Exit Menu

Psychometric tests

psychometric testing

Most large, and many medium sized, companies recruiting graduates want to find out as much information as possible about a candidate’s suitability to their organisation, its culture and the jobs on offer. They use psychometric tests as an initial assessment.

Types of tests and practice links

Aptitude tests

Aptitude tests test a specific skill or ability, such as numeracy or literacy. The tests will be timed and will usually involve multiple choice or true/false questionsYou need to be both quick and accurate. 

Numerical and verbal reasoning tests are among the most widely used for business and management functions.

Numerical reasoning

  • Numeracy Game sponsored by J.P. Morgan Timed numeracy tests for graduate job applicants with charts, graphs and data interpretation questions from the Top Employers website
  • Pearson TalentLens Trial practice numerical reasoning tests (with free feedback) consisting of 36 questions to complete in around 45 minutes
  • NumericalReasoningTest.org 18 questions in 24 minutes
  • Assessment Day Numerical practice test, and includes a discussion forum
  • Criterion Partnership Practice numerical test questions (Choose 'Advice for applicants'.)
  • Cubiks Online assessment information and numerical practice tests
  • JobTestPrep Numerical tests in PDF format (with answers)
  • Kogan Page Team Focus Numerical tests with feedback
  • Practice Aptitude Tests Numerical tests with the option to check your answers. Brief video tutorials cover percentage increase and decrease, ratios, speed distance and time calculations, and currency conversion
  • Saville Consulting Preparation guides and advice with practice examples with answers
  • Brunel Graduates First  Free to Brunel students and graduates. When the page loads click on the Register link at the top right-hand side of the page. You will receive detailed feedback on your performance and can also download a Q&A giving worked solutions to each question.They reflect the level of difficulty you are likely to encounter when applying for graduate opportunities but may contain less items.

Verbal reasoning

  • VerbalReasoningTest.org Three timed practice verbal reasoning tests: 18 questions in 18 minutes
  • Assessment Day Verbal reasoning, and includes a discussion forum
  • Criterion Partnership Practice verbal test questions
  • Cubiks Online assessment information with verbal reasoning practice tests
  • JobTestPrep Test practice verbal reasoning tests, in PDF format (with answers)
  • Kogan Page Team Focus Verbal reasoning tests with feedback
  • Practice Aptitude Tests  Verbal reasoning tests with the option to check your answers. 
  • Saville Consulting Preparation guides and advice that include practice examples with answers
  • SHL Direct Gives practice tests in different languages, including Verbal Reasoning
  • Brunel Graduates First Free to Brunel students and graduates. When the page loads click on the Register link at the top right-hand side of the page. You will receive detailed feedback on your performance and can also download a Q&A giving worked solutions to each question.They reflect the level of difficulty you are likely to encounter when applying for graduate opportunities but may contain less items.

Logical reasoning

A range of assessments which evaluate your problem solving ability. There is a lot of overlap here and different employers might employ the following terms interchangeably.

Abstract reasoning/inductive/diagrammatic reasoning

These tests assess your ability to identify patterns based on a sequence of shapes, illustrations or words and predict the next steps in the sequence. You have to extract rules and structures based on your own reasoning rather than any existing knowledge you might have. Diagrammatic reasoning uses a flowchart of diagrams and symbols to assess logical reasoning ability mainly for the IT, science, engineering and computing sectors. Spatial reasoning tests assess your ability to manipulate 2D and 3D shapes and to recognise relationships between them.

  • P&G Practice reasoning test
  • Pearson TalentLens Trial practice critical reasoning tests (with free feedback)
  • Assessment Day Practice inductive reasoning test, and includes a discussion forum
  • Cubiks Online diagrammatic reasoning practice tests
  • Kogan Page Team Focus Abstract reasoning tests with feedback
  • P&G Practice reasoning test
  • Practice Aptitude Tests Diagrammatic reasoning tests with the option to check your answers
  • Saville Consulting Preparation guides and advice that include practice examples of abstract and diagrammatic reasoning tests with answers
  • WikiJob Offer diagrammatic reasoning practice tests. You will need to register to take the tests
  • InductiveReasoningTest.org Three tests: 20 questions in 10 minutes
Deductive reasoning

These tests assess your ability to reach logical conclusions based on a set of certain statements/rules. Often used in the business, management or marketing sectors. A simple example is as follows: 

  1. All men are mortal.
  2. Socrates is a man.
  3. Therefore, Socrates is mortal.

Critical thinking

Critical thinking tests are predominantly used in the legal sector, but also by employers such as the Bank of England. They assess your ability to reason and respond when for example analysing arguments or evaluating conclusions.

