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What is a psychometric test?

A psychometric test is an assessment designed to measure cognitive ability, personality or work behaviour, to indicate the potential of a job candidate to excel in a specific position or career. Psychometric testing takes various forms (eg numerical, mechanical, logical or verbal reasoning).

Usually sat online, psychometric tests may also be administered in person at an assessment centre. The tests are intended to streamline the recruitment process and reveal top applicants efficiently.

They are now a common hurdle, particularly in graduate scheme applications. The tests are often used in tandem with each other, the chosen test selection dictated by the career sector to which the applicant is applying.

Psychometric test scores do not stand alone but are often considered in combination with candidate CVs, cover letters and other assessment rounds such as more tailored, sector-specific tasks, role play scenarios and group interviews.

The value of performing well in psychometric testing should not, however, be overlooked. A high psychometric test score will dramatically increase your chances of securing a final stage interview.

Take a free practice psychometric test

Try a free practice psychometric test from the 16 test types below to prepare for your aptitude tests. All our tests are written by accredited industry experts and are designed to replicate real exams used by leading employers.

Each has a strict time limit and at the end of the test you can view your score, benchmark and the full solutions to all the questions.

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Why do employers use psychometric tests?

Employers commonly receive an extremely high number of applications for any one role. Quick and easy to administer at scale, psychometric tests are an excellent way to reduce the size of the applicant pool.

The tests enable employers to confidently siphon the top 5–10% of candidates, who have displayed that they possess key transferable skills. This streamlining speeds up the recruitment process, providing a logical candidate shortlist of manageable length and reducing HR costs.

The online tests are considered to be reliable indicators of candidate potential and suitability, as a strong correlation between a high score and subsequent high-quality performance in role has been identified.

Verbal and numerical reasoning tests tend to be most popular with employers, as they test key transferable comprehension and arithmetic skills. The testing of accuracy under pressure gives an indication as to how the candidate will cope in a demanding everyday role.

Although prospective employees may be inclined to loathe the impersonal nature of standardised testing, it does bring objectivity back into the recruitment process.

Whilst psychometric testing may be an initially daunting prospect, remember that – unlike some recruitment stages – it can be comprehensively prepared for to avoid any unpleasant surprises.

Practising the psychometric tests you are likely to encounter will ensure that, come assessment day, you achieve the high scores that reflect both your ability and potential.

The main types of psychometric tests

Here at Practice Aptitude Tests, we have broken down the structure and content of the different types of psychometric tests commonly encountered in the recruitment process. Explore the detail of each by reviewing the list below, so you know exactly what to expect from each type of ability test.

Numerical Reasoning

Numerical reasoning tests demonstrate your ability to deal with numbers quickly and accurately. The questions are not testing high-level ability, but your capacity to use simple mathematical concepts to analyse data and draw conclusions. They assess your knowledge of ratios, percentages, number sequences, data interpretation, financial analysis and currency conversion.

Mechanical Reasoning

Mechanical reasoning tests challenge your understanding and application of mechanical concepts. You will be required to deduce the elements at work in a particular scenario and answer a directly related question. Usually specific to the sector, they require an element of background knowledge and experience. Common topics include forces, energy, electrics and gears.

Logical Reasoning

Made up of non-verbal content, logical reasoning tests assess your ability to interpret shapes, numbers and patterns. Candidates must identify the next figure in the sequence from a selection of possibilities. These tests commonly encompass elements from both diagrammatic and numerical reasoning assessments.

Verbal Reasoning

Verbal reasoning tests assess your comprehension and interpretation of written passages. A short excerpt of text is provided for review and candidates are then asked questions relating to its content. Typically, you will be presented with a series of statements which make certain inferences and tasked to deduce whether each statement is ‘True’, ‘False’, or if you ‘Cannot Say’.

Diagrammatic Reasoning

Testing pure logical reasoning, diagrammatic tests involve the analysis of sequences of shapes and patterns. You will be required to identify the rule that governs the sequence in order to choose the next correct element from a provided selection, or to correctly apply the rule to a new scenario.

Abstract Reasoning

Abstract reasoning tests measure your ability to deduce the relationships between shapes and within patterns. They do not require any numerical or verbal analysis, but test your logic and lateral thinking, alongside your accuracy and speed.

Spatial Reasoning

A spatial reasoning or awareness test is used to assess your ability to identify patterns, visualise movements and mentally manipulate 2D or 3D objects. Common questions include identifying which image is a rotation of a given shape and which net corresponds to a certain 3D image.

Situational Judgement Assessments

Situational judgement tests are used to assess how you would approach different practical situations that may arise in the workplace. Your response to a series of hypothetical scenarios helps employers to judge whether your behaviour and attitude aligns with company expectation and ethos.

What to expect when taking a psychometric test

Any type of psychometric test will require you to answer multiple-choice questions within a given time limit (though sometimes personality tests have no time limit). Both test length and time provision will vary depending upon test type and provider.

As psychometric tests are an assessment of mental agility, you will need to be prepared to answer the questions rapidly without compromising accuracy.

If the number of questions seems overly ambitious in the given time, it may be that the test is intended to be ambitious. Focus on correctly answering the questions rapidly, but do not rush in order to finish the test.

It is common for multiple psychometric tests to be administered in the same session. For example, you may be required to sit a verbal reasoning test, followed by a numerical reasoning and a situational judgement assessment. Knowing as much as possible about the test structure beforehand will help you pin down the specifics of what to expect.

Once you find out that psychometric testing forms part of the job application process, enquire with your prospective employer as to the number and type of tests, along with the provider used. While they may not be able to reveal the provider to you, it is worth an ask given the variation between tests of the same type.

