Blog

Find out the about the latest news and events from AssessmentDay.

Archive for the ‘Aptitude Test’ Category

Dealing with psychometric test performance anxiety

Firstly, let’s remind ourselves of what aptitude tests are and why they are used:

Aptitude tests (which are a type of psychometric test) are ability tests designed to assess candidates for assessment, selection and development purposes. With an increasingly competitive job market and the war for talent raging, employers are utilising every weapon in their arsenal to recruit top talent cheaply and efficiently. Generally speaking for recruitment employers utilise aptitude tests for two different reasons, for candidate screening or for later stage assessment. In a screening process candidates will be asked to undertake an aptitude test very early on in the recruitment process, often shortly after the initial application. The function of this is to screen out the lowest performing candidates (typically the bottom 40%), allowing the highest perform candidates to progress through later recruitment stages, this method is frequently used in high volume recruitment.  Aptitude testing may be used in later stage recruitment as well at the assessment centre stage of assessment. In this stage numerous assessment tools may be utilised i.e. competency based interviews, role play exercises and aptitude tests. The function of these tests is to gain an understanding of the candidate’s abilities, rather than to qualify/disqualify candidates based solely on their performance on the test.

Now, dealing with performance anxiety and stress:

Performance anxiety and exam stress are notoriously associated with aptitude tests, and pre-test nervousness is common and frequent. An important thing to remember is that the right amount of performance anxiety and nervousness can be a help, not a hindrance. Being moderately nervous can help sharpen you focus and keep you on your toes during your exam, preventing you getting distracted and optimising performance. However high levels of anxiety can be an inhibitor of performance, causing you to second guess your answers, rush through or skip questions. Here are some easy to remember tips for keeping calm and focused during your exam:

  1. Deep and slow breathing: deep breathing can help keep you calm, slow breathing can help prevent hyperventilation, monitor your breathing and act accordingly
  2. Quiet setting: When doing a test by email invitation, complete the test somewhere quiet. Distractions can hamper performance, which can lead to increased stress and anxiety.
  3. Sleep: get a good night’s sleep before the test. Anxiety can keep you awake before a big test, ensure you go to bed early and do your best to be well rested, and ready for your exam.
  4. Practice: as well as improving performance, practice and preparation has the effect of calming test anxiety by revealing all the mystery.  Psychologists call it “systematic desensitisation” and it involves putting yourself in these anxiety provoking situations and getting used to them.

Taking Psychometric Tests with a Hearing Impairment

How might a hearing impairment affect your performance?

People with hearing difficulties may be disadvantaged in job selection processes which use psychometric tests to identify the most able candidates. Hearing problems can impact test performance in many ways. For example, candidates may struggle to understand the verbal instructions which often accompany psychometric tests. Furthermore, people who have been without hearing from childhood and primarily use sign language may be less familiar with the English language and, therefore, particularly disadvantaged on tests requiring reading (e.g. verbal reasoning tests) and writing.

How can employers help?

In line with the Disability and Discrimination Act 1995, employers are required to make necessary amendments to ensure candidates with hearing impairments are not disadvantaged by selection processes.  The British Psychological Society (BPS) has yet to develop specific guidelines for testing hearing impaired candidates; however, they outline some of the main considerations in their publication: Psychometric Testing for people with a hearing impairment (BPS, 2010). Here, the BPS recommends that employers:

  • Seek advice from test publishers in regard to what amendments can be made.
  • Make any adjustments on a case by case basis, according to the specific needs of the candidate.
  • Use sign language interpreters for giving instructions and facilitating the test environment but not for interpreting questions on written tests.
  • Provide written instructions if candidates are able to read.
  • Offer candidates practice questions, in order to anticipate potential test difficulties.

How can you help?

If you have a hearing impairment, it is vital that you inform the employer as far in advance as possible, so that they can make the necessary arrangements for you. Try and be specific about the nature of your hearing difficulty and what aids could help you. You might also like to familiarise yourself with the different types of psychometric tests you will be expected to take so that you can anticipate what adjustments would be most helpful to you.  At AssessmentDay you can download a range of practice tests, including verbal reasoning tests, numerical reasoning tests and inductive reasoning tests.