  • AssessmentDay Gives an overview of the Watson-Glaser Critical Thinking test, test advice, and a practice test with solutions
  • Watson-Glaser Critical Thinking test Measures critical thinking and analytical reasoning skills; the Job Test Prep website gives sample questions and practice resources
  • Clifford Chance (Law) Thirty minute practice test with 40 questions
  • Linklaters (Law) Fifteen sample questions with scores
  • ACT CAAP Test (US) website includes sample questions 
  • Pearson TalentLens Trial practice test (with free feedback) assessing critical thinking consisting of 84 questions to complete in 95 minutes
  • Pearson Vue  Practice Test Watson-Glaser Critical Thinking Appraisal (downloadable PDF) - UK edition (2002)
  • The Critical Thinking Community Gives information, research and studies about critical thinking and may be a useful additional reference; it includes a section for university students on the 'Begin Here' menu
  • WikiJob Overview of critical thinking tests with a linked practice test - 10 questions (JobTestPrep)

 

Personality questionnaires

Personality tests assess your preferred style of behaving by asking you to select from a list of statements, the one which best describes you. There is no need to practise, honesty is the best policy. Guessing the ‘right’ answers is risky as most have in-built mechanisms to identify inconsistent answers. In any case, who wants a job where they have to totally transform their personality? You can also try these questionnaires for yourself to increase your self-awareness and identify work activities that will suit your personality. They are not usually timed.

  • 9types Riso-Hudson Enneagram Type Indicator (RHETI) sample test requires you to answer 38 questions which are then scored. Find out whether you are a helper or an enthusiast
  • BBC Full personality test based on the five-factor model, a system of classifying personality traits [Archived page]
  • Humanmetrics Jung Typology Based on Carl Jung and Isabel Myers-Briggs typological approach to personality
  • Keirsey Provides links to more general information about type-based personality theory including the Keirsey Temperament Sorter: A test providing a limited amount of free information about your personality type (you will have to pay for a full report)
  • Morrisby An insight into the Morrisby personality profile test and includes sample questions
  • Myers Briggs Type Indicator Describes each of the Myers Briggs preferences which can be used to help sort people into types. Links to Team Technology site where you can take a practice MMDI™ test

Situational judgement tests

Situational judgement tests (SJTs)

These tests present you with realistic hypothetical work scenarios which you need to assess and then provide an appropriate response to. In addition AssessmentDay gives an example practice test (with a review of each possible response at the end of each question). The site explains what SJTs are, how they work and what to expect in a test.

  • European Personnel Selection Office (EPSO) Sample SJT test
  • JobTestPrep Two practice tests
  • Mark Parkinson Lists other sites with practice tests
  • Norton Assessment Trial tests, each with four questions, and the opportunity to trial a real SJT. The site gives advice and information to help you when preparing and taking a test
  • Practice Aptitude Tests Trial test - eight questions in 24 minutes with the option to take the test in practice mode and review the answers
  • Psychometric Tests (Open Psychometric Test Resource) Practice test and information about the SJT
  • SHL Test in the style of an online interview and one example question
  • SituationalJudgementTest Three scored practice tests: two timed and one 30 minute untimed. Information on the SJT and advice 
  • WikiJob Information on the SJT with three example questions and answers, and an indication of some of the companies who have used the test
  • Wikipedia Entry on SJTs, with brief example (Be aware that articles are written by external contributors and you should check that information is correct.)
Situational strengths tests (SSTs)

SSTs are designed to assess the core strengths that are needed to work in a placement or graduate role with a particular recruiter.

  • Capp Sample assessment (although targeted at recruiters)
  • Capp Situational Strengths Test Example question
  • EY Information about the strengths process that they use during recruitment
  • Job Test Prep Information about the test and how to prepare
  • Nestlé Test demo
  • TfL Basic information about the purpose of the test and how to approach it

Games based psychometric assessments (GBPA)

This relatively new way of assessing candidates uses a games based format - usually accessed via your mobile device. GBPAs test either personality traits (such as how quickly a candidate finishes an assessment/whether they give up when a task is too difficult/how often they take risks)  or aptitudes (such as verbal or numerical reasoning). They blend a foundation of solid and validated psychological research and established methods of psychometric assessment with mobile game design and data analytics.

There is no requirement for previous experience of gaming. The assessments generally last around 25-30 minutes and will be looking at your instinctive reactions to the scenarios presented. This type of assessment is being used increasingly in sectors such as law, IT, finance, technology, retail and transport.

