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What are psychometric assessments? How can you prepare for psychometric tests? Why employers use psychometric tests? If these are questions on your mind, then look no further than this guide to accelerate your psychometric test practice today.

In this text we go into depth about Psychometric Tests, how these are used in recruitment to find the best candidates for a role and the expert tips you can use to prepare and pass your upcoming job psychometric test.

A recent study found that candidates who do not practise assessments, tend to fail at the first hurdle of psychometric assessments (54%-84%). This study looked at the Top 100 global employers.

Bradley et al (2019)

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Let us dive in to know more! 


  1. What are Psychometric Assessments?
  2. What do psychometric tests measure and how do they work?
  3. Why do employers use psychometric tests to hire?
  4. What do psychometric tests look like?
  5. How do you prepare for psychometric tests?
  6. Why is practicing psychometric tests important?
  7. Psychometric assessments FAQs

What are psychometric assessments?

Psychometric tests are standard tools used to measure the abilities, personality traits, and other kinds of aptitudes that you have. They are designed to provide reliable information about your characteristics and are commonly used in workplaces, schools, and in psychology.

Employers use psychometric tests to understand your cognitive abilities, work preferences and ability to work under pressure. This in turn helps them determine whether you are a good fit for the company or find the best job for you.

Psychometric Tests In a Nutshell

  • Psychometric tests provide a level of objectivity when assessing your suitability to a role and are commonly used by employers in recruitment.
  • The idea is that each candidate taking psychometric tests undergoes the same experience so that any difference in scores between 2 or more applicants can be more confidently attributed to a difference in capability.
  • Practicing psychometric tests can reduce anxieties and increase the chances of a consistent experience, giving you a better chance to demonstrate your fuller ability. This is backed by the Classical Test Theory.
  • The most common psychometric tests used by employers include: numerical reasoning, verbal reasoning, and logical reasoning tests. Most hiring processes will require you to take at least one of these. 

Good to know: With the arrival of computers in the late 20th century, psychometric tests have increasingly moved from paper-and-pencil formats to computer-based assessments, enabling greater efficiency and flexibility in administration and scoring.

What are the types of psychometric tests?

Here are the most commonly used online psychometric tests used by thousands of employers around the world:

Discover more about aptitude tests in our in-depth guide here.

What do psychometric tests measure?

Each psychometric test is designed to assess the key cognitive abilities required for the job. These psychometric assessments measure these psychological traits and abilities through using a number of multiple-choice or ranking questions, usually under timed conditions.

  • These assessments measure various cognitive abilities, personality, emotional intelligence, aptitudes, and job-related competencies under standardised conditions.
  • The test responses are scored and compared to benchmarks such as a raw score or set criteria. This identifies strengths, weaknesses, and behaviour patterns.
  • Raw scores are then used to compare a candidate’s results against the other candidates using percentile groups.
  • Candidates who achieve the 50th percentile have scored better than 50% of the other candidates in the comparison group.

Check out our glossary of terms commonly used by recruiters for more information regarding how these tests are scored using percentile groups.

So why do employers use psychometric tests? Read on to discover the key reasons.

Why do employers use psychometric tests to hire?

There are several reasons why employers use psychometric tests to assess your abilities in their recruitment processes. Here are the top 6 reasons:

  1. Objective assessment
    • All psychometric tests have a standard, objective way of assessing candidates. This helps employers in making consistent decisions by judging candidates on the basis of their performance rather than on subjective evaluations from interviews.
  1. Predicting job performance
    • Psychometric tests help in measuring specific abilities, skills, and personality traits that are relevant to job performance. By using these tests, employers try to predict how well candidates are likely to perform in the job role they are applying for.
  1. Efficient Screening Process
    • As there are a large number of applicants for each job role, psychometric tests help the recruiters in filtering out the aspirants in the early stages of the hiring process. Using these tests for screening helps employers in getting the most suitable candidates for further consideration, saving a lot of time. 
  1. Reduction of Bias
    • Psychometric tests help reduce any sort of bias that may take place during the hiring process by focusing on objective aspects of abilities and characteristics. These tests aim to ensure there is no personal bias on the bias of factors like appearance, gender, ethnicity, or background. 
  1. Matching candidates to job roles
    • Psychometric tests help in matching candidates’ skills, aptitudes and personality traits with the requirement of the job role. Evaluating the similarities between a candidate’s profile and the job demands, can increase the likelihood of a successful match between the candidate and the role.
  1. Development and Training
    • These tests also have value beyond the hiring process. Once the results are in with the recruitment team, they can be used by the organisation to identify areas of development and training of their employees. 

