During your working life you are likely to encounter some form of psychometric or selection testing. These tests are often used by larger employers to help them select suitable candidates. They are formal assessments designed to measure your aptitude for particular types of task. The tests used will vary according to the abilities that are required for the job in question. They can also be used to assess your personality and motivation - getting the person with the right personal qualities is very important to most employers.
As well as helping employers select the best employees for the job, psychometric tests can help you:
make an informed career choice
identify obvious skills and abilities
identify hidden skills and abilities
highlight career options that you have not considered
provide an insight into your personality
provide an insight into aspects of work
Psychometric tests can give you an informed perspective on your strengths and weaknesses. This allows you to focus on new skills you need to acquire and other changes you need to make in order to further your career.
Types of test
Aptitude tests measure your ability for particular types of activity or ways of thinking. The results of aptitude tests can be used to check your score against others already working in a particular occupational area. The result is not about passing or failing but about identifying your strengths and weaknesses - and therefore your suitability for a particular job. Tests are usually in the form of multiple choice questions and will always be timed. If you are dyslexic or if English is not your first language you should inform the person organising the tests as soon as possible.
The main areas covered by these tests are:
manual dexterity and speed - accuracy and speed in performing manual tasks
mechanical ability - grasp of mechanical principles
clerical - capacity for clerical tasks such as sorting and filing
numerical - understanding and working with numbers
verbal - use, understanding of and reasoning with words
reasoning - applying logic to solve problems
abstract reasoning - solving logical problems of an abstract nature
diagrammatic - applying logic through the use of abstract diagrams and symbols
spatial awareness - measured through visualisation and manipulation of shapes
Take time to read through and fully understand instructions - ask if you are unclear about anything.
Manage your time sensibly - work out how long you have got to answer each question.
Work quickly, but do not sacrifice accuracy for the sake of speed.
Do not spend too much time on a question you cannot answer or on checking - move on to the next.
Remember that questions may get harder further on in the test - do not spend too much time on the early questions.
Find out if marks are taken away for wrong answers - if so, avoid guessing if you do not know the answer.