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Tips & Tricks

Coach's thoughts on careers, work, psychometric testing & preparation; check out some "personal" views on the developments in job testing, recruitment policies, careers and other news!


Comment How can I figure out which psychometric test is used by the firm I applied to?

Yellow pencilThere are only a handful of psychometric testing firms which supply recruitment selection tests to major recruiters. These testing firms include companies like SHL, Kenexa, or Talent Q.

In this entry we list some of the major recruiters matching them with the supplier whose tests they are finally you know whether you will be facing an SHL-style ability test or a PSL/Kenexa-style aptitude test!


Comment The numerical reasoning test takers’ worst nightmare: unit conversion

I’ve noticed over the last few months that, for some reason, many numerical reasoning test takers seem to have difficulty with unit conversions. Alright, they in fact dread unit conversions!

So what can psychometric test candidates do about this?

Comment Numerical / Quantitative Reasoning Best Practices #4: Mastering Ranking Exercises

A type of question that arises occasionally in SHL / Kenexa-style Quantitative Reasoning tests asks you to rank data. In tests where you have to rank values calculated from a table, the sheer number of calculations may be daunting. But there are many shortcuts that can save you a lot of trouble.

Comment Numerical / Quantitative Reasoning Best Practices #5: How Far is Half Way?

Whilst talking to people preparing for quantitative / numerical reasoning recruitment tests, I have heard several of them mention that they get confused by a particular type of problem.

It is closely related to percentage increases and decreases but it manifests itself in a slightly different way. I think, at this point, that an example could shorten this article considerably.

Comment Numerical / Quantitative Reasoning Best Practices #4: Timetables

In this installment of the numerical / quantitative reasoning methodology series, we look at test types that involve timetables and various schedules and speed and distance calculations.

In contrast to other questions I have written about, this one uses a rather fanciful notion and unrealistic scenario of the British railways actually running a reasonable service to a timetable. But we can all dream can’t we?

Question: The Newcastle train accelerates from the station for 12 minutes to get to its cruising speed taking 11 miles to do so and decelerates in a similar manner on arrival. What is its cruising speed?


Comment Numerical / Quantitative Reasoning Best Practices #3: Manipulating Fractions

When I was at school, more years ago than I care to remember, we were taught to use fractions long before we were shown numbers with decimal points in them. There was some talk of Britain going decimal and fractions would no longer be used but it hasn’t happened.

Moreover, there seems to be a lot of occasions when fractions are more useful and easier to use than their decimal equivalents.

Comment Numerical / Quantitative Reasoning Best Practices #2: The Secret of Number Division

Many numerical problems leave you with a calculation to be done to get to a final answer. This can always be done with a calculator but, strangely enough, they can often be done faster in your head if only you know how. I don’t expect you to become mental arithmetic savants overnight; that is not the aim of this article but there are a few simple things that can be done to speed things up. Suppose you need to calculate the average speed of a car that has travelled 319 miles in 5h 30m. The way to do this is to divide the distance by the time but, on the face of it, that looks like quite a difficult sum. But is it?

Comment Numerical / Quantitative Reasoning Best Practices #1: Fuellling up the Tank

Question: Two similar car models have fuel consumption as shown. You buy the diesel model which costs £500 more than the petrol model. You do 7000 miles per year on the motorway and 3000 urban miles. If diesel costs £5.38/gal, 35p more than petrol, how long does it take to recover the extra cost of the car?

Comment 6 Things that Guarantee Failure in a Numerical Reasoning Job Test

OK, so you want to fail. Let’s see what we can do to increase your chances. What can you do, short of not turning up for the test, to ensure failure?

The first thing to try is not reading the question properly. This is guaranteed to produce results. If the question tells you there are 50 cows in a field, 20% are black, 20% are brown and the rest are mixed and then asks, ‘how many are not mixed?’ you can easily miss the ‘not’ and answer 30 instead of 20. Guaranteed to fail.

Comment How Many Men Does it Take to Change a Light Bulb?

How Many Men Does it Take to Change a Light Bulb?

Answer: Nobody knows because it has never happened.

Unfortunately, in a proper test we have to be a little more scientific in our approach to such questions. Given the question…
“In a group of 100 men, 12 could put up a shelf and change a spark plug. How many men could do neither task?”
…how do we go about solving it?

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