Preparation for a testing session
Many people get nervous about tests – these helpful hints and tips will enable you to perform at your best.
In the lead up to a test session make sure you learn as much as you can about the sort of tests or questionnaires you may be asked to complete. If you are sent a practice test make sure that you complete it; and read any other details very carefully.
Some tests will place greater emphasis on accuracy and others on the number of questions attempted, always ask for it to be made clear before hand.
Don’t be alarmed if other people appear to be working more quickly. It doesn’t mean they are getting the answers right!
The best thing to do in preparation for a psychometric test is to get a good nights sleep the night before and try to relax. It is also in your best interests to NOT do psychometric tests in the following circumstances: If you are tired; If you are suffering from stress (whether personal or work related); If something happens (such as an accident) on the day or the day before the day of testing; If you are sick (e.g. flu, viral infection).
If you wear glasses or use a hearing aid, be sure to take them with you
- Give yourself plenty of time to get to the testing location so you do not rush
- Check how long the testing will take (so you know how long you will be there)
- Some tests require you to use a calculator so you may want to bring one with you. (Pens and pencils, etc will be provided by the testing organisation
During the testing session
- Keep as calm as you can. Remember that a certain amount of anxiety is perfectly normal.
- Make sure that you are comfortable. Loosen your collar and tie (if appropriate) and kick off your shoes if you want to.
- Listen carefully to the administrator’s instructions. Ask questions if you need to.
- If you can’t see or hear things properly tell the administrator.
- Read the test instructions carefully and do not assume that you know what to do.
- Put your answers in the right place on the answer sheet! (It’s easy to make mistakes in the heat of the moment)
- Record you answers in the correct way. For example, do not tick boxes if you’re expected to strike through them with short pencil lines.
- Read the questions properly before you attempt to answer them.
- Don’t agonise over a question you can’t do, but move on to the next one.
- Don’t waste time double-checking questions with easy or obvious answers.
- Don’t waste time looking for ‘trick’ questions, as there won’t be any.
- If you can’t work out an answer, make an informed guess.
- Work as quickly as you can, but don’t race or you will make avoidable mistakes.
- Remember that the more questions you answer the greater your chances of getting a higher mark.
- With some questions a good approach can be to eliminate the wrong answers to arrive at the correct one. It is often better to guess, rather than to leave a question unanswered, but do check you will not be penalised for incorrect answers.
- Keep an eye on the time. If you have time left at the end of a test go back and check your answers.
- Don’t stick to a certain amount of time for each question. Many tests are designed so that the questions get harder, and so need more time as you progress.
- Look around occasionally and take some deep breaths, it will help you relax.
- Don’t be put off if the questions seem difficult, they may well be just as difficult for everybody else.
- Avoid extreme reactions, treat it like any run of the mill challenge but don’t be too blasé because some tests will discriminate between the able and the extremely able.
The following suggestions may, over the longer term, help you to improve performance
- Reading newspapers, reports, business journals will improve your verbal skills for verbal tests
- Reading financial reports in newspapers, studying tables of data, doing number calculations and puzzles without a calculator may help numerical skills
- Checking results in the paper could improve checking skills
- Solving crosswords may help verbal problem solving
- Looking at objects in various ways and angles could develop spatial skills
- Looking at flow charts and diagrams should improve diagramming skills
Denise Taylor is a double award winning career coach and Chartered Psychologist with Amazing People, established in 1998. When you are unsure of your career future, need help with job search or seek to improve your presence in an online world, Denise can help. Denise is the author of 7 books including How To Get A Job In A Recession, Now You’ve Been Shortlisted and Fat to Fantastic.