10 tips to improve your psychometric test results

By Laurian Abeywardena

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Whether it comes at the very beginning or signifies the final hurdle of the hiring process, psychometric tests are becoming more and more common as a prerequisite for hiring. They may sound intimidating, but do not be alarmed! Psychometric tests are merely a standardised scientific method designed to measure an individual's mental capability and behavioural style. In a nutshell, they're typically targeted at the more hidden, subconscious aspects of personality that can be difficult to pinpoint in face-to-face interactions. These insights are then used to identify whether a candidate's true nature is the right fit for an opportunity based on the position's requirements and desired outcomes.

This can feel overwhelming at first, but it's important to understand that there are no right or wrong answers. Ensuring a fit on these grounds is mutually beneficial for both employees and employers when making such a significant hiring decision. To help you put your best foot forward, we've compiled some helpful tips to keep in mind before taking a psychometric test.

1. Aim to complete all the questions in the numerical reasoning test.

But don’t stress too much if you don’t, as it's designed so that only 1% to 2% of test-takers can correctly answer all questions within the time limit. 

2. The most difficult questions in the aptitude tests are typically placed at the end.

However, every question in the test is typically worth the same number of points. So keep in mind that there's no bonus for figuring out a hard question, so move on to the next question if you're really struggling.

3. When doing an aptitude test, don't stop working until the time runs out, even if you finish early.

Rather, go back (if allowed) and re-examine the questions you were unsure of. Double-check your answers to the very first questions that you may have rushed through. It's precisely because these questions seem generally very easy that people tend to make simple mistakes with them.  

4. Some personality tests use specific questions to detect your level of honesty.

One of these honesty scales is called social desirability. The questions relating to this scale deal with undesirable behaviours that most people would have demonstrated at least once in the past, such as “I have never told a white lie, even to save someone's feelings”. A test-taker who denies these undesirable, but extremely common behaviours will receive a high social desirability score which is used to identify fakers. So be as honest as possible.

5. Get comfortable with making an educated guess and moving on.

In some aptitude tests, you can't skip questions. If you hit a mental block, you have to guess the answer. You should be prepared to make an educated guess, move on, and cut your losses after spending more than a few minutes on a question. 

6. Get familiar with the basic functions on your calculator and have one handy for the assessment.

The numerical reasoning questions are designed to measure your ability to interpret numerical data and then use this data to make informed decisions. They are not measuring your math skills. Therefore, in most cases, you should be allowed to use a simple calculator.  

7. Don't take tests back-to-back...give yourself a break!

If you're required to take more than one assessment, it is always recommended to have a break in between each test, even if you could theoretically knock them out back to back. Take that 5 minute break to clear your mind and refresh!

8. Be consistent.

Personality tests are designed so they intentionally include several questions that measure the same personality trait. Hence, consistency in the way you respond to questions is very important.  

9. Practice makes perfect.

Get familiar with the format and types of questions by taking a couple practice tests online. Having done it before will reduce your stress and anxiety and thereby improve your performance.

10. Do your due diligence ahead of time.

Knowing what to expect will help you go into the test with a higher level of confidence. So make sure to do your preparation ahead of time!

So what are you waiting for? Get cracking with some practice questions, take a brisk walk to clear your mind, and dive right in!

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