Psychometric Test Helpful Advice
Psychometric tests need preparation
All the evidence suggests that those who spend time preparing for psychometric tests – especially ability tests – get by far the best results. The key to success, in fact, is practice: it really is crucial to practise, practise and then practise some more so you’re familiar with how psychometric tests work, what kinds of questions you’ll face, and which skills you need to develop and brush up on to do your best.
How to prepare for your psychometric test
In terms of preparing for ability tests, it’s certain that you’ll need to at least review basic areas of maths and arithmetic, as well as your vocabulary and knowledge of grammar rules and terminology. You’ll see when you take practice tests what your particular knowledge gaps are – but they commonly include not being familiar with grammatical terms, not being sufficiently confident about basic mental arithmetic operations (since most tests don’t allow the use of calculators), and not being familiar with the kinds of diagrams used to test problem-solving and other abilities.
In terms of personality test preparation, think about the kinds of questions that might be asked, and how they fit in with your personality traits and the kind of job you want to do. Think about what kinds of personality traits your prospective employers are looking for (read about the organisations, check the wording of their job ads, learn about the role), and how well you “fit” the type of job or organisation that interests you.
It’s also important to develop a positive, can-do attitude in preparation for psychometric tests. Those who perform best are not only well prepared in terms of taking practice tests and revising key information, but are also motivated and welcome tests as opportunities to demonstrate their abilities. It’s very important to develop such a positive attitude – and focus not on any worries you might have, but more on what you can achieve by doing well.
The most important tip is to read each question carefully, and be absolutely sure you know what you’re being asked.
This applies to ability and personality tests equally, as problems arise with all types of psychometric test if you don’t pay close attention to how questions and responses are phrased or otherwise set out.
Pay attention to whether or not a question or statement is phrased in the negative
So, for instance, if you’re responding “agree”, “neither agree nor disagree” or “disagree” to a whole list of statements, be sure to distinguish between “I am easily intimidated” and “I am not easily intimidated”.
Be alert to “distractors” in a list of answers
these are answers that are designed to be similar in some way to the correct answer, thereby potentially distracting you sufficiently to choose them instead of the correct answer. These are typical of psychometric tests. So if the correct answer is, say, 8.25, distractors might include 85, 5.8 and 8.5.
Estimating your answers
Estimating is often a good strategy to assist your speed in tests, ensuring that you answer all the questions: it’s typical of numerical tests to design questions so that you need only estimate the answer to choose the correct option from several choices.
Check your answers
First, be sure that you have ticked the right box (or filled in the right square, or whatever) on the answer sheet. This is very important, as mistakes are often made in completing the form, even by those who get the right answers! Second, if you have time, double- and even triple-check your answers.
Be sure to follow test instructions accurately
Follow test instructions as well as any additional oral instructions given by a test administrator.
Manage your time
Be sure to develop a good balance between speed and accuracy, taking into account the length of the test and the time allowed, as well as your abilities. If there are questions you find really difficult, leave them for a while (if the test format allows it) and answer questions you find less challenging – then return to the harder ones.
Be sure to use all your time allowance, and keep track of time during a test.
When should you guess an answer?
If you don’t know the answer, it’s usually a good idea to make an educated guess – and to start by ruling out any of the answer options that are clearly wrong. Remember, though, it’s better not to guess if a test is negatively scored (that is, where you’ll lose marks for incorrect answers).
For personality tests, answer honestly and remember there is no “right” or “wrong” answer
At the same time, keep in mind the kind of job and organisation you’re taking the test for: you can still be truthful while emphasizing those aspects of your personality that best fit the job description – just as you would at interview.
Don’t answer too many questions with “neither agree or disagree” as you will just look indecisive!
Where to find practice tests
There are a great many free psychometric tests available online, some of which are listed here. It’s easy to find more by using a search engine! The best website for online practice psychometric tests is http://www.assessmentday.co.uk.
You can purchase tests for practice from one of the many online providers, or from bookshops. You should also check local resources such as libraries and careers services to see if they have any free tests available for you to practise.