Predictive Index Tests Fully Explained [With Example Questions + Answers]

Predictive index testsPredictive Index Tests (PI tests) have of late gained popularity among employers as the tests of choice for assessing both the cognitive ability as well as the behavioral fit of the prospective candidate.

Conceptualized and developed by a company called, guess what, Predictive Index (www.predictiveindex.com ) , they are widely used by respected global organizations like Microsoft, Dell, Chevron, IKEA etc.

Chances are, whether you are aiming for the Business Development Executive position in a growing start-up or considering the Vice-President Of Operations post in a stable utility behemoth, sooner or later you shall come across the PI tests in the selection process.

So, how do we prepare for them?

In order to help you out on that, let us understand the basics of the PI tests, the format and structure along with question types.

We shall also walk through representative samples of each types, with solved examples and helpful hints.

In between, there are a few tips which could act as the aces up your sleeves while you prepare for the assessments.

At the end, you shall find insights into how the tests are scored, variations that might apply as organizations dovetail them to their needs and suggested ‘comfortable’ target scores for a given role.

And yes, we will have the customary lines on how you should sleep and not drink the night before.

Buckle up and keep reading, then!

Bonus: Get free unlimited access to test practice (for 30 minutes) on our partner website JobTestPrep – Click Here.

PI TESTS = PICA + PIBA

The two main types of PI Tests used in the industry are the Predictive Index Cognitive Assessment (PICA) and the Predictive Index Behavioral Assessment (PIBA).

Administered together, they are supposed to let the prospective employer assess the functioning of both the ride and left lobes of the brain.

In simple terms, one helps finding out how well you are with logic, data and reasoning while the other portrays a picture of your behavioral traits and predict your fitment to the organizational culture.

STRUCTURE OF THE PICA TEST

TYPE OF QUESTIONS

To reiterate, the PICA test questions are meant to evaluate the cognitive abilities. Thus, they focus primarily on the following:

  1. Verbal Reasoning: The test questions in this section deals with verbal logic and an individual’s deductive power along with basic vocabulary. The pattern consists of one or more statements and the test taker is expected to indicate whether a given conclusion is ‘correct’, ‘incorrect’ or ‘cannot be determined based on the information available’. The vocabulary questions typically check out on synonyms, antonyms et al.
  2. Numerical Reasoning: This section deals with the respondent’s level of acumen with numbers. Most questions are of basic or intermediate type and involve mathematical questions that are expected to largely be worked out mentally.
  3. Pattern Recognition: This is where the abstract part of the test comes in. The questions in this section typically involve a series of figures or patterns and the candidate is required to find out what comes next. You can also expect to find the ‘odd-man-out’ (well, those were not the days of gender neutrality!) type of questions where one item either conforms to the rest in a given set or simply does not belong. Pick that up and you are good to go.

NUMBER OF QUESTIONS

There are 50 questions in total. Time limit is 12 minutes. All the questions carry equal weightage i.e. your score will be computed out of a total 50. In the online test, 5 questions come on the screen at one time.

The clock on top helps keep track of the time. You can move forward or back by clicking on the corresponding buttons at the bottom of the screen.

PRO TIP #1: Do not worry if you cannot attempt all 50 questions. In fact, typically most test takers do not answer all 50 of them. What matters is the accuracy linked to speed. Answer as many as you can.

PRO TIP #2: But ensure the items you answer are answered correctly. Marking will be based solely on the questions answered correctly. There are no arrangements of questions by difficulty or type; so, do not worry as to the sequence of questions. One question is as good as the other so far as scoring opportunities go.

PRO TIP #3: Do it quickly. Plan out your time. Half a minute per question is a good place to take-off while you start practising. Only ensure you get the ones you attempt, right on the first go. As you practise more and more, try squeezing down the response time per question. Believe me, with ample practice, you may soon hit the 15 second per question best-case scenario!

PRO TIP #4: Since all questions carry the same marks, do not dwell more than your allotted time on a single question if you get stuck. Let bygones be bygones and move on to the next. In any case, you always have the option to come back to the same question for a re-visit. Move ahead.

PRO TIP #5: For logical reasoning type of questions, do NOT assume anything that is not given in the test item, even though it may be of common knowledge or you are somehow aware of additional information that might seem pertinent. What is not given in the question does not exist and typically should fall into the ‘cannot be determined based on the information available’ bucket.

For example, you may be a globe trotter and have seen your share of the world, well enough to know that London taxis are black, New York cabs are yellow and Malaysian taxis are pink (oh yes, they are!). But if there is a statement/ passage on London taxis, with colour nowhere mentioned, you are supposed NOT to infer that they are black. Crazy it sounds, but that’s the way these questions are meant to be addressed.

