Gaming Psychometric Tests

You may think to yourself: what is the point of tests like the UMAT? Don’t they say you can’t prepare?

Psychometric tests like the UMAT are actually becoming very popular in the human resources industry. Employers use them as selection criteria when hiring an employee, particularly graduate jobs, just as the UMAT test is one of the selection criteria for entering Medicine at an undergraduate level. Simple personality tests are being used less and less as they assume that all aspects of an individual’s personality are fixed, however psychometric tests like the UMAT yield results that represent how and individual’s traits vary from situation to situation. It is another screening system to eliminate unsuitable candidates, by providing deeper information about their capabilities than the well-rehearsed spiel they provide in an interview or on their resume.

While the psychometric tests can be useful, they are not without their criticisms. Defenders of tests like the UMAT state that they can achieve negative outcomes if employers use the results in the wrong way – this is a common problem with the often complex result statements. Also, recruiters are sometimes unaware of the fact that the content being tested is irrelevant to the actual position available. However when the test is relevant and fair and the results are used correctly in conjunction with other information, for example an application/resume and an interview, the probability of hiring a suitable person is dramatically increased.

People often claim to try to “game” psychometric tests. That is, they answer questions in a certain way because they know what the employer is looking for. Those who offer psychometric tests such as ACER state that you can’t prepare for the UMAT, however, there is some evidence that shows that practice or exposure to the types of questions that will be on the test can improve your results. While you don’t know the exact questions that will be asked, the types of questions that appear year after year are very similar and the methodology behind solving them is generally the same. This is why students or candidates are more commonly preparing for tests like the UMAT through preparation. Those who choose not to prepare are actually at a disadvantage.