Employment tests are used increasingly by employers to screen the candidates for various job positions.

68% of employers use one form or the other of job skills tests. 29% use psychometric tests also. (Even Emirates uses this technique as part of their selection process, 20% employers deploy the cognitive ability testing method.

I have used statistics based on the US population just to illustrate my point and due to unavailability of statistics for other countries. It could differ in UAE and India due to local conditions. But broadly it may fall within this statistic in these countries too.

We can therefore, see that anyone aspiring for a good job, which pays well and gives some sort of stability in the job, must certainly be well prepared for the tests as well as the interviews that may follow. Those who are professionally qualified such as ACCA, CA, CFA or CPA also must prepare for these tests, as these professional examinations do not test them specifically for job selection tests, especially cognitive ability tests.

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What is Cognitive ability test?

Cognitive ability tests are used by an employer to test the candidate’s ability to use his/her mental skill to address daily occupational problems / issues and how he/she will be able to pick up new skills or knowledge in the course of the employment. It includes topics to test logic, perception and reasoning like verbal, visual and even abstract. Some of the questions will be really challenging, hence a solid preparation is essential.

A quick Google search describes 8 skills classified as cognitive abilities. They are:

    Sustained attention
    Selective attention
    Divided attention
    Long term memory
    Working memory
    Logic & reasoning
    Auditory processing
    Visual processing

Cognitive ability tests eliminate bias and the selection process is expected to be very objective.
The candidate is tested through what is known as Cognitive Ability Tests. Companies use the tests to assess the candidate’s abilities that are not apparently seen on his/ her resume, thereby helps in better employee performance, productivity and results in reduction in costs.
Typically the test will include the following topics:

  1. Verbal reasoning: These include word analogies, assumptions and conclusions based on Venn diagrams and vocabulary exercises.
  2. Numeric tests: This includes fractions, decimals, percentages, averages, word problems, work rate, ratios, and speed- distance and number series.
  3. Abstract reasoning: Abstract reasoning tests in a candidate’s abilities in his / her perception in shape series, common features such as – spatial orientation in 2 D and 3 D shapes, counting, conditions and positioning of shapes.

If a candidate prepares well , one can do the test effectively. Preparing for the test even before applying for jobs will be a good idea. More so because these tests have to be completed within the time duration. So as much as the solving the questions correctly is important, speed is absolutely essential, as answering all the questions within the time allowed is the key to success.

There are several web sites available to train students in cognitive ability tests. However, in my experience the web site – 12 minutes prep is quite well structured and reasonably priced. I also urge candidates taking the professional courses such as ACCA, CPA, CFA, Data Analytics and Supply chain courses with Delphi to train themselves in cognitive ability test to improve their chances in getting a better job.