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Psychometric Tests

Video 1: What is a psychometric test and how do they work?


Video 2: Best practices and test standardisation
Video 3: Feedback and the future of testing
Psychometric testing essentials
Psychometric tests are an objective way for recruiters to measure the potential of candidates to perform well in
a job role. Traditionally recruiters studied your CV and qualifications, and made a decision based on an
interview. Extensive research has shown that actually this is a fairly poor way to pick which candidates are
going to be best for the job. What's a better way? You guessed it: a psychometric test. In fact, many employers
use a combination of interviews, assessments and psychometric tests. The power of psychometric testing is
that there is a strong correlation between test scores and job performance, i.e. if you score higly in a
psychometric test, the chances are that you are going to perform well in the job. As an employer, their
predictive qualities make psychometric tests very attractive. Add the fact that they can be administered
quickly and efficiently on a large scale and you can see why psychometric tests have become the norm,
especially for graduate recruitment.
Understand that psychometric tests take many forms
The term psychometric test is an umbrella term which covers both ability testing and personality profiling. On
this page we give tips focusing on ability testing, since that is where the most advantage is gained from
practice. At the bottom of this page there are links to the other types of psychometric test you are likely to
encounter, including personality questionnaires.
Personality questionnaire
Aptitude (or ability) test
Situational judgement test
Diagrammatic reasoning
Numerical reasoning
Critical thinking test
Verbal reasoning test
Inductive reasoning
...and many more
"Psychometric Tests"
As a candidate, the best way to prepare for your psychometric test is to practise, and find out more about it.
On this page we present the best advice from experts on how to achieve your full potential in your assessment.
Psychometric tests are often just one part of a more extensive assessment centre, where you might also be
assessed in a group exercise, an in tray exercise or a situational judgement test.
Most employers are using psychometric tests to measure the capabilities of applicants, compare the most able
candidates, and find the best match between employer and employee. Employers love psychometric tests
because they are a quick, effective way to sift through vast numbers of job applications. Candidates are less
fond of psychometric tests, but you needn't be afraid of them. You can approach your test with confidence by
reading our top tips and advice below.
Psychometric test tips: before your test

Tip 1: Study your invitation letter
Dont trip at the first hurdle. Before you take your test you should have been given prior notice; this will take
the form of either a letter or an email. Study this letter carefully and note anything it asks you to bring with
you, for example reading glasses.
If your psychometric test is online you will be given a deadline by which you must complete the test; typically
a week or so. Obviously make sure you dont miss the deadline. If you are away or know you wont be able to
complete the online test by the date given, this might not matter; speak to the employer asking you to take the
test and explain your situation.
The invitation letter will tell you everything you need to know before you take your test; what you will be
tested on, why you are being tested and what your results will be used for. Every candidate will get exactly the
same letter to make sure the test experience is fair and standardised for everyone. Pay careful attention to your
invitation letter and understand what it asks you to do.
This is the best stage at which to ask questions about your psychometric test; there will be plenty of time to
explain and help you. This is also the best stage at which to talk to the employer about any special
requirements you have, such as adjusting for a disability.

Tip 2: Take the example questions
Included with your invitation letter will often be a short series of example questions to give you an idea of
what the test questions will be like. Take these example questions seriously; they are your best chance of
familiarising yourself with the particular type of psychometric test you are taking. Make sure you understand
these example questions before you start your full psychometric test.
If your invitation letter/email does not include any example test questions theres no harm in asking for some.
Its in the interest of the psychometric test publisher to give candidates an idea of what to expect because that
way the test will be measuring your true ability, not how well you cope with stress and confusion.
Psychometric test publishers also like to give out a few example questions to help level the playing field
between candidates who have seen psychometric tests before and those who have not, so take advantage of
these example questions.
If, after asking, you are still not given any example questions to look at, you can at least take consolation that
every other candidate will be in the same situation before their psychometric test.

Tip 3: Find the psychometric test publisher
The company you are applying to, or the recruitment agency you are working with, will outsource the design
of the psychometric test to a specialist test publisher. Several psychometric test publishers exist and each has
slightly different styles. The largest is SHL, but others include Saville Consulting, TalentQ, Cubiks, Criterion
Partnership, and Kenexa. Pay careful attention to the online link you get to take your psychometric test and
the branding of any test material you get; these will be clues as to which test publisher is behind the
psychometric test you are about to sit. As soon as you find out which company has designed the psychometric
test you can go directly to their website and find out even more information about that specific test, such as
the time limit, whether negative marking is being used, and whether they have example test questions.
If your invitation letter/email does not include any example test questions theres no harm in asking for some.
Its in the interest of the psychometric test publisher to give candidates an idea of what to expect because that
way the test will be measuring your true ability, not how well you cope with stress and confusion.
Psychometric test publishers also like to give out a few example questions to help level the playing field
between candidates who have seen psychometric tests before and those who have not, so take advantage of
these example questions.
If, after asking, you are still not given any example questions to look at, you can at least take consolation that
every other candidate will be in the same situation before their psychometric test.

Tip 4: Practice, practice, practice
Like most tests, practice can help. There are lots of practice psychometric tests available in books and online,
so there is no excuse not to practise. Practising aptitude tests will help you become familiar with the types of
questions asked and will reduce your anxiety. If you know what to expect in your test you will be better able
to perform your best, instead of being fazed by something new to you. Employers want to measure your true
ability and nerves only get in the way of this.
For personality questionnaires the benefit of practice doesnt go far beyond helping you to become familiar
with the style of questions, since you are who you are and the extent to which you can improve your
personality is limited. However for aptitude tests (for example numerical, verbal, inductive tests) practice will
allow you to improve your test-taking technique, and generally the score you can achieve. By practising
aptitude tests you will typically become faster and more accurate at answering the questions. You will spot
time-saving techniques and develop methods for ruling out incorrect answers. The more you practise these
types of test the more competent you will become, especially if you havent taken a psychometric test before.

Tip 5: Plan your online test session
If your psychometric test is online you will be able to choose where and when you take it. So think about
when you work best: is it in the morning, do you work better before or after a meal? Also choose a quiet time
when you are least likely to be disturbed. If you are taking your online psychometric test in a shared house,
give your housemates advance notice and put a sign on your door asking not to be disturbed. Turn off your
phone and any other distractions before your test.
Choose a computer you like to work on; a PC with a large screen and a mouse is better than a small laptop
with a touchpad. Another reason to practice psychometric tests beforehand is to establish how and where you
personally work best.
Make sure you have everything you need before you start your test: a calculator, a couple of pens, and plenty
of rough paper. Make sure youve been to the loo before your psychometric test starts as some psychometric
tests can take up to an hour.
If, after asking, you are still not given any example questions to look at, you can at least take consolation that
every other candidate will be in the same situation before their psychometric test.

Tip 6: Use your favourite calculator
For online numerical reasoning tests you will get to use your own calculator. Make sure you choose one with
which you are familiar; perhaps that old one youve had since your GCSEs for example. The time pressure
during psychometric tests is intense, so if you can save a few vital seconds by not having to look down at your
calculator to find where the divide button is, then you are giving yourself the best possible chance to perform
well.
Another important thing to bear in mind when you take your online test is whether your calculator displays
your typing on the screen. For example scientific calculators will display what youve typed on a line above
the main line of display. This is very useful when you are adding a list of numbers and you need to quickly
check where you got to. Or if you miss-key a button this line will show you whether you need to go back one
step. Without this feature on your calculator you will have to clear and start the calculation again not what
you need during your psychometric test.
If your test is conducted at a test centre or at the employers office, you will probably have to use the
calculator they give you, to ensure that each candidate receives a standardised test experience. However
theres no harm in taking your calculator with you and asking.
Psychometric test tips: during your test

Tip 7: Speak up if youre not happy
At the start of your psychometric test a test administrator will explain why the test is being used and will go
through the test instructions with you. If your test is online, you will just read this information on-screen. You
should use this stage to check that you have everything, you understand the test, and that you are comfortable
for the test to begin.
This means:
check that your desk isn't wobbly
check if you can feel a draft or if the air conditioning is distracting
listen for distracting noises
check your calculator turns on and your pen works
Make these checks before your psychometric test starts because once the timer has started it cannot be stopped
and you dont want to be moving desks mid-way through your test.

Tip 8: Read the instructions carefully
This is another way candidates can fail their psychometric test at the first hurdle. Does the test ask you to
circle the right answer, strike it through, shade a box of your answer option, or write your answer option on a
separate answer book? You should pay attention to this when you read the instructions for your test.
How long do you get to complete your test? Sometimes thet are not time at all. Is the time limit for the whole
test or is it per question? It is a good idea to write down the start time of your test, so that even if you dont
have a stopwatch, or you forget to start it, you always have a way of knowing how much time is remaining in
your test.
Is the question asking for one answer, the nearest answer, a list of answers in order, or the odd one out? The
style of questions found in psychometric tests varies so make sure you read carefully the instructions each
time.

Tip 9: Understand each question
Understanding the question is different from reading it. Perhaps read the question, think about your answer
and then re-read the question to check you are about to attempt what is intended. During your psychometric
test it is very easy under the pressure of time to dive head-first into answering a question only to find half-way
through that youve misunderstood the question.
Things to look out for in aptitude test questions: - Units. Does it ask for the answer in thousands, in seconds,
or a different currency? - How many decimal places does the question ask for? Does the question ask for your
answer to the nearest hundred, nearest kg, nearest ? - Do you definitely have all the information you need to
answer the question or it is not possible to say?
Most psychometric tests include answer options called distractors. These are wrong answers which many
people mistakenly thought were correct. During psychometric test trials common mistakes might form these
distractor options to disguise the correct answer. It also means that just because you see the answer youve
arrived at, it doesnt necessarily mean youre correct. Re-read the question and ask yourself whether you have
understood it correctly.
Careful reading of each question will help you pick up as many marks as possible during your psychometric
test.

