Selection Tests

Many graduate recruiters use selection tests as part of their interview process and this is a trend across large and small employers across many sectors of the economy. Tests are mainly used at the start of the interview process and can also be used at the later stages of the process at an assessment centre.

Practise now - free tests for UofG students and graduates

UofG students and graduates (up to 2 years after graduation) have access to an online tool called ‘Graduates First’. Through this you can access a wide range of free tests and resources, such as:

  • 15 numerical reasoning tests
  • 10 verbal reasoning tests
  • 15 logical reasoning tests
  • 4 game-based assessments
  • 12 AI-powered video interviews
  • 4 assessment centre exercises with marksheets
  • 2 situational judgement tests
  • 1 workstyle personality questionnaire
  • 7 IPAT tests (numerical analysis)
  • 3 CAPP tests
  • 1 Watson Glaser Test (critical thinking)
  • 1 question identifier tool 
  • 1 warm-up assessment combining numerical, verbal and logical elements

You will have your own private dashboard listing your test scores and you can track your performance across tests over time with personalised charts.

How to register

  • Navigate to the UofG registration page on Graduates First.
  • Are you a current student?  Select the “Register” button and enter your student email address.
  • If you are a graduate, email Careers and state that you require a log in for Graduates First. You will need to provide us with your full name and GUID that you used when you were a student. When we have confirmed your graduate status we will provide you with a log-in name and a temporary password. You must change the temporary password the first time you log in.

Please read the Graduates First Privacy Notice for Students and Graduates.

Why is selection testing used in recruitment?

Employers often use selection tests to provide a measurable, objective assessment of a candidate's suitability for a job or a training scheme. 

They are efficient at being able to deal with large numbers of applicants and are easy to administer so many organisations use psychometric testing as a way of screening candidates to get to a further stage of the recruitment process.

Unlike factors such as education, skills, experience, punctuality, the behavioural traits and personality of a candidate can be much more difficult to assess during an interview. For employers, selection testing can help to gauge the future performance of a candidate and hopefully improve employee retention by making successful hiring decisions.

How do they work?

In virtually all cases, tests are now computerised. They are mostly delivered in multiple choice formats and are timed. Your results are usually compared with how others have done in previous tests. 

Common types of selection tests

As technology develops, there is a wide variety of psychometric tests and most will fall into one of the following categories:

  • Ability tests: sometimes also referred to as aptitude tests, these often include numerical, verbal and sometimes diagrammatical reasoning, spatial reasoning or error checking tests. These are the most widely used tests by employers
  • Personality tests: these are often about determining personality style or preference. There are no right or wrong answers. They typically address behaviour and distinguish between personality traits and types. Personality tests are being used more at the stage of the recruitment process to see if you 'fit' with the organisation's culture, values and so on
  • Motivational tests: these are about your values, drive, energy and engagement. They may be used by an organisation to provide an understanding of what drives and motivates a person to perform effectively in work
  • Situational judgement and work-style preferences: these are often about assessing judgement skills and competencies in relation to challenging workplace scenarios. Tests may often involve ranking options or selecting the best to worst or the most important to least important options (for example, A to D or 1 to 5)
  • Mechanical reasoning tests: these types of test tend to measure your knowledge of mechanical and physical concepts such as gears, pulleys, levers and circuits. Some of the questions may require basic knowledge of maths, fractions, ratios, percentages and averages
  • Games-based assessment: A candidate’s aptitude and/or personality traits are assessed whilst playing online games designed with the role and organisation in mind. Used by employers as an alternative to standard psychometric tests, they are easy to access and do not require any experience in playing games

Taking a test if English is your second language

If English is not your first language, you may be concerned about the effect this might have on your performance in selection tests, for example in verbal reasoning tests. While some recruiters may take your concerns about your level of English into account, different companies will vary into how flexible they are about this. Remember though that good English language ability will be important to organisations recruiting into UK based positions.

Taking a test if you have a disability

If you think that taking tests or game based assessments puts you at a disadvantage because of your disability, ask for an adjustment and do this as early as possible, e.g. when you are invited to take a test.

Many employers can make adjustments for applicants with disabilities, however you should think about what adjustment(s) you would need.

Ways of identifying what adjustments might work for you

  • Use our free selection testing tool to get a better idea of what you might need to perform at your best abilities
  • Think back to tests you have done in the past and reflect on what changes would have been useful

Key points and tips

Adjustments are there so you can complete tests to the best of your abilities. Examples of some of the adjustments are –

  • Compatibility with text to speech software
  • A modification like larger text
  • Some example answers which clarify what the employer is looking for
  • Extra time or having the timer removed
  • An alternative assessment (e.g. video interview instead of a telephone interview) or doing a written version of an online test

Please note: Lowering the pass mark for a test is unlikely to be offered as an adjustment.

