How to handle Psychometric Tests

Psychometric tests have become a common part of recruitment.  There’s no time to waste in disliking them – they are here to stay for the foreseeable future.  The good news?  You can learn to handle them.  Not only that, but you can learn to master them. 

It does take practice – this is a ‘test’ after all.  So to make sure you are prepared as you can be here are three top tips to ensure they don’t get the better of you…

1. The Test

When you are asked to take a test as part of a recruitment process the first thing you should do is figure out what type of test it is.  This will greatly influence how you practice for it.  Is it numerical, verbal, personality?  It is online or paper-based?  Will you have to take it under ‘test conditions’ (e.g. supervised) or can you do it on your own at home?  Which test provider are the using?  Are there practice tests available with the provider? 

Do your research and then plan accordingly. You may find you’ve done one of these tests before – or you may find it is completely new.  Some tests – e.g. personality – can’t be practiced but it is still worth doing some research into the purpose and structure of the test. 

You are far better placed to handle a test if you understand whyyou are doing it and what you can expect on the day.

2. Practice

Once you’ve figured out what the test is and what to expect, map out the appropriate amount of time to prepare for it.  Many people fail at this hurdle because they don’t dedicate enough time to prepare.

You would prep for a phone interview, a presentation, face-to-face interview or exam – and a psychometric test is an equally big part of the recruitment process.  You will need to practice and so ensure you put time aside to do this. 

The more you do, the easier it will get.  Don’t be surprised if you don’t pass first time – they are designed to be hard and the pass mark is often set at a very high level if you are applying for particularly competitive roles.  Don’t be discouraged; ensure you set aside more time in future to practice.

Here are some sites where you can practice – note that some of them may charge you:

You will also find a number of books that you can buy which allow you to practice the types of questions you’ll face (although in paper format).  When the day finally comes to take the test, make sure you are as prepared as you can be.

Online

If you are taking the test online at home, don’t leave it till the last minute.  Check the deadline and ensure you are planning to take it at least a day in advance.  You never know what can go wrong at the last minute and you’ll be surprised by the number of the recruiters that won’t accept excuses for late submission. 

Make sure you have a quiet space where you won’t be disturbed for the required time period.   No phones, house-mates, dogs, heavy traffic nearby.  Ensure you the computer you use is reliable and has the appropriate browser that you need.  Check beforehand what you’ll need (e.g. a calculator, spare paper, pen) so that you are ready to begin as soon as the test starts. 

Supervised

If you are taking the test under supervised conditions – either online or with paper – then you will most likely be sent a date and time for this.  As you would with exams, give yourself plenty of time to get there.  You don’t want to be in a flap when you arrive.  Check beforehand if you need to bring anything (e.g. pen, paper, calculator) – some Assessment Centres require you to bring your own laptop on the day.

And finally...

Regardless of where, when and how – try to relax.  Take a deep breath and do the best that you can.  Work quickly but methodically.   If you are finding one question to be challenging, move on if you can.  You can rest assured that no one else is finding the test ‘easy’ and by taking it you are one step closer to mastering them.