What is a Situational Judgement Test?

What do Situational Judgement Tests Involve?

There has been an increasing use of Situational Judgement Tests (SJTs) within recruitment and selection processes over the last 15 years, particularly by large employers offering competitive graduate schemes.  Typically, SJTs are computer-based and consist of multiple-choice questions drawn from real-life job scenarios which have been designed by experts in the relevant field. Candidates are required to evaluate or rank different response options according to their effectiveness. SJTs are often combined with aptitude tests (e.g. numerical reasoning, verbal reasoning and inductive reasoning), personality questionnaires and other job-simulation tasks (e.g. in-tray or e-tray exercises).

What do SJTs Show Employers?

SJTs are multi-dimensional, psychological assessment tools. Candidates’ responses are believed to reflect many different facets; such as their general knowledge, common-sense, previous life experience, decision-making and problem-solving skills. SJTs are also believed to tap non-cognitive skills, such as personality traits, professional attitudes and ethics.  Unlike aptitude tests, SJTs are said to provide employers with an insight into how candidates would function practically on the job.

Tackling your Situational Judgement Test

SJTs vary according to the specific job role and the competencies required for that position. Therefore, in preparing for the test it is useful to establish what core skills the recruiter is likely to be looking for and to have these in your mind when answering the questions.

Unlike aptitude tests, SJTs are rarely timed. Take advantage of this by ensuring that you read all the information carefully before answering, whilst being mindful not to spend too much time over-thinking each item.  Practicing these tests will enhance your familiarity with the SJT format and enable you to develop your own test technique. With this in mind, we at AssessmentDay have designed practice tests to help get you ready for your Situational Judgement Test.

Seeking Feedback after Taking Psychometric Tests

Gaining feedback after you have completed psychometric tests can be extremely valuable when you are going through the job selection process. Whether you have been offered the position or not, it is always beneficial to know your strengths and weaknesses, particularly if you are looking to improve your performance on future assessments.  Some recruiters may write to you with your test results, or arrange an individual feedback session face-to-face or over the telephone. However, many organisations are unable to do this on account of time constraints. This can often be true of large graduate employers who deal with vast numbers of potential candidates and large volumes of test results.

Asking recruiters for feedback

It is always worth trying to get feedback from the employer by contacting them directly, via email or in writing. You may like to try requesting a written report of your test results. It is also good practice to enquire in advance about an employer’s feedback processes if you know you will be completing psychometric tests, and the employer should provide you with feedback as a matter of courtesy and good practice. Employers abiding by the British Psychological Society guidelines on psychometric testing (i.e. most employers) have agreed to provide feedback to candidates, so you are perfectly within your right to ask for it.

Evaluating your own performance

In the absence of feedback from the employer, you may need to rely on self-evaluation. In doing so, it is important that you think constructively about your performance across each of the psychometric tests you completed. Ask yourself what your strengths and your weakness were and what you might have done differently next time around. For example:

  • How was your pacing? Did you spend too much time on the early questions and compromise the latter ones?
  • Did you struggle to make sense of the symbols or diagrams used in the numerical reasoning test?
  • Were you familiar with the vocabulary used in the verbal reasoning test?
  • Was there anything that felt easier or more enjoyable? What tests do you not need as much practice on next time?

Your answers will give you some clues as to what you need to practice in advance of future assessments. But be warned – we are often our own worst critics, so use the self-evaluation approach with caution and be sure to always pick out the strengths in your performance.

Visual Impairment and Taking Psychometric Tests

What is visual impairment and why does it cause difficulties?

Visual impairment refers to a wide spectrum of sight difficulties and can range from partial sightedness through to blindness. A visually impaired person is considered to have irretrievable loss or distortion of vision which may be improved but not easily corrected by glasses or contact lenses.

