How to Prepare for a Graduate Psychometric Test

Posted by GradConnection

Updated on 19 October 2022

The psychometric test (aka aptitude test) is a crucial part of the graduate recruitment process which evaluates candidates beyond their education, skills, and experience, and instead aims to provide a measure of their potential performance as an employee. While psychometric testing can often be a daunting prospect, we break down our top tips on how to ace this step of the application process below!

Most employers opt to use the psychometric testing as it has proven to be accurate at predicting on-the-job performance and is also considered more objective than reviewing a CV/resume. There are two main types of psychometric tests; personality and ability.

Personality and Interest

The personality and interest test aims to measure the ways you interact with people within your environment i.e. your behavioural style, interests, preferences and motivations. Recruiters are curious to know how you solve problems, work in a team and your preferred management style. Typical question formats that are used for these types of tests include:

  • Multiple choice
  • True/False
  • Rating Scales 

Aptitude and Ability

The aptitude and ability test measures your ability in carrying out different tasks and assesses logical reasoning and thinking performance. Within this test, there are sub topics which could include:

1. Verbal Ability

  • Evaluates you on your understanding of the written and verbal language and usually include questions of spelling, grammar, sentence completion, analogies, word groups, instructions, critical reasoning and verbal deductions.

2. Numeric Ability

  • Covers basic arithmetic of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division; number sequences; and simple mathematics of percentages, powers, fractions etc. The test is to assess your basic numeracy and could also be categorised as a speed test.

3. Abstract Reasoning

  • This test is different from the others as it includes questions that have little to no applicable use in the real world. The results are intended to reflect your general intellectual ability and whether you are able to understand complex ideas.
  • You may be asked recognise patterns and similarities between shapes and figures which could be important for jobs that involve dealing with abstract ideas and concepts and jobs that involve:
    • A high degree of problem solving
    • Dealing with complex data or concepts
    • Developing strategies or policies

4. Spatial Reasoning

  • Involves the ability to visualise and manipulate two-dimensional or three-dimensional shapes and patterns. This test is essential for many jobs in design, illustration, architecture, publishing, technology and some branches of science and mathematics.
  • Possible questions for this test could include: shape matching, shape rotation, combining shapes, cube views in three-dimensions, and manipulation of other solid shapes. There may also be questions using maps and plans for areas in emergency services, military, and law enforcement jobs.

5. Mechanical Reasoning

  • Measures your knowledge on mechanical and physical concepts. Questions could test your knowledge of levers, pulleys, gears, springs, simple electrical circuits, tools and shop arithmetic.
  • If you’re taking the test for emergency services and military jobs, the questions could concentrate on principles rather than calculations, meanwhile mechanical reasoning for craft and technical jobs could expect you to make calculations and ask about tools and their uses.
  • The results of this test are then compared to results of others within a particular group or specific criteria. Your score will show whether you meet or lack the ability needed to carry out a certain task required.

Preparing for the Test

1. Know which test you will be doing

  • Some employers may let you know what type of test you'll be doing in advance, however that may not always be the case. If you're lucky enough to know the former, make sure you make the most of it by preparing in advance!

2. Stay calm and alert!

  • Make sure you come prepared, but also well-rested. As with all exams, there's no use in staying up all night practising when shapes start to appear blurry from a lack of sleep during the test!

3. Practice in advance

  • Practice makes perfect! Check our blog here where we've compiled a handy library of resources for practicing psychometric testing.

Ultimately, there aren't any right or wrong answers in psychometric tests. While it may be tempting to try and embellish your responses, the best thing to do is just answer the questions as honestly as possible and present an authentic reflection of yourself to your potential future employer!


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