20 July 2022

Psychometric Test Your Way To Success

Alt Text!

Psychometric tests aren’t as rare as you might think. Employers are using them left, right and centre to screen students and graduates alike – which is understandable given the sheer volume of applications they receive. 

Sitting a test? Read this guide for everything you need to know about psychometric tests, and how to pass them.

What are psychometric tests?

Psychometric tests are career-specific assessments designed by employers and recruiters to determine a candidate’s suitability for a job. They measure intelligence, skills and character, and are good indicators as to whether an applicant will excel in their upcoming role.

There are two ways to sit a psychometric test:

1) Online

2) Assessment centre

Originally used for the purposes of educational psychology in the early 20th century, psychometric tests have evolved to become a prerequisite of the candidate selection process.

What are the two types of psychometric tests?  

There are two main types of psychometric tests you might come across when applying for an internship, placement or graduate scheme: personality tests and aptitude tests.

Personality tests

These evaluate how a candidate thinks, behaves and interacts with others in the workplace. Modified by employers to match the core competencies of the role, personality tests examine qualities and attributes like…

  • Honesty
  • Loyalty
  • Integrity
  • Compassion
  • Extraversion

Employers use personality tests to learn about their applicants. Which is why it’s important to stay true to yourself. If you change your ways to meet a company’s needs, you may regret it once you’ve got the job and wish you’d applied for something else altogether.

Aptitude tests

Aptitude tests determine whether a candidate has the cognitive ability to carry out their role successfully. The questions you’ll be asked in an aptitude test will depend on the industry you’re applying for, as shown in the examples below.

Finance applicants:

You might be tested on your mathematical, analytical and problem-solving skills by identifying patterns and solving equations, e.g. algebraic formulae. 

Journalism applicants:

You might be given a written exercise and have to answer questions on it. Recruiters will use those answers to gauge your comprehension skills.

Keep scrolling to reveal the most common aptitude tests out there… 

Are you ready for your psychometric test?

Numerical reasoning

Numerical reasoning tests assess your ability to interpret graphs, data and statistics. One minute you’d be calculating percentage averages, the next working out ratios and currency conversions.

Verbal reasoning

Verbal reasoning tests challenge your capacity to think constructively, process information, evaluate arguments and draw up insightful conclusions. Spelling, punctuation and grammar are key, so make sure you brush up on those as well.

Diagrammatic reasoning

Diagrammatic reasoning tests require you to analyse a sequence of patterns and shapes. Scientifically designed, they assess how well (and how quickly) you can solve complex problems.

Situational judgement

Situational judgement tests (SJTs) measure your soft skills, i.e. your non-academic competencies. They examine workplace behaviour to give employers an idea of how you’d respond to specific situations in your role.

Logic-based reasoning

Logic-based reasoning tests (AKA critical reasoning tests) require you to use structured thinking to determine which statements provide the most accurate response to the question.

Known to heighten mental agility, these tests measure your ability to interpret relationships, identify flaws and deduce trends. 

Investment banks, consulting and accountancy firms all use logic-based reasoning as part of their application process.

Gamification in graduate recruitment

Gamification is a recruitment strategy that combines traditional psychometric tests with game-based elements to make the application process interactive, stimulating and fun. (Think computer games, but in an assessment-based format.)

Gamification helps employers select the best applicants for the role through a series of dynamic tests. Recruiters use these tests to measure a candidate’s reaction time, behavioural patterns, and risk-taking tendencies.

Those who incorporate gamified tests into their hiring process report the following results:

  • Smoother onboarding processes
  • Highly collaborative environments
  • Motivated employees
  • Improved knowledge retention among workers
  • Boost in productivity

Deloitte, for instance, took their application process to the next level by adding a role-playing zombie apocalypse game!

Are psychometric tests hard?

The difficulty level of a psychometric test is based on the position you’re applying for. Psychometric tests for management roles, for instance, are harder and have tougher scoring systems than entry-level positions.

Practice makes perfect. So the more psychometric tests you do, the better you’ll become and the further you’ll progress. (Read on to find a few examples.)

And remember, tests are designed so that only 1-2% of takers answer all the questions correctly. So don’t worry if you can’t answer them all!

How many faces can you see on these cubes?

How to pass psychometric tests

Psychometric tests can be nerve-wracking. We get it. You’re battling it out for the job, knowing you have a limited window in which to impress those at the very top.

If you have a psychometric test coming up, follow these THREE tips to boost your chances of success:

  1. You can find practice psychometric tests online. Complete a few in advance to familiarise yourself with the format and the type of questions you’ll face.
  1. Read the instructions before you begin. That way, you’ll know exactly what you’re being asked to do and how long you’ve got to do it.
  2. Each question is usually worth the same number of points. If you’re struggling with a question, move on. 

Why do employers use psychometric tests?

There are a number of reasons as to why an employer might ask their applicants to complete psychometric tests, including:

  • Objectivity

Hiring candidates purely on the basis of CVs and interviews creates a selection process that’s based on instinct. Psychometric tests remove any subjectivity from the equation to produce a fairer, non-discriminatory approach to recruitment.

  • Accuracy

Psychometric testing allows recruiters to screen candidates accurately through a wide range of methods, testing both their skills and expertise. This enables firms to make scientifically-backed decisions and find the right candidate for the position.

  • Speed

Some companies receive hundreds, maybe thousands of applications per role. Psychometric testing allows businesses to whittle down the talent pool, leaving them with those candidates who stand the greatest chance of securing the job.

Examples of psychometric tests

Which shape comes next in the sequence?


How many cubes are there in the figure below?  

A: 19    B: 20    C: 21

Which TWO statements prove that Cindy has brown hair?

A & B  /  B & D  /  A & E /  B & C /  A & D

A: Cindy has curly hair

B: Sarah has brown hair

C: Sarah is 16 years old 

D: Cindy’s hair is the same colour as Sarah’s

E: Sarah has straight hair