The highly visual nature of psychometric tests is likely to present a visually impaired candidate with difficulties. For example, they may struggle to read the instructions, see the test stimuli, scan text, switch focus and discriminate between different colours (colour blindness). As such, these candidates may be unfairly disadvantaged across a large majority of aptitude tests; including numerical reasoning, verbal reasoning, inductive reasoning, as well as more real-life tasks, such as the in-tray exercise.

How can employers help?

Under the Disability and Discrimination Act 1995 and the Equality Act 2010, employers are required to make necessary amendments to ensure that their selection processes do not discriminate against persons who have significantly impaired vision.  The amendments that employers make to psychometric tests will largely depend on the tools and strategies that the candidate is already familiar with. Furthermore, employers must be careful not to make adjustments which invalidate the test. Examples of adjustments might include:

  • Using Braille in place of text
  • Transcribing tests into audio versions
  • Using assistants to read out text and record answers
  • Using larger fonts or magnification screens and devices

These amendments may lengthen response times and so candidates may need to be awarded extra time.

What do the psychometric testing guidelines say?

The British Psychological Society (BPS) has developed guidelines to advise those administering psychometric tests with people who are visually impaired:  Visual Impairment and Psychometric Testing (BPS, 2007). The BPS recommends that employers investigate the nature and severity of the visual impairment and consult with chartered psychologists or test publishers before making any test amendments.

Click here to read the full guidelines: Visual Impairment

Succeed in the Interview Process

These days job interviews are few and far between. Therefore, when you get an oppourtunity for a job you will want to grasp it with both hands. However caution is advised, as modern job applications can be complex affairs, with each different aspect requiring its own particular strategy.

There is a stereotype about job interviews. You  arrive at your potential workplace, sat out in the corridor, waiting nervously to be called in for a one-to-one with your potential new boss, during the interview you’re asked a range of questions, for which you give your pre-planned responses. If you’re lucky, you’ll get a call back in a couple of weeks, based on how much your new boss liked you as a person.

The above does hold true for many interviews, however these days there is often lots more to the process than this personal assessment. More and more employers have an aptitude test as an instrumental part of the application process. So, whilst there is value in rehearsing for your person-to-person interview, it is often only one part of the application process, and so true preparation requires you to practise for a psychometric test.

The golden rule with an interview is making a good impression. However, this is a subjective measurement, and is relatively easily achieved: a nice suit, clean shaven and a neat haircut. Success with a psychometric test isn’t so easy, which is why you application success equally demands practice, practice, practice.

Getting top tips for inductive reasoning

If you are a person applying for a popular job, one of the ways an employer might begin the selection process is by asking you to take part in an inductive reasoning test.

This is a kind of aptitude test, and looks closely at your capabilities and logical thinking abilities. They are popular with employers because when they are faced with a large number of applicants, aptitude tests and psychometric tests can help them to get a picture of each person easily and quickly.

But what if you feel you don’t do yourself justice in these tests? After all, they are not something that we come across every day.

At Assessment Day, we specialise in helping people get to grips with psychometric tests and aptitude tests of all kinds. We believe that practice makes you perfect, and on our site you can download tests to try.

By examining your results, and taking our tips to improve your answers, you can feel better prepared for online aptitude tests or for spending a day in an assessment centre run by an employer.

You can choose from several different kinds of aptitude or psychometric tests that may be ahead of you, and read our expert tips on how to deal with them.

We’re also aware that assessment centre days can be a strain, so we have prepared a special DVD with guidance from experts on what to expect and how to sail through, hopefully getting the job you deserve in the process.

What form do aptitude tests take?

When you apply for a job, you may well be asked to take a psychometric test or aptitude test.

Aptitude tests are a way for potential employers to assess your skills and capabilities, and a successful test may make all the difference between eventually getting the job – or not.

But what form do aptitude tests take? There are a number of different kinds, and you may have to tackle one or more during an assessment day set up by an employer.

One kind of aptitude test is the verbal reasoning test, which normally involves a written passage and some questions with possible True, False or Cannot Say responses.

