An error checking test is a type of online psychometric test used to assess your ability to analyse data sets and identify discrepancies. It requires high attention to detail and accuracy, while working under timed conditions.

If you are applying for a job role in administration, statistical analysis, or one that requires managing written or numerical data, you’ll likely be asked to complete a test of this style.

The data may be presented in columns or paragraphs, with candidates asked to review and circle errors across the entire set. It may also be arranged in two columns and candidates asked to verify whether the piece of data in the left-hand column matches that in the right.

Alternatively, candidates may be presented with a single piece of information and asked to select the answer that matches from a list. The other options will be similar, to make the task harder.

Read on for 10 tips on how to prepare well for error checking tests.

Step 1: Practice completing error checking tests

The best way to prepare for your error checking test is to practice completing tests with a similar format and style. By working through these tests, you’ll familiarise yourself with the content and demands of an error checking test. You’ll also improve your recognition skills and subsequently increase your pace – vital for success in the official assessment.

Step 2: Check the type of error checking test you will be sitting

Not all error checking tests are the same. Error checking tests can contain numerical or written data, so ensure you know which type of test you are going to encounter. If this is not obvious given the nature of the role you are applying to, contact the recruitment team for further information.

Step 3: Review your knowledge of grammatical rules

For error checking tests involving the written word, ensure you are confident in your ability to identify and correct grammar mistakes. Revise the rules around using nouns, pronouns, adjectives, adverbs, and prepositions, along with the correct use of different tenses, as your command of these will be crucial to your success.

Step 4: Keep an eye on your pace

The volume of data, number of questions, and time allotted will differ from test to test, but the pace required will be challenging. Track your times when completing practice tests, and seek to increase your speed without compromising accuracy. In the official test, you’ll need to keep an eye on the clock as you work and manage your time effectively to finish the full test.

Step 5: Check your equipment before you begin

Error checking tests are completed online and most are unsupervised, which means that they are taken at home. Before you begin your test, make sure you have a stable internet connection and have updated your browser, to avoid any difficulties loading the questions. The test is timed and you are only able to complete it once, so technical issues may not just hamper your pace, but prevent you from accessing all questions and submitting a completed assessment.

Step 6: Read the instructions and questions carefully

Before starting the test, make sure you know exactly what is expected by reading the instructions. Some tests will ask you to circle errors, and others to cross the boxes next to matching data or correct substitutions. Don’t lose marks by assuming what the questions are asking of you; take the time to read them.

Step 7: If possible, find out the publisher of the test

Error checking tests also vary according to the publisher. Some have many individual questions, whereas others present a large dataset as part of a single task. If you know the publisher being used, you can research exactly what to expect from the test (and may be able to find out the time limit given to help guide your pace).

Step 8: Cross-check or proofread as you work

As you work through a verbal error checking test identifying the mistakes, take the time to quickly return and proofread each paragraph as you come to the end of it. This way, you can feel confident that you’ve analysed the text carefully. For numerical error checking tests, cross-check the data carefully as you go, to prevent any mistakes in matching the data or any oversights when it comes to detecting errors in the data set.

Step 9: Remember to check for spelling mistakes

For error checking tests involving written passages, don’t forget to keep an eye out for spelling mistakes. These small errors can be easy to miss when larger grammatical errors catch your attention. It is always worth giving the text a scan for spelling mistakes once you have corrected the grammar.

Step 10: Review your answers

If you have time at the end of the test, go back and check your answers a final time. This gives you the opportunity to revisit the data and you may spot errors you missed the first time around. If you’re finding that your pace in practice tests is strong, consider adjusting your target pace to allow a minute (or two) to check your answers at the end.