Category Archives: career test preparation

Psychometric Test Categories (Types) and Formats

shl reasoning test, kenexa reasoning test, cubiks test, abstract reasoning, numerical reasoning, verbal reasoning

Psychometric tests are used to measure suitability of a candidate for a specific job or academic course. Some organizations also use them for transparency and accountability in decision-making on various aspects of career development for example in promoting individuals to a higher job rung or assessing training needs. The leading companies in financial, transport, energy and engineering businesses employ these tests in searching for talent, underscoring the prominence that these tests have assumed globally. Examples of these groups include Deutsche bank, Deloitte, Fidelity, EDF Energy, HSBC, Goldman Sachs, Jaguar Land Rover, ICAP, Kimberly Clark, Johnson and Johnson, and KPMG, to name a few big employers.

Since these candidates are usually considered for specialized skills, the aptitude tests are tailored to the job requirements. The most common abilities measured are the verbal, numerical, and abstract reasoning abilities or aptitudes.

Verbal tests

It measures candidate’s ability to understand verbal description or arguments according to their meaning and draw conclusions. The examination involves reading a passage, and then answering a series of multiple choice questions with “True”, “False”, or “Don’t Know”, based on the information contained in the passage. “Don’t Know” implies that further information is needed to choose the correct answer. A verbal comprehension test (http://www.verbalreasoningtest.org/) focuses more on spelling, grammar, and syntax. It is therefore important that a candidate understands the language in which, a verbal test is offered.

Numerical reasoning tests

It evaluates a candidate’s numerical acumen using facts and figures presented in data tables or graphs. Candidates are assessed for their knowledge of ratios, percentage, costs analyses, trends, currency conversion, etc. Their focus is anchored on the fact that organizations always monitor their performance and need timely decisions as to whether they should change tact through increasing, decreasing or maintaining current practices for optimum productivity, efficiency and minimal losses. What do these graphs tell us? What is the logic behind some number series? Speed and accuracy are important in all the psychometric tests, most users identify numerical reasoning as particularly demanding. Developers of aptitude tests preparation packages such as Graduate Monkey with their premium Aptutorial technique- have therefore identified various strategies, tips and shortcuts that candidates can employ to do the real tests in the shortest time. A key advantage of numerical tests is that unlike the Verbal tests which require deeper comprehension of language, mathematical symbols are universal and can be done with basic understanding of test instructions.

Abstract reasoning tests (Available at: http://www.psychometricinstitute.com.au/Free-Aptitude-Tests.asp)

It is also known as the conceptual reasoning test where, it only needs one to observe a range of diagrams/symbols, identify an emergent pattern and based on this, predict what the next pattern would be. It is based on logic and does not exert language demands on the candidates.

Abstract reasoning test tutorial offered by Graduate Monkey is really a good source to strengthen your skills because it uses different diagrams, shapes and symbols to enable test takers determine their intelligence. They have to compare different images in order to find the logic behind their creation and then have to give their solution. Just because of these features, Abstract reasoning test is also referred to as Non-verbal reasoning, logical reasoning or inductive reasoning test.

Formats of Psychometric tests

Aptitude tests come with different levels of difficulty depending on the education/knowledge of an individual in the organization e.g. a senior management level would have to take more advanced test compared to a junior, clerical officer.  Common formats are SHL, Kenexa, Saville, TalentLens, Cubiks and TalentQ. The key difference in the formats is based on the fact that some test for only one ability e.g. numeric while other combine the tests.

A document providing an overview of SHL tests summarizes the range of tests according to organizational roles (http://ceb.shl.com/assets/SHL_Overview_of_Ability_Tests.pdf). These tests are offered to (in ascending order) Semi-skilled, Technical staff, Administrative and clerical staff, information technology, sales, customer and call centre, Junior managers and supervisors, managers, professionals and graduates and finally, directors and senior managers. The tests offered include Work Skills series- (Transport and production, manual dexterity and finger dexterity); applied technology series, personnel test battery, Customer Contact Aptitude, Critical Reasoning, Management and Graduate item bank and Advanced managerial tests. SHL offers all the aforementioned abilities (verbal, abstract and numerical reasoning abilities). Different tests may combine evaluation of these abilities, so for example, the Advanced Managerial Test (senior managers) evaluates only verbal and numerical skills, and is offered only online. On the other hand, the Critical Reasoning Test Battery (junior managers and supervisors) test is used for all the 3 abilities. Semi-skilled workers do have some tests offered as pencil and paper formats. Kenexa tests also evaluate verbal, cognitive and inductive reasoning skills.

