How to Prepare for a Psychometric Test

2 October 2020
6 minute
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Psychometric testing offers true insight into a person’s skillset, capabilities, and personality traits.

As such, preparing for psychometric assessments can seem daunting. However, it shouldn’t be. While most of these tests aren’t designed to have ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ answers, there are still ways in which you can become familiar with the format and question styles. 

Firstly, you’ll want to explore what psychometric tests are comprised of. Check out some text examples so you aren’t thrown by their unique structure. Secondly, you’ll want to consider what the employer might be looking for in the position you’re applying to. That will help you understand how best to showcase your personality as suited to the role. Lastly, you’ll want to make sure you’re ready on test day, by turning up well-rested. 

This expert guide from Thomas will outline how to prepare for a psychometric test making sure you’re ready to showcase your affinity for the role, no matter what kind of psychometric test you’re faced with.

How to prepare for a psychometric assessment

Psychometric tests are popular with employers for their objectivity and predictability of job performance. Designed to assess a candidate on a more profound level, rather than a simple test of knowledge, they are a great tool that can create a very accurate depiction of a person’s traits, skills and way of working. 

Preparing to take a psychometric test is actually quite simple - it’s about making sure you properly showcase your talents, personality, and skills. It’s not about trying to find the ‘right’ way to answer the test or to ‘game the system’. Instead, it’s about giving employers an honest perspective into how you operate as a person and what makes you suitable for a specific role. 

Preparation is just a case of working backwards. The five keys to the preparation process are: 

  • understanding exactly what a psychometric test is, 
  • researching the various types of psychometric assessments, 
  • preparing with practice tests, 
  • understanding the skills or personality set required from the job you’re applying for, and 
  • mental preparation. 

We’ll look at each of these below in detail. 

1. Understand exactly what a psychometric test is

As we’ve just explored, psychometric testing can help a potential employer better understand your skills, capabilities and personality traits as they relate to the job they’re hiring for. Most are completed online and are timed, although some more old-fashioned paper-based methods are still used. Typically used in the preliminary stages of candidate screening, they ensure that potential employees meet the company’s fundamental requirements before progressing to the next recruitment stage. 

It’s important to remember that there’s no real ‘wrong’ answers with these tests - they are there to guide the recruitment process and ensure that firms hire the right fit for the job in question.

Now that you have a better understanding of psychometric tests, the first thing you should do is to find out which psychometric tools your potential employer is using. There’s little point honing your diagrammatic reasoning, for example, if the test will be based on numerical reasoning. Can’t find out what type of assessment they’re using? Then consider what the employer may be trying to gauge you on. Is it your personality and how that fits with company values? Your capacity to learn quickly? Your situational judgment? Knowing this means you can set yourself up for success on the day of the test.

2. Research the various types of psychometric assessments

Once you’re more familiar with the type of psychometric testing you’re likely to face, it’s worth doing more research into what exactly you’re going to be assessed on. Psychometric tests vary greatly depending on the employment field, and type of role. 

There are three broad categories that assess your aptitude, behaviour, and emotional intelligence:

The first category, aptitude testing, covers an array of aptitude-based skill sets: verbal reasoning, situational judgement, numerical reasoning and diagrammatical reasoning.

The second, behavioural testing, investigates your propensity towards certain behaviours in your interactions with others. Behaviour is more changeable than personality, as we adapt our behaviour depending on what is required of us in different situations, or roles. 

The final category, emotional intelligence testing, charts your capacity to understand and manage emotion. It is usually based on four tenets of self-awareness, self-management, social awareness and relationship management.

3. Prepare with practice tests

When it comes to psychometric assessments, practice really does make perfect (or at the very least, better). 

While it requires an upfront investment of time, and feels a little like going back to school, taking some online practice tests before can help you perform better on the day. For one, you’ll get to know what to expect, in terms of the test format, style of questions and how to use your time effectively. 

Aptitude tests test your verbal reasoning, logic, or numerical skills, and practice really can make perfect with these. Practising these kinds of tests can help you improve your score. Personality and emotional intelligence tests are a little more complicated to prepare for. However, you can become more familiar and comfortable with these and run through the kind of questions you might encounter. 

No matter the kind of test, it’s always worth practising. Familiarising yourself with typical questions and formats can put you ahead of your competitors. More importantly, it will help to put you into a calmer, more confident state in order to showcase your best self.

4. Understand the skills/personality required from the job

There are no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ personalities - but there are more appropriate candidates for the job. Embodying the parts of yourself that really are applicable for the job in question is an important part of this process. Of course, purposefully trying to derail the honesty of the psychometric assessment is not going to work in your favour.

In fact, many psychometric tests are designed with built-in mechanisms to recognise false patterns. That being said, there is nothing wrong with more strongly asserting the behaviours which you believe will be important in your potential future job role. So while you should answer the test honestly and transparently, don’t feel that you need to downplay your strengths and skills.

5. Prepare mentally / have a clear and calm state of mind

This final preparation technique is key. In going in for the test, it’s vital to have a clear, calm and open state of mind. Staying up all night before practising might seem like a good idea on the surface. However, it’s likely to leave you drained and ill-prepared to best represent your capabilities. Not to mention, it’s likely to lead you to panic and feel uncertain as to whether you’ve ‘done enough’ to do well on the test.

Instead, try to do your practice in advance. Then, have an early night, eat well before the test. Create a calming environment for yourself, so that you are rested and relaxed in preparation for the testing.

In summary, a bit of research and preparation goes a long way in advance of your psychometric test. Know the role you’re applying for, the type of testing you will face, and give yourself enough time to practice. Arrive cool, calm and collected and you’ve done all you can to present the best ‘you’ for the job.

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