One way to do well is to make sure you know the full meaning of each response, and on our Assessment Day site, you can find tips on understanding this fully, as well as trying a free sample test. You can then download further aptitude tests so you can keep practicing until you are comfortable.

Another kind of aptitude test is the inductive reasoning test. People sometimes call these diagrammatic or abstract reasoning tests, and should always be practised. They often pop up selection processes for people in the field of IT and engineering, where logical thinking is important.

With practice, it becomes more easy to think logically and methodically to spot patterns in the sequence of graphics you are presented with, and finish the test in plenty of time, while showing off your abilities in the way that you would wish.

Speed is the essence with aptitude tests

Often in an aptitude test it is not the nature of the questions themselves that cause people to struggle, but rather the time limits imposed on the candidates taking part in the assessment.

So, if you are preparing to sit a psychometric test, it can really pay off to practice your speed. If you had all day to note down your responses to the challenges posed, you may well make very few mistakes. But the reality is that with your back against the wall and time running out, you might well find your logic deserts you and you fail to show your true abilities.

This is why it can pay off to practise such questions in advance of the real test. This enables you to get a feel for the pace of the trial and to adjust your approach accordingly.

There is a distinct skill to spending enough but not too much time reading each question. If you rush this, you will make lots of mistakes on your aptitude test. In contrast, if you re-read sentences again and again and are too slow in your progress, you will fail get through the assessment. By practising them, you can get a feel for how speedily you should go through the trial.

Another great thing about preparing for a psychometric test is that you become more familiar with the type of wording they use. This means you will be more efficient in your dissemination of the questions than someone who has not looked as other such papers before.

Psychometric Testing: A Brief History

Testing for proficiency dates back to 2200 BC China, when the Emperor would make use of gruelling fitness assessments for his prospective warriors.

But the modern psychometric test has its roots in Charles Darwin’s cousin, Sir Francis Galton, who lived from 1822 to 1911, and was fascinated by individual differences. It was Sir Francis who showed that objective testing could provide meaningful scores.

Another pioneer was James Cattell, who first coined the term ‘mental test’ in 1890. Fifteen years later, Alfred Binet introduced the first modern intelligence test.

Psychometric testing rose in popularity throughout the twentieth century, and today a psychometric test is best described as a standardised assessment which looks at human behaviour and describes it with scores or categories.

There are some tests which assess intelligence, and others which test capability or personality traits.

Cognitive, sensory, perceptual or motor functions can also all be assessed with psychometric testing.

These days, many if not most employers make extensive use of these assessments, especially online psychometric tests, and especially when recruiting graduates in whom they will be making a substantial investment.

If you know you will be facing either paper-based or online psychometric tests, don’t worry. These multi-choice tests are nothing to worry about, and there are no right or wrong answers.

But you can boost your chances by practicing with past papers. Assessment Day has plenty of genuine tests you can work on to improve your chances of success. Visit our website and learn more.

Sitting a Psychometric Test? Preparation is Key

Psychometric testing is an efficient way of gaining an insight into someone’s personality, and the way they think. It can help develop team spirit at work while indicating what an individual’s priorities are.

Most employers – an estimated 65% – use a psychometric test when they are recruiting. At the same time, some organisations also use this form of testing as part of their staff development and retention programme. And you can be asked to undergo psychometric testing whatever your level, from school leaver to executive management.

So gaining an understanding of your own strengths and weaknesses in advance is a crucial first step in preparing for these assessments.

Learn how you would appear to a prospective employer and you can tip the balance in your favour before you’ve even turned up to take the test.

You may not have realised that psychometric testing can also help you to decide whether a career change is right for you. In fact, it’s no exaggeration to say that just a few questions can end up having a dramatic impact on your life, whether you’re looking into career planning or even personal relationships.

Online psychometric tests can be taken anywhere, so are very efficient. But you need to practice before you sit an assessment for real. At Assessment Day, we can help you prepare with our real examples of online psychometric tests employers use.

We have stacks of helpful advice, too. Visit our website and learn more.

