If you are currently applying for a new job, chances are at least one of the companies you are aspiring to join will require you to undertake a psychometric assessment as part of the selection process.
The term “psychometric” has been coined from the Greek words for mental and measurement – and that’s exactly the purpose of the assessment: to predict in an accurate fashion whether a certain candidate is likely to succeed in a particular job, by assessing the specific abilities of the applicant as they relate to the job requirements.
What Are Predictive Index Tests?
The Predictive Index provides a suite of job, behavioural and cognitive tests and, being considered one of the most up to date psychometric assessments, it has been adopted worldwide by top performing companies across a wide range of industries, from Business and Professional Services to Construction, Energy, Finance, insurance, Health Care, Life Sciences, Hospitality, Entertainment, Technology, and many more.
The assessment is currently available in more than 80 languages (including braille) and it has been administered millions of times.
Just as top-performing companies are using our tool to recruit, hire, retain and further develop candidates, the Predictive Index can also be used by prospective candidates to practice cognitive tests required by the employer, maximise their score potential and self-assess whether they are a cultural fit for the organisation they are trying to join.
The Predictive Index assessment thus provides you with a solid stepping stone in the process of landing your dream job and then thriving in your new role.
What does it offer?
The Predictive Index offers much more than the average pass/fail or yes/no tools available on the market.
The methodology integrates data, knowledge, expertise and technology, and results are aimed at guiding candidates and employees on their path of self-development.
The scientific rigour and unique approach in assessing candidates also provides employers with a reliable tool which allows them to select the right people, ignite their enthusiasm and unleash their productivity, thus ensuring the creation of a work environment where their teams can thrive and succeed.
I. The Structure of The Predictive Index (PI) Assessment
The PI assessment aims to assess both the candidate’s aptitude for the job – in other words, your ability to perform and carry out job-related tasks, while also determining whether your personality will fit in with the vision of the organisation you are hoping to join, by measuring the way you interact with your environment and other people.
In order to achieve a full picture of what the candidate has to offer, the PI consists of two tests:
- Predictive Index Cognitive Assessment – formerly known as the PI Learning Indicator (PILI); it focuses on assessing the cognitive abilities of the candidate and studies have shown it is a very strong indicator of future job performance;
- Predictive Index Behavioural Assessment (PIBA) – PI Behavioural Assessment is the second pillar of the Predictive Index; it mainly concentrates on the personality of the candidate, providing deep insights into your own behaviours and motivating drives.
II. PI Cognitive Assessment Format
The PI Cognitive Assessment is a powerful, modern and extremely predictive tool but its’ format is fairly simple – it includes 50 questions, each of varying levels of difficulty, from a set of three main categories, selected to cover a range of relevant content: verbal reasoning, numerical reasoning, and abstract reasoning.
Candidates have 12 minutes to complete the assessment, with an average of solving 4 questions per minute.
For a more practical understanding of how PI is structured, you should take a glance at the picture below:
While the questions could be considered relatively easy and comprehensible to the general adult population (i.e., one does not require advanced, specialised knowledge to answer any of the questions), most candidates struggle with the time limit, with several test users having previously reported that many of the respondents feel caught off guard by how quickly 12 minutes can pass.
With practice and pre-exposure to the tests, your processing speed will visibly improve, and the pressure and anxiety will be easily transmuted in confidence and ease.
Practice will build your confidence and lead to a better performance, which in turn will make you a better candidate and employee.
Not only this, but by clearly understanding what is expected from you, you will also redefine the standards of what you expect from yourself.
Ideas to keep in mind – It pays off, therefore, being proactive instead of reactive, familiarising yourself with the assessment format and getting a sense of the time limit you will experience in the scored assessment.
The PI Cognitive Assessment will give you valuable insights in your personal capacity to learn quickly, absorb knowledge, and understand and process complex information.
It will also provide information about your capacity of identifying and solving problems making short and long-term plans, thinking strategically, and adapting to changing demands or unexpected situations, thus helping you understand your weaker areas and pushing you to break new ground as it leads you on your path of self-actualisation.
III. PI Cognitive Assessment Score and Tips
The PI Cognitive Assessment aims to establish whether the respondent is a cognitive fit for the job, and it offers valuable insights into a person’s capacity to learn, adapt and grasp new concepts.
The assessment measures the general cognitive ability (also known as “g” in the scientific community).
General cognitive ability and the way to correctly assess it have been researched for almost a century and it seems that research indicates “g” is a great predictor of training success and job performance.
The PI Cognitive Assessment uses a scaled score, which means the respondents’ results are reported on a scale from 100-450 points, based on the number of correct answers, with an average score of 250.
Respondents typically do not answer all 50 questions on the PI Cognitive Assessment.
IV. When completing the PI Cognitive Assessment
When you complete the PI Cognitive Assessment, your score will be based on the number of items that you answer correctly.
