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Assessment preparation

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.

There are different types of assessments and test, for example:

  • Aptitude
  • Personality
  • Psychometric
  • Selection

Get prepared for selection tests and assessments

Don’t get caught out – find out what is involved in assessment and selection tests.

The better prepared you are, the better you are likely to perform.

  • 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 before hand on free practice tests
  • Don’t rush
  • Tell the employer they need to make reasonable adjustments for you, for example, allowing you extra time if you have additional learning needs or specific requirements
  • Make sure you are taking the test where you are not interrupted or distracted
  • Take the test when you are rested
  • Manage your time – if you get stuck move to the next question
  • Ensure you know how long you’ve got to do the test before you start.  If it’s timed, put a timer on or put a clock where you can see it

Take a look at some frequently asked questions about assessment preparation:

At what stage of my application am I likely to be asked to take an assessment?

1. Online as part of your job application

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

2. During a job interview

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 – you are being watched for your reaction and behaviour at all times not just during the test
What different types of assessments are there?

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
  • Reasoning skills –
    • How you think and 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

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

CITB Construction Skills practice test 
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.    

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.