Different Types of Aptitude Tests

Both paper and online aptitude tests are aimed at testing logical reasoning and your ability to think. Scores are compared with those of a control group to assess your ability.

Online aptitude tests are regularly used by recruiting employers as they give immediate results and are cost-effective since they can be taken anywhere.

Most assessments are divided into speed or power tests. The former are more often used at clerical or administrative level, and are aimed at seeing how many questions can be answered in a short space of time. Power tests, involving fewer but more complex questions, tend to be used for more senior positions.

Your aptitude test may include verbal or numerical reasoning, as well as abstract reasoning, which measures your ability to identify the underlying logic of a pattern. Spatial ability may also be part of your aptitude test.

Mechanical reasoning questions are used to recruit for many jobs including the Army, police and fire services, as well as several other occupations.

There are literally thousands which employers can choose from, so it’s perfectly fine to ask in advance of your assessment what type of questions you are going to face.

Once you know, you can do sample tests – they’re the best way to prepare for your assessment. At Assessment Day, we have plenty of past papers and real tests which employers are using now. We also show you fully worked solutions, and loads of advice. Log on and learn more today.

Why Employers Use Aptitude Testing

Psychometric testing comes in various forms, but essentially breaks down into three categories: ability, personality and interests.

Many companies introduce a psychometric test early on in the recruitment process to quickly identify candidates with the right combination of personality and skills.

One survey found that over 95% of companies in the FTSE 100 use a psychometric or aptitude test. Specifically, the civil service, the police and airlines incorporate them in their recruitment process.

Reports show that, the larger the company, the more likely it is to use the tests – 63.2 percent of businesses with over one hundred employees use them compared to around a third of organisations with under 10 members of staff. And the popularity of these tests is on the rise.

By using an aptitude test, a recruiter will be able to assess potential, and recognise the desired traits for future employees to ensure the business’s continued success.

However, a psychometric test isn’t something to worry about. After all, if you have the skills and personality your prospective employer needs, that should come across on the day.

Thought you couldn’t prepare for these assessments? Think again. At Assessment Day, we give you the chance to practice, using very accurate material. Our numerical, verbal and inductive reasoning tests show you the assessments employers use.

By becoming familiar with the tests you will face, you will be better prepared to perform your best. Don’t let your test score let you down.

How Organisations can use Online Psychometric Tests

The recruitment process is a highly complex one. With a huge number of people applying for every position, it can be hugely time consuming for employers to read applications and interview all the suitable candidates. Giving applicants a psychometric test to complete can help to find the most appropriate candidate for the job, simplifying the recruitment process.

Every job requires a different set of skills, aptitudes and abilities. For example, managers should have good leadership qualities and be assertive, while sales people should have a friendly, yet persuasive, demeanour. While you can try to assess these skills in an interview, people are not always themselves in such a pressured situation, making the impressions they give inaccurate. A psychometric aptitude test will give a much more detailed overview of a person’s ability to do a job.

Interviewing candidates for a job can take days, or even weeks, out of an interviewer’s schedule. For most jobs, it can be extremely inconvenient for someone to be away from their regular tasks for that length of time. While a psychometric test will require someone to moderate the room of people taking it, or the use of assessment centres, online psychometric tests can be undertaken in a candidate’s own home. The results are then assessed by a computer, freeing up your staff to do their regular job.

Online psychometric tests can take a lot of the stress out of the recruitment process. Giving them to candidates can almost guarantee that you’ll find the most appropriate person for the job.

Preparing Yourself for a Psychometric Test

If you are applying for vacancies, particularly highly competitive ones, you may find that you are asked to complete a psychometric test. Psychometric tests do not assess knowledge. They are designed to evaluate your personality and measure your ability to do the job in question. You may be asked how you would react in various situations, designed to test your abstract reasoning skills and show how you would deal with any people or circumstances you may encounter on the job.

Psychometric tests cannot be prepared for in the way you would with a traditional exam. This is because they are designed to test your personality and reactions, not your expertise. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t do any preparation prior to your test. Only by knowing what to expect will you achieve success in your test.

