Psychometric tests are often used by employers as part of the selection process. They can also help you identify your strengths and abilities, and assess your suitability for particular careers or occupations.
These are sometimes known as aptitude, cognitive, ability or intelligence tests. The most common tests assess your abilities in the areas of verbal and numerical reasoning.
Abstract or diagrammatic reasoning tests may also be used to assess your logic and visual thinking skills.
Tips for success when taking psychometric tests
- Try out the type of aptitude tests used by many employers - see practice tests to have a go
- Reach the test location in good time, well-rested and in a positive frame of mind
- Take the time to work through any practice questions, before the test itself begins
- Try to be aware of the time as you work through the questions – work out before the test starts roughly how much time you have for each question and try to work quickly and accurately
- Don't spend too long on a question that you are struggling with, but don't abandon a question prematurely if you are close to solving it
- Avoid wild guessing, in some tests marks are taken off for incorrect answers
Help with numeracy skills
For help with numeracy skills, Maths-Aid at the University have practice tests and resources to help you refresh your maths skills. You can also get free one-to-one help from tutors in the Maths-Aid drop-in centre in the Robinson Library. Try the numerical reasoning tests on their website before visiting, the tutors can then help you with more specific problems, rather than general ones. You can find more details including opening hours on the Maths-Aid website.
Additional support can also be found at mathcentre, via a range of self-study resources including video tutorials, workbooks and online practice exercises.
The following websites provide further information about psychometric assessments and how to prepare for them:
- PwC Psychometric e-learn – information and advice on why employers use psychometric assessments, how to prepare and some example questions
- Assessment Day – includes tips and advice and free practice tests
- Prospects tests and exercises: psychometric tests
- Realise Potential: FAQs – information and advice on taking psychometric tests
Here you can find links to online practice tests and a list of reference books available within the Careers Service.
Graduates First online practice tests
Visit the Newcastle University portal on Graduates First to access a range of online practice tests including:
- verbal and numerical reasoning tests
- logical reasoning tests
- situational judgement tests
- work personality questionnaire
You can also find information and examples of assessment centre activities including case study and in-tray exercises.
- go to the Newcastle University Graduates First portal
- register using your Newcastle email address (@ncl.ac.uk) and complete the registration form in full
- if you have a disability that could affect your performance on the tests (eg dyslexia), you can request additional time (25%) when registering
You should receive an email providing you with a link to confirm your email address, and then you’re ready to start your practice tests. If you don't receive an email after registering, please check in the Clutter folder of your Newcastle email account.
If you're a Newcastle graduate of the last 3 years, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with your full name, email address and degree title and we'll create an account for you. Please also let us know if you require additional time for the tests. We aim to register you within 3 working days of receiving your email.
To use the tests:
Login to the Newcastle University Graduates First portal with the username and password you created.
You'll receive a detailed report immediately after you have completed each test, which will include advice on your strengths, areas for development and how to improve your performance.
If you have any technical problems with the tests, please contact Graduates First at email@example.com. The Careers Service will not be able to help with any technical issues.
Additional example tests and advice
- SHL – widely used by UK graduate employers, provides assessment advice and practice tests including verbal and numerical reasoning, personality questionnaires and situational judgement tests
- Practice Aptitude Tests – practice verbal, numerical and diagrammatic reasoning tests, plus video tutorials to help refresh maths skills
- Maths-Aid: Numerical reasoning tests
- Grad Diary – free practice numerical tests
- WikiJob: Aptitude Tests – practice tests and tips, WikiJob also has information and examples of situational judgement tests
- Saville Consulting: Preparation guides and advice
- Assessment Day – includes verbal, numerical, inductive, diagrammatic and situational judgement tests
- University of Kent: How to pass graduate aptitude tests
- Psychometric Success
- Cubiks online assessments – example verbal, numerical and diagrammatic reasoning tests
- Liam Healy & Associates – an occupational psychologist organisation with advice on tests and other aspects of selection processes
- Mark Parkinson: Practice psychometric tests – comprehensive list of tests, including situational judgement tests
- EU Careers: sample tests – recruitment service for jobs in European institutions, includes an example situational judgement test
- Kogan Page: How to master psychometric tests
For examples of case study tests, see our information on Assessment centres.
Example tests from employers
- Procter & Gamble – practice reasoning test
- EY – situational strengths test
- Hogan Lovells – includes practice questions based on the Watson Glaser Critical Thinking Test, which is designed to find out how well people can reason analytically and logically, it is often used to test staff who will be involved in complex decision making (policy formulation, strategy planning, etc) and is similar to the GMAT test. For more information see specialist tests.
The following books are available for reference use in the Careers Service.
'How to' guides
- How to pass professional level psychometric tests, Sam Al-Jajjoka
- How to pass graduate psychometric tests, Mike Bryon
- How to pass verbal reasoning tests, Harry Tolley
- How to succeed in psychometric tests, David Cohen
- How to succeed at an assessment centre, Harry Tolley
- How to pass advanced numeracy tests, Mike Bryon
- How to pass numerical reasoning tests, Heidi Smith
- How to pass numeracy tests, Harry Tolley
Preparation and practical advice
- Practice tests for diagrammatic and abstract reasoning, Peter Rhodes
- Perfect numerical test results, Joanna Moutafi
- Management level psychometric and assessment tests, Andrea Shavick
- The Civil Service Qualifying Tests, Mike Bryon
- Graduate psychometric test workbook, Mike Bryon
- Practice leaflet: Preparing for your PwC assessment, PwC
- Prepare for tests at interview for graduates and managers, Robert Williams
Personality questionnaires are used to see how you react to different situations.
There are no right or wrong answers. The questionnaires generate a profile of you, highlighting your personal qualities and characteristics. They are usually untimed, but you will be encouraged to complete them relatively quickly.
Tips for completing personality questionnaires
You should be honest with your answers. Go with your first thought and 'be yourself'.
There is little point in trying to identify or second guess the qualities selectors are looking for. There is unlikely to be one exact 'profile' to fill. Tests are usually designed to identify when someone is giving a false picture of themselves.
Example personality tests
The following websites provide examples of personality tests and questionnaires.
Some sectors, such as medicine, business and law, have specialist tests.
Medicine and dentistry
The Graduate Medical School Admissions Test (GAMSAT) is used by some medical schools, especially for the 4 year graduate entry course. Visit the UCAS website for more details. Practice GAMSAT questions are available to buy on the GAMSAT website, together with tips and advice.
BMAT is the admissions test for medicine and veterinary medicine used for some courses at Oxford, Cambridge, Imperial, Leeds, Lancaster, UCL and the Royal Veterinary College. The BMAT website includes example questions.
More information is available about applying to medical school.
The Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT) is used as an entry requirement by most major US business schools and is used worldwide.
GoGrad.org: GMAT Guide is a US-based site that provides advice and tips to help prospective graduate business students plan and prepare for the GMAT.
The Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) is an admissions requirement for many graduate schools in the US. Includes sample tests and details of test centres.
The LNAT National Admissions Test for Law is used for admissions to law undergraduate courses at several UK universities including Birmingham, Bristol, Durham, Glasgow, King's College London, Nottingham, Oxford, SOAS and University College London.
For more information about applying for jobs in law see our Occupations website.