SAMPLE QUESTIONS WITH HINTS

VERBAL REASONING

Sample Q#1

Statements: All of peaches grown in Margaret’s firm are sweet. All the cherries grown in Margaret’s firm are juicy. All fruits grown in Margaret’s firm are sweet or juicy.

If the first two statements are true, the third statement is:

A. Correct
B. Incorrect
C. Cannot be determined based on the information available

Solution: C. Cannot be determined based on the information available

Explanation: The first two statements mention only peaches and cherries. It is not known whether these are the only two varieties of fruits grown in her firm. Thus, even if the first and second statements are true, we do not have enough information to authenticate the veracity of the third statement which refers to ‘all fruits’ grown in Margaret’s firm.

Hence C is the correct answer.

Sample Q#2

Statements: All cricketers are sportspersons. All sportspersons are supremely fit.

Conclusion: Some cricketers are not supremely fit.

If the assumptions are true, is the conclusion:

A. Correct
B. Incorrect
C. Cannot be determined based on the information available

Solution: B. Incorrect

Explanation: An important rule of logic for deriving conclusion from two premises that can readily come in handy here is as follows:

“If both the premises are affirmative, the conclusion must be affirmative.”

Since the conclusion is not affirmative, it cannot follow. Hence A is the correct answer.

Sample Q#3

Statements: In the UK, some schools are state-funded. All state-funded schools need to follow the National Curriculum. Therefore,

Conclusion: No private schools follow the National Curriculum.

A. Correct
B. Incorrect
C. Cannot be determined based on the information available

Solution: B. Incorrect

Explanation: Solely based on the information contained in the statements, one cannot infer conclusively whether or not no private schools follow the National Curriculum. Some actually may (Note: deduction to be made ONLY based on the given statements, irrespective of any supportive information from the candidate’s general awareness or previous experience).

Hence B is the correct answer.

NUMERICAL REASONING

Sample Q#4

If 5 persons can execute 15 items in a checklist in 10 days, how many days will 15 persons take to execute 5 items in the checklist?

A. Between 1 & 2 days
B. Between 3 & 4 days
C. Between 5 & 6 days
D. Greater than 5 days

Solution: A. Between 1 & 2 days

Explanation: If 5 persons can execute 15 items in 10 days, 1 person can execute 15 items in 10X5 days, 15 persons can execute 15 items in (10X5)/15 days, 15 persons can execute 5 items in (10X5X5)/(15X15) = 1.11 days (approx.).

Hence A is the correct answer.

Sample Q#5

What is the next number in the sequence? 11, 44, 99, ?

A. 133
B. 176
C. 113
D. 111

Solution: B. 176

Explanation: 1X11= 11; 2X22=44; 3X33=99.

Thus, next number in sequence: 4X44=176.

Hence B is the correct answer.

Sample Q#6

Identify the missing number in the sequence: 29, 31, ? , 41

A. 33
B. 35
C. 36
D. 37

Solution: D. 37

Explanation: 29, 31, 37, 41, 43…. are prime numbers in sequence. Thus, the missing number in the sequence is 37.

Hence D is the correct answer.

PATTERN RECOGNITION

Sample Q#7:

Out of the choices A, B & C, which shape can be derived from the given figure by rotation and/or reflection?

 

Solution: C

Explanation: The combination as a whole is transformed through rotation and reflection to find the best fit. However, it is apparent that for both choices A and B, the relative position of all parts are the same, but the inner white part-of-the-circle changes position. This is not the case with option C, where the relative position of all the constituent figure parts are the same as the entire set is rotated through 180 degrees.

Hence C is the correct answer.

Sample Q#8

Identify the reflection of the given figure from the provided options.

Solution: A

Explanation: Since the original figure has arrows pointing in the north-east direction, the reflection should have arrows pointing towards the south-east direction. This eliminates C & D as possible solutions. Now, in a reflection, the pentagons would be mirrored and there should not be any shift in relative position. Thus, out of A and B, B is eliminated. Option A satisfies all conditions of a reflection, mirrored direction but no shift in relative position otherwise. Hence the answer.

Sample Q#9

Identify the next figure in the following sequence:

Solution: C.

Explanation: From left to right the composite turns 90 degrees in the clockwise direction at each subsequent step.
Hence C is the correct answer.

STRUCTURE OF THE PIBA TEST

TYPE OF QUESTIONS

As mentioned earlier, the PIBA test is meant to assess the behavioral traits to gauge a cultural fit to the organization.

The test tries to evaluate you ‘beneath the surface’, attempting to have a sneak peek at how you would behave in or react to different workplace situations.

