There are a wide variety of psychometric tests. Some focus on measuring a specific skill or aptitude, while others look to create a profile on a subject’s particular traits. Here is an overview of some of the most widely-used psychometric tests:
General Test Types
These are the general types of psychometric tests offered to employees, candidates, students, and individuals:
These tests can be used to measure a person’s ability or knowledge level in a certain field, but are most commonly used to “get a feel for” a candidate’s general level of intelligence and ability. Depending on what type of aptitude test is being administered the format may vary.
Verbal Reasoning / Verbal Comprehension
Measures the subject’s ability to comprehend verbal description or arguments in order to understand their meaning and draw conclusions. The format of a verbal reasoning tests involve reading a passage, and then answering a series of questions with True, False, or Cannot Say. A verbal comprehension test focuses more on spelling, grammar, and syntax.
Measures the subject’s ability to analyse and comprehend numerical data and perform calculations where appropriate. Topics covered include ratios, percentages, trends, and currency conversions. The test format is multiple-choice.
Inductive / Abstract Reasoning
Measure’s the subject’s ability to comprehend and work with unfamiliar information to find solutions to problems, with the aim of discovering how well the subject can think analytically and conceptually. The test format involves looking at a sequence of symbols, and determining how to complete the sequence.
A questionnaire designed to understand how the subject prefers to work, and how well they will fit within a particular work environment or team. The test format includes a series of statements that asks the subject to agree or disagree, as well as to choose which statements most and least describe the subject.
A questionnaire designed to understand what motivates a subject, in order to improve working conditions and increase employee satisfaction and retention. The test format includes a series of statements and asks the subject to rate whether each situation would increase or decrease motivation.
Accuracy (or Checking) Test
Measures the subject’s ability to find errors within a group of information, quickly and accurately. The test format may include a series of numbers where the subject has to quickly ascertain whether they are the same or different. This test has a strict time limit, the goal being for the subject to answer as many questions correctly before time runs out.
Measures the subject’s proficiency in a certain field or area. These tests are specifically designed for a particular field, such as engineering or information technology. Normally multiple choice, the test format may vary depending on the field being tested and may include logical reasoning, numerical reasoning, or other types of questions. The format is often multiple choice.
Specific Test Types
Psychometric tests can be designed to measure a single factor (i.e. aptitude) or a variety of factors (i.e. skill level, motivation, etc.). These are some of the most common psychometric tests that are administered:
IQ Test / Stanford-Binet 5: A test to measure a subject’s intelligence and aptitude, which may be used to predict potential educational or ascertain the need for additional education assistance. The IQ contains questions pertaining to logic and verbal ability in order to ascertain the subject’s mental age. The average IQ score is 100.
Big Five Profile: Measure a subject’s core five personality traits, as based on the Big Five personality model. The test consists of a series of statements, to which the subject answers how much they agree or disagree with each (from 1-4). The test is designed to measure the following traits: Openness, Conscientiousness, Extroversion, Agreeableness, and Neuroticism.
Occupational Interest Inventory: Assesses the subject’s motivations and aptitudes. This test is commonly used by career centres, human resources professionals, and educational institutions to ensure employees / students are match well to their chosen field.
Management Style Inventory: Used to determine a person’s management style, strengths, and areas where improvement could be gained. The test is aimed at placing the subject into one of seven management categories (manager, entrepreneur, motivator, strategist, chief executive, expert, project manager) and consists of a series of questions with two possible choices for answers in order to classify the response.
CTPI-100: The Central Test Personality Inventory for Professionals is a commonly-used RASCH-based personality questionnaire for managerial and executive-level candidates. The purpose of the test is to ascertain the subject’s work-related personality traits and behaviour competencies, by categorising the subject’s responses in four primary groups: people management, self-management, task management, change management. The questionnaire format contains a series of statements, the subject then chooses how much they agree with each statement, or how often a particular behaviour / situation occurs (frequently, sometimes, rarely, never).