So how do the tests work in recruitment?

Consider this example:

100,000 candidates apply for a graduate role and take a Numerical Reasoning test. The bottom scoring 30% of candidates are rejected leaving 70,000 candidates. The remaining 70,000 candidates then take a Verbal Reasoning test and another 30% of poorest performing individuals are removed leaving 49,000. The Psychometric tests have removed over 50% of applicants already. This makes it easier for the recruiters to assess the qualified ones. 

So what do these psychometric assessments look like? Keep reading to find out below!

What do psychometric tests look like?

So what do these tests usually look like? Our experts have developed the following examples to give you a good idea of what you can expect in a typical online psychometric test with these example test questions for Numerical, Verbal and Logical Reasoning tests.

Numerical Reasoning Test Example
Numerical reasoning psychometric test example
Numerical Reasoning Test Example


Step by step solution: 

  • Step 1: First, look at the provided graph to locate the number of mortgage approvals for the USA and Italy in 2005. Add these 2005 rates for the USA and Italy together.
    • 170,000 + 95,000 = 265,000
  • Step 2: Then similarly we can add the 2006 rates for the USA and Italy together.
    • 110,000 + 95,000 = 205,000
  • Step 3: Then, add the 2007 rates for the USA and Italy.
    • 75,000 + 95,000 = 170,000
  • Step 4: Finally, we can now add the totals found from steps 1, 2 and 3 together to find the combined number of mortgage approvals.
    • 265,000 + 205,000 + 170,000 = 640,000

Correct Answer: C

Logical Reasoning Test Example
Logical reasoning psychometric test example
Logical Reasoning Test Example 


Step by step solution: 

  • Step 1: We may first notice that the arrow moves clockwise in every box of the sequence, rotating each time. The correct answer must therefore have an arrow at the top above the figure, leaving B, C, and E as potentially correct answers.
  • Step 2: Then we can see that the shapes in the centre of each box in the sequence changes from a triangle, to a circle then a square before repeating. Therefore we can determine that the right figure must have a square as it follows on from a circle, leaving only C and E as the potential correct boxes.
  • Step 3: We may then notice that the line in the middle of the box moves from horizontal to vertical in every diagram in the sequence. As the line in the previous box was horizontal, we can determine that the correct box must have a vertical line, leaving only C as the correct answer.

Correct Answer: C

Verbal Reasoning Test Example
Verbal reasoning psychometric test example
Verbal Reasoning Test Example 


  • The passage states that regular downloaders of unlicensed music spend more on legal music than other music fans (£5.52 compared with £1.27). Therefore, the statement is false.

Correct Answer: B

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Good to know: Some tests use a mechanism called ‘Adaptive Testing’ which is a dynamic assessment method that adjusts the difficulty of questions based on the test taker’s previous responses.

Depending on the employer and psychometric assessment provider, you may be given your results and feedback on how you can improve your skills and competencies once you have completed the online tests.  

So how do we ace these assessments? It’s easy: prepare. Discover our key preparation tips below! 

How do you prepare for psychometric tests?

Preparing for psychometric tests can help you familiarise yourself with the format, improve your performance, and increase your confidence. Here are some tips:

  1. Research the Company: Learning about the company and reading the job description thoroughly shall help you prepare yourself for the upcoming tests and its requirements that match with the job role. 
  1. Understand the Test Type: You will likely be informed what assessments you will take in your invitation email. Start by gaining knowledge about the specific type of psychometric test you will be taking. Research and learn about the format, and the areas being assessed.
  1. Practice: Use timed practice psychometric tests or materials that are similar to the test you will take. This will help you become familiar with the test style, the question types and help develop your own strategies.
  1. Time Management: Psychometric tests are often time-limited, so it’s crucial to manage your time effectively. This will help you become comfortable with pacing yourself and avoiding spending too much time on any single question.
  1. Reflect on Personal Traits and Behaviours: For personality tests or assessments focusing on job-related situations, take some time to reflect on your own personality traits, strengths, behaviours, and experiences. 

Bonus tip! Check out our quick video below to discover another super useful tip you can use in your upcoming psychometric tests:

Identify and eliminate wrong answers fast in Online Assessment Tests | Secret Insights #tips #shorts

Get the practice assessment Essentials to prepare for your online psychometric tests with GF and practice over 1,900 unique assessment questions including cognitive assessments, situational judgement tests and our personality questionnaire. 