Currently (2017) practice tests aren't generally available but you can find out more about GBPAs at:

Specialist tests

Advertising

  • Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA) Diagonal Thinking Self-assessment tests the hypothesis that the most successful individuals working in the advertising and communication industries are both Linear and Lateral Thinkers – they think ‘diagonally’
  • IPA AdMISSION AdSchool for penultimate year students gives you the opportunity to gain work experience in London agencies. AdAcademy: Spend eight weeks in a UK agency if you're a final year student or graduate
  • Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA) Online diagonal thinking self-assessment (registration required) is intended as a career guidance tool to inform on whether you are a 'diagonal thinker'. Preliminary research has shown that diagonal thinkers are more likely to succeed in advertising and communications careers

Computing

  • IT knowledge tests Developed by Brainbench (an SHL company) assess proficiency for a variety of software solutions, programming languages and general IT skills
Information Processing Aptitude Test On-line (IPATO)

This test was developed by IBM to test logical reasoning and the ability to process information quickly. Just a word of caution: Be aware that the format of tests changes all the time!

Pilot selection tests

  • Careers in Aerospace Pilot Test Three assessments to measure your fit for the role of pilot: Logical reasoning, spatial orientation and a work style questionnaire

 

Academic and admissions testing

When you are applying for some postgraduate courses, e.g. medicine, dentistry, and business, you may be required to take an admissions test in addition to your standard academic qualifications. See below for examples. You should check the websites of any institutions to which you are applying to find out which test is required.

Business schools

GRE Revised General Test used for postgraduate study in the USA

GRE London Test Centre (Test centre number: 8021/8101) is located at: Prometric, 2nd Floor, Pellipar House, 9 Cloak Lane, London, EC4R 2RU; Tel: 0207 248 7311.

  • Educational Testing Service (ETS) Full information about the GRE: search for a test centre and book a test, how to prepare, about the test.
  • Fulbright Commission US Educational Advisory Service Standardised test information for postgraduate study in the US. You will need to take these tests 10-12 months before you start your course to ensure that your scores reach the universities before their application deadlines.
  • InternationalStudent.com Test Prep Center giving information about the GRE and other academic admissions tests.
  • Kaplan Overview and structure of the GRE, practice test, preparatory information and courses run by Kaplan.
  • PowerScore Gives a comparison of the GRE versus the GMAT.

Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT) used for postgraduate study in the USA and international business schools

  • Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) GMAT basics.
  • GMAT Tutor 'Maths basics, FAQ, Tips & Tricks' and more.
  • Kaplan GMAT preparation for MBA applicants and free practice tests.
  • Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) Official site where you can register to take the GMAT test - explains the format and content of the test, with tips on preparation, what to expect on the day of the test, etc. GMATPrep® test-preparation software is available free to registered users of mba.com to help you prepare for the Computer-Adaptive GMAT® exam.
Find out more

These titles are held in the PDC Reference Library:

  • The Official Guide for GMAT Review 2015, 2014 edition, John Wiley & Sons Inc.
  • How to pass the GMAT, Mike Bryon, 2007 edition, Kogan Page. It contains practice questions with answers and explanations; some full-length timed tests; and mini-tests that can be used for quick practice.

Law

Bar Course Aptitude Test (BCAT)

You will need to pass the BCAT which will test your critical thinking and reasoning before an offer of a place on the Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC) to train as a barrister can be confirmed. You will not be allowed to enrol on a course until you have passed the Test. 

  • Bar Standards Board Information on the Bar Course Aptitude Test.
  • Bar Standards Board Certification Testing Pearson registration Centre where you can book a test, and resources to help you prepare in the form of a full practice test and examples of the types of questions
  • Critical thinking practice test links - click on 'Aptitude tests' above

Medicine and Dentistry

You can check which test is being used by a particular medical school on the UCAS website but you should look at the websites of any institutions to which you are applying to find out which test is required. 

You can find out more about these tests including practice test links on the NHS Health Careers website. 

For general queries look at New Media Medicine - a discussion and networking forum for applicants and medical students to help them prepare for entrance exams such as UKCAT and GAMSAT.

BioMedical Admissions Test (BMAT)

The BMAT is taken by applicants to some Medicine (primarily undergraduate) and Dentistry courses at specific universities.

  • Passing the UKCAT & BMAT, Rosalie Hutton, Glen Hutton and Felicity Taylor, 8th (2013) edition, Sage Publications Ltd, is held in the PDC Reference Library. It contains advice, guidance and questions for revision and practice.
Graduate Australian Medical School Admissions Test (GAMSAT)

GAMSAT assesses students participation into graduate-entry programmes.

  • Register and find more information on the GAMSAT UK website. Remember to check the registration timeline as there is only a short registration period.
  • GRADMED Administer preparatory courses for those taking GAMSAT. The site includes information on GAMSAT in the UK, practice test, useful links, FAQ and a student diary/blog.
UK Clinical Aptitude Test (UKCAT)

This is used in the selection process by a consortium of UK Medical and Dental schools.

