How does Psychometric Test work?

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Psychometric test was earlier the part of educational psychology and now these tests are used by career counselors and employers for successful recruitment or selection process. The psychometric tests are framed by occupational psychologists with an aim to provide employers a perfect selection process whereby they can recruit only the best candidates. Psychometric tests comprise of personality and interest test and Aptitude and Ability tests. Psychometric test aid in measuring attributes like intelligence, personality and aptitude. These tests also help to determine whether you can work with other people, handle stress and meet the intellectual demands of the job successfully. These Psychometric tests are not to be confused with the tests used in clinical psychology which is used to measure only emotions and psychological abilities. Recently, psychometric tests are framed in a way to measure a person’s integrity, honesty and ability to manage anger.

Psychometric tests can be used for both career progression and recruitment. Nearly 80% of Fortune 500 companies in the United States of America and Top 100 companies in UK use psychometric tests as a method of recruitment. IT companies, financial institutions like banks and insurance companies, management consultancies, civil service, police forces and local authorities make use of the psychometric test as the most suitable method of selecting the able candidate. India is gradually utilizing these tests for both academic and job selection purpose.


A psychometric test should be objective, standardized, reliable, predictive and non-discriminatoryin nature. Since, psychometric tests are used to take personal decisions the results should be firmly based on statistics and systematic methods.Psychometric tests mainly comprise of personality questionnaires and aptitude tests. Let’s find out in detail what these tests comprise of-

Personality and Occupational Questionnaires

The personality of the person should match with his or career. The results of the test will make you aware of your personality and how it will suit your field of work and how it will help you to deal with people. It will also point out where you need improvements,these questions help to determine-

  • The way you function
  • How you behave in certain circumstances
  • Your preferences and attitudes

The aim of the test is to see whether you suit to a particular work environment. It also aid to examine different types of human behaviour, opinions, interests, values and attitudes etc.

This is a paper based test where your results will be compared to the criteria required for the particular job or academic field.For instance, a question might be like “I prefer to avoid conflict” write true or false. Another question may be like, “Work is the most important thing in my life”, here you have tick against options like very strongly agree, very strongly disagree and neutral. Some places you will be ask to elucidate why you are selecting a particular option. There will be situational judgment test or you can also be judged on the base on interactions.

The questions might vary from 50 to 200 depending on the duration of the test. You have to answer on a 2 point, 5 point or 7 point scale.

There have been drastic changes in a way companies operate, the management these days is less autocratic and the hierarchy is almost not there. Many companies are moving towards knowledge based or customer based jobs thus a person gets more autonomy even at the lower levels of the organization. Thus a person’s ability to work independently and their personality traits become vital point of judgment. Many companies are undergoing frequent changes and thus personality tests are becoming far more important now to check whether you fit into this dynamic world.

Aptitude tests consist of multiple choice questions and you have to take this test almost like your school exam. This test can take 30 minutes of your time; the duration might vary so will the number of questions. You can ask your human resource manager to show you a sample of aptitude test; this is not cheating as you have the right to prepare for a psychometric test in advance. There are different types of psychometric tests like-

Verbal Ability: This is common for all psychometric tests and the questions helps to judge your communication skills. The test includes spelling, grammar and ability to differentiate between different concepts.

Numerical Ability: The employers often include numerical ability tests in the psychometric test to find out whether the candidates know how to solve simple arithmetic questions. Those who are in management studies get a more complex numerical ability test which includes interpreting charts and graphs.

Abstract Reasoning: This test helps to judge your intelligence and ability to grasp new concepts often required for many jobs. The candidate have to analyze a logic given in a pattern and find out a solution. This test is a best way to find out whether the person can read between lines.

Spatial Ability: This test is frequently used in military (Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery), fire service, police force, other technical and engineering occupations. In this test you have to find out three dimensional shapes from two dimensional objects and vice versa.

Mechanical Reasoning: As the name suggests this test will judge whether you can comprehend the basic physical and mechanical principles or concepts and utilize it in practice.

Fault Diagnosis: This type of test is use to select a technical personnel. This test is complex according to the job needs and the nature of questions varies according to the type of electronic system a person has to repair. The ability to solve questions logically, spot faults and provide a solution is tested through this aptitude test.

Data Checking: This aptitude test is for those who are applying for clerical jobs or data-entry jobs. This test measures the ability of a person to spot errors quickly from a long list of data.

Work Sample: The nature of the test varies from one organization to another. If it is a written test then question will pertain to the subject matter with which the company deals with. The test can also be a presentation or in-tray exercises if it is an administrative job or a supervisory role in a management firm. Through presentation the employers will be able to judge your ability to work as a team and prioritize your thoughts and actions. This test requires practice since it is difficult to crack within the limited time period.

Assessment Day Exercises: These are based on human interaction exercises. These questions are based on job specific skills so you have to know your subject like the back of your hand to answer them promptly. These tests are carried out be assessors or psychologists.

It is very important that you don’t assume your abilities while giving the aptitude test. Be confident not overconfident. Read the questions thoroughly and completely. Here is a sample test for you to practice at home before the actual test day. The time frame for all these questions helps to judge how the candidate can cope under extreme time pressure and whether they can deliver quality work within a limited time frame. These tests are for job selection similar psychometric tests can help a student to select which branch of studies they want to opt for once they complete their class 10 exams.

Here are few tips to complete your psychometric test successfully-

  • You should try to complete questions in the numerical ability test. However, don’t stress too much if you can’t.
  • The toughest questions in an aptitude test are commonly placed at the end of a test. However, each question has same number of points against it.
  • When you are writing the aptitude test work till the examiner announces ‘time is up’. If you have completed all the questions you were sure of, go back and check questions you were unsure of. Revise and correct errors.
  • Some personality tests will try to detect your level of honesty and identify fakers. Such a test is called ‘social desirability’ and the questions deal with bad behaviour who have committed atleast once in the past like telling a lie to save someone etc. If the candidate denies committing such behaviour will get high social desirability scores.
  • You can’t skip any questions in a psychometric test so if you can’t solve a numerical problem then you have to guess the answer.
  • Don’t spend too much time one or two tough questions, guess and move on. Remember, you have to complete the entire paper.
  • Read instruction carefully above each question. That ability too will be assessed by the employer or the dean of your University if you are applying for a particular course.
  • If your test is non-timed then it is advisable to take a break as it will help you to collect your thoughts and remove mental fatigue.
  • You should honest while giving personality tests.
  • Practice will make your perfect and you can comfortably complete a test within the time frame.

Don’t think that your behaviour or opinions are judged by the answers of your questions. Preparation is needed to ensure that answers can reveal your full potential to the employers, career counselor or college and university authorities.

  • Be serious on your assessment day but be calm.

Psychometric tests are versatile and best way to assess a person. Many psychometric tests also include a general knowledge section to check whether you are updated and know what’s happening around the world. The results are reliable. There have been controversies regarding psychometric tests, many call it a myth. However, its increased use in both academic career counseling and job selection process has put this debate to rest. If you are a student it is advisable to take several tests in different phases like one test after class ten and the other test just before college will help to determine whether you are moving on the right track. Wrong decisions might hamper your career. So go ahead take this test and find out more about yourself. Here’s wishing you good luck!

About the Author :

Surela ChakrabortySurela Chakraborty writes feature and lifestyle articles. She is known to experiment with different genres of writing. She started writing in her school days but has made her passion a profession. Her articles have been published in both print and digital media. Research is her forte and she has more than three years’ experience in this field. Connect with her @SurelaC