All of us dread numerical, verbal and logical reasoning psychometric tests but they are becoming more popular with large companies, especially in the areas of banking and management consulting. In fact, even before a bank sets up a time to have a quick phone chat with you, you will need to have successfully passed three of their tests in a short space of time!
This puts a lot of pressure on applicants and unfortunately a lot of talented people miss out on amazing job opportunities just because they didn’t follow some basic steps in preparing for and taking the actual test. So here they are:
- Prepare, prepare, prepare. There is no avoiding it – you should dedicate at least a couple of weeks (the longer the better) to thorough practice and preparation. Success in psychometric tests is most often just a numbers game: the more tests you have crunched in preparation, the higher your odds of success on test day. I would suggest allocating at least an hour per day to this task and sticking to this consistently.
- Make sure you revise basic maths, such as percentages, and practise mental arithmetic. I understand how hard it is to programme your brain to do calculations in your head when you are so used to performing them on a calculator but you just have to try. So many candidates lose a lot of time typing basic figures in their calculators when they could have used those valuable seconds to quickly calculate the number in their heads (and often you only need an approximate calculation to pick the right answer).
- Collate a list of numerical shortcuts and memorise them, for instance, how to convert basic percentages into fractions, decimals and back. Or how to multiply two digit numbers by 11 – add the two digits together and stick the result in the middle. Try it: 53 x 11 = 583 (thanks to my husband for this example)
- When looking at graphs, make sure you pay attention to the smallest detail, such as denominations used (millions, thousands etc). Many candidates are in such a rush to crack an actual problem as fast as they can that they miss out crucial pieces of information and make avoidable mistakes.
- And finally, keep your cool. It is so easy to get flustered during the test (or practice tests) as the clock is constantly ticking and distracting you. You do of course have to keep your eye on the clock and use your time sensibly, but don’t let the clock ruin your concentration. And if you can’t get your head around a particular problem, don’t worry – it is ok to skip it and move onto the next one. You can always go back to it at the end of the test if the time allows.
I would love to hear which issues and challenges you faced during psychometric tests and what you have found to be the most difficult part! Looking forward to your comments and insights. And if you are about to take such a test – good luck!