Last Updated on July 1, 2021
According to the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology (SIOP), 20% of companies across the US use complete cognitive testing, while nearly 70% use elements for skills testings in various areas. Additionally, InsideCareers reported that 75% of FTSE 100 companies use various complete psychometric exams while noting that nearly 40% of test-takers fail!
In short, properly preparing for a Cognitive Assessment Test can be the difference between getting hired and having to continue your job search.
There are several pre-hire popular cognitive aptitude tests out there, such as the CCAT test, Wonderlic Test, and the PI Cognitive Assessment.
That said, in this short article, we are going to give you a few tips that you can use to fully prepare to pass your next Cognitive pre-employment assessment no matter who the test provider is.
Ready? Let’s go!
Advantages of the Cognitive Ability Tests:
While a solid CV and good talking game at the interview is appreciated, hiring managers want to ensure that you have the skills to get the job done. So, over 20% turn to cognitive testing.
These tests tackle your ability to learn and apply new knowledge; think in an abstract manner, plan, organize and solve problems; abstract thinking, grasp new concepts quickly, and adapt to new situations.
Employers know that having to repeat the hiring process after a failed hire wastes both time and money and pulls essential resources away from the company. Hence, they want to get the hire right the first time around.
As we mentioned above, statistically, you have a 4/10 chance of failing your test, so let’s make sure you pass it and advance in the hiring process.
Topics you will find on Cognitive Ability Tests.
This is a great place to start, because once you understand what is on the test, you can better understand how to prepare for it.
Numerical questions will be found on virtually all cognitive tests. Nearly every job requires some level of math, even if most basic. The types of questions can vary between test providers but can generally divide into four categories:
- Computation – These are the simplest type of questions, are used for simple jobs, and must be calculated without using a calculator, including: Addition, subtraction, multiplication, percentages, ratios, fractions, decimals, and more.
Tip: You want to ensure that you do as many drills as possible on basic arithmetic types that you may not have touched for a while.
- Reasoning – These mathematical questions are clearly designed for those with more responsibility, if not lower management. The questions will focus on both digit and word-based problems to better test your response time.
Tip: The goal is not to get to the answer, but to show the process!
- Interpretation – This section is for managers and supervisors because they are often tasked with dealing with large data sets. Here you will have to know how to navigate pie charts, line graphs, scatter plots.
Tip: Focus on cross-referencing the various elements logically.
- Estimation – These questions for technical positions (ex: engineering) require that you quickly estimate material quantity.
Tip: Make quick estimates, but don’t waste time by calculating the answer; it will slow you down and weaken your score.
This section of the test is essential because it gives the employer a strong indication of how you use and understand language, which is vital for how you relate to your colleagues, managers, and clientele.
What is the test looking for?
You will be tested with grammar, analogies, spelling errors, and via the analysis of texts. However, it is important to note that the test is itself broken down into two sections:
- Basic Spelling and grammar: These questions are very straightforward because you either know the answer or don’t. You will get only 15-20 minutes to answer 30-40 questions on the actual exam.
Tip: When practicing for this sub-section, it is vital to practice under a timer.
- Reading Compression: This section is much more complex because they will often throw complex passages at you and then ask a series of deductive questions based on each passage. Hiring managers want to ensure that you can comprehend even complicated instructions without much guidance.
Tip: As you read the text, break it down, think about what you can deduce from every devised subsection, and take short notes. It is also important to remember not to overthink the questions presented to you. Instead, only use the information presented to you.
These tests up the challenge by employing diagrams, symbols, or shapes with rules governing them increasing in difficulty as the test progresses. Sometimes the questions will come in the form of straight lines and, in other instances, patterns drawing upon a host of shapes, colors, and patterns in all sizes.
There are five essential tips that you need to know before starting to practice:
- Mental Checklist: Working methodologically is crucial, so make a list of the various rules governing each data set, which can be very useful as a starting point.
- Piecemeal: Some aspects of the question will be necessary, while others are a distraction. Sift out this extraneous data by breaking down the question into bit sizes.
- Time Management: It is crucial to know when to give up on a question and move on. Considering you will be tested under a strict time frame, if you cannot figure out an answer, make a note and come back to it later.
- Hints are in the Answers: When the going gets tough, look for clues in the answers. For instance, if all the possible solutions are circles and diamonds, you know that the sequence will continue with those same shapes.
- Accurate Practice Tests: Accurate practice tests are crucial to your success considering that it mirrors the test in terms of the time limit, content, and structure of the questions.
Spatial Ability Test
These tests are either administered via your home computer or at a test center. Oh, and just because these questions are multiple-choice does not make them any easier.
Let’s dive into the six primary question types:
- Shape Matching: These questions are two-dimensional, and will challenge you with pairing the same drawings found in different groupings. Additionally, the objects in each group will be ordered and ladled differently, providing a further challenge.
Tip: Consider when practicing that the shapes are going to rotate in various ways to fool you. Learn to keep an eye out.
- Visual Comparison: Again, two-dimensional questions and similar to shape matching, but these are speed questions. Instead of looking for matches in two separate groups, you will have to find the matches between several objects.
Tip: These shapes are very confusing; try comparing two at a time by covering up the rest.
- Group Rotation: This question is like “two-dimensional plus” because it includes confusing reflections, making them harder to solve than regular two-dimensional questions.
Tip: Look for the asymmetrical shape and then analyze it in different directions like clockwise and counterclockwise.
- Combining Shapes: You will get a shape that is cut up into several pieces, and then you must mentally reconstruct it and match it to one of four possible shapes in the answer.
Tip: Look for distinct features in each of the possible answers that match the chopped-up shape.
- Cube Views: Now, we have arrived at the three-dimensional shape level. Each shape has symbols on various sides, and you will be asked a number of questions about the positioning of the shapes.
Tip: Try using the process of elimination.
- 2/3 Dimensional Cubs: Like “cube views,” you will have to pay careful attention to the markings on the various sides of the two-dimensional image. Just be aware that you will have to mentally fold into a cub to match one of the possible answers.
Tip: Try naming the different sides of the cube to help you match the markings with those found on the two-dimensional image.
We hope this short introduction was helpful and wish you much luck on test day!