The Ins and Outs of Psychometric Testing

Are they all the same?

These days, psychometric tests are generally available for you to complete online. Typically, employers will provide you with a personality questionnaire, as well as aptitude tests, depending on the job you are applying for.

Personality Questionnaires

This test is designed to explore how you work and behave in certain situations. The questions will be seeking to determine how you solve problems, how you handle stress, how you relate to other people, whether you like to work in groups or by yourself etc. It is really important to note that there is no right or wrong answer. The employer is trying to determine who you are as a person, don’t second guess what you think they want to hear! The tests are designed to pick up inconsistencies (usually through asking questions of a similar nature though worded differently), so it’s best, to be honest, There isn’t normally a time restriction on these tests, but in my experience I’ve found it is best to go with your first instinct, as that is probably the best reflection of you.

Aptitude Tests

These tests are designed to determine your ability to perform a task with no prior specialist knowledge or skills. Unlike the personality questionnaires, there are right/wrong answers and there is a time limit. However, the tests are usually designed so that most people won’t finish them – so don’t worry if you don’t, but work as quickly as you can. Depending on the job you are applying for, aptitude tests can include:

  • Numerical reasoning tests: testing your ability to work with numbers and analyze data and graphs;
  • Verbal reasoning tests: testing spelling, grammar, and sentence completion to determine how you comprehend and use words;
  • Abstract reasoning tests: testing your ability to reason logically;
  • Spatial reasoning tests: testing your ability to visualize and manipulate 2D/3D shapes or patterns (commonly used in architecture and some branches of science/maths);
  • Diagrammatical reasoning tests: measuring your ability to infer rules from a sequence of diagrams and applying them to new situations;
How can I prepare?

Most tests offer some practice questions before you start the test, but if you haven’t completed any of the tests before I would recommend looking online for some free tests to get the hang of the process. Also have a look at your tertiary provider’s websites, as most careers centers will have further advice and tips on psychometric testing for graduate employment. I have also attached some links for practice tests below.

As with all tests, make sure you are alone in a quiet space with no distractions. I find it helpful to have some scrap paper with me, and have a calculator handy for the numerical reasoning tests!

Is there a way to cheat it?

No! Psychometric tests are used as a tool to assist employers to work out whether you will be a good fit in their company and to determine how you will work in certain situations. By no means are your results a detriment to your abilities. Trust in the tests and be yourself – you don’t want to end up in a job that doesn’t suit you!

Free online practice tests:


- Tayla Court, Auckland, New Zealand