Sales Profile: Helps to determine whether a candidate is naturally suited for a sales-orientated job, and ascertains whether the candidate would be better at one aspect of sales over others (B2B Sales, Telemarketing, Technical Sales, etc.). The subject chooses one of two responses for a series of statements which helps to determine their sales personality.
Myers-Briggs Personality Indicator / Jung Typology Test: One of the first accurate and reliable personality questionnaires, this test is commonly used to get a broad overview of a person’s personality traits based on four dichotomies: Extraversion/Introversion, Sensing/Intuition, Thinking/Feeling, and Judging/Perceiving. The test format includes a series of statements where the subject chooses to agree or disagree.
Reasoning Test: A measure of specific skills, rather than a measure of general IQ. These tests includes a variety of multiple-choice questions that measure logical ability, numerical ability, and verbal ability.
Emotional Intelligence Test: Similar to an IQ Test, but this type of test measures a person’s ability to understand emotions (their own and others’) as well as their ability to establish and maintain healthy relationships. The test looks for strengths and weaknesses in areas such as intrapersonal intelligence, flexibility, relationship management, and self-assertion.
Language Test: Designed to ascertain a person’s knowledge of a particular language, or a subset of that language. For example, if a job required fluent French-speaking skills then a French language test may be administered; however, in an English-speaking business environment a business English test may be required. The test helps to ascertain the subject’s abilities in relation to reading comprehension, vocabulary, grammar, and spelling. The format is multiple-choice.
16-PF (16 Personality Factor Model): A multiple-choice format test that is used to ascertain a subject’s dominant personality traits. The test is based on 16 dominant personality factors: warmth, reasoning, emotional stability, dominance, liveliness, rule-consciousness, social boldness, sensitivity, vigilance, abstractedness, privateness, apprehensiveness, openness to change, self-reliance, perfectionism, and tension. The test, updated in 1993, consists of a total of 185 statements with true / false (agree / disagree) answers. There is also a condensed 16-PF test format with fewer statements that include a rating system for each response (i.e. strongly agree, agree, disagree, strongly disagree).
ABLE Series: A set of ten ability tests that are used to provide an in-depth view of a subject’s capabilities. Adaptable for many job types, the test series is an accurate way of assessing a candidate’s abilities and potential to learn. Formats vary, most are multiple choice.
Situational Judgement Test (SJT): A test used to assess a candidate’s approach to solving work-related problems. The test format consists of a series of situations and the subject is instructed to select the most effect and lease effective options. The aim of the test is to ascertain the subjects ability to problem solve, make decisions, and whether their personal working style is appropriate for the position they are being considered for.
WAVE: Developed by Saville Consulting, WAVE is a personality questionnaire.
In-Tray / E-Tray Exercise: A working exercise used to measure a candidate’s ability to organize, prioritize, analyse, as well as to assess their communication and delegation skills. During the exercise the subject is presented with an email inbox and asked to respond to a series of tasks and questions, all while emails are coming into the inbox. The subject is measured on their ability to accurately sort, respond to, and answer the emails in a timely fashion. An e-tray exercise differs in that it can be completed anywhere the subject has access to a computer, whereas an in-tray exercise is completed at an assessment centre or at the employer’s chosen location.
CAT (Common Admission Test): An India-based computer test for students wishing to apply to business administration colleges. The CAT is an aptitude test that measures verbal ability, logical reasoning, quantitative ability, and data interpretation. The test is administered only during a 20-day period in October/November of each year, and consists of two timed, multiple-choice sections.
GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test): Used primarily in the United States and other English-speaking countries, the GMAT is administered to students wishing to pursue graduate-level business degrees. The test is computer based where available, and consists of two written essays to examine analytical writing ability, 37 multiple-choice questions to assess problem solving and data sufficiency, and 41 multiple-choice to assess language skills, critical reasoning, and reading comprehension.
UKCAT (UK Clinical Aptitude Test): A computer-based entrance exam commonly administered by UK medical and dental schools. The test is used to measure mental ability, attitude, and professional behaviour. The test contains four main sections of multiple-choice questions in the following areas: verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, abstract reasoning, and decision analysis.
