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Assessment centres and psychometric tests

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assessment centres and psychometric tests preparation and practi
7:50am 22 Jun 2023

Advice to help you prepare and ace assessment centres and psychometric tests.

What are Psychometric Tests? 

Psychometric tests are used by recruiters to assess ability, aptitude and personality. They are increasingly used by employers to see how you perform in a variety of tasks. They also give you the opportunity to demonstrate a range of skills, including: communication, time management and team working skills as well as personal attributes such as motivation. You can do these from home but may also be asked to complete them at an assessment centre.

Test Types include: Numerical/Critical Thinking/Verbal Reasoning/Situation Judgment/Logical Reasoning/Personality or Strengths/IT Aptitude/Mechanical Aptitude

Practice resources 

Students and graduates have free access to over 70 Graduates First practice psychometric tests and job assessments using their BCU email address and password.

If you are a BCU graduate who no longer has access to a BCU email account, please contact to request a Graduate First account.

You will have access to aptitude tests such as numerical reasoning tests, verbal reasoning tests, logical reasoning tests, situational Judgement Tests (SJT), and personality questionnaires. Additionally, students have access to Game-based assessments which are becoming more and more common in the recruitment process.

Additional practice tests and assessment you could explore are:

  • Psych Testing - British Psychological Society (BPS) managed website containing useful information and FAQs on selection testing.
  • SHLdirect - The UK’s largest test producer, this site has example questions and on line practice tests.
  • Talent Q - Another large test producer and provider
  • Assessmentday - Some free assessment tests as well as advice and information
  • Morrisby - Many example questions of different tests plus tips (please note: not necessarily at graduate level though).
  • Cubiks - Practice tests from Cubiks used by the Civil Service including Numerical and Verbal tests
  • Capp - Practice numerical, verbal and critical reasoning tests used by companies such as Deloitte
  • Practiceaptitudetests - Free tests as well as some you would need to pay for
  • University of Kent Practice Tests - Includes a range of numeracy tests with answers
  • Practice Reasoning - Capp Assessment Tests: Numerical, Verbal and Critical Reasoning

Psychometric Tests: What can I expect? 

Tests are often taken under exam conditions and are usually timed. They are designed to measure your intellectual capability for thinking and reasoning; some are meant to be very difficult in order to test the limit of your abilities. Companies are using tests, more frequently and earlier on in the recruitment process to select the best applicants. You may have to pass several tests online before your application will go to the next stage of the recruitment process. Ensure you take the test, as you may be re-tested later in the recruitment process.

How do I prepare for a psychometric test? 

  • DO: Research has showed that performance in tests can be improved by becoming more familiar with the process of taking them. Repetition will increase accuracy and speed for numerical tests. For Numerical Tests you may need to brush up on your Maths skills; use BBC Bitesize, go to free resources like MOOC Learn or get in touch with CELT. For Verbal Reasoning read newspaper articles to help reading comprehension.
  • DO: For other tests, familiarise yourself with sample tests from the Companies you are applying to. You need to ensure you are practising the right sort of test for the right company.
  • DO: Use our Graduates First resource to practice the right tests and reflect on the feedback from your scores. You will receive tailored information on how to get better results each time you practice. Do not practice and practice tests without finding out where you have done well and where you have gone wrong and why. You could waste a lot of time! Book an appointment to see a Careers Consultant to discuss your feedback.
  • DO: Contact the administrator in advance if there are factors likely to affect your performance e.g. Dyslexia; or if English is not your first language, as they should be able to make allowances for your needs. You can ask us for additional time when you are taking practice tests using Graduates First if you require it.
  • DO: Find somewhere private and free from distractions to practice and take tests. Do not be tempted to complete them on your mobile/tablet in a public place.
  • DON’T: Have a late night before the test session!

What is an Assessment Centre? 

An assessment or selection centre is used by employers to bring a group of candidates together to undertake a series of assessment activities. Usually lasting one day, it may be based on an employer’s premises or at a nearby hotel. You will be told in advance when, where and how long it will be and given an indication of what will happen.

Assessment Centres: What can I expect? 

You will be invited along with other potential candidates to take part in a series of activities, tests and exercises. The Assessment Centre stage may come after the first round of interviews, although some employers use them as an initial selection process. Assessment Centres can seem quite daunting, as it is unlikely you will know what exercises and activities you will be asked to do on the day. The content, length and format can all vary significantly. However, you can prepare yourself by thinking about what the employer will be looking for during each task. Employers will focus on how you react to situations, thought processes, and to what extent you match the pre-determined criteria they have set out. This criteria will usually include some or all of the following:

  • Teamwork skills/Leadership skills /Creativity /Decision-making
  • Listening skills /Problem Solving skills/ Negotiating skills/ Organisation skills
  • Communication skills (written and verbal)/ Timekeeping/ Levels of motivation

DO: Be familiar with the core values and key company information to give you an idea of what the Company will be looking for. If you don’t speak on the day, how will they know whether you will be a good fit for them.

Assessment Centres: Types of test 

In-Tray exercises: With a heaped in-tray or inbox, you will need to make a decision on each item, deciding priorities, drafting replies or identifying work to be delegated.

  • Looking for: The ability to prioritise work and demonstration of communication, analytical and planning skills.
  • DO: Go through the whole tray before dealing with items.
  • DON’T: Run out of time.

Practical tasks and exercises: As a group, candidates may be asked to use materials or equipment to make something or solve a problem.

  • Looking for: How the group interacts; involvement.
  • DO: Work with the best ideas, even if they are not yours. Contribute to discussions and get involved.
  • DON’T: Take over!

Group discussion and role playing: As a group discussing ideas, or using a briefing pack to role play a person or particular point of view.

  • Looking for: Contribution to team; your influence, creativity, time management and organisational skills.
  • DO: Be enthusiastic and encourage others. Keep to time!
  • DON’T: Take over or stay too quiet.

Presentations: Giving an oral presentation which you may have time to prepare or could be a surprise task of the day.

  • DO: Speak clearly and present a professional image. Maintain eye contact. Stick to a simple structure.
  • DON’T: Mumble and drift from the subject.

Report writing or case studies: You could be given a set of papers relating to a situation and asked to make recommendations in a brief report.

  • DO: Read through your papers carefully and keep an eye on the time.
  • DON’T: Make recommendations until all of the papers have been read through.

Interviews: These may be on a one-to-one basis or as part of a panel.

  • DO: Read through the Careers interview handout and check out the detailed resources on our website.
  • DON’T: Fail to prepare!

Further resources 

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