By Paul Newton
Designed to quantify candidates’ abilities, including how they would respond to practical work situations, psychometric tests are becoming a familiar part of the recruitment selection process. As such, candidates should be prepared to face the psychometric test just as they would be prepared for an interview. But, what can you do to ensure you give your optimum performance on the day?
It is possible to revive seemingly lost skills by exercising particular parts of the brain. For example, prior to a psychometric test involving verbal reasoning, time spent playing word games and doing crosswords puzzles will certainly pay dividends. Another valuable activity that will strengthen your analysis and communication skills is reading in-depth articles in business journals and summarising their key points. What at first may seem like a hard slog will soon begin to come naturally.
As for numerical reasoning, practise basic mental arithmetic including addition, subtraction, division, multiplication, percentages and ratios. In addition, familiarise yourself with the different ways of presenting data visually – graphs, pie charts, histograms, etc. Psychometric tests are geared towards assessing your ability to handle information rather than perform straightforward calculations, so practise extracting specific facts from data presented in various forms. You can find this kind of data in the financial press and technical manuals as well as mathematical text books.
If you feel your arithmetic is just too rusty to be of any use, go back to basics and practise simple calculations and run through your times tables up to 12 until it feels familiar once more. If you wish, you could join a basic numeracy course. Details of these will be available from
libraries and careers advisors.
Once you have reinvigorated your verbal and numerical skills, put them into practice using sample questions from actual psychometrical tests.
Examples of test questions are available from www.psychometric-success.com. It is a fact that practise of actual papers improves candidates’ scores, so try as many examples as you can.
As well as all this mental ‘limbering up’, there are techniques to be learnt that can prevent you from losing marks unnecessarily. Most obviously, make sure you get a good night’s sleep before the day of the test, and get there in plenty of time to ensure you are feeling relaxed
and ready to give your best effort. When you actually sit down to take the test, listen carefully to the instructions and ask if you have any questions. One query that is certainly worth making is if marks will be deducted for incorrect answers. If they are not, then answer every question, even it’s only your best guess. With numerical tests, you can often eliminate many of the possible answers without having to perform time-consuming calculations for each one by simply making a rough estimate. Finally, don’t worry, if you don’t finish all the questions in time, many psychometric tests are deliberately designed to have a surplus of questions, but if you do have time at the end, check over your answers.
Clearly, the kind of preparation suggested here cannot guarantee a pass, but it can ensure you give it your best shot. And if you don’t succeed at your first test, think of it as good preparation for the next!
About the Author: Paul Newton is webmaster of- Psychometric Success
which offers – free downloadable aptitude tests
as well as all the expert advice you need to succeed in psychometric tests.