Practicing psychometric tests positively influences performance


A recent area of inquiry in applied psychology has been applicants’ perceptions and expectations of the selection context (i.e., test content, test type, testing process) (Sanchez, Truxillo & Bauer, 2000). Selection expectations refer to your beliefs about the characteristics of your forthcoming psychometric tests. Results of recent research (Schreurs, Derous, Proost, Notelaers & De Witte, 2008) suggest that applicants’ psychometric test performance is partly a function of their pre-test beliefs, which are influenced by pre-test preparation such as practicing psychometric tests online. This implies that your prior preparation, such as practicing psychometric tests online, influences your pre-test beliefs positively, which in-turn influences your psychometric test performance. For those in preparation for psychometric testing such as your self, this highlights the importance of receiving information and experience obtained through practicing psychometric tests online, about your forthcoming psychometric testing. One effect of such preparation for psychometric tests is that unrealistic expectations can be calibrated to a realistic level.

Other researchers have further investigated psychometric test takers’ predispositions and prior experiences, to investigate how these might lead to differences in psychometric test performance and scores. It had previously been found that motivation to do well in psychometric tests lead to good psychometric test performance. Sacnchez et al. (2000) took this research further as they viewed psychometric test taking motivation to have a multidimensional nature. Therefore, they looked at ‘expectancy theory’ as a framework to further explore psychometric test taking motivation and its effects on psychometric test performance. Expectancy theory has relevant implications for you in your preparation for psychometric testing.

Expectancy theory has three major components: valence, instrumentality, and expectancy (Vroom, 1964). Valence refers to your anticipated desirability of obtaining a certain job. Most relevant to you is the second component, instrumentality, which refers to your belief that your psychometric test performance will lead to a desired outcome, i.e. the degree to which you believe that good performance on your psychometric tests will lead to being hired (a desirable outcome). Also relevant to you is the third component, expectancy, which describes the subjective probability of effort leading to a specific outcome, i.e. your belief that trying to do well on a psychometric test will lead to a high score on that psychometric test.

The underlying notion in expectancy theory, in relation to your preparation for psychometric testing is that psychometric test takers such as your self make attributions about past performance on psychometric tests, such as past experience with practicing psychometric tests online, that impact motivation on future tasks such as the actual psychometric testing, personnel selection situation. This psychological mechanism is referred to as the self-serving bias. In these instances, you are likely to rely on your own perceptions of your psychometric test performance.

Sanchez, Truxillo and Bauer (2000) found a significant positive effect of prior test-taking experience on psychometric test scores. This research highlights the importance of practicing psychometric tests online in order to develop positive perceptions of your psychometric test performance. That is, practicing psychometric tests online will lead to improvement in your psychometric test motivation and consequently improvement in you psychometric test scores. As Sanchez et al. (2000) reported, those who have previous experience with psychometric tests, such as through practicing psychometric tests online, reported more positive instrumentality (positive belief that psychometric test performance will lead to a desired outcome) and more positive expectancy (positive belief that doing well on a psychometric test will lead to a high score) than those who had little to no prior experience with practicing psychometric tests online.