Psychometric tests feature in most recruitment processes. Useful for managing large applicant pools, these tests give an indication of a candidate’s level of mental ability and agility. Good performance in this style of test has been shown to correlate to strong performance in role, so recruiters place emphasis upon the results.
To successfully progress to the next stage of the recruitment process, a high psychometric test score is often needed. While psychometric tests can seem initially daunting, preparing well will ensure you are confident.
Psychometric tests come in a variety of forms, but the basic preparation steps are the same. See our top ten tips for preparing for psychometric tests below.
1) Be clear on your task
Before starting to prepare for your upcoming psychometric tests, find out as much about the testing process as possible. Many employers administer sets of psychometric tests, so be clear on exactly which tests you are required to sit, when and where.
If you can determine the test publisher all the better, as the different test types also vary according to publisher.
If the above information is not included in correspondence about the recruitment process, it’s worth sending an email to see if any further details can be shared.
2) Research the test format
Your assessment will differ in length, structure and time limit, depending upon the type of psychometric test set and the publisher providing the assessment.
Knowing the format of the test – how many sections, the number of questions, the time given for completion - will help you to feel clear on the task ahead. It also means you are aware of the pace required to complete the test.
3) Refresh relevant knowledge that will aid you
To ensure you are fully prepared for your psychometric test, revisit your knowledge of specific skills that may be required. For a numerical test, it is sensible to revise dealing with mathematical concepts such as fractions, percentages, sequences, ratios, and basic algebra.
A verbal reasoning test will often ask you to review and select the best edits for a paragraph of text, so consolidate your knowledge of correct sentence structure and grammar, along with synonyms.
For a situational judgement test, ensure you know the employer’s culture and values well, so you can align your answers with their desired behaviours.
For all psychometric test types, list out the key knowledge that may be relevant and revise it sufficiently.
4) Become familiar with style of the test questions
The questions in psychometric tests are often written in a different manner to those encountered in most other examinations. Taking the time to become accustomed to the question style and material covered will help to prepare you for tackling the timed test.
The best way to become familiar with the topics that will be featured is to read through example questions and sit practise tests. The more questions you answer, the less likely that you will be thrown by the wording or demands of a question on test day.
5) Learn from your mistakes
When sitting practise tests, take the time to carefully review your answers and highlight where you are losing out on marks. Whilst it can be tempting to simply move on after a disheartening or poor practise performance, discovering your areas of strength and weakness is key to effective test preparation.
It is important to adequately focus upon your weakest areas, so that you can counteract any impact upon your final score. Remember, the best way to make a good impression in the early stages of the recruitment process is to achieve that high psychometric test score.
6) Take into account any past test experience or feedback
If you have taken a psychometric assessment before, seek to build on the experience. Think about the aspects that went well, and ensure you have the conditions and knowledge required to replicate your performance.
If you encountered problems during a past test, seek to address these directly. If you had issues with the timing of the test, for example, practise improving and stabilising your pace. If the fractions in your last numerical reasoning test had you breaking a sweat, allocate some of your practice time to focusing on similar questions.
7) Check your tech
Psychometric tests are administered online, and most – unless part of an assessment centre – are taken at home. Before you take the test, check that your internet browser is up to date.
This will help to ensure that there are no distracting issues with the screen format, button functionality or question loading when moving through the live test. It is also sensible to check the internet speed in the room you intend to take the assessment is good enough to sustain the connection.
To succeed in the challenging, timed conditions of the test you must focus solely on answering the questions. Eliminate the possibility of any technical issues.
8) Practise pacing yourself
Although the number of questions and time allocated varies from test to test, all psychometric tests are timed assessments. They seek to discover whether a potential employee can work calmly and accurately under pressure.
The questions in psychometric tests all tend to be equally weighted, so rushing through the questions to those at the end will be of no benefit. Generally, though, your best chance of a high score will come from completing all the questions.
To ensure you can do this, prepare for the pressure of the real test by calculating what your working pace should be. Practise taking the tests until you can match this required pace with ease.
9) Recreate exam conditions
When taking your preparation tests, limiting noise and distractions will help you to concentrate on answering the questions. If you are sitting your psychometric tests at an assessment centre, simulating exam conditions in practice sessions will ensure that the silence feels familiar and comforting, not deafening.
Allow yourself to practise with the equipment that will be allowed in the real test, such as a calculator for a numerical reasoning assessment. Now that psychometric tests are administered online, it is also easy to forget that there is the option to use pencil and paper for workings.
10) Practise with online psychometric tests
The most comprehensive way to prepare for a psychometric test is to take multiple tests to become accustomed to the process, timing and questions. Although taking timed practise tests may not be the most appealing form of preparation, sitting full tests is much better training than simply reading through example questions and answers.
To increase your chances of a top score in the real test, you should seek to be achieving a score in the top range repeatedly in your preparation tests.