Psychometric Tests and Assessments


A psychometric test or assessment measure psychological characteristics such as personality traits, behavioural styles, cognitive abilities, motivations etc. The word psychometric literally means psychological measurement.

The definition of 'psychometric' combines the words 'psyche', meaning 'mind', as well as the word 'meter', meaning 'measure'. Therefore, a psychometric test or assessment is a tool that measures a person's psychological characteristics. For example, psychometric tests and assessments can measure characteristics such as personality traits, cognitive abilities, behavioural styles and more.

There is a distinction between a psychometric test and a psychometric assessment. The main difference is that a test measures your maximum performance using tasks that have right or wrong answers. An assessment will typically use a questionnaire-format, asking you to rate your agreement levels with certain statements, or perhaps indicate how frequently you feel a certain way.

Examples of psychometric tests include cognitive ability tests, aptitude tests, logic tests and reasoning tests. Examples of psychometric assessments include personality assessments, emotional intelligence assessments and behavioural preference assessments. Psychometric tests and assessments aim to put your scores or responses into context, for example comparing you to other people. A test or assessment that compares you to others is known as a norm-referenced (normative) test; how did your performance or responses compare to a comparative group of people, like the working population of your country. A self-referencing (Ipsative) test or assessment will compare your performance or responses to your individual performance or response patterns. A test or assessment that focuses on a very specific set of skills or knowledge is called domain-referencing. An example would be a driving test as you have to achieve a pre-established level of performance and knowledge to meet set criteria.

What are psychometric tests?

Psychometric tests measure the skills and talents of a person. These tests include reasoning questions, aptitude questions, ability based questions, scenario based questions, motivation questionnaires and personality profile questions. These tests are the best way to objectify the measures that are supposed to be non-measurable. For example, you have to identify whether a person has creative inclination or not. You can take a longer route by observing the person for days, checking on the way they think and perceive their environment. However, this observation procedure can be heavily biased by the own understanding of the person who is observing. At this point of time, a psychometric test can instantly provide the objective results without any biasing. The precision and accuracy of a psychometric test is based upon the principles on which the test is designed. To ensure that a psychometric test provides an accurate data, certain criteria are needed to be met:

  • Standardisation: There are certain principles and theories on which psychometric tests are designed. A person can’t design his own test based on his self-understanding. The standards are needed to be followed as per the theories. Different theories have been developed such as Classic Test Theory, Item Response Theory and Rasch model. Before designing a psychometric test, one should first identify which model suits the current situation and according to the model, the test should be standardised so that it gives unbiased results every time a candidate takes it.

  • Reliability: A psychometric test needs to be reliable. It should produce consistent results and should remain least affected by the surroundings and the outside environment. Also, a student’s mood should not overly impact the results of a psychometric test. Otherwise, the results would be different when a student is stressed to the times when he is happy and excited. Reliability is most important since psychometric tests are used to identify a student’s career option and if it gives a different result every time a student takes it, then the results become redundant.

  • Clarity: There are different kinds of psychometric tests and they have different intentions. One should be very clear what is the intended outcome of a particular psychometric test. If the reason for taking a test is career selection, then it should target that factor directly and from all the questions asked should be able to identify strong factors that can help in selecting a career.

Advantages of taking psychometric test

  • A psychometric test has several advantages for a student who is at the age of selecting a career.

  • These tests can help the students to understand their skills and talents and can guide them with the help of a career counsellor about the careers that can be suitable for them.

  • These tests also save a great deal of time since a student does not need to go through several career magazines and can get a directed and focussed career consultation.

  • These tests are easy to examine and can give results instantly and reliably.

  • Reveals how a student can handle stress, can bear with difficult situation and what kind of characteristics he will show at the time of need.

  • It will go a step ahead by telling what motivates a student and what kind career options are well suited to him.

  • These days, psychometric tests are designed in a way that they can answer specific questions of a student. For example, for a student interested in doing engineering, it would be more important to understand that which engineering stream is best for him instead of examination of career options.

Some of the career counsellors have also idealised the psychometric tests based on the requirements of students in different fields such as arts, commerce, engineering, science etc. This is done so that a student can achieve a maximum benefit from taking the right psychometric test.

Psychometric test and Career Counselling

  • Psychometric test is combined with an expert career counselling session, can result in a great consulting experience for a student.

  • This can help a student decide what career can be best suitable for him and where he can perform better.

  • Career counselling not only helps a student understand a career stream and get focused on that but also helps him to understand the scope of a particular career. There are several students who know about the career choice that they want to pursue but are unaware of the hard work that is required to be put in that stream. There are others who have no idea of how the admission procedures go in their selected career stream. Some other students need to know about good universities and schools in their preferred career line.

All the above questions can be answered only if psychometric testing is accompanied with career counselling session with an expert career counsellor. There is no denying in the fact that a psychometric test helps a career counsellor to understand the student in a better way and supports a career counsellor to direct the student in the right direction.

A Global profile of a student can help him/her to understand in a better perspective

Types of Test

(a) Class VI & VII

  • Cognitive: Problem solving & realistic thinking, Study habits, Time management, Memory and retention, Learning disabilities

  • Non-cognitive: Aggression, defiant, personality disorders, Anger, Mood disorders, Worries & anxieties, Self-esteem, Self-identity, Conflict, Identifying interest pattern, Identifying creativity

(b) Class VIII & IX

  • Dimensions of personality, Goal planning, Motivation, Anger, Aggression, Stress, Learning techniques, Adjustment personality disorders, Interest assessment & identifying skills,

(c) Class X

  • Identifying aptitude & interest alongwith assessment, Subject choices related to career options, Personality profiling, Anxiety and stress

(d) Class XI & XII

  • Identifying career goals alongwith personality profiling, identifying Career skills, Identifying career interest, Identifying career choices, Career enhancement, Stress and anxiety management, Personality and adjustment pattern