There are two types of psychometric tests that are usually used in tandem by employers. These are aptitude tests, which assess your abilities, and personality questionnaires, which assess your character and personality.
Author: Phillip Carter Ken Russel
Publisher: RS Publications
Of the different methods that purport to measure intelligence, the most famous is the IQ (Intelligence Quotient) test, which is a standardised test designed to measure human intelligence as distinct from attainments. Intelligence quotient is an age-related measure of intelligence level. The word quotient means the result of dividing one quantity by another, and one definition of intelligence is mental ability or quickness of mind. Usually, IQ tests consist of a graded series of tasks, each of which has been standardised with a large representative population of individuals in order to establish an average IQ of 100 for each test. It is generally accepted that a person’s mental ability develops at a constant rate until about the age of 13, after which development has been shown to slow down, and beyond the age of 18 little or no improvement is found. When the IQ of a child is measured, the subject attempts an IQ test that has been standardised, with an average score recorded for each age group. Thus a 10-year-old child who scored the result that would be expected of a 12-year-old would have an IQ of 120, or 12/10 × 100: 1 mental age (12) chronological age (10) ×100=120 IQ Because after the age of 18 little or no improvement is found, adults have to be judged on an IQ test whose average score is 100, and the results graded above and below this norm according to known test scores. Like so many distributions found in nature, the distribution of IQ takes the form of a fairly regular bell curve (see Figure 0.1 below) in which the average score is 100 and similar proportions occur both above and below this norm. There are a number of different types of intelligence tests, for example Cattell, Stanford-Binet and Wechsler, and each have their own different scales of intelligence. The Stanford-Binet is heavily weighted with questions involving verbal abilities and is widely used in the United States of America. The Weschler scales consist of two separate verbal and performance sub-scales each with its own IQ rating. On the Stanford-Binet scale half the population fall between 90 and 110 IQ, half of them above 100 and half of them below; 25 per cent score above 110; 11 per cent above 120; 3 per cent above 130 and 0.6 per cent above 140. At the other end of the scale the same kind of proportion occurs. Although it is IQ tests that we are specifically concerned with in this book it should be pointed out that IQ tests are just one part of what is generally referred to as psychometric testing. Such The Times Book of IQ Tests 2 % of population 0 100 IQ score 170 Figure 0.1 The bell curve test content may be addressed to almost any aspect of our intellectual or emotional make-up, including personality, attitude, intelligence or emotion. Psychometric tests are basically tools used for measuring the mind; the word metric means measure and the word psycho means mind. There are two types of psychometric tests that are usually used in tandem by employers. These are aptitude tests, which assess your abilities, and personality questionnaires, which assess your character and personality. Aptitude tests are also known as cognitive, ability or intelligence (IQ) tests. Such tests are designed to test your ability to comprehend quickly under strictly timed conditions. Cognition may be broadly defined as knowing, perceiving and thinking and it is studied by psychologists because it reveals the extent of a person’s ability to think. There are many different types of tests. However, a typical test might consist of three sections each testing a different ability, usually comprising verbal reasoning, numerical ability and diagrammatic, or spatial, reasoning. In order to give you the opportunity to practise on all types of questions that you are likely to encounter in actual IQ tests, the tests that have been specially compiled for this book are multi-discipline and include a mix of verbal, numerical and diagrammatic questions, as well as additional questions involving logical thought processes as well as a degree of lateral thinking. In the past 25 years psychometric testing has been brought into widespread use in industry because of the need for employers to ensure they place the right people in the right job at the outset. One of the main reasons for this is the high cost of errors in today’s world of tight budgets and reduced profit margins. To recruit a new member of staff an employer has to advertise, consider each application, reduce the applicants to a shortlist, interview and then train the successful applicant. If the wrong hiring choice has been made, then the whole expensive process has to be repeated.