Therefore, it is important that you answer as many of the questions correctly as possible.
The questions on the PI Cognitive Assessment are not arranged by difficulty or type.
If there is a question that you cannot answer or that takes too long to answer, skip it and move on to the next question.
PI offers a target scoring guide, which is used as a starting point for evaluating candidates.
It is however important to understand that target scores should not be regarded in a pass/fail fashion, but as a measurement of how likely a candidate is likely to succeed in an industry, and the speed at which they are expected to acquire new knowledge.
- Raw score: the number of correct scores you got on your test;
- Percentile score: your raw score bench-marked against a population of candidates e.g. general population, employees with similar background to yours;
- Sub-score: the score on each section of the test i.e. numerical, verbal, abstract.
It should be noted that reasonable adjustments are set in place for candidates who require such accommodations, with two other formats of the test being available (18 minutes and 24 minutes in length).
It is also strongly recommended candidates complete the assessment in their preferred or native language, to ensure equity and a level playing field.
Now, let’s have a look at some sample questions and tips to help you practice.
PI Cognitive Assessment Sample Questions (answers in Bold) and Tips
1. Verbal reasoning
These questions deal with verbal logic. You’ll be given a statement or set of statements and will be asked whether the conclusion given is “correct”, “incorrect”, or “cannot be determined.” Most of these questions should be relatively easy – the real challenge is time, which is why practice is key.
All Y items are green.
B items are always blue or the same colour as Y items. Only green items are for commercial use.
Conclusion: All B items are for commercial use.
If the assumptions above are true, is the conclusion
B) Cannot be determined based on the information available
Tip: The easiest way to solve the problem is simplifying the statements and visualising a more schematic representation of the sentences.
Y items are green: Y → green
B items are always blue or the same colour as Y: B → blue/green
Only green items are for commercial use: Commercial use → green
Tip: Visualising the statements will help candidates easily recognise that the conclusion is incorrect, as B items can also be blue and only green items are intended for commercial use. Practising and solving an average of 30-50 such statements should ensure the process of creating mental maps to solve these problems becomes much easier.
Water is to cup as flowers are to
Tip: To solve analogy questions effectively, it is important to try and define the relationship between the two words. Here, we could say water is contained in a cup the way flowers are placed in a vase.
- Which of the following is the opposite of the word “extensive”?
Customer 1 and customer 2 each buy products X and Z. Product Y is never sold to customers who buy product Z.
Conclusion: Product Y is never sold to customers 1 and 2.
If the assumptions are true, is the conclusion
B) Cannot be determined based on the information available
- Which of the following is the opposite of the word “conclusive”?
- Tired is to sleep as hungry is to
2. Numerical reasoning (including math questions, numerical patterns and math problems disguised as word problems)
These questions will have you working with numbers and performing mathematical calculations to arrive at an answer.
Remember you are not allowed a calculator in this test, so you should practice your mental arithmetic.
Tip: You must know how to subtract and add fractions quickly. It’s worth remembering that a large denominator represents a smaller fraction. Knowing percentages by heart can prove useful as well.
- Which number has the lowest value?
- What is the next number in the sequence below?
4 11 25 53
- You are responsible for mailing 80,000 letters. You must mail 25% of the total letters over the next five days. If you plan to mail 1/5 of this amount each day, what is the total amount that you plan to mail each day?
- What is the next number in the sequence below?
3 7 12 18 25
- You have invited 94 people to a meeting. Of those people, 11 from the North cannot attend, 7 from the South cannot attend, 3 from the East cannot attend, and 11 from the West cannot attend. How many people should you expect to attend the meeting?
- Which of the following numbers has the lowest value?
3. Pattern recognition (candidates should be aware this category usually requires most practice, as most candidates are not used to thinking about abstract patterns)
The best way of approaching shapes and abstract patterns is to break each image into a few parts and analyse each part individually, instead of looking at the entire picture. Focus on one item at a time, track its’ change and find the pattern, and only then move on to inspect answers. Popular patterns include rotation, mirror images, displacement, increase/decrease in size and/or quantity etc.
- Which of the figures below comes next in the sequence of figures shown above? (B)
- The two figures below share a common feature. One of the other four figures below does NOT share this same feature. Which figure below does NOT share the common feature? (B)
Make sure to keep eye contact with the answer options, as that will help you identify the common feature. In this case, fig. b has three shapes in it rather than two.
- Which of the figures below comes next in sequence? (C)
- The two figures below share a common feature. One of the other four figures below does NOT share this same feature. Which figure below does NOT share the common feature? (A)
- Where possible, create a study schedule for rehearsing the basics;
- Prep and practice question style and test format in advance;
- Focus on specific areas of weakness; review your tests and opt for targeted practice;
- Simulate as many full-length mocks as possible;
- Don’t let yourself get stuck, answer as many questions as possible – while we strongly advise against randomly guessing, you will not be penalised for wrong answers, as the PI Cognitive Assessment does not use negative marking;
- Beware of deliberately misleading questions;
- Work swiftly and accurately;
- Bring along your confidence and success mindset.
