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Assessment preparation

Assessment tests take place as part of a job interview or recruitment. Employers use a variety of assessments and tests to find out more about you. They want to find out if you have the skills and abilities they need.

Assessment tests are also known as:

  • Aptitude tests
  • Personality tests
  • Psychometric tests
  • Selection tests

Assessment and psychometric tests usually take place online. They could also take place at an assessment centre. Assessment centres have moved from a physical location to online because of COVID-19.

Prepare for selection tests and assessments

Preparing well will help you to be more confident during selection tests. Take a look at some key tips.

Tips before the test:

  • The first step of being prepared for assessments is to be aware that you might get one!  If you know what to expect it helps you to stay calm
  • Practise as much as possible on free practice tests. Links to websites that offer free practice tests are in the Finding Practice Tests section on this page
  • If you have additional learning needs or specific requirements ask the employer to make reasonable adjustments for you, for example, allowing you extra time
  • If possible, take the test when you are rested

Tips during the test:

  • Don’t rush
  • Ensure you know how long you have got to do the test before you start.  If it is timed, put a timer on or put a clock where you can see it
  • Make sure you are taking the test where you are not interrupted or distracted
  • Read the instructions carefully and make sure you understand them. Double-check instructions and any graphs or images to ensure you have not missed anything
  • Manage your time – if you get stuck move to the next question
  • Make sure you have the equipment you need. It might be a calculator, pens, paper or even a dictionary. Check what the guidelines say about what you are allowed within the test

Online assessments

If you have an online assessment, make sure that you:

  • Have a good internet connection
  • Have the right web links and log in details (if needed)
  • Are in a quiet place with no distractions
  • Allow enough time to do the test to the best of your ability

For extra practical advice about online job interviews visit video and telephone interviews.

Job interview assessments

Selection tests can be part of the job interview. In addition to preparing for the job interview you may also need to get prepared to attend an assessment centre.

If your assessment is part of an interview or at an assessment centre, make sure that you:

  • Know where the venue is
  • Arrive with plenty of time to spare
  • Make a good impression – your reactions and behaviour are being observed at all times not just during the test

Types of assessments

The type of test you might be asked to do will depend on what the employer wants to know about you. Common tests include:

  • Maths skills – for example:
    • A supermarket might give you a task that involves working out how much change to give a customer that has bought an item
    • A construction company might ask you to calculate measurements
  • English skills – for example:
    • An administration job might involve a spelling test
    • Giving you something to read and asking questions to check that you understand it
  • Personality tests – finding out what kind of personality you have so that employers can decide if you will fit the job and their company. You might like to try our Buzz Quiz to get an idea of your personality type
  • Reasoning skills – how you think and how you understand information
  • Aptitude tests - how you perform at tasks and how you react to situations
  • Critical thinking - how you analyse information, your reasoning abilities – these are usually for graduate and professional roles
  • Practical assessments – for example:
    • For a Software Developer job, an IT company may give you a test on your IT skills and level, or for an administrative job you might be asked to check for errors in a document
  • Situational judgement - you will be given a work-related scenario and asked to choose the best course of action to take. Situational judgements are similar to competency questions which are often asked in interviews. You are given a scenario and asked to describe what action you took, and what the result was

Some of these tests are also timed, which means you need to complete them within a set time limit.

Finding practice tests

You can sometimes get information online about specific companies’ tests, through blogs or forums, social media or You Tube. Search online for information about companies’ online assessments. You could find some valuable information about what to expect or even free practice tests.

There are some online practice tests that you can access for free. Be aware that some sites also ask you to pay for access to practice tests. Many of these sites have free versions and paid versions so make sure you check first.

Practice tests - for specific careers

BPEC (Plumbing and heating) aptitude test
Civil Service practice aptitude tests
RAF practice selection test

Practice tests - general

University entry assessments

University admissions tests (UCAS)


Interview techniques

Get help to prepare and practise interview questions, and find out what to expect in an interview.    

Video and telephone interviews

Get help to prepare for video and telephone interviews. Preparing for video and telephone interviews is as important as it is for face to face interviews.

Answer interview questions with real life examples

Find out how to answer interview questions with real life examples (competency questions). View example questions and answers.

Personal Statements

Get help and ideas to complete your personal statement. The personal statement can be one of the most important parts of your application.

Going to university

How to apply, including UCAS deadlines, attending open days, student finance and clearing.