GRE (Graduate Records Examination): A commonly administered standardised test, the GRE is used primarily as an admission tool for students pursuing graduate school in the United States and English-speaking schools worldwide. The purpose of the test is to measure verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, analytical writing, and critical thinking skills. The analytical writing section of the test consists of two essays; the remainder of the test is multiple-choice. In most areas the test is completed on computer at a qualified testing centre, unless computer access is unavailable.
MCAT (Medical College Admission Test): A computer-based test administered to students wishing to pursue medical studies in the United States and Canada. The MCAT is structured to assess the subject’s problem solving, critical thinking, written analysis, and writing skills, as well as to ascertain their knowledge of scientific concepts. The test is offered a multiple times of the year and takes approximately 4-5 hours to complete. Consisting of four sections (physical science, verbal reasoning, writing, and biological science) the test is mostly multiple-choice, with some written responses.
SAT (formerly Scholastic Aptitude Test / Scholastic Assessment Test): One of the primary standardised tests used in the United States to determine college admission. The test consists of four sections: critical reading, mathematics, and writing. The majority of the questions are multiple-choice, although there is a brief essay question and 10 math grid questions.
LSAT (Law School Admission Test): A standardised entrance exam required by institutions in the United States, Canada, and Australia (as well as other countries) for students wishing to enter law study programs. The LSATs are used to assess a candidate’s aptitudes in logical reasoning, reading comprehension, and analytical reasoning. The test is offered four times per year and consists of six sections. Four of the sections are multiple choice, one section is experimental and is not scored, and a final section is a written exam and is also not scored.
Selected Major Test Developers
A variety of companies exist in the UK and abroad who are professional psychometric testers and who offer assessment and development for individuals, groups, and organizations.
This international development centre has main branches in Europe, Malaysia, and Dubai, as well as a broad network of partners in 50 countries worldwide. Besides their physical locations, Cubiks also offers a range of online tests, and also has an assessor training program.
Offering a variety of assessment and development services, Hogan Assessments has experts with experience to help employers with consulting, research, technology development, and coaching. Meanwhile, individuals can benefit from their training programs to enhance their coaching, HR, and organizational development skills.
This European-based assessment company offers a range of psychometric tools for employers and test-takers. Employers and employees alike can also benefit from their broad range of workshops and seminars.
An assessment and recruitment company that has been actively participating in employee recruitment, assessment, and employment branding for over 25 years. From assessing new candidates to onboarding, career development, and leadership development, Kenexa provides a full development package, as well as the benefit of instant online results. Kenexa offers behavioural and ability tests to suit many employment situations.
A specialist in the application of psychometrics to improve workplace performance, recruitment, and personal development, OPP offers a wide range of tests, including the famous Myers-Briggs Type Indicator personality tool.
Recently merged with SHL, Previsor offers pre-employment screening and employee assessment services. With a huge database of tests, from broad aptitude and psychological profiles to industry-specific skills tests, Previsor is a good resource for employers looking for assistance with hiring practices and employee reviews.
Saville Consulting have developed a wide range of services in the psychometric and behavioural assessment market.
One of the most widely recognized psychometric testing firms, SHL has been in business for over 30 years. SHL offers assessment testing for employees looking to appraise their candidates for selection and development purposes. Tests and questionnaires offered include Verbal Reasoning, Verbal Comprehension, Numerical Reasoning, Inductive Reasoning, Personality, Motivation, Situational Judgement, Accuracy, Mechanical Comprehension, and General Cognitive Ability.
As well as a range of psychometric tests and questionnaires, Team Focus offers services in candidate assessment and team development.
Specialising in talent management, Thomas International is a Canadian-based firm with a range of online tools for employers looking to screen talent, handle performance management, and develop their employees and teams. They also offer DISC certification training and courses for those looking for a more in-depth understanding of psychometric testing.