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Careers Advice

Psychometric Testing

The psychometric test was developed to provide an insight into personality attributes, aptitudes and abilities. Tests generally fall into two broad categories.

  1. Those designed to assess personal qualities, such as personality, beliefs, values and interests, and to measure motivation or 'drive'. These tests are usually administered without a time limit and the questions have no 'right' and 'wrong' answers. The answers reflect how the individual would usually or typically feel, what they believe, or what they think.

    In my view you cannot prepare for personality tests. The best approach is to answer the questions as honestly and intuitively as possible. Do not try to overthink your responses but respond in the way that best describes you in a work environment.

  2. Those designed as measures of maximum performance. These ability or aptitude tests are usually administered with a fixed time limit, and the questions in them do have right and wrong answers.

It is possible to enhance your scores in aptitude tests. Take time to familiarise yourself with the different types of test questions you are likely to face in the selection process. Common tests include:

  • Verbal reasoning
  • Numerical reasoning
  • Abstract reasoning
  • Critical thinking
  • Special awareness

The type of aptitude test you are likely to face will be driven by the type of skills required for the roles you are applying for. An accountant is much more likely to face a numerical reasoning test than one measuring special awareness for example.

Below are some useful resources. Remember tests generally only form part of the assessment process. Practice some aptitude tests relevant to your role and answer personality tests instinctively. In this way you will do the best you can.

Websites & books for further information

There are a number of internet sites where you can practice tests (aptitude and psychometric) and learn more about the use of testing in recruitment and selection.

  • www.shldirect.com - Part of SHL Group (see below). SHL are the leading test provider and their tests are the ones that you are most likely to encounter. This is an excellent site for practicing aptitude tests. You get immediate answers.
  • www.gl-assessments.co.uk - the new name for Nfer-Nelson and the provider of a wide range of tests used mainly in education & health.
  • www.previsor.co.uk - Formerly ASE. A provider of psychometric tests.
  • www.opp.eu.com - Providers of a number of the most popular tests used including 16PF, Able, MBTI and Firo-B.
  • www.testagency.com - The Test Agency present a very wide range of independently developed tests. If anything their mainstream aptitude tests are slightly easier than SHL and ASE offerings, as well as being quicker to administer and cheaper to buy. They tend to be used with administrative and first level manager recruitment in the main.
  • www.shl.com - Main site with some background info on psychometric testing.
  • www.bps.org.uk - The British Psychological Society, which operates as the governing body of psychometric testing. The site does contain a “Test Takers Guide” although there are no example questions.
  • www.kingston.ac.uk/careers/job_hunting.htm - A university careers site - there are plenty of others, but this is a good one.
  • www.morrisby.com - general info on psychometrics with plenty of test questions of various types
  • www.support4learning.org.uk/jobserch/assess.htm - comprehensive guide to many psychometric sites
  • www.myskillsprofile.com - also focuses on psychometric tests
  • www.teamtechnology.co.uk - useful info on Myers Briggs personality types.

There are numerous books available to help in the area of assessment and testing. Here is a small selection.

  • "PREPARE FOR TESTS AT INTERVIEW" - by Robert Williams - this book is available through Amazon.com and the reference number is: ISBN: 0-7005-1601-8
  • The Times Testing Series - "TEST YOUR APTITUDE VOLUME 1" - on CD ROM is very good.
  • BOND ASSESSMENT PAPERS - £5.99 in WHSmith. Go for the Fifth paper for 10-11+ years in Verbal Reasoning
  • NFER-NELSON now GL Assessments - "GO PRACTICE!" - £7.99 in WHSmith. A number of sets are available in verbal & non verbal reasoning and maths.
  • "How to succeed in Psychometric Tests" - by David Cohen this book is available through Amazon.com and the reference number is: ISBN-10: 1847090001
  • "How to pass Graduate Recruitment Tests" - by Mike Bryon. This book is available through Amazon.com and the reference number is: ISBN-10: 0749409940
  • "Management Level Psychometric and Assessment Tests" - by Andrea Shavick. This book is available through Amazon.com and the reference number is: ISBN-10: 1845280288
  • "How to Succeed at an Assessment Centre" - by Harry Tolley & Robert Wood. This book is available through Amazon.com and the reference number is: ISBN-10: 0749444215

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