How To Prepare For a Graduate Psychometric Test

Posted by Andrew Purchas

Updated 24 November 2022

Undertaking a psychometric assessment as part of an application process can often be daunting, but understanding how they work can minimise any anxiety you might have and set you up for success. We outline what you can expect in this step of the recruitment process below.

What is graduate psychometric testing?

Psychometric tests help graduate employers assess things like cognitive ability, problem solving, personality traits (such as empathy, situational awareness) and general knowledge and are generally taken online. Whilst similar to online personality tests you have taken whilst procrastinating on an assignment, there is a lot more reasoning and science behind graduate psychometric tests and can be a good avenue to learn about who you are and how you operate.

The main goal of psychometric testing isn’t necessarily about getting the highest score across the board but more about matching graduates with not only the company's internal values and culture, but specific roles within as well.

For example:

  • A graduate trading position – Might favour numerical skills and being able to perform in a fast paced, high pressure environment
  • A graduate analyst – Might favour more drawn out attention to detail, logic and reasoning as well as a focus on interpersonal skills for stakeholder management

Whilst being prepared and getting comfortable through practice can go a long way to performing at your best – answering psychometric tests whilst keeping in mind each company is looking for different attributes in their graduate will go a long way to taking some of the pressure off when applying for graduate jobs.

What kind of psychometric tests are there?

There are a number of tests large graduate employers will use to get a complete picture of a graduate and the main categories are as follows:

Aptitude Assessment (Verbal/Numerical Reasoning)

This section measures your intellectual capabilities such as your problem-solving skills, decision making, and interpreting information in a limited time frame. The most common tests are verbal and numerical reasoning which assess your ability to solve written or numerical problems. These tests can either be in the form of multiple-choice questions or more game-oriented exercises. Popular psychometric testing platforms include Pymetrics, HireVue, and Revelian.

  • Cognitive or Abstract Reasoning: A non-verbal or numerical test that can use things like shapes rather than words or numbers to test someone's cognitive ability.


What is the next shape?

  • Verbal Reasoning: Designed to measure your analytical and verbal reasoning skills, generally in a text-based format. Common practice is to provide a passage of text and assessing a series of statements that should be true, false or not able to say due to lack of information.
  • Numerical Reasoning: You guessed it, this is test is based around how well your analytical skills cope with numbers. This could be anything from simple maths problems through to identifying issues and problems with sets of numbers in a table as well as gaining insights from the data.

Personality Assessment

These assessments aim to inform recruiters about your behavioural style, interests, preferences, and motivations. The question formats include multiple-choice, true/false, and rating scales. The way you answer these questions forms a personality profile that tells a company about how your approach and solve problems, how you like to work in a team, how you like to be managed, and how you handle stress and conflict.

These can be a broad-spectrum tests to measure a number of things such as:

  • Understand people’s emotions based on certain behaviours
  • Emotions within people's faces
  • How to influence others based on emotions
  • Understanding how emotions can impact others
  • How to build relationships
  • Understanding different kinds of emotions and how they can be beneficial or negative in certain scenarios

Even though there are no 'right' or 'wrong' answers, it is often better to answer honestly instead of trying to gear your responses towards answers you perceive the recruiter may be looking for. Remember – employers are not expecting to you to score top marks across the board, just to understand where your strengths and weaknesses lie! 

How to prepare for these assessments?

Familiarising yourself with these tests can go a long way to ensuring you ace them. Here are a few tips:

  1. Understand the different tests and their methods
  2. Practice as much as you can to get comfortable before applying for that graduate program or internship
  3. Ask your friends for any advice if they've sat the test in the past
  4. Sit the test in a quiet and comfortable environment
  5. Use all the tools that are allowed

We've collated a list of practice tests and helpful resources that will help get you on your way here!

Regardless of your views on the psychometric testing process, it’s a common element to the graduate recruitment process, however, it is just one of many inputs that you can see from our recruitment process overview.

Getting comfortable with the format and these practices is just one more thing you can do to help nail each step of the process. Good luck!


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