Career Snapshot: Psychometric Tests
Many employers use psychometric tests as part of their recruitment process, for both internships and graduate roles. These could be aptitude tests (such as numerical, verbal or diagrammatical reasoning) or personality tests, or Situational Judgement Tests (SJTs).
In this section, you will find resources on how to best prepare for these tests and links to practice test websites. Watch the video here Career Snapshot: Psychometric Tests to get an overview of psychometric tests and our top tips, and see our handouts Psychometric Tests [pdf] and Assessment Centres [pdf].
Psychometric tests are designed to be reliable, valid, objective measures of aspects such as aptitude, ability or personality trait. Typically they are done online and can be encountered early on in the recruitment process, perhaps soon after you’ve submitted an application and may be repeated at the Assessment Centre stage as well. The tests are often timed and the results are standardised, which means they enable accurate comparisons to be made between test-takers.
- Aptitude or Ability Tests - these are designed to assess your level of ability in a particular skill required for the role. Typically they involve questions focused on verbal, numerical and diagrammatic reasoning. The level of academic knowledge required isn’t usually that high (e.g. GCSE level mathematics) but the way that the questions are asked can be different to what you are used to. The best way to get better is to practise!
- Situational Judgement Tests (SJTs) – these assess your approach to resolving problems in workplace situations. You are presented with a hypothetical workplace situation and will choose a response from pre-defined options or rank the responses from best to worst. Our top tip is to review the organisation’s values as often the best response connects to these values and the behaviours they expect from their employees. Consider any ethical aspects as well as current trends/challenges that the industry sector/organisation faces (e.g. environmental factors within the oil and gas sector). It can be helpful to think in terms of firstly ‘what will benefit the business and/or our clients?’ and also, a close second, ‘what will benefit the team and/or my colleagues?’. If you’re considering both these aspects when deciding how you’d respond then you should be on the right lines.
- Personality Questionnaires – these are designed to assess your personality traits or preferences, typically exploring your individual behaviour, attitudes, motivations or opinions. The tests help to identify candidates who are best suited for a specific position and estimate the likelihood of them excelling in the role. There are no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ answers however your responses can indicate if your personality matches that of the ideal candidate, e.g. a timid or shy person is probably not the right person for a job in sales. These assessments are not normally timed, cannot really be prepared for and generally feel less like an exam. Follow the instructions given to you, respond with what comes naturally and don’t try to second guess what the employer is looking for.
- Game-based Assessments – there is an increasing trend for organisations to gamify their psychometric tests using puzzles or simulations. These games can be used to check logic, cognitive problem solving skills, natural behaviour, goal setting, decision making or even attention spans. It’s not easy to prepare for these tests as you don’t know what each game will be measuring or what you may encounter during the process. Most games involve scoring points or completing tasks within timeframes which can add to the “enjoyment factor” and make them seem less like a test but do consider what might be being assessed by the organisation. For example, if a game allows you to score big points by taking risks, but the employer values caution over risk, then a high score is not necessarily a good thing! Make sure you read the instructions carefully, be yourself while being mindful of the possible attributes being assessed, take the games seriously but try to enjoy the process.
- Virtual Reality (VR) – a growing number of employers are actively embracing new technologies within recruitment activities one emerging trend is the use of VR at assessment centres. VR enables recruiters to create immersive and interactive environments in which candidates experience simulated scenarios and attempt to solve problems or complete challenges. The activities can be workplace scenarios for example preparing for a meeting using items available in the VR scenario through to more imaginative activities such as breaking into a vault or an Egyptian Tomb!
Whatever type of assessment you encounter in the recruitment process make sure you follow this advice. Practise to familiarise yourself with the different types of tests and questioning styles. Make use of practise resources and events, puzzle books and cognitive apps can help train your brain and ensure your basics mathematics is up to standard. Familiarise yourself with organisation values and potentially read some business reports or news articles and practise extracting key information from paragraphs of text through speed reading etc. When you come to take a test you should treat it like an exam and find a quiet location with minimal distractions. If you require any reasonable adjustments (for example if you receive additional time for exams at Imperial due to a disability) then you should speak to the recruiter in advance of taking the test as similar adjustments could be available for you when doing these tests.
