Error checking tests are designed to assess the current performance level of an individual, whether applying for a position or currently employed, in order to aid in the selection of candidates, workplace appraisals and other required areas. These types of aptitude tests are of particular use in secretarial, clerical and administrative roles as the test evaluates ability to check information and the employees of these respective occupations would likely be required to produce a large amount of written text or numerical analysis, which would make effective error detection skills a necessity. Research has suggested that error checking tests are a reliable predictor of future job performance in regards to these areas, which in part has facilitated their rise in popularity among potential and current employers as a means of assessment.
Although they are useful for employers, error checking tests can also offer useful information to those taking them. For example, the assessment feedback gives the candidate an insight into their own existing abilities, as well as possible areas for improvement, which in turn could inspire self-directed development if they wish to progress their skills. By using the assessment in order to improve performance, the candidate may find themselves more desirable to prospective employers. In regards to personal use, an individual might wish to use the assessment to find out which occupational roles they may be more suited to in order to select a career appropriate to their abilities.
Having outlined the importance of error checking aptitude tests, it is also useful to know what to expect when completing one. For instance, the typical questions to arise during these assessments require an effective comparison of correct information alongside an adapted version of the original text. They will appear to be very similar although in the altered text, some items have been transposed or swapped with other parts of the transcript. The aim is to identify the statements that have been written correctly, those that have been altered and the nature of the alteration itself, for example; type, business name, account number etc. The texts provided will normally contain alphabetical and numerical characters in order to allow for an assessment of both fields and have a time limit for completion of questions.
Example Error Checking Questions
The best way to familiarise yourself with error checking tests and the types of questions you might be asked, is to try some example questions yourself. In real tests there will be a strict time limit, typically you will be given 14 minutes to answer 28 questions.
- Q1: Identify if there are any errors in the column of numbers, and state what they are.
- Q1: Solution In this example the correct text is shown on the right and the candidate has been given a list containing alterations as well as the original number. The task is to state if there are any errors and to identify where and what they. For this example the amended numbers have been highlighted in red and are the typical "transposed" errors, in which items from within the original text have been swapped around, while the rest remains in the initial format.
- Q2: Are the items on the left transposed correctly, if not where are the errors?
- Q2: Solution This example is slightly different as there is only one alteration for each original item and it contains both alphabetical and numerical items, it also might seem more difficult at first because the two full columns make it appear more daunting. Once again the errors have been highlighted in red and are of the typical format.
- Q3: Are the items on the left transposed correctly, if not where are the errors?
- Q3: Solution This final example is a little more complicated as it introduces the idea of multiple "types", represented here as Company Name, Account Number and status, this type of question requires extra attention as there could be more than one error for each row. The task requires an accurate comparison of the two tables in order to detect the errors and state where they are. Questions that involve multiple possibilities for errors to occur may be the most useful as the error finding process closely resembles that which would be needed in day to day tasks.
Preparing for an Error Checking Test
When taking an error checking test, it could be helpful to follow these guidelines:
- Be prepared - Prior to the assessment it is important to get a good night's sleep so that you are well rested and alert. Any special requirements such as large text should have been made clear to those providing the test.
- Remain calm - It is important not to panic, as you are more likely to miss details when anxious especially during timed tasks. Try to relax using deep breathing exercises.
- Read the instructions - To avoid ticking the wrong boxes, ensure that you are familiar with what the task requires and that you respond in the desired manner. If you are not sure of something, ask.
- Double check your answers - It is easy to make simple mistakes when under assessment, so be sure to read through your responses.
- Be efficient - While ensuring that you have not made mistakes, remember not to linger on one question for too long or you may not complete the test. Using a practise version of an error checking test could familiarise you with what to expect, as well as improve time allocation.
- Ask for feedback - The more you know about your performance, the better. This way you will have more guidance for areas of improvement during self-development and it shows willingness to build-upon current abilities.
And finally: good luck! If you need any advice or information about taking an error checking test please feel free to get in touch.