Saville reasoning test

This is a package developed by Saville consultants, containing different tests that broadly measure comprehension and technical analysis. In addition to the tests highlighted in SHL section, Saville also includes a technical aptitude test package that contains spatial, mechanical and diagrammatic reasoning.

TalentLens test

It measures an individual’s capabilities using 4 key dimensions which are crucial to improve organizational performance. These are critical thinking, problem-solving, collaborator and team playing.  Critical thinking is appraised using the RED model. A critical thinker will therefore Recognize assumptions in any situation, Evaluate arguments, and Draw solutions (the bold letters form RED). Critical thinking (http://us.talentlens.com/online-testing) is one of the strongest predictors of job success and overall performance.  Problem solving skills are analyzed using Raven’s Progressive Matrices (http://www.raventest.net/). They assess professionals abilities of individuals, “including advanced observation and clear-thinking skills, efficient problem solving, abstract reasoning, and the ability to learn”. Collaborator and team playing skills measure one’s personality and key motivation aspects that enable individuals to fit into their job roles as well as organization’s culture.

Cubiks test

It is an international assessment and development consultancy (http://www.cubiks.com/), with great importance throughout Europe, the United Arabs Emirates, Malaysia and the USA. They pride themselves in offering “culturally sensitive, competency-driven business psychological solutions in over 30 languages”.  Here, three broad test formats are offered: Reasoning for Business ability tests (RfB series) these test Verbal Reasoning, Numerical Reasoning, and Diagrammatic Reasoning and assessments have been designed for two key levels of applications; Managerial & Graduate and Business Support. The RfB suite includes supervised and unsupervised versions and assessments are available in many languages.

The Problem-Solving test series has been designed to assess how quickly and accurately an individual can solve new problems. It, however, only tests one’s ability to solve numerical and verbal problems. Verbal questions assess knowledge Antonyms (candidates have to choose which word from a group of five has the opposite meaning to another word); Deviation from category (one must decide which one of five words has a different meaning from the others); pair of concepts (Do two words considered have the same meaning, the opposite meaning, or neither the same nor the opposite meaning?); Verbal analogy (the candidate has to decide whether the underlying meaning or idea in two statements is the same, the opposite, or neither the same nor the opposite). Finally, Logical reasoning involves the participant deciding whether three considered statements have correct/incorrect logics).

Numerical problems on the other hand cover a series of numbers, simple calculations and complex calculations. In some situations, companies will choose to test clients more than once, and for this reason,

The last test, Logiks General, is an online test that measures an individual’s general cognitive ability. This twelve minute assessment measures a participant’s ability to solve verbal, numerical and abstract problems.

Talent Q is yet another consultancy firm that prides itself with over 50 countries’ coverage and has a huge network of clientele companies such as Virgin Atlantic, Royal Mail Groupo, JT Global, Lloyds Banking Group, Ford, and AstraZeneca. Graduate Monkey can even help you in successfully applying for any of such companies. All you have to do is to take this exam.

TalentQ tests

It focuses on 4 key broad aspects: “personality and motivation”; “Ability”; “Competency-based sifting” and “360-degree feedback”. Personality and motivation tests (https://www.trytalentq.com/) measure an individual’s behavioral preference at work, with a focus on “how staff prefer to manage relationships with others, their approach to work and their sources of energy and motivation”. This is captured through “Dimensions”. Drives, on the other hand, is an online questionnaire focusing on individual’s values and motivations in the work place, and focuses on factors that “stimulate and energize individuals in their daily working lives” (https://www.talentqgroup.com/assessments/).

Ability is measured with the help of two tests: “Aspects ability” and “Elements”. Aspects ability measures verbal, numerical and checking skills and is useful for recruiting frontline, customer service and sales staff. On the other hand, “Elements” measure verbal, numerical and logical reasoning and is suitable primarily for graduate, professional, managerial and executive level roles.

Competency-based sifting measures behavioral preferences at work in relation to the most relevant competencies for the job, through “aspects styles”. Lastly, 360-degree feedback is a “MultiView (http://m.mcn.com.au/multiview/)”, competency-based feedback questionnaire that identifies strengths and development needs of employees. It aims to facilitate performance improvement.

