Psychometric testing is a part of the selection process used by employers who recruit large numbers of graduates, or those who operate within STEM industries. You are likely to encounter these tests at an early stage of the recruitment process [e.g. completed online from home] and possibly later on at an assessment centre. You may be invited to undertake online tests relatively soon after submitting an online application form therefore it is important to be prepared for what they entail. Psychometric tests are designed to measure a range of aptitudes such as numerical skills, verbal reasoning and mechanical ability.
Performing well in these tests requires accuracy and the ability to process information quickly. Most students find psychometric tests challenging because of the strict time limits and also because the tests are different from those they have undertaken in most of their academic courses. For some individuals with a disability (including a learning difficulty), psychometric tests may present additional challenges or be a cause of concern. It is permitted to request reasonable adjustments in the recruitment process if you feel that these tests could place you at a disadvantage. Adjustments could include additional time, alternate format etc. Refer to our guidance on reasonable adjustments and book an appointment with a Careers Adviser to discuss any concerns you may have.
It is possible to improve your scores in aptitude tests by undertaking plenty of practice. Some employers also use personality questionnaires/tests. Officially, there are no 'right' or 'wrong' answers for these but employers will assess your answers against the competencies they require for their organisation and the role you’ve applied for.
In addition to numerous resources on psychometric tests in the Careers & Enterprise Centre, we have some practice resources specifically for Durham students and other practice resources that are particularly helpful.
Our subscription to AssessmentDay provides access free of charge to current Durham students and recent Durham graduates. You can take practice tests and download solutions to help you prepare for the tests commonly encountered at graduate level. The types of tests that you will be able to practice are: Verbal & Numerical Reasoning, Inductive Reasoning, Logical Reasoning, Diagrammatic Reasoning, Situational Judgement, Critical Thinking tests and an E-tray exercise.
If you are a current student, simply go to the AssessmentDay website and register using your Durham University email address.
If you are a recent Durham graduate (having graduated within the last 24 months) and would like to access the tests, please contact us.
Profiling for Success
Our subscription to Profiling for Success allows current Durham students to undertake Verbal, Numerical and Abstract Reasoning tests. These could help you in graduate employer tests of a similar nature. The tests are timed which will help you to build up speed and accuracy.
Our subscription also covers Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) tests. MBTI is used worldwide and can identify personality aspects and help people to understand them. It can help you to understand your natural strengths and areas for potential development and enable you to appreciate how others differ in their approaches and behaviour. The test allows you to explore personality types and preferences such as communication, team working, leadership traits and other personal competencies and how you can relate these to the career choices that you wish to make now and in the future.
Critical thinking, or reasoning, tests are commonly used by graduate recruiters, particularly in the legal sector, to assess the suitability of applicants. The tests are designed to evaluate an individual’s capacity to achieve reasoned conclusions based on effective analysis and evaluation of information.
Many students express particular concern about numerical reasoning tests. The Mathcentre is a very useful online resource that provides practice exercises, tuition videos and information leaflets on key areas including algebra, arithmetic, sequences and differentiation. In addition to this, there are some excellent self-help books that can be accessed in the Careers, Employability and Enterprise Centre. You can search for these using the library catalogue.
You may also like to consider attending one of the Maths and Stats Lab sessions that are held in the University. They are run by a team of experienced mathematicians who can provide one-to-one help with any mathematics or statistics based problem. The drop-in sessions are friendly and informal and there is no need to make an appointment.