Tip 10: You probably dont have time to double-check answers
During exams you may be used to double-checking your answers. Whilst this is admirable in some test
scenarios, in a psychometric test the time limits are so tight that the time you spend checking an answer is
probably better spent answering another next question. Most people dont get to the end of their psychometric
test within the time limit.
There is obviously a balance to be struck with checking answers during your test, and your personal test-
taking style will emerge through repeated practice. Rushing through you test to the end is too fast, and double-
checking every question is too slow. A good balance might be to pause at the end of each question and look
back at the question; does it look right? Have you got the units correct and have you answered the whole
question? Then move on. Some tests dont allow you to go back to questions anyway.
In your psychometric test its better to answer lots of questions correctly than to quickly get lots wrong.

Tip 11: The speed vs. accuracy debate
Your psychometric test score is not all about how many questions you get right. The results of your aptitude
test will include accuracy and speed ratings showing how many of the attempted questions you got right and
how quickly you answered those questions.
If you rush through your test you might score highly for speed but low on accuracy. Would a nuclear power
company want to hire someone who prioritises speed over accuracy? Different companies place different
weighting on the importance of speed and accuracy, so have a think about the type of company you are
applying to and what sort of person they are looking for. In most tests the company will be looking for both
speed and accuracy.

Tip 12: Learn the art of best-guess estimates
Most psychometric tests are multiple choice. However this doesnt mean you should wildly guess answers
youre not sure of. Will you get negatively marked for wrong answers? Probably not, however if you guess
this will bring down your accuracy score and may cause the psychometric test administrator to think
negatively of your risky test-taking approach.
Instead of guessing outright, it is sometimes possible to eliminate some of the multiple choice options using
your understanding of what the answer should be. This is a useful technique if youre short of time during
your psychometric test. For example if you can see that the answer will need to be within a ball-park range, or
will need to have certain units, you may be able to discount three of the five options and you are on for a
50:50 chance of getting the question right. This is different to guessing.

Tip 13: Dont get your friends to help
With online tests you are free to take the test from home. You might be tempted to think: "will anyone find
out if I get someone to help with my test?" Psychometric test publishers are wise to this and put in place
measures to detect collaboration and cheating.
If you pass your online (unsupervised) psychometric test, you are likely to be re-tested under supervised
conditions at the employers offices to check that your test score really was achieved by you. Test publishers
use tracking software to detect variation between your responses to the online test and your responses to a
follow-up supervised test, often conducted at the employers office. If your test responses are too dissimilar
they will ask some probing questions.
And bear in mind that employers use psychometric testing to establish your fit for a role. If you start a job as a
result of a doctored test result, you are probably not right for the role and are likely to become unhappy or
stressed, which is in nobodys interest.

Tip 14: Ignore other people
If your test is conducted at a test centre or at the employers office, you will share the room with other
candidates. Try not to let them distract from your test performance. You may notice that someone has turned
the page before you or that they have picked up their calculator when you think you dont need yours. If you
let yourself be distracted by others you will be losing time and you will not perform your best in your
psychometric test.
However, if someone is tapping their pen on the table, or sniffing loudly, or putting you off, the test
administrator is there to help. Put up your hand and ask the test administrator to have a quiet word with the
other candidate. Most of the time the other candidate don't realise they're doing it.

Tip 15: Learn the best use of rough paper
During your test you will be able to use rough paper for your workings. Writing down parts of your working
is helpful, but writing down every step will use up precious time. The trick is to find a balance which works
best for you; this will develop from repeated practice sessions.
From sitting lots of numerical tests you will get a feel for which are the key stages of a calculation which
would be useful to write down, and which numbers you can just leave in your calculator. Also if your
workings are scribbled in so much of a rush that they are meaningless, you will have to spend more time re-
doing the calculation, so write down the question number next to your workings.
Psychometric test tips: after your test

Tip 16: Ask for feedback
If the company is following industry-standard best practises, they will provide all candidates with feedback
after their test, even to candidate who are unsuccessful. These best practises are guided by the British
Psychological Society and all psychometric test administrators should adhere to them (although they are not
legally bound to).
Feedback is useful for finding out how to improve your test performance next time. Whilst you will not
receive details on each question in your test, you will be given general feedback on your test performance
such as:
how many questions you attempted and how many you got right
where your score sits relative to a group of other people, expressed as a percentile score
whether your test-taking style was fast or cautious
in what types of role or work situation you are likely to work best
suggestions for how to improve your ability to work with numerical and verbal information
areas of strength and weakness
It is best to ask before taking your psychometric test whether feedback will be provided, so that you know up-
front and that the company can be ready to provide you with feedback. Some companies have large volumes
of applicants and they decide that they cant provide individual feedback to everyone, but it is always worth
asking.

Tip 17: Move on to the next test
If your psychometric test forms part of a series of assessments, for example at an assessment day, dont dwell
on how well you think you did on just one test. Employers will look at your scores from all psychometric
tests, interviews and assessments in order to arrive at an overall picture of your relative merits. So if you think
you didnt perform as well as youd have liked in one assessment, dont let this affect your performance in
other tests; give each test your best effort.
Wait, we have lots more psychometric test tips...
Loads of extra tips broken down into separate sections:
Numerical Reasoning Tips
Verbal Reasoning Tips
Personality Questionnaire Tips
Reasoning Test Tips

Numerical reasoning tests and how they work
Does your job application require you to pass a numerical reasoning test? This page should give you all the
practice and advice you need. Our practice tests are created by the same psychologists who design tests for the
likes of SHL, Kenaxa and Talent Q. So our test platform and example questions will give you a good feel for
the numerical tests employers use. Performing your best in your numerical reasoning test is all about practice,
and knowing what to expect!
Here are screenshots of our numerical reasoning tests:


What you should know before taking your numerical reasoning test
With thousands of job applicants to choose from, it's common for employers to use aptitude testing to sift the
good candidates from the mediocre. The most common way for employers to use numerical reasoning tests is
online, after they have accepted your CV or initial application form. If you pass your online test larger
employers tend to then invite you to an assessment centre. Often employers ask you to sit a repeat test at the
assessment centre to verify that you are indeed the same person who scored that great score on the online test,
so don't get your friends to help with your online test! The best way to familiarise yourself with these tests
is to take one of our free example numerical reasoning tests below.
As well as taking example tests, you should read the advice and findings below on how these tests work and
what they measure
By taking example numerical reasoning tests you will become familiar with the question format. Luckily for
you most employers use a similar format of numerical reasoning test, which means it's easy to get some
realistic practice beforehand.
The great thing about the numerical reasoning tests used for employment selection is that they are not the
same as a maths test. You don't have to remember formulae or write long proofs. The important
characteristics of a numerical reasoning test are:
Multiple choice answers - no longhand answers or showing your working-out.
No prior knowledge required - no equations to memorise (or surreptitiously write on your arm).
Strict time limits - some are generous while some are very short.
Relevant to the workplace - modern tests are based on the kind of numerical information you would deal with
in the job.
Based on only the information given - you should not make assumptions about data you are not given.
Free example numerical reasoning tests
Start Free Test 1
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Click the link above to begin the test, or alternatively, download the questions and solutions as a PDF below.
Start Free Test 1
Numerical Reasoning Test 1 Questions PDF
Numerical Reasoning Test 1 Solutions PDF
Start Free Test 2
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Click the link above to begin the test, or alternatively, download the questions and solutions as a PDF below.
Start Free Test 2
Numerical Reasoning Test 2 Questions PDF
Numerical Reasoning Test 2 Solutions PDF
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Full access to our complete set of verbal reasoning tests and PDF downloads with solutions.
Test 1
Test 2
Test 3
Test 4
Test 5
Test 6
Test 7
Test 8
Test 9
Test 10
Test 11
Test 12
Test 13
Test 14
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Test 17
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Test 19
Test 20
Test 21
Test 22
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What do I need to know for my numerical reasoning test?
The difficulty level of the maths involved in a numerical reasoning test is only about as difficult as GCSE
level. The tricky part is interpreting the numerical data and figuring out what calculation is required, under the
pressure of the count-down timer. Here is a list of the most common operations you can expect in your
numerical test:
Addition
Subtraction
Multiplication
Division
Percentages (including percentage changes)
Ratios
If you don't feel comfortable with any of these questions, focus your practice on that type of question. You
could also dig out your GCSE notes if you still have them. And remember you are more often than not
allowed to use a calculator with these tests.
Try to work both quickly and accurately during your test. Most tests don't employ negative marking but some
new tests are starting to, so ask the test administrator about this before you start. Whilst they might not tell
you, bare in mind that your accuracy score is visible to the employer, so guessing answers will result in a low
accuracy score and may suggest to the employer that your numerical work is prone to error.
Research has shown that people who do well in their numerical reasoning test tend to perform better in the job. That's
precisely why employers use them!
Graduate and professional level numerical reasoning tests are the most difficult, reflecting the calibre of
candidate they are trying to select. They still use only the seven basic maths skills listed above but they
require you to analyse and interpret more advanced data, and they have several steps to the same question.
Numerical Test Takers' FAQs

Are calculators allowed?
Yes for the typical graduate or middle-management numerical selection tests. But there's no harm in asking
the employer this question before your test to ensure that during your practice, you can either use one or
practice your mental arithmetic. If you are taking your numerical reasoning test at an assessment centre
everyone will be lent an identical calculator to use to standardise the testing experience. Most test
administrators do not allow the use of your own calculator, however it is a good idea to take you own just in
case they do allow it. By using your own calculator you will be familiar with the button layout and functions
so you will save a few vital seconds during your test. If your test is online, obviously you get to use your own
calculator.

Will I get marked down for incorrect answers?
A frequently asked question by candidates is "will negative marking be used?" Most candidates want to know
if it is sensible to guess the last few questions if time runs out. The answer is that negative marking is
unlikely to be used, but accuracy will be assessed so don't just frantically click answers in hope. Some online
tests have software which tries to detect guessing and will flag this up to the assessor. Even if they don't
know that you're guessing, you are risking a low accuracy score, which might reflect badly on your attitude to
work. Few assessors will reveal whether negative marking will be used, they will just say "try to answer
correctly as many as you can". The test results will tell the assessor what percentage of attempted questions
you got right. Some companies will be looking to select candidates with accurate and consistent results, while
others will be more interested in quantity of correct results and speed. Have a think about what sort of person
they are looking to recruit.