Psychometric interviews can be done in different ways, depending on how the tests are designed.  Some tests can only be done online while others are pen and paper based. This, therefore, means that in some instances, one can get instant feedback on performance while in others, candidates have to wait for their results. Requirements differ too- whereas some tests allow use of tools such as calculators, in others, these are prohibited. Since they are primarily meant to objectively identify the most suitable candidates from many competitors, these tests usually give lesser time to answer all of the questions and some candidates complained about this factor. Optimum conditions for gauging one’s prowess are set during this examination- quiet, well lighted rooms and clear instructions to avoid ambiguity. Overall it is assumed that candidates sitting in these tests are in good health.  The evaluators have the discretion to define a pass mark, and in some instances, use other criteria when none of the candidates achieve the set threshold. Numerous sites such as Graduate Monkey, SHL online and Psychometric institute have developed resources that applicants of aptitude tests can use to prepare for the real test.  Some packages are accessed at a fee e.g. £19 while others are offered free of charge.

Types and formats of aptitude tests

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Aptitude tests are administered to successful job applicants as part of pre-employment psychometric assessments to determine if they are intelligently fit for a given job. Most of the world’s top employers use aptitude tests as part of their recruitment process especially for high ranking job positions. When you know you are likely to be subjected to an aptitude test, then you can prepare for one well before you face it. This article describes what aptitude tests are and the types and formats of these tests. Having an aptitude for something means you have a talent or a flair for it. It means you have the ability to perform a given task at a certain level. The task may be mental or physical. Perhaps you may have a mental aptitude for mental arithmetic or a physical aptitude for accurately shooting a football. Generally, aptitudes are not related in any way and are therefore completely independent from one another. This goes without saying that being highly skilled in one area does not guarantee an automatic high aptitude for another. Therefore someone who is extremely good at arithmetic is not necessarily good at football. We can therefore conclude that aptitude is actually a natural talent for the performance of a given mental or physical task. To a certain extent, aptitude cannot be gained through knowledge or training of any kind. The concept of aptitudes closely related to the concept of intellectual Quotient (IQ) although these are two completely different concepts. The intelligence quotient views intelligence as a measurable characteristic consisting of combined results of various independent aptitudes while aptitude tests on the other hand aim at assessing the capability or aptitude of any given person in a systematic, structured and objective way. Aptitude tests use standardized methods and the score for each candidate is compared with those of a given reference group or control. Since there are many different skills, there many aptitude tests as well. Most of them can be found online but only particular types are popular with recruitment agencies. Verbal reasoning test is one example of an aptitude test used by employers during the recruitment process. This type of test gives an indication of one’s ability to analyze and understand written information. This is important as employers want to know how well you can communicate. On the other hand numerical reasoning tests evaluate ones elementary arithmetic skills. These skills are an integral part of almost every assessment. Numerical tests provide employers with an indication of candidate’s ability to work with numbers. These tests are done by use of a series of numbers and simple mental arithmetic tests. They may also include graphs and tables which must to be interpreted. A numerical reasoning test assesses your ability to analyze your mental capacity with regard to numbers and figures. Another type of aptitude test is the abstract reasoning test. This test measures candidate’s ability to discover patterns in abstract data and make the right choice by extrapolating these logical patterns. This test is considered to be the best gauge of one’s ability to solve problems in new situations without prior experience or acquired knowledge. It is also known as fluid intelligence and uses both deductive and inductive reasoning. Logical reasoning test as the name suggests gives an employee an idea of how the candidate is able to make a logical conclusion when presented with a problem. Often the Logical Reasoning test is a form of Abstract reasoning test – as it also consists of sequences or groups of diagrams, shapes, patterns, etc.  Most of the time, the problems presented in this test are often illogical or contradictory. The candidate is not required to solve them based upon their knowledge but to rely entirely on what is in front of them. As a rule, spatial reasoning tests are given if the candidate is required to have a good spatial awareness. It is would be relevant to candidates who are required to think in three dimension such as engineers, architects, designers and pilots. Aptitude tests are usually part of psychometric tests.  Psychometric tests can be defined as the “science of the soul” and are an intricate part of the job application process. Leading companies use psychometric tests in the recruitment process. Psychometric tests consist of two parts. The first one is aptitude tests. As discussed above aptitude tests are used to measure one’s ability to perform a given task at a particular level. The second part of psychometric tests is the personality questionnaires which are used to measure candidates personal attitude towards their environment, personal characteristics and assets. This gives the employer an insight into how well the candidate will work with other people, stress management skills and your intellectual ability to cope with intellectual requirements of the task. Psychometric tests give a complete idea of the kind of a person you are and a set of characteristics you possess. It therefore goes beyond determining whether you have a talent in a given area. Many candidates are afraid of these tests but there is really no need. You should bear in mind that no test is perfect and the client does not rely solely on the test result. Employers will use them together with other selection methods such as experience, study results and application letters.