Theoretically, the traits assessed are grouped by the following four categories:

  1. Dominance: Deals with the inherent nature of trying to exert influence on events, people or situations. Based on the score on this attribute, an individual can be portrayed as ‘Independent’ or ‘Collaborative’ or somewhere in between, perhaps skewed to one side.
  2. Extraversion: Measures the extent how one deals with people and the social interaction of an individual. Based on the characteristic depicted, one can be understood to be ‘Social’ or ‘Reserved’. Or, most likely again, a mixture of the two, with one side dominant.
  3. Patience: “Hell yes, we all know what patience is!” But hold on, have patience. This trait tries to map an individual’s personality with two major attributes: consistency and stability. Based on the test result, a person can be categorized as either ‘Steady’ or ‘Driving’, or (yes, you guessed it right, again!) a combination of both with the scales possibly tilted at one end or the other.
  4. Formality: Tries to ascertain the extent to what an individual is hardwired to conform to a structured rule based environment. Accordingly, the behavioral trait is bucketed into ‘Precise’ or ‘Flexible’.

Apart from these, according to Predictive Index, the output of the PIBA test also helps measure the “degree to which an individual prefers objectivity when processing information and making decisions.”

On completion of the test, the assessment takers are assigned a snapshot depicting the way they inherently think and work.

It is called a Reference Profile and used to map an individual’s behavior to the overall organizational culture or brand persona.

NUMBER OF QUESTIONS

There are 2 phases of the PIBA test. The test takers are given two lists of adjectives. Each of these adjectives is associated with one of the traits mentioned above: Dominance, Extraversion, Patience, Formality. The persons being assessed is to use the first list to select the words that best describe the way the individuals perceive how others expect them to act. The second list is then to be used to pick up the words that describe themselves in their own opinion.

This test is not timed. But, generally, it takes 15 minutes or less. Map your job function with the target score recommended by Predictive Index (ref. graphic below) to check how your cognitive fit would possibly be identified and a likely score you should hope and prepare for.

(Ref: http://go.predictiveindex.com/ )

PRO TIP#6: There is no right or wrong way to take this test. Neither does the score indicate a pass or fail. However, what is interpreted is the measurement of the likelihood of how a respondent is expected to fit in a given role and the speed at which the candidate would be expected to gain new knowledge. But you can get a fair idea of the score you would want to achieve by referring to the target score snapshot provided above and mapping it to the job function for which to be assessed.

PRO TIP#7: What is not widely known is the fact that the target score of the PIBA test can be customized based on the organization’s expectations of an ideal candidate. For example, for the same job function, you might have up to a +/- 2 variation in target scores depending on the nature of the organization. For example, if the work environment is very stable with few changing demands envisaged, the target score may be set lower. The reverse could be true for an, say start-up, environment that requires high adaptability and has to deal with frequent changes.

PRO TIP#8: As per recommendations from Predictive Index, for management or director level roles, the target score should be considered to be incremented by 1. The suggested increment is 2 points for VP level and above (executive role). So, set your par for the course accordingly.

PRO TIP#9: Achieving a target score+2 would be a comfortable aim in most cases as it is what is called a ‘100% cognitive fit’ for a given job position.

PRO TIP#10: You will need to practice a bit differently for this test. Get the homework right and do a little bit of research on the company, its culture and general ‘brand persona’ and you would be better able to gauge the kind of reference profile of candidates they are looking forward to. It is not to suggest that you would rather portray yourself as being who you are not, but it may effectively be used to identify yourself with the matching traits. And if you think it is worth it, start building on those to blend well in the organizational culture of the company you are applying for.

GENERAL NOTES:

Now that you have a fair idea of what’s coming, do not forget to brush up on the basics:

  1. Practice. Practice. Practice. If you are not feeling very confident right now, take heart. Practice makes perfect. The more practice tests you take on, the more your scores shall improve and the more confidence you will gain.
  2. Time your tests. That would give you a better picture of where you currently stand. The quicker you can address a question, the more are the chances of attempting additional questions and scoring higher. Practice with the clock running so you do not feel the time pressure at the time of the actual test.
  3. Stay calm. Stay focussed. None of these questions are rocket science, but it does never help when the mind is not composed. Or if you are not focused enough. Remember, at the end of the day, there are nothing called ‘silly mistakes.’ There are just mistakes.
  4. Find out the areas of weakness early and start working on them. Be honest to yourself. During practice, educated guesses are as good as mistakes. Count only those that you are sure of. Set the bar a notch higher. Have faith in yourself. Stay positive.
  5. Oh, yes….almost forgot! Stay sober, do not get into the test with a hangover. Stay hydrated. Sleep well.

Trust in God but lock your car. Best!

Need more practice? Try practice tests from JobTestPrep.

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