Now part of Willis Towers Watson, Saville Assessment (previously Saville Consulting) was founded in 2008, and is today one of the leading names in psychometric testing. Its tests are used worldwide, and by many major employers, including Johnson & Johnson, Dyson, Merck and Virgin Media.
The Saville test series is made up of a broad range of assessments. It publishes and administers single aptitude tests that cover:
- Verbal analysis
- Numerical analysis
- Abstract reasoning
- Spatial reasoning
- Mechanical reasoning
- Diagrammatic reasoning
These are administered for professional roles, or those at a managerial level.
For roles at apprentice level, or of an operational, commercial or administrative nature, it has a series of comprehension tests including verbal comprehension, numerical comprehension, error checking and workplace English.
It also publishes a Swift series. These are shorter, blended assessments that measure a range of skills. For example, its Swift Executive Aptitude test covers verbal, numerical and abstract reasoning in one.
All Saville aptitude tests are a measure of natural ability, designed to predict how well you’re likely to perform in any given role. However, this does not mean they’re easy. They all come with a tight time constraint, adding pressure to the test-taking experience, and questions are quite complex in nature.
The good news is that with the right preparation, you can develop your skills to the required level, and master some key techniques that will help you put in the best possible performance. Below are our tips:
1. Know which Saville tests you’ll be taking
The Saville test series is broad, so the first thing you need to do is establish which tests you’ll be taking. This could be one or more of the single aptitude tests, or a blended Swift assessment.
If it’s not clear which test (or tests) you are taking, contact the employer. You need to know exactly which areas you’re being assessed on so you can target your practice.
2. Focus on improving key skills
Saville tests aren’t the kind of tests you can create structured revision plans for, since they measure natural ability rather than specific knowledge. What you can do, though, is exercise the skills involved.
For example, analysing complex texts to work on critical thinking, or interpreting raw data to build on numerical reasoning. Even completing daily word or number puzzles will help. The skills under assessment will improve the more you use them, so set time aside each day to do just that.
3. Read the questions carefully
Saville tests are timed, and it can be tempting to skim-read questions in an attempt to answer as many as possible. This often proves a false economy, as it’s the easiest way to miss key details in what can be quite complex information.
Be sure to digest everything carefully, but try to do so at a reasonable pace. Practicing Saville tests will help here, as the more questions you work through the more your reading speed will improve.
4. Learn from your mistakes
Continually review your performance and spend time exploring any incorrectly answered questions from your practice tests. Working backwards from the correct answer can often help you spot exactly where you went wrong, and is a good learning exercise.
Most practice tests come with answer explanations, but try working this out for yourself first before referring to them; you’ll benefit from it more.
5. Know when to move on
Your final score will be a combination of correct answers and speed. That means you need to get as many questions right as you possibly can within the given time frame.
The trick here is to know when to move on. If a question is eating into your time significantly, it’s probably best to skip it, particularly if you find yourself getting more confused as you try and unravel the problem.
6. Practice Saville-style tests
Practice is key to performing well in aptitude tests. The way they’re structured may be unlike anything you’ve come across before, so you’ll want to familiarise yourself with content and format in advance. Regular practice will also help with many of the other tips listed here.
Focus on taking Saville-style tests in particular, so you know exactly what to expect. You’ll find plenty of these available online, including in our own practice test library.
7. Eliminate distractors
In any given question, there may be pieces of information present that are irrelevant to the problem at hand. These are known as distractors, and are purposefully included to add complexity.
If you can learn to spot these quickly, eliminate them, and focus only on the information you need, you’ll find questions far easier (and quicker) to answer. Again, if there’s one thing that will help you eliminate distractors, it’s plenty of practice.
8. Practice in exam conditions
For some people, it’s not the content of a Saville test that trips them up, but the stresses associated with test conditions – like the pressure to do well and the time constraint.
The best way to overcome this is to pretend that each practice test you take is actually your official test, and replicate the circumstances as best you can, including setting yourself a strict time limit and a score you’d like to achieve.
Don’t get frustrated if things don’t go to plan though. More practice will help you reach your goals.
9. Prepare your equipment and surroundings
Once you start your official Saville test there’s no stopping, so make sure you’re all set up. Choose a quiet spot where you know you won’t be interrupted, double-check your internet connection, and gather everything you might need.
You should also turn off your phone and any background notifications on your computer, since unexpected distractions can easily throw you off track.
10. Don’t be afraid to fail
Finally, don’t put too much pressure on yourself. If you go in with the mindset that failure is unacceptable, you’ll likely put yourself under unnecessary strain, and your performance will suffer as a result.
Go in with the intention of doing your best, of course, but take it as it comes. If you’ve put in the right amount of preparation beforehand, you’ve done all that can be expected of you.