What is Psychometric Testing ?

Psychometrics is a branch of psychology that is concerned with psychological measurement. This includes measurement of knowledge, abilities and personality traits. The origin of psychometrics lies in attempt to measure human intelligence. The field of psychometric concerns itself with developing methods and instruments to measure knowledge, ability, attitude, skills, etc and in the refinement of the theory of measurement techniques.

Psychometric tests can be broadly classified into personality questionnaires and aptitude tests. Personality tests are used to measure habits, values and attitude. They are not timed. These do not have pass or fail scores. In some cases, these tests are incorporated in the application form itself. In other cases, they form part of the interviewing process. It is not possible to prepare in advance for these tests as they relate to personal behavior in a given situation.

Aptitude tests on the other hands measure the candidate’s comprehensive and analytical skills. These tests have clear marks for each question and have cut-off levels above which the individual is declared as passed. Marks lower than the cut off are considered failed or the candidate is reassessed. These tests relate to reasoning and logic. It is possible to prepare for these tests in advance. Practice has been shown to improve performance.

Aptitude tests may contain a mixture of verbal, numerical and diagrammatic questions. The number of each type of questions in the test is determined by the nature of the job.

The advantages of these tests are that they are objective and are devoid of bias. The individual’s qualities and abilities can be compared vis-à-vis a particular job. These tests can be used to screen large number of candidates in a short time and enable interviewers to shortlist candidates for interview from a given pool. In addition to selection, psychometric tests can also help the management decide on suitable postings for the selected employees based on their psychological disposition.

Verbal tests involve tests related to spelling, synonyms which are words with the same meaning and antonyms which are words with different meanings. They may also ask a candidate to find the ‘odd one out’ of a set of words.

Numerical tests generally finding a number in a series. Questions involving simple arithmetic calculations are also used. In some cases, the candidate is asked to interpret data from tables and charts and analyze them.

The performance in the aptitude tests, as mentioned earlier can be improved by practice. Practice with simple problems, playing word games and puzzles. Refreshing your knowledge of the multiplication tables will also be useful.