Cognitive Function Tests – Prepare in Advance for Job Assessments

cognitive function testIf you want to put your job search on target and snatch up your dream job before your colleagues or classmates, master the career assessment process. Most job application processes today involve assessment tests, and many are done online before you even meet a company representative. Cognitive function tests are the most commonly applied assessments. Most companies use cognitive assessment tests to evaluate potential new hires. The basic measurement of a cognitive test is the intelligent quotient of a job application. Cognitive assessments also test reasoning capabilities, types of thinking, and other cognitive abilities.

Smart job searchers are using free online cognitive function tests to assess what career is best for them, together with enrolling in courses such as Career Mind Mastery: Bring Who You Are to What You Do. There are literally hundreds of free tests on the Internet to help you map your career path.

Do not be intimidated if you initially do not do as well as expected on cognitive function tests. You can master your mind and harness your brain’s potential by improving your understanding of how your mind works. Do exercises to improve the left and right functioning of your brain. Taking the tests is the best practice. You can find lots of free cognitive tests online to test inductive reasoning, working memory, numeric reasoning, lateral thinking, and more.

Inductive/Abstract Reasoning

Companies want to hire good decision makers. The primary measure of decision-making ability is reasoning abilities. Inductive reasoning tests appear are included on all the major career assessments. Employees at all levels of an organization are tested for logical thinking skills. Inductive reasoning involves the drawing of conclusions based on premises. The conclusion may or may not support the premises.

Verbal Reasoning

Verbal reasoning tests are used in many areas, including job assessments, language tests, and law entry tests.  It is a test of a candidate’s ability to analyze and interpret information. Typically, short passages are provided and followed my multiple choice or true and false questions.   Verbal reasoning tests can also test for grammar, vocabulary and spelling.

The following is an example of a verbal reasoning test from SHL Talent Measurement:

“Many organizations find it beneficial to employ students over the summer. Permanent staff often wish to take their own holidays over this period. Furthermore, it is not uncommon for companies to experience peak workloads in the summer and so require extra staff. Summer employment also attracts students who may return as well-qualified recruits to an organization when they have completed their education. Ensuring that the students learn as much as possible about the organization encourages interest in working on a permanent basis. Organizations pay students on a fixed rate without the usual entitlement to paid holidays or bonus schemes.”

True and False statements are then posed, such as:

Statement 1: It is possible that permanent staff who are on holiday can have their work carried out by students.

Statement 2: Students in summer employment are given the same paid holiday benefit as permanent staff.

Diagrammatic Reasoning

Diagrammatic reasoning tests ask you to complete patterns based on visual mind games. Based on a choice of diagrams, you will be asked to choose the ones that complete or continue a pattern, or are not consistent with the pattern. Test your inductive and logical reasoning at Job Test Prep, one of the many online assessment sites that provide free practice tests.

Working Memory

Working memory, sometimes called short-term memory, stores verbal information and visual images. It is controlled by the central executive function. The average person holds about seven chunks of working memory at a time, that is seven digits of a phone number. Someone with good working memory will be able to better perform tasks. There is a strong correlation between working memory and intelligence. Researchers have shown that working memory can be improved through brain exercises which, in turn, has been shown to increase intelligence.

If you daydream too much at work, improving your working memory can help improve your attention span. The good news is that you can power charge your memory. The link of memory to intelligence and improved work performance is so strong that even Fortune 500 companies are investing in training to improve the memories of their employees.

Situational Judgment Tests (SJT)

Situational judgment tests provide hypothetical scenarios based on real world work situations and ask you to show how you would respond to various scenarios. The situations often involve conflict in which you have to weigh the advantages and disadvantages of different potential solutions. You will likely be asked how you would respond to interpersonal, problematic and ethical dimensions of work challenges. This is your opportunity to demonstrate how you would manage employee, management and client relationships.

A sales client has complained about your performance. Your company made two mistakes with a large order for the important client. One of the mistakes was due to a misunderstanding between you and the client.  The second mistake was caused by a new employee who is undermining you; he failed to correctly fill the client’s order.

You will be given a variety of potential responses and asked to choose which options you would choose.

Many situational judgment tests have been gamified and can be accessed online. The most popular SJTs can attract thousands of applicants. More competition but also more opportunity to prove yourself.

Numerical Reasoning

Numerical reasoning tests assess mathematical abilities.  Most jobs require some data interpretation skills. Basic numerical tests measure computational ability, accuracy and speed. They may also test your ability to perform estimates and forecasts. The ability to analyze numbers and use mathematical reasoning are tested. The type of numerical reasoning test applied will vary greatly in level of difficulty and comprehensiveness depending on the job position.

A basic numeric test will ask you to solve math problems using the basic math operations – add, subtract, multiply and divide. Number series tests ask you to identify a logical order in the numbers. Word math problems related to a profession may be administered. A bank officer may be asked to figure out the payments based on the provided principal amount and interest rates on a hypothetical mortgage or loan.

Lateral Thinking

Creative thinking has become a sought after skill in the workplace. Lateral thinkers use imagination and inspiration to solve problems. Lateral thinking tests are administered to test your ability to think out-of-the-box and innovate. Unlike the above-noted tests in which the format is predictable in many cases, lateral tests is a newer area with a wide range of formats. You likely do not want to come across these questions on a cognitive function test, which are examples from the University of Kent.

If you were alone in a deserted house at night, and there was an oil lamp, a candle and firewood and you only have one match, which would you light first?

What can you put in a wooden box that would make it lighter? The more of them you put in the lighter it becomes, yet the box stays empty.

The good news is if you do not score as high as you would like on your cognitive function tests, you can improve your cognitive functioning. Neuroscientists have shown that the brain has neuroplasticity and brain exercises can improve all of the measures of cognitive ability listed above, including inductive reasoning and working memory. Enroll in brain exercise courses such as Think Bright: Cognitive Training.  You can reverse declines in memory functioning, improve attention span, and recover from cognitive exhaustion. Brain exercises, diet, meditation and physical activity can all help you improve your cognitive functioning.