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A Comprehensive Guide to Psychometric and Aptitude Tests

Graduate schemes are an excellent opportunity for university leavers to embark on their chosen career path, but the recruitment process is thorough with candidates having to progress through a number of different steps to successfully secure a place. One of the most popular methods employers use to assess the suitability of graduates is with a psychometric or aptitude test. These assessments are frequently used as a strategy to filter applicants so only the very best reach the interview stage.

As with any type of test the more you practice, the better you become and psychometric tests are no different. In fact it is strongly advised that you practice as much as possible for these type of assessments so that you can familiarise yourself not only with the style of questioning but also working quickly and progressing through each of the questions within the allotted timeframe.

Psychometric Tests and the Recruitment Process

There are not any set rules as to when in the recruitment process you may encounter an aptitude or psychometric test but typically they can arise; 

  • Immediately after you send your application form
  • Before your first interview
  • At the second interview or as part of an assessment day 


It is not uncommon to have to sit the same aptitude test twice, once at the beginning of the recruitment process and again towards the end and is a way for employers to confirm results of earlier tests.

Different types of aptitude test

Before you can start to prepare for the tests it is important to understand the different styles of psychometric and aptitude assessments that you may be expected to complete as part of the application process.

Verbal Reasoning – Evaluate your ability to process and comprehend written information, evaluating arguments and statements to reach a decision

Numerical Reasoning – Assess your capability to interpret numerical information such as statistics, graphs or charts

Logical Reasoning – Evaluate your ability to evaluate information and follow through to a conclusion using rules or guidelines. Logical reasoning tests are sometimes referred to as a deductive reasoning test.

Non-Verbal Reasoning – Assesses your ability to identify patterns or follow through to a conclusion based on specific information. Also known as inductive reasoning tests.

Deductive reasoning tests are often used in industries that demand logical problem solving such as business, management or marketing where you may be asked to observe a specific scenario and then form a solution or make predictions. Deductive reasoning tests will start by presenting a number of rules which are then applied to the situation to determine what will happen in certain cases. Deductive reasoning can be quite complex so it is important that you carry out the necessary preparatory work before you attempt to sit the actual test for the recruiter.

Inductive reasoning tests on the other hand are often found in technical roles such as IT, science or engineering. These types of assessments will usually consist of a set of multiple choice questions which have to be completed under timed conditions. Each question may include a series of pictures which are slightly different and you will be asked to choose which picture will come next in the sequence.

Aptitude Tests

An aptitude test will evaluate your potential to acquire a new skill required to carry out the work in the role you have applied for. If you have applied for a position in the IT sector, you may be asked to complete a networking aptitude test. Financial careers often require graduates to sit aptitude tests such as numerical or verbal reasoning, using information that you would typically encounter in your day to day duties.

Preparation for Aptitude and Psychometric Tests

The best way that you can prepare for your test is to find out the types of test that you will be expected to complete and then carry out a number of practice tests which can be found online. Practicing for the tests online is the best way to familiarise yourself with the structure and type of questions that are asked. Practice tests can also help you refine your technique, improving speed and accuracy which is crucial for certain aptitude tests. There are a number of websites online offering free practice tests including on WikiJob. 

Top Tips for Success

If you have been informed that you have to sit a psychometric test as part of the recruitment process, there are a number of things that you can do as well as the practice tests. It is always a good idea to complete activities such as puzzles and identifying patterns which will allow you to refine your skills in logical thinking. If you are asked to complete a numerical reasoning test, you should sharpen your general maths skills, looking specifically at graphs, charts and interpreting statistics. Basic maths is all that’s required for these tests; you don’t need advanced mathematical capabilities to do well.

In terms of verbal reasoning tests when reading news items or a newspaper, think about the statements behind the stories and the different ways in which they could be interpreted. Also look out for commonly misspelt words or grammatically incorrect sentences which can often creep into even the best publications.

Succeeding at a psychometric test takes time, planning and an understanding of what is required. On the day of the test, it may seem like an old cliché but try to stay calm and focused. Remember to take everything that you may need such as glasses, your inhaler if you need one and hearing aids. Although you are often issued with a calculator, pens and other equipment during the test, it won’t hurt to prepare your own set of materials to take with you, although that being said, the majority of tests are now completed online. Ensure that you go to bed early the night before and get plenty of sleep. Set your alarm early so that you arrive in good time and you arrive in the right frame of mind for the test.

Once the test has started, listen carefully to any instructions that you are given. These may be crucial to completing the test correctly. If you are provided with a few practice questions, take the opportunity and don’t be tempted to skip them to get the test finished quicker. If there is anything that you don’t understand this is the time to ask for clarification.

Staying focused, completing the required preparatory work and understanding each type of psychometric or aptitude test will give you the best chances of success and allow you to progress to the next step in the recruitment process.

This article was provided by Edward Mellett, founder of www.WikiJob.co.uk.

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