You may feel that you do not need any adjustments at all during the graduate recruitment process. For you, it might be a case of clarifying any unclear instructions with the employer.

Tips on how to prepare and take different selection tests

Preparing for selection tests:

  • Familiarise yourself with online tests - they are not usually testing knowledge and therefore it is not about revision (although you might have to brush up on some school level maths)
  • Start practising early so that you can identify and work on weaker areas where appropriate
  • Remember that any practice tests will not replicate the real thing, but they will help you to get a feel for a test situation
  • Improve skills, research question types, practise, reflect and practise again until your personal optimal score is reached
  • Create space in how you practise by taking a break between tests
  • If you keep practising without improving, reflect on where you are going wrong and seek help via the Careers Service
  • If you are offered a practice test by the recruiter, use it!

Taking selection tests:

  • Think about what will help you perform at your best. This might be a good night's sleep, eating beforehand and using calming techniques
  • Find a place and time that you can complete the tests quietly and without interruptions
  • Consider ways that you can control any nerves or anxiety
  • Be prepared with blank paper, pen, calculator and anything else you might need
  • Before starting the test, take a deep breath, focus and check that you are ready to begin
  • Read and understand each set of instructions and read each question very carefully
  • Use elimination techniques on multiple choice questions
  • Your percentile score is based on a combination of speed and accuracy, work on both areas to improve - the practice test websites often give this feedback
  • Avoid guessing answers as many tests include negative scoring and you may reduce your overall percentile score
  • If you are completing more than one test, try take a break betwen each one
  • If an individual question or whole test has not gone as well as you would like do not put too much emphasis on it. Move on!

Specific advice for different tests:

  • Numerical reasoning
    • Read the instructions carefully so you know what the employer is looking for
    • Read the question first so you know what information you are looking for
    • Pay attention to detail in the question and answer (e.g. units, decimal places, percentages)Think about practising core maths skills including percentages, ratios, percentages, reading graphs and multiplication. The quicker you are at the basics, the quicker you will work on the answer. Some useful resources to improve your maths include BBC Bitesize and mathcentre
    • Manage your speed versus accuracy – you will need to work quickly but methodically to achieve a good percentile score. This is something that can be improved by practising
    • Have a calculator with you and know how to use it
    • Improve your performance by doing mental calculations when you are shopping or working with numbers
  • Verbal reasoning
    • Read the instructions carefully so you know what the employer is looking for
    • Read the question first so you know what information you are looking for
    • Base your answer on the information provided rather than using existing knowledge and take everything literally unless it states otherwise (inference)
    • Practice reading under pressure by setting a time limit to read a piece of writing
    • Read broadsheet newspaper articles and look for ambiguous statements
    • Complete crosswords and word puzzles
  • Situational Judgement (SJT)
    • Research the organisation and read the job description/ person specification thoroughly to help you understand the competencies needed for the job and what the organisation expects
    • Knowing the organisation’s culture, what decision or action might they be looking for?
    • Try and imagine yourself in the shoes of one of their employees, what might they do?
    • Be clear on what is expected of you. There are different ways an SJT can be presented (best/worst, ranked answers, most likely, least likely, etc.)
    • Consider the consequences of each answer (if I answer this what would the effect be on …) Some answers might seem similar but think about how they differ
    • Take time to make a judgement if the test is not timed
    • Draw on any work experience in your answers
    • Be yourself – answer honestly - SJTs are working to get the best fit of applicant to a roleWhilst these are harder to practise than other tests, familiarisation will still help
  • Game based assments
    • Research the organisation and read the job description/ person specification thoroughly to help you understand what the organisation expects
    • Treat as an assessment and not as a game
    • Practice games and brain teasers to improve reaction times
    • Being optimistic, relaxed, focused and free from distractions in your environment will help you concentrate and get the best score

Additional links

  • Practice Aptitude Tests Ltd: great free access to practice tests for Glasgow students & graduates
  • Mark Parkinson: a comprehensive list of practice psychometric tests & questionnaires 
  • Assessment Day: a great range of free practice tests 
  • Practice Reasoning: examples and hints and tips for a wide range of tests
  • SHLDirect: practice verbal, numerical and diagrammatic reasoning questions
  • In-tray exercises: practice in-tray exercises
  • Prospects: guide and links to different types of tests
  • JobMi: strengths match and free practice tests
  • Psychometric Success: free practice tests
  • Jobs Test Prep: numerical, situational judgement and verbal reasoning tests
  • PWC e-learn: numerical, verbal reasoining, inductive reasoning, work style preference questionnaire. 
  • GreenTurn: practice tests and other resources, said to be replicate assessments from the 'big 4' 
  • Fintest: free practice aptitude tests designed for the finance industry



  • Arctic Shores: producer of tests for many organisations
  • Deloitte: a game to see if you will fit in to the organisation.