Cheat Sheet

Psychometric Tests For Dummies (UK Edition)

Psychometric tests are a series of standardised tasks, designed in such a way that everyone who takes them receives the same task to do and the same instructions for doing them. This Cheat Sheet gives you the key things to know about psychometric tests both before and after taking one.

Knowing a Psychometric Test When You See One

If you’ve never taken a psychometric test before, you may be wondering what they are, what they’re for and what they can do. A psychometric test

  • Can be a complex, time-consuming, and expensive tool to develop, with each individual question often tested on several thousand trial subjects.

  • Is constructed according to researched psychological theory about how people function.

  • Is developed using a strict set of statistical rules and quality controls.

  • Is used to compare the characteristics of different people against each other.

  • Is often used in development and training, as well as in recruitment.

  • Is often strictly timed, and has a detailed set of administration instructions.

  • Is subject to strict security controls.

  • Compares your score to those of comparison or norm groups to put your ability or personality in context.

  • Is fair and accurate when properly developed and administered by qualified users.

  • Requires high-quality training for administrators to use and interpret correctly.

  • Can provide you with some powerful insights into your own abilities and character.

Receiving Feedback after Taking a Psychometric Test

Receiving feedback is a very useful but undervalued part of the psychometric testing process. Here are a few things to bear in mind when you receive yours:

  • Try not to switch off if you hear bad news. Keep your brain in gear.

  • Ask questions if you don’t understand something.

  • Work with the recruiter. Don’t criticise the test, the testing process, or the recruiter’s competence without good reason. If you don’t agree with the results, you need to back your feelings up with evidence.

  • Stay focused on your own results and feedback. Other candidates’ performances aren’t important at this stage.

  • Accept how you’ve performed with good grace, rather than demanding to sit the test again if the results haven’t gone your way.

  • Remember the difference between not liking the results of a test, and not agreeing with them.

  • Feel able to ask about the accuracy level of the test, but phrase your questions carefully and be respectful of the administrator.

  • Be ready to explain the positive side of any weaknesses. For example, careful people may work at a slower rate than careless people.

  • Ask for advice as to what your next steps should be, and give yourself time to think about what your options are in light of your results.

Preparing for Your Psychometric Test

Preparation is often key to putting in your best performance on test day. Here are a few key things to remember before you take your psychometric test:

  • Get chores out of the way so that you’re not feeling rushed on the day.

  • Make sure that you know where the test session is to be held and plan your travel arrangements well in advance.

  • Ask for any practice test examples that may be available.

  • Let the organisation know about any special requirements you may have (for example, disabilities or access requirements).

  • Get everything you need for the test ready the night before, and go to bed at a reasonable time.

  • Make sure that you have at least two pens and pencils.

  • Prepare any food or drinks you need to take with you.

  • Avoid alcohol and caffeine drinks before you go to bed the night before, and do something to help you relax. Video games and action films are best avoided!

  • Make sure that you have some cash and the organisation’s telephone number handy.

  • Make sure that you eat as normal!

Understanding What Psychometric Tests Measure

Psychometric tests come in a variety of different forms, and they have a variety of purposes. Different psychometric tests are designed to measure the following:

  • Verbal ability: Spelling, grammar, comprehension, and critical thinking.

  • Numerical ability: Basic numerical ability and higher-level numerical reasoning.

  • Abstract reasoning ability: Creative and strategic thinking.

  • Technical ability: Mechanical ability, spatial ability, and detail/accuracy tests.

  • Personality: How you prefer to behave.

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