Whilst a select few employers may still administer paper versions, expect to sit your psychometric test(s) online. This will either be remotely (in your own home) or as part of an assessment centre (most common for graduate scheme applications). For tests that are sat at home, you will be provided with a time window (usually around 48 hours) in which to take the test.

Some tests use adaptive algorithms, adjusting the difficulty based on your previous answers. If you’re answering correctly, expect the questions to get tougher as you move forward in the test. This method ensures the test is challenging and accurately assesses your ability level.

How to prepare for your psychometric test

A high score on your psychometric test means a greater chance of securing a coveted chance to impress at interview, so adequate preparation is key. For all psychometric tests, the best form of preparation is a copious amount of practice.

Once you have found out all you can about the type of test being set and the way it is being administered, settle into targeted question practice. This will reveal your strengths and weaknesses, allowing you to focus more time on improving your weakest areas.

Working through sample questions and answers will help you to understand the logic of the test and the method of thinking required to rapidly identify the correct answers.

Online practice will help you to become accustomed to the timing of the test. This will enable you to become better at achieving the right pace, ensuring full completion of the test with both speed and accuracy.

An initial number of our online psychometric tests of all types can be accessed for free, so you can start practicing with only a time investment. Our test catalogue can be browsed according to aptitude test type, publisher, employer or industry.

If you’d prefer to practice offline, you can download our Psychometric Tests: Questions & Answers booklet.

If you wish to take your practice to the next level and gain access to over 150 different psychometric tests, publisher and employer packages and full solution explanations, we offer a great value All Tests Package with 12-month access.

If you put in the hours, avoid the all too common mistakes made by candidates and take stock of our top tips, you will feel calm, confident and fully prepared on the test day.

Questions are well organized and standards are maintained.

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A great experience overall.

Amar Patil

I really liked the format, all the instructions were clear.

Gelya Ryu

I thought the questions were well varied and tested a variety of statistical analysis and graphical interpretation skills.

John Willison

The exercises were very helpful and varied, which made me feel more prepared and confident during the exam day.

Dianne Tecson

I recommend you should consider these tests as a preparation step before taking the real one.

Đặng Ngọc Thiên Kim

Publisher Tests

If you’re due to take a psychometric test produced by a specific test publisher, we’ve got you covered. Practice free tests based on the style of those publishers via any of the links below, and check out all our publisher tests here.

Employer Tests

Individual employers will use their own combination of aptitude tests as part of their assessment process. Click any link below to find out more about that organisation’s psychometric tests and practice some free examples. Or check out all of our employer tests.


How are psychometric tests scored?

Different test providers and employers choose to convey results in different ways. Scores listed may include the raw score (number of correct responses given), attempted score, percentage accuracy or precision score (conveyed using three values: number of questions attempted, work rate and hit rate).

Comparison scores – used so your result can be placed relative to the mean score of your test cohort – may also be given. A percentile score is often used to compare and filter candidates.

What are psychometric tests used for?

Psychometric tests are used by employers to assess a candidate’s personal traits, as well as their knowledge and skills. This allows employers to build a personal profile and see if it matches with the company’s culture and the role in particular.

They also provide an overview of how the person might perform in the workplace. This all helps employers streamline the hiring process by finding the right candidates more quickly.

Will I get feedback on my test results?

Test feedback can be useful in showing your strengths and weaknesses, helping you to improve your performance the next time you encounter such tests.

While not all organisations provide automatic feedback due to candidate volume, it’s always worth asking if further insight into your score is available.

The most useful type of feedback is test-dependent. For example, for situational judgement assessments, enquire about the alignment of your answers with the desired company behaviours/ethos. This is vital if you intend to reapply to the same company in the future.

What do psychometric tests measure?

Psychometric tests measure both cognitive ability and mental agility. Different tests evaluate specific skills, such as comprehension, arithmetic ability or a candidate’s approach and attitude. They commonly focus less upon knowledge and more on problem-solving ability and accuracy under pressure.

The tests are designed to reveal if prospective candidates have the traits sought for the job role in question. They allow employers to judge how a candidate will handle routine tasks, interact with co-workers and cope in stressful situations. The measurements provided by psychometric tests are considered to give a strong indication of a candidate’s potential to excel.

Where can I practice psychometric tests?

You can practice sitting psychometric tests either using test practice books or online practice tests (the latter is recommended).

Familiarising yourself with the test format and content will help to dispel nerves about what to expect on the day, and give you a greater chance of achieving a high score.

Practice Aptitude Tests has a comprehensive catalogue of psychometric tests written by accredited professionals. To help you improve, we offer worked solutions for each test and an interactive dashboard to track your progress. Start your preparation today by trying out our free tests.

What can I do if I fail my test?

Unfortunately, if you fail your test, you will not normally be able to resit. It should not, however, prevent you from applying to the same company in the future.

The best thing to do after receiving a disappointing result is to learn from the experience and improve. Try to obtain feedback on your performance and practice more of the tests, considering what you were able to glean from your unsuccessful attempt.

Why are psychometric tests so hard?

Many candidates find psychometric tests difficult, especially at the first attempt. The tests are hard so that employers can be confident they will filter candidates and retain the best applicants, including those best able to perform under pressure.

Psychometric tests may be hard, but preparation will help you feel calm, confident and be less easily caught off-guard during your assessment.

Which employers use psychometric tests?

The reality is: most of them, especially among larger companies. Psychometric tests provide employers with detailed information and an understanding of a potential worker’s profile.

You should therefore expect these tests to be a part of the hiring process, whether you’re applying for a blue-chip enterprise or a smaller company. You can see a full list of employers that use psychometric testing here.

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