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EPSO General Ability Tests

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Ben Hopgood Updated:

About EPSO General Ability Tests

EPSO looks for employees with a high numerical, verbal and inductive logical ability. Applicants have to pass a general ability reasoning test.

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EPSO use the following tests in their selection process:

  • Numerical comprehension tests
  • Verbal comprehension tests
  • Inductive reasoning tests
  • Situational Strengths tests

General ability tests are a fair and objective way for the EPSO to assess a wide range of applicants, each having different experiences and different qualifications. By analysing the results of a standardised ability test, the EPSO are able to quickly see which candidates are suitable for the role and which are not. This sort of information about candidates’ skills is difficult to glean from interviews and qualifications alone, so they use professional psychometric tests.

Often, the EPSO will ask applicants to take a general ability test online, which you can take from home. When the general ability test is used early on in the application process like this you will have to achieve a minimum score before you progress to the next round (typically a score in the top 50% of applicants is required however this does vary role to role). Further along in the selection process you might be asked to attend an assessment centre or interview where you will be asked to sit a general ability test again. This is so the EPSO can verify the person scoring highly in the test is indeed the person applying for the job.

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EPSO General Ability Test Questions

EPSO tests are administered by Prometric. The test battery typically includes a compilation of questions of numerical, verbal and inductive reasoning style. However, this may differ depending on the location and job role. Therefore, we would advise you to inquire about the test publisher and the tests that will be used

Like most tests, the one used by EPSO look at your ability to interpret abstract data, such as patterns created from shapes and shades, and answer questions which require identification and extrapolation of these patterns. The test will be assessing your speed and accuracy. The answers are multiple choice and you should try to work quickly within the time limit, but also accurately. Negative marking is unlikely to be used but do not guess answers, as this will show up in your accuracy score. Sometimes you will find that you can make a best guess estimate by deducing that some of the answer options are incorrect. This approach to logical tests will come with practice, and you will become familiar with the type of logical tests used by companies such as EPSO.

general ability tests and who uses them

Companies are using general ability test more and more in their application process that candidates must go through. general ability tests are favoured to assess a candidate's general level of abstract intelligence or reasoning ability. A person's score in a general ability test is a good indicator of their ability to work well with new concepts and to spot patterns. This can be important in any sector or position.

So as a graduate or senior candidate applying for a job at EPSO you might feel like the general ability test is an unnecessary hoop to jump through. But you should bear in mind that EPSO are asking you to complete the logical test as much for your own benefit as theirs; if you are not suitable for the role, a psychometric test will usually identify this. Research has shown that psychometric tests, such as those used by EPSO, are a better predictor of job performance than traditional selection metrics such as level of degree achieved.

What you should know before taking your numerical reasoning test

The logical operations required in standardised logical tests are of a level which most applicants can achieve. The difficult aspect comes with identifying the patterns, especially when there are multiple differences in each example of the pattern, quickly and accurately within the time limit. Here is a list of the most common operations you can expect in your logical test:

  • Changes in size of shape
  • Reflection
  • Transformation
  • Division
  • Greyscale shading or other ways of making shapes more distinct
  • Rotation

Different types of logical tests

Most questions in most general ability tests follow a standard format displaying a pattern of images, the question and answer options on screen. These can be arranged differently, but each test will stick to the same layout throughout. The images may contain shapes, such as squares, triangles, and circles, or more symbols, such as arrows, currency signs, and other special characters. The question text may contain extra information which adds to what's given in the sequence of images, this might also be necessary to answer the question correctly. You might have to guess which answer option is the next in the sequence, or which options represents a missing step in the sequence. Lastly, the answer options are almost always multiple choice. Multiple choice answers can vary, however. You may have 4 options to pick from, 5, maybe 10, or more. The more answer options to pick from, the slimmer the chances are that you can obtain the correct answer by guessing.

Answered questions

Are these tests suitable for EPSO?

Yes. EPSO use SHL's reasoning tests to assess applicants in the recruitment process. The practice tests we provide have been designed to mimic SHL's style to create an environment similar to the real assessment. This provides you with confidence that the questions you practice with us now are an accurate reflection of the real assessment.

How difficult are your tests?

The same difficulty as real tests. Generally real employer selection tests don't differ that much in terms of difficulty which is why they compare your score against norm groups. Our practice tests are pitched roughly at graduate level, but this means they are actually suitable for preparing for all levels of job: entry; apprentice; graduate; senior; director.

Are they compatible with my Mac / Tablet / Phone?

Yes, and PC, and Linux and smartphone and Android and...everything. Our practice tests will run on all systems and they are responsive so they will work well on tablets and smartphones too!

How many times can I take the tests?

Unlimited. You can take our practice tests as many times as you like; there is no limit. But to be honest, after taking the same test a few times you start to remember the answers, so that’s why we have lots of tests.