The best thing you can do prior to your psychometric aptitude test is practice. Search for online psychometric tests and complete as many of them as you can. This will give you an idea of what will happen during your actual test, and hopefully make you feel less anxious about it.

Anxiety is one of the main reasons why people don’t do well in tests. If you are worried about why you are taking a psychometric test, or what will happen to your scores once you’ve completed it, then ask someone. You are entitled to all that information. If you’re unsure of anything before or during the test, make sure you have everything clarified by someone. Feeling relaxed and secure is one of the best ways you can prepare for a test.

The Aptitude Test Explained

There comes a point in many people’s lives where they are unsure about their vocation. Perhaps you have just graduated from university and are uncertain about which path to take next, or you’ve been in the same job for many years and are becoming discontented. Taking an aptitude test could help you make these decisions, and could even improve your chances of landing your ideal job in the future.

During an aptitude test, you will be asked a variety of questions. These will mostly be based around your interests and how you would react in various situations. There are no straight ‘yes or no’ answers. You will have to rate your answers on a scale, so they truly are a reflection of your personality. You will also have to think about your current career choice, and whether you think it is suited to you. Your answers will then be assessed to find the perfect career for you.

Once you’ve completed your psychometric test you won’t only be given one ideal career, you’ll be given a choice of a number of suitable careers. You will then be able to take your time deciding which career will be best for you.

There are many companies offering aptitude tests. Offline tests at assessment centres tend to be very expensive, but there are plenty of online aptitude tests that are much more affordable. And with the huge choice available, you’re bound to find one that suits your personality and needs perfectly.

Preparing for an aptitude test

It is much harder to prepare for an aptitude test than it is for the more standard tests and exams that we are all used to. In those, there is a right answer and a wrong answer, or at least an opportunity to demonstrate a very specific piece of knowledge. All you have to do is acquire the right knowledge, put it down clearly on the exam paper, and you’ll be fine.

It’s made very clear to you where the right knowledge is. University and college students are tested on what’s in the set textbook and the content of lectures and lab sessions. They know exactly what they have to study. With an aptitude test it’s not so simple. How do you prepare for a test that measures a more general ability?

The first thing to do is to make sure you’re familiar with the kind of questions that might be asked. You can do this most easily by taking practice psychometric tests like the ones Assessment Day can provide. Not only does this help you prepare yourself to answer the right kind of question, it also helps you become familiar with what will be expected of you.

The unknown always makes us nervous. Taking a selection of online aptitude tests removes that worry and means you can approach assessment centre exercises in a calmer state of mind that will give you a far better chance of success. There is no need to be nervous; you can get started straight away.

Aptitude Tests Help Separate the Wheat from the Chaff

Due to the recent recession, finding a job can be particularly hard as many industries and companies seem to still be making redundancies instead of hiring staff. So when a company does hire a new employee, they will want to ensure they have the perfect candidate for every position.

Many companies require a candidate to undertake an aptitude test in order to differentiate the best applicants from the large number of appliants they get for every advertised post. Psychometric tests are a quick way for an employer to identify markers which help to indicate which of the applicants are clearly unsuitable candidates.

If you want to secure employment, you need to stand out from the crowd. Here at Assessment Day we can provide you with a variety of online aptitude tests to ensure you are prepared for the real thing.

Our online aptitude tests include numerical reasoning, verbal reasoning, inductive reasoning and psychometric tests.

Psychometric tests not only help to show your intelligence level, but they can also quantify certain personality traits and allow employers to identify how well you might fit into their organisation.

Our online aptitude tests will not only prepare you for any future aptitude tests, but they can improve your confidence, allow you to view where you went wrong and allow you to work more quickly to beat the aptitude test clock.

Here at Assessment Day we can provide you with reliable aptitude tests which are very similar to those you may well receive in the recruitment process for a future job.

Our online aptitude tests are ideal for job seekers seeking full-time, part-time or temporary employment. They are also ideal for graduates, as the tests can prepare them for entering the world of employment and knowing what to expect when applying for jobs.