Should I get my friends to help with my online test - surely they'll never know?
Application processes that require the candidate to sit an online numerical reasoning test and then
subsequently another follow-up test at the assessment centre often use candidate verification methods. This
is an automatic system which tries to verify that the online test was indeed completed by the same candidate
that attends the assessment centre. So don't get your friends to help with your online test because they will
probably work it out when you attend the assessment centre!
The most common numerical reasoning tests used by employers
When you are invited by an employer to take a numerical reasoning test, try asking which test publisher they
are using. You can then go to that test publisher's website to get more information and possibly example test
questions. Some HR staff are surprisingly helpful with this. If you are taking a numerical reasoning test in the
UK, the chances are it will be written by one of these companies:
1. SHL Verify Ability Tests - SHL (now part of CEB) are the most widely used test publisher so you are
likely to come across their tests during your job hunt. Their numerical tests have a time limit of between 17
and 25 minutes so you will need to work quickly and accurately to perform well.
2. Kenexa Ability Tests - Kenexa are part of IBM and are another large test publisher. Their numerical tests
look to the candidate very similar to those from SHL. So if you practice for a Kenexa numerical test, you will
be well prepared for an SHL test, and vice versa. Kenexa typically allow candidates 20 minutes to answer 24
questions.
3. Talent Q Elements Numerical Ability - the big difference with these tests is that they are adaptive. That is
to say the difficulty of each question is automatically determined by your performance in the previous
question. So the questions become more difficult as you progress in order to quickly find your level of
numerical ability. A typical time limit is 90 seconds for questions with a fresh set of information and 75
seconds per question after that. Also the number of multiple choice options is a lot greater compared with
what you might be used to from SHL, making it more difficult to make a best guess.
4. Criterion Partnership Utopia numerical critical-reasoning test - these tests have an environmental
theme. There are 30 questions with a time limit of 45 minutes but beware the questions get progressively more
difficult.
5. Cubiks Reasoning for Business - designed to test candidates' business-orientated numerical reasoning
skills. You usually get less than a minute per question.
6. TalentLens Rust Advanced Numerical Reasoning Appraisal (RANRA) - aims to measure deduction and
evaluation skills as well as numerical ability. Time limit 20 minutes. This test is often given in combination
with the Watson Glaser Critical Thinking Appraisal.
7. Mendas Financial Reasoning Test - a mix of verbal comprehension and financial ability. Slightly more
information to take in compared with standard numerical tests. There are 22 questions with a time limit of 35
minutes. Used by the FCA, similar to the new financial reasoning test being used by the NHS.
8. Bespoke numerical tests - many larger companies prefer to have their own tests created which closely
match the situations candidates can expect in the job role. These tests vary slightly in style and time limit but
you will still benefit from practising the industry-standard tests on AssessmentDay.co.uk.
Preparing for your numerical reasoning test
The most important way to prepare for your test is to take practice questions because this will reduce the
element of surprise and will allow you to perform to your true ability. But don't stop there; adopt these test-
taking techniques to really make sure you shine on the day.
Practice - practice does make perfect!
Find out more about the test - ask the employer which test you are taking and if they have any practice
material.
Get an early night - when the clock is ticking you need to be 100% alert to pick up all the marks you can.
Arrive in plenty of time - this applies to tests you take at an assessment centre. You won't perform your best if
you're flustered and out of breath.
Effective test-taking strategies
So, you've prepared for your numerical reasoning test, how should you approach the questions when you are
taking your test for real? As well as practice, there are some strategies to think about which might help.
1. Listen to instructions carefully - before your test begins the test administrator will read out the
instructions. It is very important you pay attention to these and that you understand them. This is your
opportunity to ask questions. You will not be allowed to ask questions once the test has started.
2. Get the most from practice questions - before the test starts you usually have a few example questions.
These are not timed but there to get familiar with the test layout. Take your time to understand these questions
and feel free to ask questions at this stage.
3. Ignore other people - don't let yourself become distracted by how quickly or slowly other people are
answering the questions. It is important to focus on what you are doing.
4. Beware the multiple choice options - most multiple aptitude tests have what are called distracters. These
are options which are deliberately similar to the correct answer or the answer to a silly mistake. Beware of
these; they are designed to test if you are reading the question properly.
Your rights as a test-taker
It is in the interests of the employer to treat all applicants fairly; after all they don't want to overlook potential
talent. Every employer must receive your informed consent to be tested, which in practice means providing
you with information on:
The nature of the test and what it is designed to measure.
The relevance of the test to the job you are applying for.
How the results of the test will be used in their selection decision.
Who will have access to the results and how long will results be stored.
Whether you will be provided with feedback after your test.
Should your test time be adjusted? For example candidates with disabilities are sometimes entitled to extra
time to complete their test (this can include dyslexia). Some test publishers prefer to give all candidates the
same time limit but then make a judgement on whether raw scores should be adjusted. Employers aim to be
fair to all candidates and want to avoid being accused of positive or negative discrimination. If you do have a
disability, get in touch with the test administrator and they will make sure you are treated fairly.
If you are not happy with anything you are being asked to do, make sure you say something before you sit
your test; otherwise they might just think you want to make excuses for a perceived bad performance
The use of numerical reasoning tests
If a job requires working with numbers and numerical information, the employer would be sensible to use
numerical psychometric testing to predict which candidates are likely to perform well in the role. If a role
doesn't require strong numerical skills, the employer shouldn't be using a numerical test as a selection criteria.
We know how much importance employers place on numerical reasoning ability, we also know that
performing your best under strict timed conditions can be difficult. That's why we want to open up the test
process and let you know that to expect. Practice can mean the difference between securing that position and
losing it.
Our practice tests will ensure that you're fully prepared for your real test, letting you relax and perform to the
best of your ability. You'll have a much better idea of what to expect and will be able to get your numerical
reasoning skills up to scratch, hopefully leaving you in a much better position than you would otherwise be.
So, if you're looking for a way to improve your aptitude test score, practice can help significantly. Since our
practice tests are designed by experts, they could make all the difference.
And finally...
Not many people enjoy being tested but it remains an effective way for employers to find the most suitable
candidates. Remember psychometric tests are as much about checking your fit with the organisation as they
are for the job's fit for you. So take heart from the fact that if you didn't pass a particular test the chances are
that you wouldn't have found the job enjoyable or suitable.
If you've done lots of practice questions, read our tips and had a good night's sleep you've done everything
you can do to give yourself the best chance of success in your numerical reasoning test.
Finally, good luck - we're rooting for you!

Need verbal reasoning practice? You're in safe hands
Our experts have all the advice and practice tests you need to prepare for your test. The practice tests on
AssessmentDay simulate the tests used by employers, so take some of our example questions now to become
familiar with the industry-standard style and layout. The best way to perform your best in a psychometric test
is to be familiar with the test format and know what to expect. Practice is the best way to maximise your
chances of test success.
Here are screenshots of our verbal reasoning tests:


Taking a verbal reasoning test
Why do employers use verbal reasoning tests? Because they are better at predicting candidates' job
performance than interviews, CVs and other traditional methods of selection. To quickly get a feel of what a
real verbal reasoning test looks like, take one of our free practice tests below.
Employers use your verbal reasoning score, together with other selection factors such as interview
performance, to help them decide which candidate is most suitable for the role. Verbal reasoning tests used in
selection usually take the form of a written passage followed by a series of questions with possible True,
False or Cannot Say responses. It is important you know and appreciate the meaning of each response if you
are to score highly.
True - The statement follows logically given the information contained within the passage.
False - The statement cannot logically follow given the information contained within the passage.
Cannot Say - It is not possible to determine given the information contained within the passage alone; i.e.
more information would be required to say for certain.
So what's the best way to prepare for your verbal reasoning test? Easy: practice example questions and read
the advice on this webpage. If you prepare properly for your test you will have nothing to worry about. Being
prepared and knowing what to expect in your assessment is the best way to perform your best.
Free example verbal reasoning tests
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Is verbal ability testing fair?
If it's done properly, yes. A verbal reasoning test is much more fair on candidates than a subjective form of
assessment, such as an unstructured interview, because it presents questions of similar difficulty to all
candidates and is objectively scored. The results from verbal reasoning tests also tend to be less affected by
background or race, so they are beneficial to both candidates and employers.
Verbal Test Takers' Questions

What will my test be like?
By far the most common form of verbal reasoning test is one in which you are presented with a passage of
text, then asked whether certain statements relating to that text are true, false, or impossible to say without
more information. Some employers also test things such as word meaning, for example "which word is the
odd one out". But these are rarely used anymore as they can be culturally biased.
Although this particular style of verbal reasoning test is the most common, it always helps to contact the
human resources department of the employer and try to obtain any information you can about the actual tests
you will be taking. They are normally very good at providing you with information about the test and
sometimes even tell you what test publisher they are using.

What will the test measure?
Verbal reasoning tests are designed to measure your powers of comprehension, reasoning, and logic. You will
be tested on whether you jump to conclusions or you appreciate the limitations of a statement. If a passage
says "it has been reported..." it does not follow that the reported aspect is necessarily true; only that it has been
reported. Another classic example is: if the lights in a house come on, does that mean there is someone inside
the building? Not necessarily. If A is bigger than B, does that mean B is small? Not necessarily. You will be
tested to sort fact from inference, a lot like what's required in a real work environment. You can see why
lawyers almost always have to pass a verbal reasoning test, or a critical thinking test.
Something which will not be tested by the verbal reasoning tests used by employers is spelling. The employer
is trying to measure your reasoning ability, not your vocabulary or spelling. This knowledge can be learned on
the job, whereas verbal ability is an innate capability unique to each person. Recruitment tests are nothing to
do with old-fashioned tests such as word association or missing words.

