Recruitment or online tests can strike fear into the most confident. Yet they are still part of some graduate schemes and so are a reality that has to be faced. Tests come in a number of formats and are referred to as psychometric or aptitude tests.
What do psychometric tests consist of?
Numerical reasoning tests : these assess how well you interpret data, graphs, charts or statistics. Can also be used to test basic arithmetic.
Verbal reasoning tests: these assess how you well you understand written information and evaluate arguments and statements.
Diagrammatic reasoning tests: these assess how well you follow diagrammatic information or spot patterns. They can also be used to check spatial awareness.
Logical reasoning tests: These assess how well you follow through to a conclusion given basic information, or using your current knowledge or experience.
Deductive reasoning tests: these are very similar to logical reasoning tests. You are typically given information or rules to apply in order to arrive at an answer.
Inductive reasoning tests: these are similar to diagrammatic or abstract reasoning tests, and often involve spotting patterns.
Other tests used by recruiters include Situational Judgement Tests – these replicate scenarios of a typical working day and look to see how well you know and fit a particular company.
Preparing to take them
It is important to prepare yourself. Warwick students have to opportunity to use the range of resources to prepare. You may feel that whilst you are motivated it is best to take them as soon as you can. But despite how great you think your skill sets are you will need to practice first. Many people, who are very able and otherwise excellent candidates, are unsuccessful in the tests because they simply are unused to the tests and the speed they are implemented at.
It isn’t the difficulty of the questions; it’s the time pressure of answering the maximum number in the short time available. The more you practise, the easier it will become. Some recruiters will incorporate negative marking into their tests, so you’ll need to work quickly but methodically. You may be rusty on some of the basics. If, for example, you haven’t done any maths since GCSE, you may not be as quick at working out percentages, ratios, etc. as you were then. Bear in mind some tests will allow calculators but others won’t so you’ll need to get up to speed.
Don’t be complacent
There are some students who think they’ll have no problem with the verbal reasoning tests as ‘they’re about words’; similarly, there are other students who feel confident they’ll sail through any numerical reasoning tests because they’re ‘good at maths’ Anecdotal evidence suggests that the people who perform best on verbal tests are engineers and scientists who are good at spotting the salient points quickly. Numerical tests can be difficult for any students (particularly for those who’ve avoided all things numerical since GCSEs) but they can also present a challenge for others who may be used to working on more advanced and abstract material, not the basic arithmetic – or statistical – interpretation required in most numerical reasoning tests.
Remember that if you progress through to later stages of the application stages you will be required to do another test on the day of your assessment centre. If you require extra time for any reason then recruiters will accommodate your needs so let them know ahead of time. Not all recruiters will use these tests but the larger companies will do. If you struggle with them it is worth you talking the issue over with a Careers Consultant.