Prepare for assessments

Learning more about psychometric assessments

Psychometric tests are assessment tools or instruments that may be used to measure an individual’s abilities, values, motives and personality traits, i.e. tests are usually components of an assessment process.
Being requested to complete a psychometric assessment may seem like a daunting task. This could also perhaps evoke emotions of anxiety and stress for you, particularly if it is for selection purposes.
In order to assist you to reduce the anxiety and stress around psychometric assessment the information provided here is aimed at guiding you through what to expect and how to respond during the process. Please note: these guidelines do not replace the instructions given for each assessment or test which should be read carefully and thoroughly before starting each assessment.

Assessments fulfill the following purposes:

  • They lend objectivity to observation and measurement.
  • They elicit behaviour under relatively controlled, standardized conditions.
  • Sample the behaviour individuals are capable of.
  • Measure the progress made with regards to set objectives or standards.
  • Give insight into aspects of a human being that are not visibly observable.
  • Help with the identification of potential regardless of experience or qualifications.
  • Predict future behaviour.
  • Provide information for feedback and decision making.

The focus of assessments and psychometric testing is on a sample of behaviour considered important within an organization and a specific job or role. It is vital for the organization to use assessments and psychometric tests that are unbiased and fair to all groups. Therefore, organizations also need to ensure that there is evidence that their assessment procedure is job-related and valid for the position in question and is also justified by business necessity.

  • Demonstrate your strengths in a selection situation.
  • Be fairly and objectively assessed against job relevant criteria.
  • Find out more about your strengths and development areas.
  • Make future career decisions based on your abilities, style, values, motives and competences.
  • Discover more about yourself in terms of your abilities and your behaviour.
  • Find out if there are any practice tests or preparation guides available for the assessments you are about to undertake and complete these before the actual assessment.
  • Get a good night’s rest before the assessment.
  • Make sure you are wearing any glasses, contact lenses or hearing aids you may require.
  • If you have any special requirements (e.g. for specific disabilities), such as larger print versions of the test, magnifiers for computerized tests, specific lighting or seating needs, it is important that you make these known immediately to the administrator to allow appropriate accommodations to be made.
  • If the test session is being completed under controlled supervised conditions then ensure that you arrive well ahead of time so that you feel prepared and calm.
  • If the assessment is going to be done on a computer and/or online over the Internet familiarize yourself with the use of a mouse and keyboard.
  • If you are going to complete the assessments online over the Internet at home or at your office, ensure that you have a space which is comfortable and quiet to do this.
  • If the assessment requires a calculator then ensure that you have one available.
  • Try to stay calm and collected, being overly anxious or flustered will not assist your performance.
  • If you are completing the assessments online over the Internet at home or in your office ensure that you are in a quiet place without any interruptions.
  • Read the instructions carefully, and ask questions if you are not sure of anything before the assessment starts, particularly if the test administrator is available.
  • Complete the example questions thoroughly and accurately so that you understand what is required, these are usually not timed and will help you to understand what the assessment requires.
  • Read each question carefully and meticulously to ensure that you understand what is required.
  • Work as fast as you can but also accurately. Do not take too much time over any one question.
  • If you find a question (for ability tests) too difficult or are unsure of an answer, it is probably best to, indicate your best choice and move on quickly unless the test provider indicates that they take off points for incorrect answers.
  • If you are completing a personality, motivation or styles questionnaire then ensure that you answer as honestly as possible as you may well be asked questions around this in an interview.

If you have not been informed prior to the commencement of the assessment session, the administrator should ideally provide you with the following:

  • When your results will be available
  • How the outcomes/result of your assessment will be conveyed
  • Any other person who will receive the outcomes/results
  • What the next steps will be
  • Should you require feedback on your assessment, the procedure to be followed. The contact person, if not the administrator.

The focus of assessments and psychometric testing is on a sample of behaviour considered important within an organization and a specific job or role. It is vital for the organization to use assessments and psychometric tests that are unbiased and fair to all groups. Therefore, organizations also need to ensure that there is evidence that their assessment procedure is job-related and valid for the position in question and is also justified by business necessity.

Good luck and please remember to read all instructions carefully.

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