Do I need to be a fast reader?
It helps, but more important than speed is how well you understand what you are reading, and recognising the
difference between fact and inference.
Aptitude tests are normally strictly timed. The assessor will be able to see how many questions you attempted
and how many of those you answered correctly. So you will need to strike a balance between attempting lots
of questions and getting correct those you have attempted. For most aptitude tests you will find it difficult to
answer all the questions within the time limit. However some tests allow a lot longer and they are all about
your analysis and reasoning ability.
The most common verbal reasoning tests used by employers
When you are invited by an employer to take any reasoning test, try asking which test publisher they are
using. You can then go to that test publisher's website to get more information and possibly example test
questions. Some HR staff are surprisingly helpful with this. Once you've found what test publisher is being
used you can start doing research into the style of that particular test. Here are the most popular test
publishers:
1. SHL Verify Ability Tests - SHL (now part of CEB) are the most widely used test publisher so you are
likely to come across their tests during your application process. Their verbal tests have a time limit of
between 17 and 19 minutes so you will need to work quickly and accurately to perform well.
2. SHL VMG - This series of tests belong to a test battery known as MGIB (Managerial and Graduate Item
Bank). The questions on the test are selected from an item bank, with each item chosen based on its difficulty
level, and its content varying in each test to prevent candidates sharing answers. The VMG takes 12 minutes
to complete and contains 24 questions.
3. Talent Q Elements Verbal Ability - The big difference with these tests is that they are adaptive. That is to
say the difficulty of each question is automatically determined by your performance in the previous question.
So the questions become more difficult as you progress in order to quickly find your level of ability. A typical
time limit is 90 seconds for questions with a fresh set of information and 75 seconds per question after that.
Also the number of multiple choice options is a lot greater compared with what you might be used to from
SHL, making it more difficult to make a best guess.
4. Criterion Partnership Utopia Verbal Critical Reasoning Test - These tests have an environmental
theme. There are 30 questions with a time limit of 20 minutes but beware the questions get progressively more
difficult.
5. Cubiks Verbal Reasoning for Business - Designed to test candidates' business-orientated verbal reasoning
skills. You usually get less than a minute per question.
6. Kenexa/PSL Advance Verbal Reasoning Tests - This series of tests contains two levels: general ability
and graduate/managerial. The general ability test comprises 24 questions and an 18 minute time limit. The
graduate and managerial test comprises 32 questions and a 25 minute time limit.
7. Kenexa/PSL Infinity Verbal Reasoning Tests - Unlike other verbal reasoning tests, these have a number
of fixed comparable tests. The test takes 20 minutes to complete and is comprised of 24 questions.
8. Bespoke verbal reasoning tests - Some larger companies prefer to have their own tests created which
closely match the situations candidates can expect in the job role. These tests vary slightly in style and time
limit but you will still benefit from practising the industry-standard tests such as those on AssessmentDay.
What's the best technique for these tests?
Through practice you will develop your own technique for answering aptitude test questions to the best of
your ability. However there is a general technique most people find useful to follow. Read the entire passage
through once, then turn to the questions in-turn. Read the first statement and refer back to the relevant part of
the passage to carefully consider if the statement is true, false, or impossible to determine without further
information. It will often come down to just one or two sentences within the passage.
Before your test:
Get a good night's sleep before your test so that you stay focused during your real test. Arrive in plenty of time
so that when you sit down to take your test you are calm and collected.
Make sure you understand the instructions. If your test is at an assessment centre the test administrator will
explain the instructions and you will have the opportunity to ask questions. You usually get to go through a
couple of example questions before the test begins for real. You will not be allowed to ask questions once the
test has started, so make sure you take this opportunity to understand the test.
Are you comfortable, is your desk wobbly, are you distracted by noise from the next room? Make sure you
raise any problems before the test starts with the test administrator.
During your test:
Have an idea of how much time to allow yourself for each question and know when to move on.
Concentration is essential, especially when every second counts. Don't let yourself get distracted by other test
takers, this will slow you down.
Don't guess. The administrator probably won't tell you if negative marking is being used but rest assured it
rarely is in the verbal reasoning tests used by employers. Instead of guessing outright, often it is possible to
eliminate one of the possible three answers, thus reducing your options down to two. Beware some tests do
have mechanisms for detecting random guessing, and this won't look good when the employer sees that you're
a slap-dash risk taker. So don't be tempted to quickly guess the last questions just before the time runs out.
Base your answers on only the information contained in the passage. This is crucial, and if you don't do this
you will probably get a lot of the questions wrong. Verbal reasoning tests are not tests of what you know, they
are tests of how well you understand written information.
After your test:
Focus on the next test. Employers use a whole series of tests, interviews and assessments to select candidates.
The results are used in the whole; it is not the case that a poor result in one test instantly removes you from the
running. If you don't think you did particularly well in one test, try not to let this affect your performance in
another test.
Ask for feedback. Not all employers have the time or resource to offer this but it's worth asking. If you know
how you performed, you can better prepare for that aspect next time.


Inductive reasoning tests in job selection
Have you been invited to take an inductive reasoning test for your job interview? Inductive reasoning tests are
similar to diagrammatic or abstract reasoning tests. Our practice tests have been written specifically to prepare
candidates and let them know what to expect in their real inductive reasoning tests. You should try a test now.
Here are screenshots of our inductive reasoning tests:


Practise to improve your inductive reasoning test performance
Inductive reasoning, logical reasoning, and abstract reasoning are often used interchangeably. Whilst they are
in fact slightly different tests, the concept behind both inductive reasoning and abstract reasoning is to test the
candidate's logical problem solving ability. Inductive reasoning tests are a common form of aptitude
assessment, perhaps the next most common after numerical and verbal reasoning. These tests are typically
used to test candidates for engineering and technical jobs.
Inductive reasoning tests are one type of psychometric test frequently used in selecting applicants for job roles
such as engineering and IT. You have to think logically and methodically against the clock to spot patterns in
the sequence of graphics. Usually the best way to approach inductive reasoning tests is to spot a pattern in the
first two or three figures and quickly test out your theory by checking if this fits with the next figures. Practice
will help.
As with all aptitude tests, try to work both quickly and accurately. If you are unsure of an answer, you should
leave it and come back to it at the end if you have time. Before you sit down for your real inductive reasoning
test, try a free sample test below.
Free example inductive reasoning tests
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Try a practice inductive reasoning test
With each of the free inductive reasoning tests above, there is a set of five graphics which follow a pattern.
The objective is to determine which of the possible four options would logically follow in the sequence. Only
one of the given options is correct.
Try to find out from the company who will be conducting your aptitude tests if they will include an inductive
reasoning test. In the majority of cases they do not; it is only numerical and verbal reasoning which are
commonplace, yet abstract aptitude tests are becoming more common as competition for the top jobs
increases.
Try to work both quickly and accurately during your test. Most tests don't employ negative marking but some
new tests are starting to, so ask the test administrator about this before you start. If they duck the question
assume negative marking is not used.
Inductive reasoning tests are commonly used in engineering and software developer roles.
It is difficult to train for inductive reasoning tests, but as with all tests, practice and familiarisation will help a
lot. In fact, one of the reasons psychologists use inductive reasoning questions is because they do not
presuppose any verbal or numerical ability; ideally they are a fair test of the reasoning capacity of all
candidates. The best way to prepare for inductive reasoning tests is to sit a practice test yourself.
Inductive reasoning FAQs

Inductive or deductive reasoning?
Inductive logic is different from deductive logic. With deductive reasoning, possible outcomes are explored
and discounted in order to arrive at the only possible outcome without contradicting the given premises.
Sudoku puzzles are a classic test of deductive reasoning. Inductive reasoning is open and explorative. It
examines the applicant's ability to reach general conclusions based on perceived patterns observed in specific
events. Real-life arguments are often inductive; which is why employers want to know how good you are at
inductive reasoning.

What will your inductive reasoning test measure?
Inductive reasoning tests measure logic skills which are useful for solving problems. They require you to think
broadly and in your head test out different possibilities. The skills required to do well in an inductive
reasoning test are applicable to most jobs but particularly applicable to engineering, science and IT. It has
been said that females are better at two dimensional problems while males are better at 3D problems. Most
inductive reasoning tests involve thinking about transformations in 2D but there are also sometimes 3D
problems such as choosing which net correctly forms a given cube.

Shape formations and patterns
The most common form of inductive reasoning test involves spotting what patterns exist in a series of
graphics. The patters are usually one of, or a combination of, the following: rotation; alternation, translation,
reflection and replacement. If you practice you will learn to look for these transformations. If you think you
have come up with the pattern, check it applies to every item in the sequence and you've found it. One of the
reasons these tests are popular is they are entirely international; no language barrier exists as it is purely
symbolic.
What really are inductive reasoning tests?
Inductive reasoning is not only an important part of everyday life, but it can be essential in many careers as
well. This is why more and more employers are subjecting their candidates to inductive reasoning tests before
they're offered a position, and if you could be faced with such a thing it's important that you know what to
expect and how to succeed.
Inductive reasoning tests, sometimes also referred to as abstract reasoning tests, are used to test the logical
problem solving ability of each candidate. They're a common part of many job application processes (often
used in addition to numerical and verbal reasoning tests), and are particularly seen in jobs of a technical or
engineering nature.
They're there to test your skills in inductive reasoning - in other words to see whether you think logically and
methodically, as tested by your ability to spot patterns in a series of figures. Accuracy and speed are
incredibly important in tests of abstract reasoning, and you'll be scored accordingly. Therefore, it's important
that you get the chance to practice in advance in order to increase your chances of coming out at the top of the
pile.
The most common inductive reasoning tests used by employers
The term inductive reasoning is used only commercially by the test publisher SHL. Other test publishers tend
to use other descriptions even though their format may be similar, for example: abstract reasoning,
diagrammatic reasoning, or logical reasoning. This can make it quite confusing as a candidate! The best thing
to do is contact the employer or company who has invited you to take the test. They are usually very helpful
and will likely provide you with at least more infomation on the nature of the test, or sometimes a few
example questions.
1. SHL Verify Ability Tests - SHL (part of CEB) are the largest test publisher in the UK. Their inductive
reasoning tests vary slightly in length depending on level: typically around 25 minutes. The format will be a
series of five symbols which follow a logical pattern. Candidates will have to select from the multiple choice
options which symbol comes next in the series, or which symbol is missing from the series. SHL's Verify
range of tests have the option of a follow-up test in which the candidate is asked to re-take a shorter version of
their first test. This can be used by the assessor to assess consistency and response patterns, and help identify
the risk that the original test had not been completed by the candidate in question.
2. Kenexa Ability Tests - Kenexa are part of IBM and are also a large test publisher. Their series of
assessments includes what they call a 'logical reasoning' test, but is almost identical in style to what SHL call
'inductive reasoning'. Like the SHL inductive test, this test requires the candidate to select from a multiple
choice list a symbol which best fits a pattern of logic. A typical time limit is 20 minutes for 25 questions, but
again, this can vary slightly depending on level of the role.
The importance of practice
As with most things in life, practice makes perfect. This is certainly the case when it comes to abstract
reasoning tests. Being presented with them for the first time can be a bit of a shock, particularly if you haven't
done anything specifically related to inductive reasoning in the past, and that in itself can be enough to affect
your score. But, if you get the chance to see inductive reasoning tests first you'll be better prepared come test
day, and if you practice your abstract reasoning skills you'll have a much better chance of success.
Practicing your abstract reasoning really can make all the difference. Skills can always be improved if you
spend enough time on them, and if you get a better understanding of what's involved in abstract reasoning
tests you'll be much more capable of securing that perfect score. If you want to get that job it's essential that
you show your skills in inductive reasoning to the best of your ability, so why risk it? Make sure to try plenty
of practice tests first and you'll be much more confident.
Inductive reasoning tests from AssessmentDay
Here at AssessmentDay we know how important inductive reasoning skills can be in the job market, and we
also know that practice is a vital part of success. That's why we offer practice tests to anyone that's about to be
faced with one for real, allowing you to practice your abstract reasoning skills from the comfort of your own
home. Once you've seen the format of abstract reasoning tests and have tried a few out you'll be much better
prepared and much more able to succeed in the real thing, so don't thwart your chances of success - be
prepared by practicing your abstract reasoning skills before you even think about doing it for real, and make
sure to come to us for all the inductive reasoning tests you could need.
Your confidence will increase when you practise inductive reasoning tests
Feel free to practice the above inductive reasoning questions, and let us know any comments you may have.
Good luck with any aptitude tests and interviews you may have coming up. If you need advice on assessment
centres, don't forget to visit our assessment centre page.
Finally, good luck - we're rooting for you!