But why should we practice for these tests? Keep reading to discover the key reasons.

Why is practicing psychometric tests important?

Practicing psychometric tests is important for several reasons:

  1. Familiarity: Practicing psychometric tests helps you become familiar with the format, question types, and instructions, reducing test anxiety and enhancing your confidence.
  1. Skill Development: Regular practice improves your skills in areas such as logical reasoning, numerical aptitude, verbal comprehension, and problem-solving. It allows you to refine your strategies, techniques, and time management skills.
  1. Speed and Accuracy: Psychometric tests are often time-limited, so practicing helps improve your speed without compromising accuracy. Regular practice enhances your ability to process information quickly and efficiently.
  1. Discover Your Strengths: Practice tests help you identify your strengths and areas of improvement ahead of time. Understanding these enables you to focus on improving those areas before you take the real assessment.
  1. Performance Improvement: Regular practice leads to an overall improvement in performance for your psychometric tests. As you become more accustomed to the test format and develop your skills, you are likely to achieve better results.
  1. Reduced Test Anxiety: Practice helps alleviate test anxiety by providing a sense of preparedness and familiarity with the test environment. It allows you to approach the actual test with greater calmness and confidence.

This is backed by science and research!

‘Classical Test’ Theory

Originating as early as 1904 through Charles Spearman’s research, Classical Test theory suggests that any assessment will only reveal an individual’s ‘observed’ score, and that this is not always indicative of the ‘true’ score, as there is always something in the environment that impacts an individual’s performance: error.

For those of you who are mathematically minded, it looks something like this:


  • True score – the individual’s ability and is always constant for a particular person
  • Observed Score – the score obtained by an assessment
  • Error – anything that may have impacted the individual’s performance on a test

So why is this important?

By practising for these tests, you are able to minimise the Error and therefore increase your Observed Score. In theory, with zero error (may not be possible) your observed score should equal your true score.

Furthermore, another study discovered the following in their research:

 “Two one-sample t-tests show that more than 50% of students failed the verbal and numerical reasoning tests (53.53% vs 83.57%). The only predictor of an increased likelihood of passing the numerical reasoning tests was having previous experience with those tests.”

“Falling at the first hurdle: undergraduate students’ readiness to navigate the graduate recruitment process”

Bradley et al (2019)

Final Psychometric Practice Tip

Simply getting scores over the 30th percentile is not enough! Some organisations may set cut-offs as high as the 70th or 80th percentile for some roles.

Also, if at the final stage of an assessment centre you may find yourself in a situation where the assessors have to make a decision between you and another candidate, where both of you have scored exactly the same across other assessments – who do you think they will choose? 

The job will most likely be offered to the candidate with the higher psychometric test score. So make sure you get plenty of practice and get as high a score as possible during the real psychometric assessment.

So what are you waiting for? Take FREE psychometric tests today or register for even more practice assessments to get a headstart in your practice with assessments designed by former SHL experts used by 8,000+ companies around the world.

Got more burning questions about psychometric tests? Continue reading below for even more answers to frequently asked questions.

Psychometric assessments FAQs

Is a psychometric test an IQ test?

While IQ tests are similar to psychometric tests, IQ tests measure intelligence whereas psychometric tests measure your cognitive abilities. Psychometric tests can assess a wide range of attributes, including personality traits, aptitudes, skills, and job-related competencies.

What is a good score on a psychometric test?

A good score on a psychometric test is determined by the test’s norms and percentile groups. Generally, scoring above average such as the 70th or 80th percentile and exhibiting strong abilities compared to the reference group is a good score.

Can you fail a psychometric test?

For most tests, there are cut-off marks based on percentile groups. Scoring below a certain percentile, such as the 30th percentile, may lead to rejection. However, psychometric tests aim to assess a variety of other abilities and characteristics such as through personality tests.

What happens if you don’t pass a psychometric test?

If you don’t pass a psychometric test, then you may receive a rejection email from the recruiter, which may also include feedback on your performance. Some employers may restrict when you can apply after 6 months of being rejected at this stage.

How do I practice psychometric assessments?

To practice psychometric assessments, you can:

  1. Find online sample tests and questions
  2. Focus on one question at a time
  3. Check feedback reports
  4. Develop areas of improvement
  5. Use timed assessments to balance speed and accuracy

Practice and Register with GF to ace your psychometric tests first time

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