Aptitude Test Practice Makes Perfect

Nowadays, scoring well in aptitude tests is gaining a lot of importance more than ever before for graduates and job applicants seeking to work for major graduate employers such as banks and accounting firms. This is because aptitude testing has become an integral part in the job recruitment process. As soon as you have clicked “send” on the online job application form, odds are that you will be promptly invited to take some online verbal and numerical reasoning tests. For those applying for more specialized roles, say IT or financial modeling perhaps, you will probably be required to take diagrammatic reasoning tests as well. Candidates must show ability to complete the numerical reasoning aptitude test, verbal reasoning aptitude test and diagrammatic reasoning aptitude tests quickly and carefully in order to qualify for the next stage of the job in question. In most cases, aptitude testing is the first stage in the screening process. If you succeed in this stage you will progress further to other interview rounds. However, don’t be surprised when you are subjected to further tests. It is therefore important to practice these tests way before the actual test.

Aptitude tests can strike fear at times even to the most confident student. It is important to note that almost everybody is likely to face an aptitude test at some stage in their life. It is therefore wiser to face the fear now and find out what these tests involve than crossing your fingers and waiting for the worst.  Whenever you fail to prepare you prepare to fail.

Let’s take numerical reasoning aptitude tests for example. Apart from knowledge on simple arithmetic, this test requires you to have a strong grasp of pie charts, tables and graphs. The types of questions asked need not the candidate to have crammed complex equations and formulas. They can easily be mastered through regular practice of aptitude tests. Once you have practiced numerical reasoning aptitude tests several times, the format will stick to your mind and you will have better chances for passing the numerical reasoning aptitude tests. As a matter of fact the format may become a second nature to you and you may not have any difficulty in them anymore.

Every candidate should understand that employers are looking to check if the best candidate is committed enough to have had gone an extra mile and had prepared for the assessments properly. The employer is not testing the level of your IQ but your dedication to high standards of performance and perseverance.

Verbal reasoning tests on the other hand are used to test candidate’s comprehension ability. The candidate might be presented with a short passage on any subject and required to read a short statement and state if it is true or false. It requires one to have a lot of practice in this area in order to pass the test. Practicing aptitude tests online have proven to improve the test scores of many candidate significantly. They help the candidate to know what the examiner is looking for and when the candidates know what the examiner is looking for then the tests prove more than manageable.

Abstract (or non-verbal logical) reasoning aptitude tests are used to test the ability of a candidate to follow logical sequences. Just like numerical reasoning aptitude test and verbal reasoning aptitude tests, practicing diagrammatic reasoning aptitude tests can help candidates improve their test scores significantly. It is important not to overthink diagrammatic reasoning aptitude test. Following the “gut instinct” is the most effective method for passing these aptitude tests.

Aptitude tests are used by the employer to distinguish the best and the most appropriate candidate for any job. These days, it is not enough to have impressive exam results and multiple extracurricular activities in order to secure your ideal job.  You need to master aptitude tests by practicing aptitude tests online in order to succeed and rein in today’s contemporary and competitive job market.

aptitude test tutorial

aptitude test tutorial, Aptutorial

Your chances of securing your dream job increase with a higher score on the test.  To achieve higher scores, ensure that you concentrate on aptitude tests that are most challenging to you and that is of most difficulty to others.

It is not so much about how difficult the aptitude test questions are but the time pressure of answering as many questions as possible in the shortest time possible. It goes without saying that the more you practice answering aptitude tests, the easier it will be. Some test publishers such incorporate negative marking (for incorrect answers) in the aptitude tests they offer. This means that the candidate will have to work quickly but systematically so if they make a wrong guess they may pay for it dearly.  Graduate Monkey offers Aptutorial Packages and test preparation packs to help you prepare for your aptitude test in most comprehensive way.  In sum, it may be worth investing your time in making use of the available resources online to prepare you for the test and launch you into your long-awaited career.

