problem to get it right the next time (Schleicher et al).
Psychometric Test Taking Strategies, Tips and Techniques
You will find a more detailed explanation with a list of test taking tips and techniques in Excellerate's article Success Tips for Personality and Psychometric Employment Testing.
Hausknecht, J.P., Halpert, J.A., Di Paolo, N.T., & Moriarty Gerrard, M.O.M. (2007). Retesting in Selection: A Meta-Analysis of Coaching and Practice Effects for Tests of Cognitive Ability. Journal of Applied Psychology, 92, 373-385.
Schleicher, D.J., Van Iddekinge, C.H., Morgeson, F.P., & Campion, M.A. (2010). If At First You Don't Succeed, Try, Try Again: Understanding Race, Age, and Gender Differences in Retesting Score Improvement. Journal of Applied Psychology, 95, 603-617.
Approach these tests in the same way as you would the actual test so that you get a feel for what the test will be like. Don't just check to see that you have the correct answer to the questions, but ask yourself ‘Why is this the correct answer and how did I work that out?’ If you've been dependent on a calculator for the past few years, now might be a good time to brush up on your mental arithmetic with an appropriate practice test.
Disclaimer: The links to the free tests will open in a new windrow and take to you the site where you should use your discretion when providing personal details or acting upon the information provided.
SHL is an international firm of psychometric test designers. Their website provides you with the opportunity to practise their "real" online questionnaires. These example tests (with answers) give you an idea of the type of questions you may be asked to complete when applying for a job
Includes sample questions based on the Aviation Selection Test Battery (ASTB) Mechanical Comprehension Test
15 sample questions regarding the basic trade apprenticeship subjects such as; English, Math, Mechanical Reasoning.
The Armed Forces and Fire Services of many English speaking countries often use psychometric and ability tests to select candidates and make decisions on appropriate placements. Although there are some differences in general, the following areas are required:
These practice tests are designed to help you prepare for the real psychometric assessment. The questions are broken down into three sections which cover your verbal, numerical, and abstract reasoning.
The Fire Service selection process involves three cognitive tests. To give you an idea how well you might go, take the sample test which is based on 26 questions from previous tests.
The NZDF aptitude test is comprised of seven sections, some of which you may not have to sit depending on your job role. These tests can help you to prepare for them.
The Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) is a series of aptitude tests developed by the US Department of Defense and is used to determine and predict the potential/future success of military candidates. The ASVAB military entrance exam is a part of the U.S. Military screening process and is administered annually to over one million applicants
Affordable Prep Packs are available for immediate access 24/7 through your personal private portal. Detailed explanations and personalised score reports allow you to keep track of your performance. You can also choose different modes, Timed and Step-by-Step, to allow you to study at your own pace. Check out the comprehensive preparation packs and start preparing for your test today.
The Wonderlic Personnel Tests, also known as the Wonderlic Cognitive Ability Tests, are the most popular among the Wonderlic tests. The current version of the test is produced in 14 languages for seven thousand businesses and 2.5 million people worldwide. Typically used for pre-employment selection they are designed to assess an applicant's ability to learn, adapt, solve problems, and understand instructions.
The Wonderlic Cognitive Ability Test is comprised of several types of questions which challenge various aspects of a candidate's mental ability with the breakdown of questions allocated accordingly:
Each year players from the American NFL Pre-Draft are evaluated not only on their strength and speed, but also their mental acuity by taking the Wonderlic test. The test has been administered for more than 30 years to almost every draft-eligible player although research has found little correlation between the Wonderlic scores and player performance. It seems that a good Wonderlic score doesn't always translate into an advantage on the football field.
This is a list of NFL averages, according to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, by an NFL personnel man in "The New Thinking man's Guide to Pro Football" by Paul Zimmerman.
|Offensive tackles: 26
Quarterbacks: 24 *
Tight Ends: 22
Middle linebackers: 19
Wide receivers: 17
Comparison Median Wonderlic scores for other professions**
* Most teams prefer a quarterback with a score no lower than a 21
** Wonderlic Personnel Test Manual. Northfield, IL: E.F. Wonderlic & Associates, INC. 1983.
This includes a selection of Wonderlic sample questions as they appear on the Wonderlic cognitive ability tests
Are you required to take the Wonderlic test as part of an employment selection process? Prepare thoroughly with the most comprehensive online practice tests available including hundreds of Wonderlic sample test questions, answers, personalised score reports, and study and time management guides. Wonderlic Cognitive Ability Practice Tests