Below are some resources we’ve collated that offer information and practice assessments to help you prepare for aptitude and psychometric tests. Those listed were found to contain useful practice tests, questionnaires or other material at the time of their inclusion but we do not control the contents of the sites and all links are provided in good faith. Typically the websites listed provide some free to use material and it should be noted that the fact that a link to a website is included, does not constitute a professional endorsement or recommendation of their services.
If you have any concerns about the content of any site or, if you have additional resources you feel would benefit other students, please contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org. In addition to these resources you may want to attend one of our regular psychometric test workshops booked via JobsLive.
- Assessment Day – a huge variety of information and sample free practice tests covering all major types of assessments.
- Assessment-Training – a range of free tests covering all types of assessment styles.
- Cubiks – various information and tips for online assessments.
- GraduateFirst – access to various practice resources (free access near the bottom of the page)
- Job Test Prep – a wide variety of information and sample questions are available free of charge however costs apply to access many practice resources.
- Profiling For Success, Kogan Page - Team Focus - complete verbal, numerical and abstract reasoning tests and receive a personalised feedback report.
- Practice4Me – a large variety of free to access aptitude and personality tests including study guides.
- Practice Aptitude Tests – a full spectrum of psychometric tests including numerical reasoning, verbal reasoning, diagrammatic reasoning, situational judgement and many more.
- Practice Reasoning - created by the founder of WikiJob this comprehensive resource of training materials and practice tests covers a variety of test styles and provides success tips and guides.
- Psychometric Success – access free aptitude tests and a comprehensive selection of eBooks covering a wide variety of selection tests.
- Psychometric Tests – access to a range of assessment information and practice tests.
- Quant Riddles & Answers – a collection of riddles, logic or lateral puzzles to help train your brain.
- Saville Assessment – a variety of timed practice with feedback.
- SHL Practice Tests – example assessment tests covering a variety of formats.
- Situational Judgement Test – trial assessments and receive personalised feedback reports.
- TalentLens – access a Critical Thinking (Watson Glaser) test and Numerical Data Interpretation test.
- The Online Test Centre – various practice assessments.
- Verbal Reasoning Test – three practice tests that feeds a database of research.
- WikiJobs – detailed background information on a variety of assessments and various free practice resources.
It’s hard to find practice resources for these types of assessment due to the commercial value and intellectual property but Artic Shores, Revelian and Cut-e are some of the leading providers in this growing market. We’ve located a few practice simulations that could help you become familiar ith the style of games you may encounter:
- NATS Skills Games – 5 games that assess spatial awareness, memory and coordination.
- Memory Cards by AssessmentDay – Memory/Sequential simulation game.
- MindmetriQTM by Test Partnership – 6 practice games testing spatial awareness, memory, visual processing, and quantitative reasoning etc.
Support to help improve numerical skills:
- Math Tutor - video tutorials, support documents, diagnostic tests and exercises to help develop and improve your maths skills.
- Math Centre – self-study guides and tests to help improve your math skills.
- Pearson Math Skills – exercises and fully-worked solutions
- BBC Skillswise Maths – collection of resources to improve your maths.
Support to help improve English language skills:
- English Conversation Forum – open to all members of Imperial this online community encourages conversation and cultural exchanges.
- Language Pairs – practice pronunciation, idiom and vocabulary in a peer learning environment with a native English speaking volunteer.
- BBC Skillswise English - collection of resources to improve your English.
- The Centre for Academic English – work with Imperial staff and students, both native and non-native speakers to achieve effective STEMM communication.
Specific support for coding assessments:
- CodeAcademy – explore programs and courses in an online community of 45 million learners.
- Coderbyte – improve your coding skills and become and better developer in preparation for technical interviews and coding challenges.
- HackerRank – practice coding test for assessment and interview.
As a member of the College you have access to LinkedIn Learning. Using LinkedIn Learning’s instructional videos you can teach yourself how to use various software packages and business-related subjects.