5 tips for preparing for psychometric testing

Patrick BellYou’ve applied for a new job after your maternity leave. Out of the dozens of CVs and application letters you’ve sent, finally an answer comes through. Except, they are asking you to take a psychometric test before you get to the interview stage. You start panicking, thinking of hieroglyphs and complicated mathematical problems. You even think of giving up on the application all together and forget about that job. But Psychometric tests aren’t that bad, you often don’t even need to study for them.

Psychometric testing is used by 70% of UK companies with over 50 employees. If you are required to take one, it means that you’ll likely be working for a good size company that really cares about placing the right people in the right role. That’s great, as you wouldn’t want to be stuck in a role that doesn’t match your abilities or personality, right?

Psychometric tests are designed to better understand an individual – what is their attitude to work? How would they behave in a given situation? What is their learning style? How do they approach a logical problem?

Here are 5 tips to prepare for a psychometric test.

1)     Understand psychometric tests

Know your enemy. Read up about psychometric tests and how they work. There are plenty of resources online. You’ll find that you won’t be required to solve any equations and that there are no right or wrong answers, only different ways to approach a problem.

2)    Take the test online

The easiest way to get ready for a psychometric test is taking it a few times at home. Practice makes perfect, as the saying goes. Most companies will provide you with a few sample tests to get used to them, but there are lots to be taken online.

Practising won’t mean that you’ll select better answers – it’ll just make you feel more confident in the test format and timing. This can make a huge difference to your results.

3)    Refresh your maths or read

Aptitude tests assess your numerical, verbal and diagrammatic reasoning as well as situational judgement skills. If you are taking an aptitude test and the role you’ve applied for requires mathematical skills, you may want to quickly refresh your maths.

You should be doing this anyway if you’ve worked in similar roles and you’ve been out of work for a while, so just take it as gospel and prepare in advance.

Not all aptitude tests focus on mathematical skills though – they usually look at the way you reason and how you approach a logical problem, so don’t worry if you need to take one even if the job role won’t involve any numbers.

If you’re taking a verbal aptitude test, a good way to speed up your understanding of the questions and gain some time is reading a lot of industry news and newspapers in order to expand your vocabulary.

4)    Take a close look at the job description

If you want to know whether you have what it takes to get the job, study the job description and ask yourself: what kind of personality, ability or reasoning is required to fulfil these responsibilities? The job description will expound upon all of these qualities so it’s clear what they’re looking for.

Don’t try to cheat on the test though. Not only it is not possible, but also it is counterproductive for you – why would you want to pretend to be someone else at work? The working day is long!

5)    Rest and nourish yourself

Make sure you are well rested and fed (with healthy nourishing food) when you take the test. This way you will be alert and ready to take whatever the test presents you with; just be yourself and you’ll get the best possible result.

written by Patrick Bell, Managing Director of Genesis Associates.

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