What are psychometric tests?
So you’ve just been invited to an NQ interview - great! Upon reading through the interview information, you’ve discovered that it will involve a combination of psychometric tests. Whether you’ve encountered these as part of your training contract or not, there’s nothing to worry about. Here’s everything you need to know.
What are psychometric tests?
Psychometric tests are a group of tests used by employers to measure specific abilities within candidates. They are used by a number of sectors and industries, including law. The subject matter of psychometric tests tend to be outside of standard exams and also academic subjects, although they might use elements you’ve covered in core subjects. Don’t worry - you won’t have to dig out your old law textbooks, or return to revision websites! The results of your psychometric test will help the firm to examine your ability and characteristics in relation to other candidates.
The different types of psychometric test
There are a number of different types of psychometric test, but they can roughly be divided into two groups: personality tests and ability tests. Personality tests will shed some light on who you are and how your brain works, and do not have right or wrong answers. Ability tests are designed to see how proficient you are at a certain skill, such as information interpretation or logic. They do tend to have right and wrong answers.
There are a lot of individual tests, including inductive reasoning, verbal reasoning, situational judgement and numerical reasoning. Commonly, law firms use inductive and verbal reasoning tests, and some use situational judgement and numerical reasoning tests too. A common test which you might have heard of is the Watson-Glaser critical thinking appraisal.
Why do law firms use them?
Firms use psychometric tests as part of their applications as they introduce a new means of assessing candidates, and deciding whether to proceed with further stages of the application process. With law becoming more and more competitive, it is unlikely that firms can interview every candidate for an NQ position. Psychometric tests can provide a fair, logical way of deciding who to invite to interview.
Whether they’re using psychometric tests in the initial application stage, or further along in the process after an interview, recruiters will compare individual results to the norm group, to see where candidates excel and where they fall short. It provides another way of assessing candidates, and firms will decide which tests to use (if any).
Preparing for your psychometric tests
As we said previously, it’s hard to crack on with revision for any psychometric test, but there are a few ways of preparing yourself. You should find out which company is publishing the test you will be completing: the publishers often have example questions online. Attempt some of these - it will give you a sense of what format to expect.
It’s also good to be aware of any time limits. Will you complete the test at the interview or assessment day, or will it be an online test carried out at home? If it’s the former, make sure you’ve investigated the tests in advance and attempted some practice questions.
If you’re completing psychometric tests online, firstly you should see if the firm has given you a deadline to complete them by. When you actually log in to complete the test, make sure you do so at an appropriate time when you can commit to it properly, with no distractions or technical difficulties!