Careers ServicePsychometric tests

What are Psychometric tests?

Employers may use psychometric tests to assess your competence in the skills and qualities needed for the job.

Employers can use tests in the earlier stages of the process to decide who they are going to interview. Sometimes tests are administered at the final stages as part of an assessment centre. It's not unusual for companies to re-test applicants at the final stage. They may use the same test taken before to ensure consistency of results.

There are two main types of psychometric assessment used in the selection process. These are Ability Tests and Personality Questionnaires.

Ability tests are timed. They usually take the form of multiple-choice questions. They are often designed not to be completed in the allotted time. Your score is a comparative measure of how you performed in relation to other students who have taken the tests.

Tests are either offered online as part of the selection procedure. Or they are administered under standard test conditions by the employer.

You'll usually be given some practice examples to do before the main test. You may even be sent a practice booklet in advance of your test session. You may or may not be told how you scored.

The two most used tests are verbal and numerical reasoning. Though you may also come across others. These can include situational judgement, spatial, diagrammatic, logical, analytical, or inductive reasoning tests. The tests you're asked to sit, besides verbal and numerical reasoning, will vary according to the job you are applying for.

Thinking style, feelings and emotions, and relationships with people. These are examples of the measures in personality questionnaires used in graduate recruitment. Personality questionnaires are not tests. They are designed to give the employer a profile of your traits and how you react in given situations.

They are untimed and there are no right or wrong answers. There is no pass or fail. They usually check you are consistent by asking similar questions in different ways. Don't get caught out or try to guess what the employer is looking for. You can't prepare for them; just answer the questions honestly.

You may get the chance to discuss the resulting profile with the employer. And it may be followed up in a later interview. Be comfortable challenging, where appropriate, the results of the questionnaire if given the opportunity to do so.

There are several things you can do to be prepared for your first assessment:


This comprehensive guide to psychometric tests for disabled candidates has been produced by the Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services (AGCAS) Disability Task Group 


SHL Direct: example questions, practice tests, assessment advice - verbal, numerical, inductive reasoning, personality/motivation questionnaires, situational judgement tests

Psychometric Success: information, advice, and FAQs; downloadable practice tests – numerical, verbal, abstract reasoning; downloadable e-books for sale

Assessment Day: practice tests for numerical, verbal, and inductive reasoning; an example of situational judgement test; further online tests available for sale

Norton Assessment, free trial tests: numeracy and verbal

Cubiks: numerical and verbal practice tests; downloadable practice leaflet for diagrammatic reasoning

Numerical Reasoning Test

Verbal Reasoning Test

Practice Aptitude Tests: practice test for graduates - numerical, verbal, diagrammatic reasoning, mechanical reasoning, and situational judgement

Graduate Job Numeracy Test

TARGETjobs information and advice: information and advice and links to sources of practice tests

Jobtestprep: wide range of free tests including verbal, numerical, abstract, situational judgement, and mechanical reasoning

Practice Reasoning: range of tests including verbal, numerical, logical, diagrammatic, and e-tray

CAPP: Practice situational, numerical, verbal, and critical reasoning tests. Used by NHS Management Training Programme

123test free logical reasoning test

123test free inductive reasoning rest

Test Partnership free numerical reasoning test

Test Partnership free verbal reasoning test

Test Partnership free critical reasoning test

Test Partnership free inductive reasoning test

Applying for the NHS Scientist Training Programme in England? Be prepared for numerical reasoning and logical reasoning tests which you can practice.

Career Psychometrics: personality tests for career development,

Finding Potential: personality questionnaire, with report. Also supporting workbooks (PDFs) - small charge.

Jobtestprep: Free personality test

Keirsey personality test: Keirsey Temperament Sorter-II - free,

Human Metrics: Myers Briggs based questionnaire

Team Technology: advice about personality tests & links to free online tests. Includes information about Myers Briggs model of personality.

Watson Glaser is a critical thinking test, used by a number of Law firms:

  • Hogan Lovells - example critical thinking test from AssessmentDay - scroll down to access the free test
  • Linklaters

Sample questions:


Graduate recruiters are starting to introduce gamification into their psychometric testing. Find out more with this article from TARGETjobs.

Arctic Shores answers some questions about game technology

How do games-based tests work?

“Our assessments uniquely combine neuroscience, psychometrics, and game technology to uncover meaningful, job-relevant insights about people. We help our clients create a more data-driven recruitment process and make unbiased and accurate hiring decisions.”  

What do the tests measure?

“Our assessments measure personality, decision-making, and cognitive ability. For example, we can measure how much information someone can process, and their ability to remain calm under pressure. The assessments do not measure dexterity (fine motor skills in the hands) or hand-eye coordination. These are myths.”

How can I improve my performance on these tests?

"As this is a psychometric assessment – measuring personality, decision-making, and cognitive ability. There are no right or wrong answers. Each trait is measured on a spectrum, with two opposing behaviours one at either end. Neither is better, and the ideal combination of traits will differ from role to role. Students should not get bogged down with how to respond on personality tests or ‘improve their performance’. Rather they should relax and try to react to the various tasks in a way that feels intuitive, to enable the assessment to capture their natural responses."

Some examples and advice:

If numeracy tests scare you, try these resources to help improve your numerical skills:

  • BBC Skillswise
  • Numeracy class - an online class dedicated to improving Numerical Ability, particularly required for Aptitude and Psychometric Tests. Provided by Learner Development Services. This is for University of Strathclyde students only
  • Maths Centre - help with maths for post-16 study from the Sigma Network

Try these other resources to help you:

Sometimes employers will provide key information about how they will assess you on their careers website. Examples are:

TARGETjobs has designed a graduate benchmark tool so you can rank your score against the national average

The Careers Service runs a range of seminars to help you with the application process. View upcoming events and book online at MyCareer. 

This comprehensive guide to psychometric tests for disabled candidates has been produced by the Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services (AGCAS) Disability Task Group 

Advice on the use of Generative AI (including ChatGPT)

We asked ChatGPT for advice on using it for job applications. Below are the key points, which we agree are helpful:

  • Although ChatGPT can be a helpful tool for drafting content it is essential that you personalise what you write in order to showcase your skills, experience and personal attributes. Always tailor what you write to the organisation and role
  • ChatGPT doesn’t always generate accurate information. Always check facts, edit for accuracy and relevance and ensure the language and tone is appropriate for a job application
  • Be honest: if using ChatGPT might raise issues or concerns with an employer explain why you used it and how it helped you

This advice applies to all submissions you make as part of the application process including CVs, cover letters, application forms, essays, reports, psychometric assessments, and technical challenges. Submitting work written by someone else, including AI, is viewed as plagiarism by employers and as such would result in the rejection of your application.

The Careers Service has many tools to support you in writing unique content for your applications and in preparing for every stage of the application process. Please use them and seek advice if you are unsure so you are not caught out.