Typically, when asked to describe a test, the images visualized reflect a great deal of studying and perhaps a bit of distress about exemplifying all that you’ve learned about a topic on a tiny scantron. However, psychometric tests require absolutely no studying or anguish because they are designed to assess what is already present in your mind: your interests, personality, and abilities. In the sections below, we will define psychometric testing, explore what they measure, and offer some examples and uses of these examinations.
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What are Psychometric Tests?
Psychometric tests are examinations that attempt to analyze the traits and methods of thinking exhibited by the individuals being tested. They typically assess personality types, level of motivation, and ability evaluations. The ultimate goal of these tests is to provide an objective measure for variables that could usually only be measured on a subjective scale, such as a personal questionnaire or asking the subject directly. In order for a psychometric test to be fair and accurate, it must meet the requirements of three key criteria:
- Reliability. In order for the examination to be deemed accurate, the conclusions given must be consistent. This means that if an individual takes the test once, and then again soon after, they should get the same results. Additionally, the results should be consistent with other tests that measure the same thing, meaning that if an individual takes this psychometric examination on motivation and another soon after, the results should be very similar.
- Standardization. The results revealed from the sample of people tested must be able to generalize to the population. This means that the results gained from this small group of people are representative of the population being studied. A way that this is accomplished is by administering the test the same way every time it is given.
- Validity. The validity of a psychometric test refers to the examination’s ability to measure what it is intended to measure. For example, if the variable being recorded were level of motivation, assessing individuals on how much they eat would be an invalid measure, since intake of food does not have anything to do with motivation.
What Do Psychometric Tests Measure?
While the range of psychometric test areas is wide, there are three main types that are taken most often:
- Interest Tests
Interest tests assess an individual’s level of motivation to pursue a particular career path or study a certain topic. The tests typically list a variety of questions that relate to a particular career along with a list of possible responses to determine the interest level of the subject. These are often given to teenagers to aid in their choosing of a major once they enter college.
- Personality Tests
Personality tests are designed to measure the ways in which people react to those around them. These tests often offer a series of questions related to the mannerisms of the individual in everyday life and allow a sliding scale of responses ranging from strongly disagree to strongly agree.
- Aptitude Tests
Aptitude tests are used to determine an individual’s abilities and talents, typically in relation to a particular career path. They often assess critical thinking skills, using a wide variety of math and logic questions to do so.
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Examples of Psychometric Test Questions
Responses range from “completely true” to “completely false”.
- “My work effort remains strong and consistent from the beginning of the workday to the end.”
- “I would consider myself ambitious.”
- “For me, learning and self-improvement are lifelong processes.”
- “Nothing would thrill me more than knowing that others were impressed by my job.”
- “Competition keeps me alive.”
- “I need to be told what to do and when to do it at work.”
- “I would rather have general knowledge about many things than know a lot about one field.”
- “I prefer working on my own rather than as part of a group.”
Responses range from “strongly agree” to “strongly disagree”.
- “I often feel blue.”
- “I feel comfortable around other people.”
- “I believe in the importance of art.”
- “I have a good word for everyone.”
- “I make friends easily.”
- “I tend to vote for liberal political candidates.”
- “I believe that others have good intentions.”
- “I am always prepared.”
- “I have a vivid imagination.”
- “I pay attention to details.”
- “I have frequent mood swings.”
- “I am not easily bothered by things.”
- “I am very pleased with myself.
Offers a wide variety of multiple-choice responses.
- Rearrange the following letters to make a word and choose the category in which it fits. RAETPEKA
- Which number should come next in this series? 25, 24, 22, 19, 15
- The day before the day before yesterday is three days after Saturday. What day is it today?
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Uses of Psychometric Tests
Psychometric tests are most often used in regard to:
- Choice of recruits. Psychometric tests that assess abilities related to the workforce and predicted job performance are often given by employers to see if the individual is suitable for the position that they are applying for. Often times, this particular type is referred to as a “recruitment test” and given either on the day of or a few days before the initial job interview.
- Individual improvement and instruction. Certain psychometric examinations are able to aid individuals in improving their performance on certain work-related tasks. These types of tests, sometimes referred to as “Business Attitude Inventory”, determine the most efficient way for employees to grasp concepts and gain knowledge in those areas. Occasionally, this examination is used as a pretest to determine an individual’s efficiency on the task before training.
- Team building exercises. Psychometric tests related to team building work to assess an individual’s personality traits in relation to how well they are able to work with others to complete tasks. The most prominent versions of these tests are the “Hogan Development Survey”, which assesses tension, and the “Myers-Briggs Type Indicator”, which determines personality traits through levels of contrasting attributes.
- Career advancement. Psychometric examinations that relate to career development are often given in high school to assess which career path would be most congruent with the student’s personality traits. However, this test can also be given to those already on a career path who feel that the course is not as satisfactory as anticipated and would like to find out which may be a more proper fit.
Psychometric tests are used to provide objective analysis of a wide variety of personality traits, interest levels, and abilities. To discover more about the personality aspect of these examinations, take a look at this course on the psychology of personality. And, if you’d like to learn more about questions that may be featured on an aptitude test, check out this awesome blog post on quantitative aptitude questions for competitive testing!