Psychometric tests: how to prepare

Many employers use psychometric tests as part of the recruitment  process. They're common in graduate jobs, work placements and internships.

Types of psychometric tests

You may take tests early on, as part of the initial online screening process, or as part of the interview stage. They help employers to:

  • identify the people best suited to a particular job
  • see if you are a good fit for their company culture
  • screen a lot of applicants without having to interview everyone

Some employers are developing tests that you do through online games or apps. Tests are standardised and often timed. To perform well you need both speed and accuracy.

Tests used in application screening generally measure:

  • ability – your knowledge and skills
  • aptitude – your natural ability to do something
  • personality – things like your typical ways of thinking, motivations, interests, values and beliefs

You’ll see tests of things like:

  • verbal reasoning – your ability to understand written information
  • numerical reasoning – how you think using numbers
  • abstract or spatial reasoning – your ability to understand patterns, logical rules or work with shapes
  • personality - questions about how you behave, to predict how you might act in a work situation (there are no right or wrong answers)
  • situational judgement tests - set a scene and ask what you would do in that situation

Psychometric testing for disabled people

If you have a disability that might affect your test performance, you can ask for reasonable adjustments. This makes sure that the testing process is fair. Adjustments can include things like:

  • being able to use screen reading software
  • having extra time to complete the test

Get in touch with the employer as soon as they ask you to take a test, to make sure these adjustments are made.

Prepare for a psychometric test

You do not have to revise before a psychometric test, though it helps to get some practice. This will give you a chance to:

  • get familiar with the types of questions employers may ask
  • overcome your nerves
  • work out how much time you’re likely to have on each question so you can pace yourself
  • learn tips to make sure you perform at your best

You can find free practice tests on sites like:

If you’re at university or a recent graduate, speak to your university careers service. They may be able to give you free access to test materials. They may also run workshops or mock assessment centres to help you prepare.

Check the website of the company you are applying to, as they may have practice tests. 

You may be able to find more specific practice materials on careers sites aimed at sectors like:

  • law
  • medicine
  • finance

There are also lots of books available that offer tips and advice.

Learn from your mistakes

Go over your answers to find out where you are weakest. You can improve by doing more of the kinds of questions you find most difficult. If sites provide feedback on your performance this can help you to concentrate on areas to work on.

For numerical reasoning tests, it may help to work on your maths skills like:

  • fractions
  • percentages
  • ratios

Tips for taking psychometric tests

  • sit somewhere quiet with no distractions and try to stay calm
  • have a pen, paper and calculator to hand
  • do the tests on a laptop or PC and use headphones if you have them
  • make sure you have a reliable internet connection
  • log on with plenty of time ahead, close down all other windows and maximise the test window
  • check the timings – some tests will actually tell you how long you have for each question, for others you may have to work it out
  • read the instructions carefully and do the practice questions before you start
  • do not use the back button in your browser as it may end the test without saving your answers
  • if you can’t answer a question don’t stick on it and lose time– take a guess and move on
  • if you answer a question and have time before the next one appears, use the time to calm yourself with a couple of deep breaths

Related content

Graduate schemes: getting a place

Interview tips

How to find a virtual internship

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