Psychometric Testing for MBAs: An Introduction |

Psychometric Testing for MBAs: An Introduction

By QS Contributor

Updated June 2, 2016 Updated June 2, 2016

Learn about the psychometric tests used by MBA employers - by JobsTestPrep 

There are many challenges facing recent MBA graduates when looking for the job to start off their career. One of the largest of these obstacles, however, is often overlooked until it is too late. This obstacle is the psychometric testing now used by most MBA employers as a standard measure to filter out job candidates.

Psychometric testing is used by employers in order to sift through large numbers of prospective job seekers. These tests cover many different subjects and are designed to assess the abilities and intelligence levels which recruiters seek in a candidate. When taking a psychometric test you will have a limited amount of time to complete the test in and indeed this time pressure is a major element of the assessment challenge.

Psychometric testing can be extremely difficult and catch many candidates off guard. The type of questions appearing in these assessment tests are completely different from the examinations you’re used to seeing in a study environment.

They come in a variety of forms and can be presented at different stages of the extensive recruitment process. In general though, you need to be aware of the two methods in which companies present you with these tests: Online aptitude tests and assessment centers.

Online Aptitude Tests

After sending in an application to a specific company, you are likely to receive an email with a number of online aptitude tests to complete. These tests are usually made up of about 20-25 questions each and you will usually be given about 20-25 minutes to complete them. Online aptitude tests are designed to assess certain innate abilities and skills that employers look for in prospective job candidates.

Most businesses rely on third party assessment companies to provide these psychometric assessment services. While the tests created by these companies are usually similar, there are certain distinct differences between the tests provided. For this reason it is very important that you find out which test provider your potential employer makes use of in order to prepare sufficiently.

Companies such as SHL, Kenexa and Saville provide the majority of the tests used on MBA graduates. Other popular assessment companies are Talent Q, Cubiks, Cut-E and Onetest.

It’s highly recommended that you get hold of practice tests to sufficiently prepare for these online tests before facing them for the first time. It’s also important to remember that it is common for companies to ask candidates to retake these tests once they arrive for the interview stage. This is to validate that the online tests were actually taken by the candidate.

Some of the most common online aptitude tests you are likely to face can include numerical reasoning tests, verbal reasoning tests, inductive reasoning tests, and situational judgement tests.

Assessment centers

The second situation in which you will face psychometric testing is at assessment centers. After completing the initial application stage, candidates are then invited to attend an assessment center for additional psychometric assessments and interviews. This stage can often take up to three to five days in total, with the assessment center often located at the offices of the company to which you are applying.

The psychometric tests used at assessment centers are usually more group-based than the online aptitude ones. There is also more of a focus on real, workplace performance as opposed to general skills and abilities.

Common psychometric tests you are likely to face at assessment centers include

in-tray/e-tray exercises, group exercises, presentations and case studies.

Many companies present you with aptitude tests like the ones mentioned above during the assessment center stage. This is also where you will sit the various face-to-face interviews.

Preparing for psychometric testing

The only way to sufficiently prepare for these tests is by practicing with mock tests. It's thought that more than 50% of job candidates fail the initial testing stages before even sitting down for their first interview. If you believe that you deserve the job you’re applying for then attempting to face the psychometric tests unprepared would be doing yourself a great disservice. Learn more about psychometric tests at QS Global-Workplace.

About JobTestPrep

Founded in 1992, JobTestPrep's goal is to help jobseekers and students pass the recruitment test, by providing preparation resources. Available resources cover psychometric tests, aptitude tests and personality tests. Visit JobTestPrep for more information.


This article was originally published in May 2014 . It was last updated in June 2016

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