Psychometric testing

Employers and large graduate recruiters receive large numbers of applications, and they use a wide variety of tests to help them ensure they select the right people. Psychometric tests may seem daunting but with good preparation and lots of practice you can improve your chances of success. 

These online tests (some paper tests still remain) are used as a filtering mechanism during the recruitment and selection process. They are often used in the early stages  following application submission, but can also be used alongside first or second interviews, and at assessment centres. They help to identify a candidates skills, knowledge and personality. 

Top Tips 

  • Practice, practice, practice – perform your best by completing example tests and exercises, so that you know what to expect. If you are given specific practice tests complete them, if not try free ones, especially if they are by the same company providing the tests for the employer e.g. Assessment Day
  • Have the right equipment – you’ll need pens, paper, a calculator you are familiar with (often can’t use your phone), watch and a dictionary. Employers may provide equipment, but you’ll be quicker using familiar kit you’ve practiced with. 
  • Follow instructions carefully – listen to/read the instructions carefully, make sure you understand how the test or assessment works, and what the employer is looking for. 
  • Keep an eye on the time - ensure you know how many questions/tasks there are, and any time limitations, these can be a whole test time limit, limits for sets of questions or per question/activity. 
  • Disability requirements – if you have a disability that may affect your performance, let the recruiters know beforehand so that they can make any arrangements, and reasonable adjustments as appropriate. British Psychological Society test guidance.

Numerical reasoning - assess how well you interpret data, graphs, charts and statistics. Can check basic arithmetic. 

Verbal reasoning - assess how well you understand written information, evaluate arguments and statements. 

Diagrammatic reasoning - assess how well you follow diagrammatic information or spot patterns.  Can also check spatial awareness. 

Logical reasoning - assess how you follow basic information, through to a conclusion using current knowledge or experience. 

Deductive reasoning – similar to logical reasoning tests but give you information and rules to apply in order to arrive at an answer. 

Inductive reasoning – similar to diagrammatic or abstract reasoning tests that assess how well you see patterns. 

Situational judgement – assess your judgement in resolving work based problems.

Error checking  - assess how quickly and accurately you can detect errors.

Personality questionnaires – assess the way you prefer to deal with or respond to different situations. Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI Tests) place you in one of the 16 personality groups, and Occupational Personality questionnaires (OPQ) test your personality to check it fits the job.

Games Based assessments – gamified personality testing used by some graduate recruiters

In tray exercises – assess your ability to prioritise tasks and manage time effectively using work based scenarios. 

Watson Glaser – critical reasoning test used by legal firms to explore your ability to reason through an argument logically and make objective decisions. 

Bar course aptitude test (BCAT) – entry test for the Bar professional training course using the same methodology as Watson Glaser. 

As with any kind of test, you can improve performance if you know what to expect and have practiced. Use the free tests below to become familiar with the typical formats, and the way questions are asked. You’ll identify areas to improve upon and increase your speed and accuracy.

USW Psychometric tests

Assessment Day


Graduates First

Institute of Psychometric Coaching


Procter & Gamble

Psychometric Success

PwC Psychometric e-learn


  • Ensure you are well rested, relaxed, but alert.
  • Treat it as an exam.
  • If at home, make sure you won’t be interrupted and have everything you need to hand e.g. pen, pad, calculator, watch and dictionary. If at an assessment centre, consider taking familiar kit with you e.g. calculator.
  • Pay attention to the test instructions, be aware of time limits, and work to the instructions exactly.
  • Read questions and possible answers carefully.
  • Don’t spend too long on any one question. 
  • Try to eliminate as many wrong answers as possible, this may help you to arrive at an answer without having to fully calculate every alternative. 
  • Answer as many questions as possible in the time limit, but be aware of negative marking. 
  • Use any time left at the end to check your answers.

  • Don’t be surprised if you don’t finish everything. Only a small percentage of candidates get right to the end – they’re meant to be challenging!
  • Your results will be compared a ‘normal’ expectation for a demographic group chosen by the employer or test provide. 
  • If you are sitting these tests as part of an assessment day, try to remain focused and upbeat.
  • If you have met the recruitment requirements, congratulations! You are likely to be invited to an assessment centre and/or interview.
  • If you haven’t reached the required level don’t let it throw you. There are often just a few marks between a poor score and a one that passes.  You can still improve performance in other tests. Reflect on the areas you faced difficulties and get practicing. 
  • Need more help? Book a Careers Appointment.


Target jobs psychometric test guidance 

Prospects psychometric test guidance 

Assessment Day practice tests