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How to Prepare for a Psychological Test for Pre-Employment

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Psychological pre-employment tests compare factors such as an applicant's personality traits, aptitude and intelligence to the essential skills and qualities needed to be successful in a particular job. With so much riding on your test results, you want to prepare so you can get the best possible score. While you can't study for these tests, you can take steps to produce a better overall test result.

Familiarize Yourself

Knowing what you're facing helps prepare you to approach pre-employment psychological screening in a calm, positive manner. These types of tests measure aptitude and personality factors, according to an article on the University of Texas at San Antonio Career Center website. Aptitude tests can include basic skills, such as mathematical or mechanical ability, or general tests of your overall intelligence. Personality tests measure traits such as cooperativeness, leadership ability, integrity and assertiveness.

Know Your Rights

Pre-employment psychological tests can only be interpreted by a qualified professional, who must abide by the standards published by the American Psychological Association. Psychologists can only select tests validated by research, and these tests must be germane to the job you've applied for. These test professionals will demystify the process by explaining the tests you'll take, outlining their purpose, revealing whom the results will be shared with and describing how the results will be used. If you're disabled or not fluent in English, inform the test administrator before showing up for the test to learn of accommodations available for you.

Know Your Responsibilities

Bring any required documentation and payment, if applicable, to the testing session. Show up on time and, even if you're anxious, maintain an attitude of courtesy and respect throughout the testing process. If you're uncertain about anything, ask and make sure you fully understand the test administrator's responses. If you become ill on the day of testing, inform the test administrator, who can reschedule your tests. Follow the instructions to the letter and be totally honest when answering questions. Pre-employment psychological tests aim to detect inaccurate response profiles and typically render these types of results invalid.

General Tips

Some general tips will help you be at your best on test day. In the month before your test, practice doing crosswords, mathematical puzzles and reading or comprehending written information, especially if you don't complete these tasks on a daily basis. Plan to get a good night's rest the night before your tests. Make a list of essential items to bring with you, such as glasses, pencil and watch, if needed. If you find yourself getting nervous during the test, take one or two deep, calming breaths.


Brenda Scottsdale is a licensed psychologist, a six sigma master black belt and a certified aerobics instructor. She has been writing professionally for more than 15 years in scientific journals, including the "Journal of Criminal Justice and Behavior" and various websites.

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