  • Registration for UKCAT generally opens in early May and closes in September with the last test date in October. You can find out more information on their website.
  • UKCAT also provide some timed practice questions.
  • Passing the UKCAT & BMAT, Rosalie Hutton, Glen Hutton and Felicity Taylor, 8th (2013) edition, Sage Publications Ltd, is held in the PDC Reference Library. It contains advice, guidance and questions for revision and practice.

Teaching - Professional skills tests

If you are applying for teacher training you will need to take and pass numeracy and literacy skills tests as part of the application process. You will need to provide proof that you have applied for a training course when you take the tests. The tests are held at a Pearson Professional Test Centre.

Find out about access arrangements, e.g. if you are eligible for extra time in exams you may be able to apply in advance for extra time when you take the skills tests.

Find out more

The PDC Reference Library holds two titles to help you to prepare for taking the skills tests

  • Passing the Literacy Skills Test (Achieving QTS Series), Jim Johnson and Bruce Bond, Learning Matters (2012), Third Edition. 
  • Passing the Numeracy Skills Test (Achieving QTS Series), Mark Patmore, Learning Matters Ltd (2013), 5th Revised edition.

 

How to prepare

Understand
  • Read the JobTestPrep PDF Guide to Psychometric Testing which aims to give the know-how to successfully prepare for tests.  It covers a number of topics: from 'what is psychometric testing', to explaining how best to prepare for the tests as well as examining different types of psychometric tests and the differences between them. 
Practice
  • Most employers send sample questions in advance. Start preparing as soon as you get them. Work through the examples and think about what the test requires you to do. Then plan your tactics for improving your speed and accuracy. Technique is just as important here as it is in exams.
  • If you are not sent examples, ask for them and look online for information from similar employers. Most accountancy practices, for example, will be interested in your numerical ability.
  • Identify any skills that are rusty. If you haven’t touched Maths since GCSE, practise basic skills such as percentages, ratios and using a calculator. If your degree is numerical rather than word-based, try reading and extracting key information from text at speed. These skills need to be rapid and automatic when you do timed tests.
  • Familiarity with tests can help you make effective use of your time. Try to identify sensible shortcuts to getting the greatest number of correct answers in the time, e.g. in verbal reasoning tests, read the questions before you read the text. This way you know exactly which information you are looking for and will not waste time with an initial unfocused read through.
  • Practice working against the clock. Tests are quite intensive and different from normal work or study. For example, you could have 40 questions to answer in 20 minutes and need to get the right balance between speed and accuracy.
  • Try out some online timed and non-timed tests.
Review
  • If you don’t do as well as you had hoped in tests, think whether you can change any of the factors that influenced your results. Look again at the preparation and practice sections and talk to a Careers Consultant for additional help. It’s not unknown for students to have that ‘eureka’ moment when they suddenly see a better way of approaching tests.
  • If you think you are doing everything right but haven’t improved as much as you’d like, remember that tests measure only very specific abilities. Employers will also be interested in your motivation for the job and in other skills and experience. These may be assessed through quite different parts of the selection process.
  • If you really feel that tests are never going to be your strong point, try applying to employers who don’t use tests at all or who use them only at second interview stage. The later tests appear in the selection process, the less likely your results are to be a ‘make or break’ factor in the recruitment decision. Smaller companies are also less likely to use psychometric tests though they may have their own work example assessment to ensure you can do what is required.
Improve
Help with numeracy and verbal reasoning

Worried because you haven't studied Maths since you were at school? Find English comprehension tricky? Feel you would like some help to brush up on your skills in preparation for taking psychometric tests? These links will help you to build your skills:

The night before
  • Your physical and mental state can affect your performance. Get a good night’s sleep before the test and avoid alcohol or anything else that will prevent you from doing your best. If you are unwell on the day, try to rearrange the session. Plan your journey and give yourself time so you aren’t flustered by transport delays.
Who at Brunel can help you?
Academic Skills (ASK)
  • ASK Based in the Library (Bannerman Centre). They offer workshops, individual advice and resources on a range of skills related to your learning including maths/numeracy and written skills.
Brunel Language Centre
  • Brunel Language Centre can help international students to improve writing or speaking skills, and run in-sessional English courses and one-to-one academic consultations for current students.

Disability advice

When you get your test date (or an assessment centre date) from the employer, we recommend that you contact them in advance to discuss any factors that are likely to affect your performance such as a disability. They can then arrange to make reasonable adjustments, such as:  

  • allowing extra time
  • providing a personal reader/writer or signer, or
  • providing special equipment such as a hearing loop
Your Careers Consultant or Placement Adviser will help if you are uncertain about how or when to reveal a disability

Alerting the employer at an early stage will give them time to make the necessary arrangements; telling them on the day may not. Be prepared to make suggestions about possible suitable adjustments. While you are aware of how your disability affects you, others may not. As a result you may be the best person to advise.