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Different categories of psychometric test

Occupational tests may be classified in numerous different ways.  The use of each term provides a language by which test administrators are able to understand what the test measures, how it measures, what scores are compared against and conditions under which the test is sat (e.g., timed or getting more difficult as test progresses).  Different aspects of this form of communication are listed below.

The two major categories of psychometric test are:

Ability and aptitude types tests where the candidate is asked to perform to the best of their ability.  There are right and wrong answers and the test is timed.

The candidate is asked about their preferences, behaviours, typical response styles and attitudes to a range of things.  There are no right or wrong answers and these tests are not usually timed.

Tests may also be classified as:

Power Vs Speed Test
Items on power tests get more complex as the test progresses and usually, not everyone will be able to accurately answer all questions. Speed tests are timed and usually not everyone will finish the test.

Ipsative Vs Normative Test
Scores on one scale are compared against scores on another scale in Ipsative Tests, these tests use forced-choice type questions.  In normative tests, candidates are given a number of response choices, scores are compared against an appropriate reference group.

Personality Test
Measures the personality characteristics of the individual.  Rather more a questionnaire than a test.

Ability/Aptitude Test (specific & general)
Measures how well an individual is able to perform in specific (e.g., secretarial skills) or general areas (e.g., mental ability) and therefore how well they will likely perform on the job.

Attainment Test
A measure of what level an individual has reached in a specific area – e.g., post-course examination.

Interest Inventory
Used in career counselling to assess an individual’s interests/preferences.

Work Sample Test
A sample of work is given to a person and the person is assessed on their ability to complete the work as required.