What are psychometric tests Types Areas of application

Currently, it is not uncommon to hear that we need to go through a psychotechnical, for example, during a personnel selection process in a company. And it is not the only moment that will happen to us throughout our lives, being something more frequent and habitual than it seems. But what are psychometric tests and what do they try to achieve? Are there more than one type of psychotechnical or are they all the same? In this article, we will briefly comment on these issues.

What are psychometric tests?

Psychometric tests are understood as a type of objective tests designed to objectively assess (without measuring the subjectivity of an evaluator) the intellectual abilities of one or more people. These are highly structured, subject-controlled, voluntary response tests in which the purpose of the test is not masked (it is relatively easy to imagine what is being measured). The answers emitted by the analyzed subject will be treated as sincere and true, although they are performance tests that would not benefit from attempts to vary the answers.

Most of these tests are maximal execution tests, that is, they assess the maximum potential shown by a subject in relation to a specific skill or characteristic in a given time limit. They generally value general intelligence and subject-specific aptitudes, and this assessment can have very different objectives, depending on the case. In general, it seeks to verify the adequacy of a person’s capabilities to the needs and elements necessary to access certain authorizations or positions, or simply to assess whether there is any change or difficulty in the person’s adaptive functioning.

It is common that they pass together with a personality test to assess not only the cognitive abilities, but also the way of being and the habitual pattern of thought and behavior of the analyzed person. Later, after analyzing the information obtained by the two types of tests, it is possible to make some kind of decision. It should be taken into account, however, that the tests themselves do not provide information other than a score, which must be interpreted and analyzed based on the available subject information and comparison with different scales or criteria.

Types of psychometric tests

There are different types of psychometric tests , since not all of them aim to obtain information about the same aspects, nor are they carried out with the same objectives. In this sense, some of the large groups in which we can classify them are as follows.

1. Attention and concentration test

These tests assess the ability to remain attentive to a stimulus, keep attention fixed on the appearance of a specific element, or make changes in the appearance of alterations. Generally, monotonous tasks are employed in which it is easy to get bored and distracted or in which it is complex to detect a stimulus that is different from the rest.

2. Reasoning test

Organizing information, drawing conclusions and finding solutions quickly is essential for many jobs and facilitates general adaptation to the events we face on a day-to-day basis. There are several ways to assess reasoning, some of them as problem solving, planning alternative actions in hypothetical situations or deciding between two options and justifying why. It is also common to look for relationships between different stimuli and solve matrices. Spatial, verbal, numerical, or mechanical reasoning can be included in addition to the summary.

3. Spatial aptitude test

Distinguishing shapes and being able to navigate space correctly is a skill that helps us orient ourselves and understand what is happening around us. In various jobs or when driving a certain level of this skill is essential. Different visuospatial tests are often used , such as deciding what an object we see from another perspective will look like or keeping a point within specific margins.

4. Verbal proficiency test

Communicating efficiently, knowing how to understand and express what we think and think about other people at high speed, is essential for dealing with other people. Vocabulary, vocabulary, reading and writing speed, grammar and spelling are some of the aspects examined in this type of test.

5. Numerical proficiency test

Doing calculations is very useful in various jobs or in our daily lives. Numerical proficiency is usually examined on the basis of math problems , rules of three, or straight calculations (these are usually not overly complicated unless a position is required where great competition is needed in that industry, but rather the number of successes and errors at a specific time).

6. Linked to executive functions

Working memory, decision-making ability, response inhibition, planning and problem solving… all these abilities can be analyzed through different tests. They are generally used in neuropsychological assessment and clinical practice , although some can be adapted for other uses.

Areas of applications of psychometric tests

If most of us know what a psychometric test is, it’s because at some point in our lives we’ve had them. In fact, today they are very frequent in different contexts where it is necessary to know the mental aptitudes of a specific person with a specific objective. Among the different possible contexts, some of which are more frequent are the following.

1. Scope of work

The area where we usually need to pass one of these tests. Companies usually have a series of requirements about the skills that their employees must meet , so that with the passing of these tests, they can get a score on skills such as writing speed, verbal comprehension, vocabulary, numerical ability. , the ability to solve problems or visuospatial resources, among many others. That’s why they are part of most personnel selection processes (although the interview is usually more important).

2. Educational field

Psychotechnicians are also often employed in education and training, as a way to observe students’ abilities. They can be used to adjust the level and content to the student’s abilities, to see their level of development or if there have been improvements in the course of an educational program or even to establish selection criteria for acceptance in some universities or centers.

3. Clinical practice

Another area in which psychometric tests are used is in clinical practice to assess patients’ abilities and aptitudes. This is very useful to assess, for example, the existence of alterations in patients with dementia or other alterations that can generate variations in mental abilities , or simply to assess the current capabilities of the patient.

4. Driving license

Driving a vehicle is a big responsibility. We are in charge of a powerful and heavy machine that will go into circulation and must be handled with great care and ability to avoid causing or suffering accidents. That is why an assessment of the future driver’s skills is necessary before granting a license, to observe their attention and concentration skills, visuoperceptive and visuospatial ability, and ability to react.

5. Weapon license

Although much less frequent than the previous two, some people need to carry a firearm. This is the case for police officers, security guards and hunters . But no weapons should be given to anyone, as they pose a great responsibility and a great danger to others from not being used correctly. For this, different psychometric tests are usually used, among others, to decide whether or not the requirements are met to obtain a weapons license.

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