V. Predictive Index Behavioural Assessment Format
While PI Cognitive Assessment is a significant predictor of job performance, PI Behavioural Assessment accounts for other relevant aspects of the role, such as the culture fit.
Unlike in the case of the cognitive test, time is not a factor with the PI Behavioural Assessment, candidates usually completing the test in 5-10 minutes.
Stages of PI Behavioural Assessment
The PI Behavioural Assessment has two stages: the first part lists 86 adjectives where you will need to select those which reflect your behaviour; the second part lists the same attributes, but you will have to select those which describe how others perceive you.
Examples include: helpful, steady, passive, esteemed, calm, cultured, cynical etc.
What does PI Behavioural Assessment seek to achieve?
PIBA therefore is seeking to build a clear picture of the candidate, by taking into account who they naturally are and their natural drives and natural reactions, while also assessing how they are trying to adapt their natural behaviours to their current environment.
Most importantly, PIBA seeks to reveal either the synergy or the tension between the two.
There are no right or wrong answers with the PI Behavioural Assessment – although research does not hurt, and neither does figuring out what qualities your prospective employer envisions for the ideal candidate.
Clearly understanding the behavioural requirements of the position you’re aspiring to will considerably increase your likelihood of securing that job.
In the work environment, each one of us has certain traits. Traits are expressed through habits, thought patterns and emotions.
And each given trait will produce a certain drive, which in turn, will produce certain needs.
Our needs motivate us to behave in a certain way that will satisfy the associated need, which leads us to the conclusion that behaviour is then a simple response to needs.
Once we understand our traits, tendencies and drives, we are moving up the ladder of self-actualisation, we understand how to recognise others’ traits and drives, how to work with them more effectively and how to avoid the traps and pitfalls we tend to fall into.
Our Behavioural Assessment will provide you with invaluable insight into your own needs and define your workplace behaviours by focusing on four main drives and assessing their intensity.
This self-awareness represents an immense opportunity for development and will provide you with a massive advantage for your career, as you will better understand yours and others’ work style when it comes to communication, delegating, decision-making, and action and risk-taking.
The four drives assessed are:
- Dominance: the drive to exert one’s influence on people and events;
- Extra-version: the drive for social interaction with other people;
- Patience: the drive for consistency and stability;
- Formality: the drive to conform to rules and structures.
In addition to these four factors, the PI Behavioural Assessment also looks at two other personality traits:
- Decision-making, including the way in which you process information and make decisions;
- Response level: assessing your energy, activity level and stamina.
A thorough analysis conducted on millions of behavioural assessments has led to the identification of 17 reference profiles that create a behavioural map for different types of people.
Here is an image with some descriptive notes.
These 17 reference profiles are further categorised into four main groups:
The Analytical group, which includes the Analyser, the Controller, the Specialist, the Strategist, and the Venturer; these individuals tend to be more dominant than extroverted and work at a faster pace; they are generally more task oriented than people oriented.
The Social group, which includes the Altruist, the Captain, the Collaborator, the Maverick, the Persuader, and the Promoter; these tend to be highly extroverted individuals compared to other groups; in the workplace, they generally focus on relationships.
The Stabilising group, which includes the Craftsman, the Guardian, the Operator and the Adaptor; these individuals tend to have a low amount of Dominance and Extroversion, with high Patience and Formality; people with these profiles are generally steady, detailed, and work well with structure and processes.
The Persistent group, which includes the Individualist and the Scholar; both profiles are more dominant than extroverted, with a high amount of patience. In the workplace, they tend to be task-oriented and deliberate, and thrive when they have control over their own work.
So, to sum it all up…
If you have not come across the Predictive Index yet, chances are you will at some point in the future – having been adopted all over the world and with its broad applicability across multiple industries, job levels, company sizes and business modules, how could you not?
In addition to becoming a more frequent feature in job interviews, the Predictive Index has much more to offer – it is backed by research, studies, and psychologists.
The PI will measure your primary and fundamental constructs which, combined with a better understanding of your current cognitive abilities, will give an overall understanding of your core drives and strengths and how to leverage both.
Practice and research will help you approach the text with confidence.
Experience proves that individuals used to these types of assessments are consistently getting closer to their “capacity” or maximise your own score potential, on which you are missing without adhering to the necessary prep work.
In other words, being trained or familiar with the test is ideal, as it will give you and your potential employer a great insight into your true potential.
Practice, practice, practice and Good luck!
Need more practice? Try practice tests from JobTestPrep.