Many employers use psychometric tests as part of the recruitment and selection process, to measure specific abilities, such as verbal, numerical and logical reasoning skills. Some employers also use personality exercises to determine your behavioural preferences, and your typical reactions and attitudes to a range of situations. These tests may take place at different stages of the recruitment process, as part of an initial online application, as part of an assessment centre at a later stage, and there may be validation testing, to confirm answers you provided earlier on in the process.
Careers and Placements have partnered with AssessmentDay and Team Focus to provide a broader bank of practice tests exclusive to York students. See the links to these in the Types of tests section below.
Find out more:
While you can't revise for these tests, you can practise examples to help you prepare. See below for more on the different types of tests, and how to prepare to give yourself the best chance.
Types of tests
Tests can be used to assess ability, personality and aptitude and may include:
- Personality tests
- See Team Focus (use your York email address to register/access) for personality test, resilience and learning styles exercises
- Numerical reasoning tests
- Try out numerical and diagrammatic reasoning tests on AssessmentDay (use your York email or York alumni email to access)
- Use the Maths Skills Centre for tips and practice for numerical reasoning tests
- Verbal reasoning tests
- AssessmentDay (use your York email or York alumni email to access) has practice tests
- CAPP blended verbal reasoning test also assesses appropriate communication styles, grammar and spelling
- Situational Judgement Tests
- These are based on based on reading or watching video scenarios, and then responding to questions about how you respond (sometimes ranking responses from most likely to least likely in the given situation). They aim to assess your suitability for the role and how well you will fit with the company culture.
- Practice aptitude tests has some free practice examples
- Critical reasoning
- These tests assess your ability to consider information and arguments critically, identifying assumptions and possible bias, and to reach a logical conclusion.
- Find out more and try a free Watson Glaser test
- TalentLens has a free BCAT practice test and tips on how to improve critical thinking skills.
- An increasing number of employers are using online games as part of their selections process.
- Read TargetJobs guide to gamification
- If you have to do this kind of test, make sure you are not distracted, turn off notifications on your phone or device, and check the instructions carefully before you start.
Preparing for tests
It is not possible to revise for aptitude tests but you can improve your chances of success:
- do some practice tests - to familiarise yourself with what is expected and get used to the timing
- aim for a balance of speed and accuracy - try to answer as many questions as possible but don't worry if you don't complete everything
- make us of the Maths Skills Centre to prepare for numerical reasoning tests
- read instructions carefully before you start
- in personality tests go with your initial response, be honest and don't try to second-guess what the recruiter is looking for
- if you have a disability that may affect your performance, contact the assessor as soon as possible so they can provide reasonable adjustments for you; the SHL website has examples of the kind of support you can expect. For more on applying for jobs see our page for students with disabilities.
- come to careers events such as the Assessment Centre experience event to get more idea of why employers use these tests and what they are looking for.
Practice test sites
Careers and Placements subscribe to Team Focus and Assessment Day for a range of personality and practice aptitude tests (log-in required).
You can find a range of free tests on these sites:
Check the website of the organisation you are applying to for details of their recruitment process and the tests they use. For example, the NHS Scientist Training Programme suggests you practice the tests at www.trytalentq.com before completing your test for submission.
We have some reference books (information room: job hunting section) to help you prepare for tests:
- Psychometric Tests for Graduates*
- How to Pass Graduate Psychometric Tests*
- How to Pass Verbal Reasoning Tests*
- How to Pass Advanced Verbal Reasoning Tests*
- How to Pass Numeracy Tests*
- How to Pass Advanced Numeracy Tests*
- You’re Hired! Psychometric Tests
* also available for loan in the University Library.