Diagrammatic reasoning tests and how they work
Diagrammatic reasoning tests (often used interchangeably with abstract reasoning tests) are commonly used
aptitude tests used by recruiters to assess a candidates ability to think logically and solve complex problems.
Candidates applying for roles which require high level of problem solving ability and logical reasoning, such
as management consulting, engineering and finance are likely to encounter a diagrammatic reasoning test.
Here are screenshots of our diagrammatic reasoning tests:


These tests will be time limited and will be multiple choice formats, the number of choices will vary
considerably depending on the type of diagrammatic reasoning test issued. This test may be either pencil and
paper format, or more likely, will be an online version, and may or may not be supervised. Candidates will be
shown a flowchart of diagrams and/or symbols which form an equation. This you will need to decipher which
combination of diagrams will harbour with particular outcome in a sequence. For example if the presence of a
particular symbol M input is present, it may flip the next diagram or output in the sequence 90 degrees, or
change its colour etc.
Candidates will need to discover the rules associated with particular symbols or diagrams, and apply them by
selecting the correct answer based on those rules. These questions will not be work place relevant and will
appear abstract in nature, these tests will also be time limited.
What does a diagrammatic reasoning test assess?
Diagrammatic reasoning tests mainly assess a candidates logical ability, but will also assess other factors.
Skills and abilities assessed during diagrammatic reasoning tests include:
Analytical ability
Decision making
Logical and abstract reasoning
Critical thinking ability
Problem solving ability
Compared to other ability tests and other psychometric assessments, diagrammatic reasoning is a very specific
skill, requiring only a few similar abilities. For this test candidates will not be required to used any prior
knowledge, and the questions on the test will not vary depending on the role or industry recruited for.
Free example diagrammatic reasoning tests
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What you should know before taking a diagrammatic reasoning test
It is important for candidates to remember that the function of a diagrammatic reasoning test will vary
depending on the stage of recruitment it is being used in. If the diagrammatic reasoning test is being given
during the early stages of recruitment, for example directly after application, then this test will be used as a
screening tool. As a result poor performance on this test may result in an early screening out of the selection
process.
However if the test is being given during the later stages of a recruitment process then this test will be used in
conjunction with numerous other tests and exercises, and therefore will not be the sole decider of the selection
decision. Although no prior knowledge is needed, and no materials will be provided for study by the
employing organisations, candidates are strongly advised to prepare and research these tests as fully as
possible to ensure maximum performance on this test.
Diagrammatic reasoning test advice
1. Time limits: These tests will be under timed conditions and candidates will be advised to work both
quickly and accurately. These time limits will however be generous enough to allow you to think abstractly
and logically, so it is essential to not feel rushed. The timing structure may vary depending on the type of test,
some tests may time each question, and some may simply time the entire test.
2. Stay calm: Diagrammatic reasoning may appear very dissimilar to other types of test and other skills which
candidates use in everyday life, and combine this with a time limit and you have a particularly stressful
anxiety provoking test. Adequate practice beforehand, enough rest/sleep the night before and plenty of calm
deep breathing can go a long way, and help avoid the nervousness associated with psychometric tests.
3. Figure out the answer before looking: Candidates are advised to try and figure out the correct answer
based on the flowchart before looking at the multiple choice answers. If this is not adhered to then candidates
may simply pick the answer which looks like it could be right, rather than figuring out the correct answer and
then selecting it. Many of the diagrams in the multiple choice section may look very similar, and without a
clear image in your head of what you are looking for, you may fall victim to selecting the wrong one.
4. Get clarification on the test: Diagrammatic tests, abstract reasoning tests and numerous other logical
reasoning tests are often used interchangeably, therefore candidates are advised to ask the employing
organisation what type of test they will be undertaking. True diagrammatic reasoning tests will involve input-
output symbols and diagrams; however an abstract reasoning test may involve other mechanisms of testing
ability.
The most common diagrammatic reasoning tests used by employers
The only test publishers which use the term diagrammatic reasoning are Saville Consulting and Cubiks. So if
you are told you are going to take a diagrammatic test (as opposed to an inductive, abstract, or a logical test)
the chances are that the test will have been designed by one of these publishers.
1. Saville Consulting Diagrammatic Analysis - Saville Consulting's diagrammatic tests assess candidates'
ability to evaluate processes through diagrams. The stand-alone diagrammatic test is 24 minutes and has 32
questions. If you take this as part of a combined test (such as their Swift series) the diagrammatic element will
be shorter: 6 minutes.
2. Cubiks Diagrammatic Reasoning - the Cubiks diagrammatic test (sometimes referred to as their
Reasoning for Business test) asks candidates to analyse two groups of similar symbols, and decide whether a
symbol belongs to either group A, group B, or neither group, based on the grouping rules.
How AssessmentDay can help
Practice diagrammatic reasoning tests as offered by AssessmentDay provide an ideal way of practicing and
preparing yourself for a big diagrammatic reasoning test. Practice diagrammatic tests allow candidates to learn
from their mistakes and therefore continually improve. Similarly familiarising yourself with the layout, the
questions and being under timed conditions will help dispel the mystery associated with taking a new test.
Knowing what youre up against can be a significant advantage when taking a diagrammatic reasoning test,
and help build the confidence needed to succeed.
And finally
It is important to practice for your diagrammatic reasoning test, particularly if this is the first time you have
taken one. Diagrammatic reasoning is an ability not often used in everyday life, but it does correlate with
particular work place relevant abilities, so employers will continue to use them and you ought to get used to
them.
Psychometric Tests
o Psychometric Tests
o Numerical Reasoning
o Verbal Reasoning
o Inductive Reasoning
o Diagrammatic Reasoning
o Logical Reasoning
o Error Checking
o Verbal Comprehension
o Situational Judgement
o Personality Questionnaires
Assessment Exercises
o In-Tray Exercise
o E-Tray Exercise
o Group Exercise
o Role Play Exercise
o Presentation Exercise
o Analysis Exercise
o Case Study Exercise
o Competency Based Interview
o Strengths Based Interview
Test Publishers
o SHL
o Kenexa
o Saville Consulting
o Talent Q
o Cubiks
o Criterion Partnership
o Watson Glaser
Practice tests which mimic the diagrammatic tests used by employers. Become faster and more accurate at answering
diagrammatic questions. Get access to solutions so you can see where you went wrong and improve your score. Be
fully prepared for your assessment centre or online aptitude tests. Practise Now

What are logical reasoning tests?
Logical reasoning tests are a broad group of aptitude tests which test candidates problem solving ability.
These tests may be encountered for any position at any level of recruitment, but they may be particularly
common when recruiting for positions which require significant problem solving ability or higher use of logic.
Here are screenshots of our logical reasoning tests:


How AssessmentDay can help
AssessmentDay offer numerous types of logical reasoning test which can help you perform to your best in the
real thing. Practising logical reasoning tests is an ideal method of preparation as it allows you to learn from
your mistakes, improving performance with every practice trial. Similarly experiencing time limits, the test
layout and the overall test experience can help ease worries and anxieties about the test by familiarising
yourself with them. It goes without saying that a candidate that has undertaken a logical reasoning test
numerous times and seen their prior mistakes, and learned from them will be less nervous than a first time test
candidate.
Free example logical reasoning tests
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Different types of logical reasoning
There are numerous types of logical reasoning test, and many of these are used interchangeably. These tests
tend to be similar in their layout and methodology, but with subtle and important differences. A list of
common logical reasoning tests is as follows:
Inductive reasoning: Inductive reasoning is the ability to reach general conclusion based on perceived
patterns observed in specific events. Inductive logic is often used in everyday life and is therefore practical to
a work place environment. In these tests candidates will be provided with a series of diagrams with an evident
pattern. Candidates will need to identify the pattern in the sequence of diagrams and select the next diagram in
the sequence
Deductive reasoning: Deductive reasoning involves a general rule or principle that leads to a specific
conclusion. These tests will evaluate and measure a candidates ability to make logical arguments and draw
sound conclusions based on provided data, as well as identify flaws in a piece of information. As a result this
is a useful tool in selection procedures as this type of reasoning will be used in the workplace. This type of
reasoning will often be used in verbal reasoning tests and numerical tests, and is therefore very likely to be
encountered in recruitment processes.
Abstract reasoning: Abstract reasoning, also known as conceptual reasoning measures your lateral thinking
ability. In these tests candidates will be tested on their ability to identify relationships, patterns and trends.
Candidates will be provided with a series of images that follow a logical sequence or underlying rules. This
may include following a rule in a sequence, identifying a code or finding a missing diagram.
Diagrammatic reasoning: Diagrammatic reasoning is a specific form of abstract reasoning. Tests which
assess this ability will typically show a flowchart of diagrams and symbols, with an input and an output.
Candidates will need to identify which inputs effect diagrams, and therefore generate a specific output based
on those rules.
Critical thinking: Critical thinking tests are a type of verbal critical reasoning task which assesses various
different types of logical reasoning in arguments, assumptions and conclusions. Typical logical abilities tested
include analysing arguments, making inferences and evaluating conclusions.
The most common logical reasoning tests used by employers
Different test publishers use different names for their assessments. The term logical reasoning is used by
TalentQ. Other companies may call their test abstract, inductive, or diagrammatic reasoning. It is good advice
when being asked to sit a logical reasoning test to speak to the person who invited you and ask for a bit more
detail; they may even give you a few example questions so you know what to expect.
1. Talent Q Elements Logical Ability - the important feature of these tests is that they are adaptive. That is to
say the difficulty of each question is automatically determined by your performance in the previous question.
So the questions become more difficult as you progress in order to quickly find your level of logical reasoning
ability. There are typically 12 questions to these TalentQ logical tests and a time limit of 75 seconds per
question.
2. Kenexa Logical Reasoning - this test published by Kenexa is actually very similar in style to what SHL
call an inductive reasoning test. They are effectively the same thing; the candidate is asked to select which
diagram fits within the given series from a choice of five options. Typically Kenexa will give the candidate 20
minutes for 24 questions for their logical reasoning test.
3. Ravens Progressive Matricies - the grid-style of symbols each following a pattern is also used in the
Ravens Progressive Matrices assessments. There are two levels of this test: Advanced Progressive Matrices
(23 questions, 42 minutes) and Standard Progressive Matrices (28 questions, 47 minutes).
General logical reasoning test advice
Although all tests evaluate a specific logical ability, or set of abilities, there are general strategies which can
be applied to ensure maximum performance in a logical reasoning test. Here is a list of useful tips and advice
for logical reasoning tests:
1. Stay calm: Logical reasoning tests of all kinds can be nerve racking, particularly ones which are time
limited. As a result it is important to stay calm as to allow optimum performance during your exam. A small
amount of anxiety can be a performance booster, maximise focus and therefore performance. However serious
test anxiety can severely hamper performance. Proper practice, enough sleep the night before and deep and
regular breathing can all help settle your nerves, and perform to your best on the day of your test.
2. Research the type of test: Learning as much about the test beforehand can help you dive straight into the
test once you have received it, saving you time. Similarly after researching the test, and the logical abilities
which it assesses, can help you hone these skills and ensure you demonstrate the particular aptitide required
for the test, optimising your performance.
3. Clarify what type of test: If an employer states that you will need to undertake a logical reasoning test, it
is important to gage what type of logical reasoning will be tested due to the broad nature of logical reasoning.
Dont be afraid to ask for clarification to identify which logical reasoning test will be used, and which logical
reasoning skill will be tested as this information will be invaluable for your pre test preparation.
4. Figure out the answer first: A general tip for logical reasoning tests is to figure out the correct
answer/sequence/rule before looking at the multiple choices. This way once you have an idea in your head of
the correct answer, you can simply pick it out. If you look at the multiple choice answers first, you will be
more inclined to pick the answer which best looks like the correct answer, rather than take the time to evaluate
it logically. Your logic will be subject to more bias if you base your answer on which answer seems correct on
face value, instead of evaluating it using the logical skills being tested.
And finally
Logical reasoning is a very broad category of skills, and this is reflected in the wide variety of tests on the
market to assess these abilities. Ensuring that you are fully aware of what tests are assessing, and which
logical skills are being tested is an extremely important step in preparing yourself for your test.
If an employer has asked you to take a logical reasoning test, it means that you are considered a potential
employee for that organisation. Take this as a compliment and a confidence booster, and remember that the
experiences of these recruitment procedures are valuable experiences in themselves, which will transfer to
future job applications.


Overview of Error Checking Tests
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.

What are verbal comprehension tests?
Verbal comprehension tests assess a candidates ability to read a passage of information quickly, and identify
relevant information from that passage. For example a question may require a candidate to scan through a
passage of information regarding a current event, and the candidate will be presented with a list of statements
which may or may not be correct, requiring the candidate to select which statement is correct/incorrect based
on the passage above. This will be undertaken under timed conditions and the candidate will have to read the
passage quickly, and answer the questions accurately.
Here are screenshots of our verbal comprehension tests:


Verbal reasoning or verbal comprehension?
Verbal comprehension is a form of verbal reasoning ability, and all verbal reasoning tests will assess verbal
comprehension either directly or indirectly. Tests which only assess verbal comprehension are also common,
and will not assess other areas of verbal reasoning, i.e. logical reasoning, English proficiency, verbal
application etc. Verbal comprehension tests are likely to be encountered for administration, call centre and
customer service roles as they require candidates to analyse and identify relevant verbal data very quickly.
Free example verbal comprehension test
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How to practice verbal comprehension
Practicing verbal comprehension using AssessmentDay can help candidates familiarise themselves with the
layout and format of the test, greatly helping confidence levels when doing the real thing. Similarly pre-test
preparation is a key factor in ensuring maximum scores on the real test, increasing your chances of not getting
screened out of the recruitment process early.
Verbal comprehension advice
Here are some recommendations and practical tips to help you perform at your best for your verbal
comprehension test:
1. Read quickly and thoroughly: Verbal comprehension tests are fast paced and candidates are provided
little time to read the passage and answer questions. However it is an imperative that candidates read the
passage, the question and the provided statements very thoroughly as at first glance it is easy to misread the
question, and end up answering the wrong question, for example the question may ask which statement is
INCORRECT, but when skim reading a candidate may assume it means which statement is CORRECT.
Practicing these tests can allow candidates to find the correct balance between reading speed and accuracy.
2. Only use the passage for information: Many candidates will read a passage, but still let their own
knowledge/opinions shape their answers to the question. When answering these questions you must only
answer based on the information presented, or not presented in the given passage. Even if the statement
contradicts what you already know to be true, you must answer purely based on the given passage.
3. Stay calm: Verbal comprehension tests can be particularly nerve racking due to their quick pace and strict
time limits. Getting used to being tested under timed conditions is a highly effective method of preparing
yourself for a verbal comprehension test, and practice verbal reasoning tests provide an ideal method for this.
Taking deep breaths, ignoring your surroundings and not looking at the clock excessively can help calm you
down, while insuring you work at the correct pace.
And finally...
Although cognitively challenging and often very fast paced, verbal comprehension tests require fewer verbal
skills than more general verbal reasoning tests. As a result they are far easier to practice and prepare for,
which is particularly important for candidates that have never taken a verbal comprehension test before.
Ensuring you have practiced beforehand and made yourself as prepared as possible will greatly increase your
chances of landing your dream job, best of luck!

Download a free situational judgement test in PDF format
Lots of employers use situational judgement tests during their recruitment stage, particularly at graduate level.
Here we explain to candidates what they are, how they work and what to expect in your situational judgement
test. Basically SJTs measure your behaviour and attitudes to work-related scenarios. With a bit of insider
knowledge you will have nothing to fear.
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own time. Click the link above to download the zipped file, alternatively, use the links below to view them
online individually.
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So what are situational judgement tests and how do they work?
Situational Judgement Tests (or SJTs, as they are often abbreviated to) come in a great variety of guises and
have been growing in popularity as an assessment method since the late nineties. Currently organisations as
diverse as Waitrose, the NHS, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Sony, Wal-Mart, Deloitte, John Lewis, the law firm
Herbert Smith, the Fire Service and many more, are using SJTs as part of their recruitment process.
Situational judgement tests present candidates with a range of different situations that they might experience
in the job for which they are applying. For each situation, a number of possible actions are suggested. There
are usually around 4 or 5 actions but this varies. It is the candidates job to choose between these possible
options and judge which is the most effective course of action to take and therefore which action they would
take if faced with this situation. SJTs are always multiple-choice; no answers other than the options listed are
allowed.
The situations (or scenarios as they are sometimes called) are almost always reflective of a real-life aspect of
the job. So for example, if you are applying for a job as a call centre operative, one of the questions on the SJT
might be as follows.
A quick example question
You are working in a call centre for a major UK telecommunications company. You have received a call from
a customer who has been waiting in for an engineer who has failed to arrive within the scheduled time slot.
The customer is upset and is talking in a raised voice. Of the following options indicate which would be the
most effective and which the least effective action to take first of all:
1) Apologise to the customer and say you will arrange for a re-scheduled appointment.
2) Listen to the customers feedback and tell them that you can understand why they are upset and that it
must be very inconvenient for them.
3) Explain that the engineer has a very busy schedule and its difficult for her to always be on time but youre
sure she will arrive soon.
4) Ask the customer to hold while you contact the engineer to establish where she is. This is the most effective
response as it directly takes control of the situation, and will ultimately provide the information to make a
more informed decision. After contacting the engineer you will know whether to re-schedule the
appointment, or whether a re-schedule will not be necessary. Although customers may not like to be put on
hold, it is the only way to solve the issue at hand.
Why employers use situational judgement tests
For employers, SJTs are a very cost effective, powerful and convenient way to select the potential strong
performers from a large group of candidates. Employers will be more likely to use an SJT if they have a high
volume of candidates applying for a role or position and if they recruit for this position on a regular basis. So
the recruitment process for a graduate training scheme or internship programme is a likely place to find an
SJT whereas assessments for more senior positions are less likely to include one.
Employers may use SJTs on their own as a sifting tool or sometimes they will include SJT questions in a
realistic job simulation which might also include an in-tray exercise and ability measures such as numerical
reasoning. Job simulations are usually presented online or computer-based. They can incorporate various
different media such as video, animation and written text. Employers use these to try and create as realistic a
situation as possible for the employer to test how the candidate will respond to the real demands of the job.
For example, in a job simulation test for a sales manager role, as a candidate, you would log on to a specified
website. You would then be told to imagine that you are the manager of a team of sales people and given
access to an email inbox and folders of documents. You would be asked to make decisions about the
documents and respond to the emails. Then you might be interrupted by a video of someone asking your
advice on an issue and given four responses to choose from. This is the SJT part of the simulation.
It is useful to be aware of where you might come across SJT questions although the way that you approach
them should be the same, regardless of the other elements of the process. We will talk about this below.
Different styles of situational judgement tests
Situational judgement tests can be presented in a variety of different ways and seek different ways for
candidates to respond to the situations presented. Situational judgement tests can:
be paper-based
be computer-based, which is most usual
use text only
use video clips to present the situation, with written response options
use animation and computer-generated avatars to enact the situation, with written response options
There are a variety of ways in which you will be asked to respond to situational judgement test questions:
1. Most and least effective
The situation is presented with four or five possible responses and you are asked to indicate which is most
and which is least effective in your judgement.
You are a team leader in a customer contact centre. You just overheard an employee in your team telling a
customer that they were over-reacting and that they needed to get psychiatric help. You are not sure what
the customers call was about but now the call has finished and you have a chance to speak to the employee.
Response
Most
Effective
Least
Effective
Tell the employee that you have no chance but to recommend their dismissal

