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During the hunt for your ideal administrative job, you will not only have to submit your resume and cover letter, attend interviews and provide references, but you will probably also have to complete some administrative assessment tests. Employers use these tools to determine your skill level in various clerical areas. Understanding why these tests are administered and possessing a solid strategy for completing them will help you manage the process with little worry and at a high rate of success.
Why Employers Test
Employers use assessments to measure your expertise in areas pertaining to the job they're looking to fill. In administrative support, some of the tests you might encounter include typing, data entry, spelling, transcription, shorthand, filing, ten-key, coding and proofreading.
Keep in mind that employers use assessment tools as a part of their hiring decision. If your score on a typing test is mediocre but your resume is impressive, the interview went well, your experience matches their needs and the reference checks were strong, the employer will likely still consider you for the position. They are prepared to train new hires. Keep the big picture in mind as you complete assessment tests.
Preparing to Test
Sharpening your clerical skills is the best way to prepare for an administrative assessment test. Internet sites like measuremyskills.com offer practice tests you can take for a fee. As of January 2010, they charged between $10 and $20 for their practice tests.
Another option is to brush up on your clerical skills through classes at a community college, and you may find courses in common secretarial tasks, like keyboarding or typing, at your local community center.
Of course, you can also simply practice the skills at home on your own. Ask someone to read a book to you, for example, while you write out what they are saying in shorthand. Spend time on your computer typing and entering data.
Taking the Tests
Test-taking anxiety is typical. If you become overly anxious when you are taking an administrative assessment test, it may adversely affect the score you earn. Going into the test, realize some anxiousness is good, as it heightens your awareness and can make you sharper. Welcome the "butterflies" you feel, and use them to your advantage.
Give yourself a pep talk before the testing begins. Maybe say to yourself, "I've been typing for years, and I'm great at it. This test is going to be a cinch." As needed, take deep, calming breaths if you start feeling uneasy.
If the testing environment is uncomfortable or distracting--too loud, too hot, too cold--ask if you might complete the assessment in another area of the office.
A professional writer since 2003, Kristi Meyer has worked in the management consulting field since 1997. She authors Las Vegas travel reviews and articles for Wizardofvegas.com and travel tip articles for various websites. Meyer holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of South Florida.