WHY I CHOOSE GRADUATE MONKEY FOR APTITUDE TEST PREPARATION?

Aptitude tests are increasingly preferred worldwide for short-listing candidates for consideration of interviews. These examinations are commonly used by employers and academic institutions for consideration of select jobs or courses, respectively. A key advantage of using these tests owes to the fact that they eliminate candidates who may not meet aptitude or ability requirements of the job and thus saves organisations invaluable time that would otherwise have been spent interviewing a larger number of candidates. Suppose 1000 candidates applied for a job posting, what is the appropriate way of cutting down this number to a manageable size? Short listing involves a trade off. Sometimes in eliminating some applicants, it is possible that the most qualified ones get knocked off and those who do not fit the required profile do make it to the interview.

Aptitude tests serve a dual function: downsizing the number of applicants while enhancing chances of short-listing those who closely fit the requirements of the job. It also provides a transparent way of the selection process, since labour laws worldwide prescribe punitive measures against any forms of discrimination. Job interviews do cost a lot of money to organizations, depending on specific arrangements that organisations have put. For example, some organisations do compensate interviewees for travel, hotel costs and meals. It is highly desirable that the people who make it to the interview are good value for money.

Understandably, this exam is the game changer for the vast majority of applicants. It is referred to using such analogies as the guillotine, the hangman, the sieve, hurdle and chopping board. It is important that applicants for jobs prepare sufficiently for aptitude tests. Luckily, innovative tools are available to support candidates, and these can easily be accessed on the internet. One such tool is the Graduate Monkey, hosted on the www.graduatemonkey.com website.  This interactive site offers several aptitude tests preparation packages at only a fraction of an average graduate salary for a 4 month period. I highlight some of the practice tests offered here and thereafter, reasons why I would choose it for my preparation.

Some of the tests include:

  1. SHL numerical reasoning: this test enhances one’s chance of passing mathematical tests. It consists of a set of 18 questions, to be done within 25 minutes. It exposes users to diverse data contexts thereby readying them for any questions that could prove tough in the real test.

Abstract (Logical) Reasoning (SHL and Kenexa style): Also called Logical reasoning tests, these are part of non-verbal tests because they rely on “visual presentations of problems and their solutions”. Candidates study a series of patterns, identify the change of these patterns, and consequently predict the next pattern in the sequence.  These tests are also called diagrammatic tests and their main aim is to assess a candidate’s ability of diagrammatic reasoning. Test content could also be in the form of signs or symbols, called operators. These operators dictate how the next sequence ought to change. A key advantage of these tests is that they do not require any prior knowledge or language skills.

These tests can be purchased as single packages or under one consolidated pack. The consolidated pack comes at only £59 and it offers a significant saving to graduates. These arrangements therefore offer candidates flexibility in payment and materials access.

Various aptitude test preparation packages are used in preparing candidates. These include an aptitude test guide, aptitude test tutorials, consisting of aptitude test tutorial videos. They help candidates consolidate knowledge, improve speed and build up their confidence confidence. The films feature animations to provide visual insights on how some things work.  In addition to these are aptitude test e-books.  These contain explicit notes on how to solve various problems, and key shortcuts that would help save time.  Furthermore, practice aptitude tests and practice reasoning tests are offered to enhance exposure, help candidates in self-timing and boosting confidence that is requisite in scoring high on the real test.

Past users of these tests strongly recommend this site, with over 2,000 likes on the Facebook page alone and nearly 100,000 views on a recently launched YouTube channel. These platforms would enhance the site’s visibility to other potential users and hopefully add the numbers of users. A key advantage of this site is that the tests can be done anywhere, any time and the subscription rates are very affordable. Unlike other aptitude tests that offer only one aspect of tests for example numerical only, this site does offer an all round exposure and therefore one needs not go from site to site trying to gain various exposures.

Jobs are really hard to come by. The available ones are very competitive and therefore there is a need to prepare sufficiently for the “guillotine”. The technological advancements and rising costs of doing business favour efficient, accountable recruitment processes. Failing to plan is planning to fail, so the mantra goes.