Tell your employee that you will work with them to improve their performance over the
next 3 months

Tell the employee to do it again

Ignore the employee's behaviour and hope they won't repeat their mistakes on another
occasion

2. Rated responses
Here the situation is presented with the possible responses and you are asked to rate each response for
effectiveness, in your judgement.
Response
Counter-
productive
Inefficient
Slightly
Effective
Effective
Very
Effective
Tell the employee that you have no chance but to
recommend their dismissal

Tell your employee that you will work with them to
improve their performance over the next 3 months

Tell the employee to do it again

Ignore the employee's behaviour and hope they won't
repeat their mistakes on another occasion

Notice here that there are 4 boxes for each response that give a level of effectiveness, whereas ticking (or
clicking on) the other box means that you actually believe the action to have a negative (counterproductive)
effect. In this type of question you will usually be able to rate each action independently of the other actions
presented. So, in theory, you could rate them all as effective or all as counter-productive. However, you
should bear in mind that the way that the questions are designed it is unlikely that this would be a correct
response, i.e. one that closely matched the expert opinions on which the test is based. It is more likely that
there will be one action that is very effective and the others will be less effective or counterproductive.
You may not always be given the opportunity to highlight an action as counterproductive. Sometimes the
rating scale is simply from highly ineffective to highly effective and points in between.
3. Ranked responses
The situation is presented with the possible responses and you are asked to place the responses in rank order
as to how effective or appropriate they are. Here you will only be able to allocate each number once. So only
one response can be ranked 1, only one response 2, only one ranked 3 and only one ranked as 4.
The numbers may be given explanatory labels e.g. 1 = most appropriate, 4 = least appropriate. OR 1 = most
effective, 2 = next most effective, etc. Or they may be left simply as numbers for you to allocate the rank
order.
Response 1 2 3 4
Tell the employee that you have no chance but to recommend their dismissal

Tell your employee that you will work with them to improve their performance over the next 3 months

Tell the employee to do it again

Ignore the employee's behaviour and hope they won't repeat their mistakes on another occasion

4. Likely to perform
This is a variation on most effective and least effective. You are given the possible actions or responses
and asked to say which you are most likely to do given the situation with which you have been presented
and which you would be least likely to do.
Response
Most Likely To
Do
Least Like To
Do
Tell the employee that you have no chance but to recommend their dismissal

Tell your employee that you will work with them to improve their performance over

the next 3 months
Tell the employee to do it again

Ignore the employee's behaviour and hope they won't repeat their mistakes on
another occasion

The way of phrasing this question is subtly different from being asked to assign the most and least
effective response. Being asked which one you are most likely to perform or to do will probably start you
thinking about past behaviour. You might think Well I know which is the most effective action but in the
past I have actually done something different.
And indeed, this is what the designers of this particular answer type are interested in. They are seeking to
identify your tendencies, personality traits and past behaviour more than they want to know about your ability
to evaluate the best and worst answer from a group of possible answers. Your ability to select the most
effective answer is probably based more on your intellect rather than on your personality.
In reality, how you are likely to perform and behave in a job is going to be a result of both intellect and
personality. Therefore test designers and employers are really hoping to get a glimpse of both these elements
when getting you to sit a situational judgement test.
Typical competencies measured by situational judgement tests
It has been suggested that one of the best ways to be prepared for a selection test, including a situational
judgement test, is to be aware of what the test is seeking to measure. In other words, what aspects of you, as a
candidate is the test hoping to pick up on?
Competencies are bundles of skills, abilities and personality traits which contribute to good job performance.
The relevant competencies will vary according to the job or job-type being considered. Therefore graduate
training schemes, managerial roles, customer service jobs and sales positions may all have slightly different
sets of competencies.
1. Graduate level competencies
Graduate competencies will reflect the range of skills, abilities and styles that are effective at a graduate entry
level role in an organisation. They are unlikely to include managerial competencies such as directing others
and strategic thinking. They will probably include some, or all, of the following:
Communicating, Influencing and Negotiating looking for clarity, appropriateness and persuasiveness of
communication
Drive to Achieve Results looking for motivation and drive to achieve high standards and deliver results on
time
Planning & Organising looking for the tendency to approach tasks in a systematic and organised fashion, to
prioritise activities and manage time
Analysis & Decision-making looking for accurate and timely analysis of information, facts and data and good
judgement with regard to what course of action to take based on that information
People & Relationship Skills looking for capacity to build effective working relationships, to have empathy
and awareness of others and work well in a team
2. Managerial level competencies
Management level competencies will incorporate most, if not all of the graduate ones but will also include
elements of directing or leading others and strategic thinking. Management competencies can be grouped
into the following areas:
Analytical Thinking & Decision-Making similar to the graduate level above but also looking for the ability to
think strategically, make links across contexts and think long-term.
Drive to Achieve Results looking for motivation and drive to achieve high standards and deliver results on
time
Managing Tasks and Objectives looking for planning, organising and motivating others to achieve goals;
managing other peoples performance.
Managing People looking for the ability to lead others and provide vision & inspiration.
Relationship & Reputation Building looking for the ability to influence colleagues, senior people and external
contacts; to handle difficult interpersonal situations.
3. Individual contributor competencies
Other SJTs are designed to assess people recruited to fulfil a particular role in the organisation such as an
administrator or a customer service assistant. For these roles, competencies could include the following:
Planning & Organising looking for the tendency to approach tasks in a systematic and organised fashion, to
prioritise activities, follow guidelines and manage own time effectively.
Service Ethos looking for the motivation and drive to provide excellent and high quality service to customers
and colleagues, high standards and pride in doing a good job.
Coping with Challenging Situations looking for resilience, emotional consistency and effectiveness under
pressure.
Effective Communication looking for the ability to communicate clearly, effectively and with empathy for the
audience.
Achieving Results - looking for drive to deliver tasks on time and to agreed standards.
Teamwork looking for the understanding that the teams goals are as important as the individuals.
Willingness to support others and share resources.
Understanding Customers looking for a willingness to listen to customers and to provide a service that suits
their requirements as far as possible.
Influencing Others looking for an ability to be persuasive with customers and colleagues where appropriate.
As most SJTs are designed to gather information about a list of competencies such as those outlined above,
you will find that different questions on an SJT will link to different competencies from the list to be assessed.
It can help you to approach the test with this in mind and make an educated guess as to which competency
each question is designed to measure; when doing this you should remember that some questions may have
elements of more than one competency.
How your test results get presented to the employer
Once you have completed the test your answers are scored, usually automatically by computer, and then your
result is given to the potential employer.
As mentioned above, the scoring is done by comparing your answers with the best fit answers suggested by
the job experts during the design of the test. Once the test has been automatically marked, the number of
answers that you rate or rank correctly in the test can be compared to the results of a group of previous test-
takers. This is called a norm group.
Therefore, employers might be given the following:
1. Your overall score on the test in other words, how closely your responses matched those of the experts
overall.
2. Your score broken down into individual competency scores. A standard graduate SJT might return five
further scores to the employer in addition to the overall test score. These could relate to five graduate
competencies e.g. communication, drive, planning, analysis and people skills.
3. Information on how your overall scores and your individual competency scores compare to previous test-
takers of a similar type. Usually this is in the form of a percentile score. You might have fared better than 160
of the other 200 test-takers; you would therefore be said to be on the 80th percentile for that particular
competency.
Employers may use this information as a straightforward pass-fail hurdle to reach the next stage of the
assessment process; they will do this if they are happy that the SJT is going to put sufficient numbers of
candidates through to the next stage and that it is going to select the best candidates for the job from the pool
of candidates available.
In addition to this employers should, by law, make sure that the test is testing only things which are job-
relevant. The SJT must not test for skills, abilities which are irrelevant and which may discriminate against
certain groups of people. An example of this would be, if detailed knowledge of a certain technical area would
enhance a candidates test score, when this knowledge was not needed in the job and when more people of an
older age, or who were women perhaps, would be likely to have this technical knowledge.
Are situational judgement tests timed?
How long do you get for your SJT? Almost all SJTs do not have a time limit. You will be instructed to
answer the questions honestly, which usually means promptly. Often the first answer that comes into your
head is the one which most reflects your true response, so you will probably be told to go with your first
instinct. However you can take as long as is allocated to you in your assessment day.
Although there is no time 'limit' as such, publishers of SJTs will have guidelines for the typical length of time
people take to complete their situational judgement test however if you take longer than that it doesn't matter.
For example:
Talentlens publish a series of graduate SJTs called IRIS which do not have a time limit. a&dc are another
large publisher and their graduate Dilemmas SJT has no time limit but they advise it takes candidates on
average 30 minutes to complete the 20 scenarios each containing 4 questions. SHL have an SJT of 24
questions and again no time limit but they recommend around 20 minutes for completion.
A growing number of SJTs now are bespoke to the recruiting organisation, or even to the specific role. A
bespoke approach is the most effective for implementing SJTs due to the situation-specific nature of the
assessment. If a company does find an off the shelf situational judgement test, it will be selected after
carefully considering if it is relevant to the role. For bespoke tests, companies still use a test publisher to help
them design it due to their consulting expereince and business psychology knowledge. Indeed many test
publishers offer only a bespoke service when it comes to SJTs, including Saville Consulting, Criterion
Partnership and Kenexa.
What you should do to perform well in situational judgement tests
No particular training or knowledge is required to take this type of test. However, as mentioned above, if
practice tests are available on the employing organisations website, or elsewhere, it is well worth taking full
advantage of these.
When you sit down to take the test, look closely at the detail of both the situation, the possible answers, what
you are being asked to comment on and also whether you are being asked for your judgement or information
about your most likely response. It is important that you read each scenario thoroughly and each possible
response before beginning to rate or rank the responses.
Bear in mind that you can only choose from the available options and are being asked to evaluate the best or
worst of these not any other possible options. When being asked to rank those options, they may all be weak
or they may all be quite strong but your job is to put them in some relative order.
Another important point is that, as with ability tests, you are expected to use only the information provided in
the question; do not make assumptions about the situation or scenario, even if it is similar to one that you have
come across yourself in the past.
And finally, as mentioned above, if you have been given information about the competencies assessed then
keep this in the back of your mind as you progress through the test. If you havent been given this information
then make your best guess as to the competencies that are typical of the role for which you are applying. By
identifying the competency or competencies that the question is addressing you can more easily get into the
correct mindset to judge the options effectively.

