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Psychometric tests: New IEBC interview technique explained

EXPLAINERS
By Rose Kwamboka | July 12th 2021
Some of the 36 shortlisted candidates during the psychometric test session at KICC, Nairobi, on June 30 2021. [David Njaaga, Standard]

On Wednesday, June 30, 2021, a selection panel administered psychometric tests for the 36 shortlisted candidates who were selected from a pool of 660 applicants.

The candidates are eyeing four positions at the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), left vacant following the exit of Roselyne Akombe, Paul Kurgat, Connie Maina and Margaret Mwachanya after the 2017 General Elections.

The successful applicants are currently undergoing oral interviews which are expected to run till July 22.

This is the first time psychometric tests are being administered in public interviews in Kenya. The tests were conducted at the KICC for two hours from 11am and a one-hour case study test which started at 2pm.

What is a psychometric test?

A psychometric test, also known as an Aptitude Test, is a standardised, validated test that enables the measurement of aspects of an individual such as their ability, behavioural traits/ personality, interests and certain attitudes.?

How are psychometric tests administered?

Today, they are commonly administered online. The test comprises a series of questions whereby you must submit your answers within the time limits.

What are they used for?

They are used as an early stage of an assessment application. Recruiting companies like to use them as a means of filtering out large applicant pools to a much slimmer, manageable pool.

They may also be used by employers to assess a candidate’s personal traits, as well as their knowledge and skills.

Is there a one fits all aptitude test?

There are many different ways to test aptitude. The most common tests include numerical reasoning, verbal reasoning, diagrammatic reasoning, situational judgement, e-tray exercise, error checking, personality test, cognitive ability and spatial awareness.

[Infographics: The Standard Checkpoint]

How do I prepare for a psychometric test?

To prepare for a psychometric test:

1. Get to know the types of aptitude test questions. Knowing the typical content and format of psychometric tests will give you a significant advantage.

Verbal and Numerical Aptitude Test questions are generally multiple-choice questions that must be completed in a very short time.

The Abstract Aptitude Test is a non-verbal test that uses shapes as test questions. They tend to be based on general knowledge and no specific knowledge of these subject areas is required. Familiarity with the type of test questions will get you a competitive edge.

2. Prepare by practising the Psychometric Tests online - practising timed test questions trains your brain to identify frameworks for solving problems. This will significantly improve your results.

3. Read and increase your English vocabulary - you can do this by filling out the crossword section of the newspaper or reading a broader section of the newspaper or any industry-specific information regarding the job you are applying for to increase your vocabulary. It will help you to grasp Verbal Aptitude Test questions quicker, answer them faster and therefore improve your score.

Examples of the tests?

For the verbal reasoning question

Please identify which type of error appears in the sentence below:

The heat of the desert affected the traveller greatly, and he regretted not leaving with the professor whom had offered him a ride to the city.

A. Grammar

B. Spelling

C. Punctuation and Capitalisation

D. None of the above

For the inductive reasoning question

There are ten marbles in a bag. One by one you remove them from the bag to see what colour each marble is. So far, you have removed 9, all of which have been green.

A. The last marble could be yellow

B. The last marble is definitely green

C. The last marble is probably green

For the deductive reasoning question

All footballers are fit and healthy.

All famous sports players are footballers.

Given that the above is true, which of the following is the logical deduction?

A. All footballers are famous sportspeople

B. All famous people are fit and healthy

C. All famous sports players are fit and healthy

D. All fit and healthy people are footballers

E. All football players are men

[Infographics: The Standard Checkpoint]

Solutions to the tests

For the logical reasoning question, the answer is C.

The shapes are moving around the points of the polygon. The circle and arrow are both moving anti-clockwise 2 points, and the square is moving 4 spaces in a clockwise direction. 

For the spatial reasoning question, if you look at the two ends, you can see that the only correct answer could be C.

For the verbal reasoning question the answer is A.

This is because, according to the English language's grammar rules, 'whom' should be applied when the noun refers to objects rather than the sentence's subject. If you can replace the word with "she" or "he," use "who." if you can replace it with "her" or "him," use "whom." In this part of the sentence – "the professor… had offered him a ride" – the professor is the subject, and the traveler is the object.

For the inductive reasoning question, the answer is C. 

Inductions are inferences based on reasonable probability, so if 9 out of 10 marbles have been green it is reasonable to assume that the last one will be green also. There is no way to tell this for certain and whilst it could be yellow, nothing in the premise has suggested it would be.

For the deductive reasoning question, the answer is 3.

To get to this answer, you need to simplify the given facts. All famous sports players are footballers, and all footballers are fit and healthy.

We can’t deduce 1; that all footballers are famous sportspeople, as we haven’t got that information.

We can’t deduce 2; that all famous people are fit and healthy because the fact is about famous sportspeople.

This information in 4 is not given; all footballers are fit and healthy but we can’t logically link that all fit and healthy people are footballers.

Option 5 is obviously incorrect, as gender is not mentioned at all in the question.

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