Types of Psychological Tests

PSYCH-105 Industrial Psychology

Chapter 16: Psychological Tests

Unit 1

Unit 2

Unit 3

Unit 4


Types of Psychological Tests

A brief account of the psychological tests commonly used in industry is given below

Intelligence / Mental Ability Tests

The quality of mind can be known only through its influence on behaviour. Mental alertness tests are tests which measure the speed and accuracy with which an individual understands and reacts to ideas, their symbols and their relationships. These tests help to evaluate traits of intelligence, mental ability, presence of mind (alertness), numerical ability, memory and other aspects. The kind of tests problems on which most of the best mental ability tests are based fall into six general classes. 

  1. Word relations (similarities, opposites and analogies)
  2. Information (vocabulary, word fluency and word meaning)
  3. Arithmetic problems
  4. Number series
  5. Spatial visualization items (block counting, spatial reasoning and other space perception tests)
  6. Non verbal reasoning problems.

Achievement / Ability Test

These tests are also known as proficiency tests. The skills already acquired by the candidates either through his education or experience can be judged through these tests. Such skills are essential for the job being considered. When an applicant claims to know something the achievement test is taken to measure how well they know it. Trade test are the most common type of achievement test. It is also called as performance test. 

Aptitude Test

Aptitude means the potential which an individual has for learning the skills required to do a job efficiently. This test helps in determining whether an individual has the capacity or ability to learn a given job if given adequate training. The use of aptitude test is advisable when an applicant has had little or no experience along the lines of the job opening. Aptitude test indicates the ability or fitness of an individual to engage successfully in any number of specialized activities. They cover such areas as – clerical aptitude, numerical aptitude, mechanical aptitude, motor coordination, finger dexterity and manual dexterity. These tests help to detect positive and negative points in a person’s sensory or intellectual ability. 

Personality Tests

Personality tests typically measure traits related to behaviour at work, interpersonal interactions, and satisfaction with different aspects of work.  Personality tests are often used to assess whether individuals have the potential to be successful in jobs where performance requires a great deal of interpersonal interaction or work in team settings.

These tests measure certain characteristics such as emotional maturity, sentimental balance, sociability, objectivity etc. of a candidate. Wether a candidate is having a sick personality or healthy personality can be determined by these tests.

Interest Tests

This test is conducted to find out likes and dislikes of candidates towards occupations, hobbies etc. such a test measures an individual activity preferences. Such tests also enable the company to provide vocational guidance to the selected candidates and even to existing employees. 

In practice the candidates are given comprehensive tests which include checking up of different traits of the candidates. Some of these tests are discussed below: 

General Aptitude Test Battery (GATB)

The General Aptitude Test Battery, also known as the GATB, is a professional career aptitude test. It was developed by the US department of labour. It measures nine different aptitudes and can be used to help assess the likelihood that you will be successful in specific careers or training programs.

An aptitude is something that you have the potential to be good at; it refers to your innate ability to do well at tasks that require a specific type of skill. Aptitude is not dependent on previous learning. 

The aptitudes that are measured by the General Aptitude Test Battery  are as follows: 

1. G - General Learning Ability

The ability to “catch on” or understand instructions and underlying principles; the ability to reason, and make judgments. It is closely related to doing well in school.

2. V - Verbal Aptitude

The ability to understand the meaning of words and to use them effectively. The ability to understand relationships between words and to understand the meaning of whole sentences and paragraphs. 

3. N - Numerical Aptitude

The ability to perform arithmetic operations quickly and accurately. 

4. S - Spatial Aptitude

The ability to think visually of geometric forms and to comprehend the two-dimensional representation of three-dimensional objects. The ability to recognize the relationships resulting from the movement of objects in space. 

5. P - Form Perception

The ability to perceive pertinent detail in objects or in pictorial or graphic material. Ability to make visual comparisons and discriminations and see slight differences in shapes and shading of figures and widths and lengths of lines. 

6. Q - Clerical Perception

The ability to perceive detail in verbal or tabular material. Ability to observe differences in copy, to proofread words and numbers, and to avoid perceptual errors in arithmetic computation. 

7. K - Motor Co-ordination

The ability to coordinate eyes and hands or fingers rapidly and accurately in making precise movements with speed. Ability to make movement response accurately and swiftly. 

8. F - Finger Dexterity

The ability to move fingers, and manipulate small objects with fingers, rapidly or accurately. 

9. M - Manual Dexterity

The ability to move hands easily and skilfully. Ability to work with hands in placing and turning motions.

Career Maturity Inventory (CMI)

Career maturity inventory (CMI) test was developed by Crites in 1969. Career maturity has been defined as the maturity of attitudes and competencies pertaining to career decision making. It has been found to be influence differentially in different culture, races and gender groups by certain psychological, educational and demographic factors. Crites developed a model according to which Career maturity inventory (CMI) consist of six independent dimensions. One dimension is related to the aptitude variable and rest of the five dimensions denote competencies pertaining to career decision making:

1. The attitude variable includes: 

    a. Decisiveness 

    b. Involvement 

    c. Independence

    d. Orientation

    e. Compromise in career decision making

2. Competencies are 

    a. Self appraisal (SA) or knowing yourself

    b. Occupational information (OI) or knowing about jobs

    c. Goal selection or choosing a job 

    d. Planning (PL) or looking ahead 

    e. Problem solving or what should they do?

Thematic Apperception Test (TAT)

The Thematic Apperception Test (TAT) is a projective measure intended to evaluate a person’s pattern of thought, attitudes, observational capacity, and emotional responses to ambiguous test materials. In the case of TAT the ambiguous materials consists of a set of cards that portray human figures in a variety of setting and situation. The subject is asked to tell the examiner a story about each card that includes the following elements: The event shown in the picture, what has led up to it, what the characters in the picture are feeling and thinking, and the outcome of the event.

It is considered to be effective in eliciting information about the person’s view of the world and his or her attitudes towards the self and others. 

Author – Dr. Niyati Garg

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