Take a free personality questionnaire
Business psychologists have kindly helped us produce this full free personality questionnaire. It is based on
the classic 'five-factor' model: the most popular system of classifying personality traits and as used by
employers in their selection processes. Click the button to the left to start the free questionnaire. Find out what
the common Big Five personality questionnaire says about you.
Personality questionnaires and how they work
Personality questionnaires have become a commonly used recruitment tool, and candidates may come across
them at both the early stages and the late stages of the recruitment process. Research has shown that
personality tests are highly robust predictors of job performance, and are used for both selection and
development as a result. Candidates will be likely to encounter personality questionnaires in all industries and
all sectors, however candidates are most likely to undertake these tests in graduate schemes and recruitment
for larger companies with high recruitment volumes. These tests may be online and unsupervised, they may be
online and supervised and they may be pencil and paper tests at an assessment centre.
Personality tests used for recruitment will vary compared to general personality tests used in psychology; they
will be workplace relevant and highlight personality traits and competencies which are valued in the
workplace. Personality questionnaires are in multiple choice format, and will not have a time limit, allowing
candidates to decide on their responses in their own time. An example personality/competency question would
be "I like to identify new business opportunities" or "I am likely to made decisions based on facts and figures
alone", requiring the candidate to rate on a given scale (often 1-7) how much they agree or disagree with the
statement.
Once the candidates results are collected, they are compared to a norm group, and subsequently informs the
organisation how, for example, analytical, influential and adaptive you may be in the workplace. Similarly the
test may assess values, which can be useful in identifying if the candidate fits well with the organisation and
its culture. Depending on the test, over a hundred individual traits and competencies may be assessed by the
questionnaire. There are no right or wrong answers when it comes to personality tests, however there are good
and bad reports, and recruiters will be looking for specific competencies and traits in candidates.
What traits are assessed in a personality questionnaire?
Personality tests in general are based on a small number of broad personality traits, such as the big 5 model of
personality (openness, agreeableness, extrovertism, neuroticism and conscientiousness). Personality
questionnaires used for recruitment will follow a similar format, assessing for a small number of broad traits,
and subsequently breaking down each broad trait into separate sections and individual competencies.
For example a broad trait may be "influence", within influence a subsection may be "assertiveness", within
"assertiveness" may be "ability to take on responsibility". Competencies are a set of an individual strengths,
and employers may be looking for a set of key competencies, i.e. analytical ability, for that position These
tests will assess your preferences towards these competencies in the workplace, getting an idea of where your
strengths, weaknesses and areas for development are.
What you should know before taking a personality questionnaire
As with all recruitment tools, recruiters in the assessment stage of recruitment are unlikely to base their
recruitment decision purely on one tool. Instead the decision will be made based on the mixture of results
based on numerous tools, such as competency interviews, aptitude tests and group/role-play exercises.
However if a personality test is used at the start of the recruitment process, it is likely to be used as a screening
tool, screening out candidates who do not express the key competencies of the role. In this case, an unsuitable
report may cause a candidate to be screened out at an early stage, regardless of performance on other
measures. Although there are no right and wrong answers, there are good and bad profiles for a particular
position/organisation.
Types of personality questionnaire being used
The personality questionnaire industry is a $450 million industry and candidates are likely to encounter
numerous varieties of personality questionnaire. Here is a list of some of the most commonly encountered
personality questionnaires on the market today:
1. Occupational Personality Questionnaire (OPQ): The OPQ is a personality questionnaire designed and
published by SHL, and is the most commonly used personality questionnaire for recruitment and development
purposes. This test may be scored either normatively or ipsatively and will always be multiple choice format.
The report for this test will evaluate a candidates competencies, personality preferences and work place
behaviours.
2. Saville Wave: This online personality questionnaire platform will combine both normative and ipsative
style questions in the same questionnaire, with all questions being multiple choice format. This test can only
be performed online and candidates will not sit a pencil and paper version. Typically candidates will be asked
to undertake the professional styles version (40 minutes long) or the focus styles version (14 minutes long).
3. Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI): The MBTI assesses a candidates personality preferences, and
evaluates how the candidate makes decisions. The MBTI asks questions regarding how you function as a
person (i.e. How do you prefer to make decisions?) and asks you to select one of the personality preferences
(extraversion- introversion, sensing-intuition, thinking-feeling, judgement-perception).
4. Talent Q Dimensions: This test typically takes 25 minutes to complete, and is primarily used to identify
the fit between the candidate and the organisation/job role. However the test can also be used for
development and team building.
5. Personality and preference inventory (PAPI): The PAPI is available in both normative and ipsative
versions and assesses numerous work place relevant traits and competencies. This test may take round 15
minutes to complete and has been used extensively for over 40 years.
Normative and ipsative
There are two types of personality test on the market, which differ in how they are scored, normative tests and
ipsative tests. Normative tests are rating tests, in which the candidate rates how much they agree with a
statement, i.e. strongly agree/strongly disagree/neutral. Ipsative tests on the other hand are ranking questions,
requiring the candidate to select out of a list of statements, which one(s) they agree with or disagree with
most. An advantage of normative scoring is that tests can be administered both online and on paper. An
advantage of ipsative is that they are considered more accurate and less prone to exaggeration. Normative tests
are far more common, and are most likely to be encountered during recruitment processes.
Norm groups
Norm groups are a group of previously tested individuals, which are used as a comparison to evaluate if a
candidates ratings are higher or lower than average. Norm groups vary depending on the level of recruitment,
for example a graduate scheme would use graduates as their norm group and for senior management
recruitment, and a senior management norm group would be used. The norm group will also vary depending
on the role, for example for a finance position a norm group of finance workers would be used.
Norm groups
1. Take your time: Personality questionnaires are far less stressful than aptitude tests for numerous reasons;
one of the most obvious is that there are no time limits. Personality questionnaires have no time limits because
they want to allow candidates ample time to make their decision, without rushing them or making them feel
uncomfortable. Take your time when completing a personality questionnaire and feel free to think about your
answer before answering.
2. Over strengths: Although companies are looking for your strengths and weaknesses, over strengths are
also a factor which are taken into account when analysing your personality profile. For example if a candidate
expresses high levels of assertiveness, the organisation may see this is a potential over strength, as this may
mean the candidate is dominating and less diplomatic. As a result overestimating, or intestinally exaggerating
your ratings on a personality test will not lead to an improved personality report, it may in fact make you seem
less attractive to recruiters.
3. Key competencies: In any interview for any position, the HR department will have designed a framework
of key competencies which are essential and/or desirable in a potential employee. For example analytical
ability would be a key competency for a role in finance and interpersonal skills would be a key competency
for consulting. Although the competency framework will vary depending on the role, and the organisation,
certain competencies will remain essential to a particular role. Ensuring you express your preference
particularly highly in these key areas can help build the correct profile for the role. If you do not feel you have
high preferences in these key areas, it may be an indication that this role is not suited to your work preferences
and personality.
4. Avoid acquiescence bias: Acquiescence bias is a form of response bias, in which questionnaire
respondents agree with all or too many statements or indicate a positive connotation. As a result the profile
may show exaggerated levels of a particular trait or competency, and may be mistaken for the candidate lying
or intentionally exaggerating. Try to answer as truthfully as possible, as during later stages of the recruitment
process, recruiters may use your profile to from competency based questions, asking for direct evidence for
these competencies. If you have little/no experience in this particular competency and have rated yourself
highly in it, this may put off recruiters and give them the impression you tried to distort the test.
5. Persistence: Although personality questionnaires are not designed to test ability, they can be quite taxing
due to their length, and the level of introspection required in answering the questions. It is therefore very
important to remain focused and persist, answering all the questions and still maintaining a high degree of
accuracy. Without time limits and without right or wrong answers, personality tests can seem boring, drawn-
out and unimportant, but the personality profile will be used as an highly informative recruitment aid, and
candidates are advised to take it as seriously, and focus as intently as any other exercise or test.
Preparing for SHL psychometric tests
Personality questionnaires can be a break from the nerve racking aptitude tests and recruitment exercises,
providing a much needed period of reflection and ease. Should you feel nervous before taking a personality
questionnaire, just remember there will be no time limits, no right or wrong answers, multiple choice format
and as a candidates you should have some idea of the key competencies looked for in this role.
However it is important to take the test seriously, although the questionnaire may take a while to complete it is
as valuable a tool as many other well-known selection procedures such as aptitude tests and interviews. Take
it seriously; take your time and good luck!