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Careers Service

FAQ: Your questions answered

What if I have a disability? Can I ask for extra time?

If you have a disability and do not feel that you can give your best performance in the conditions available, do tell the employer. Many employers are familiar with awarding extra time for students or making reasonable adjustments to the test conditions. The test publisher can often provide guidance to the employer in line with recommendations from educational psychologists. You may also find it useful to think about the sort of adjustments that would help you – from additional time, to a reader, equipment or a different test format. For example, it is common for students who have a certificate/document for use with university exams, to use this to gain additional time or adjustments for a test.

For more information:

What if I am no good at Maths?

  • You don’t need to have studied maths at A-level or above to do well in numerical reasoning tests, but you do need to know the basics of how to interpret data quickly. This can include being able to work out percentages, ratios and convert currency.
  • Practicing tests will help you identify the sorts of questions you will face and there are free maths tutorials online (try the Graduates First site or Practice Aptitude Tests sites) Investing a couple of hours preparation time can transform your answers.
  • It’s not always necessary to do all the calculations for a question. Some people discount answers that are clearly wrong to help them narrow things down.
  • Some students find it useful to practice using sites to build numeracy skills

Can tests help me choose what job to apply for?

Whilst people are attracted to different jobs and career areas for many reasons – such as a genuine interest in something, a childhood passion, experience in the sector already – it is common for students to try to identify jobs that would match with their skills, strengths and preferred ways of working. Some of the personality assessments, such as the Type Dynamics Indicator and the Strengths tool are useful ways to uncover your preferred ways of behaving which can suggest more suitable roles or give ideas.

Do I need to finish all the questions if I want to pass?

  • For the timed ability tests it is not usual to completely finish all the questions, but you are advised to work as quickly and accurately as you can. The employer will be reviewing both your accuracy and speed when assessing your results.
  • For some situational judgement tests and personality assessments, there are fewer time pressures, but do stay focused on the test, as it could time out after a certain time.

How should I prepare for a test?

  • Have a go! The best way to prepare for a test is to practice. This improves your response times, confidence with the questions and can help you to see if, or where, you are going wrong.
  • Polish your skills. There are video tutorials on basic numeracy skills online which can help if you feel rusty or want to improve your response times. Try Graduates First’s video tutorials.
  • Zone in. If you are not sure what your test will involve, ask the employer and try to practice tests by the same test publisher if you can. Unless you are sure of what’s coming, practise a few reasoning tests, a situational judgement test and a personality assessment. See our recommended sites to help you avoid wasting time, or money!
  • Think ahead of the test. Are you clear about the role you are applying for and the type of organisation it is? Exploring the skills, values and qualities sought for the role may give you a steer for scenario questions like situational judgement tests.
  • Don’t underestimate the little things - to improve your performance on the day. A good night’s sleep, eating well and preventing distractions on the day (both in person or the notifications on your phone), will all help you. You won’t be able to pause a test once you’ve started.

What if English is not my first language?

  • Your ability to reason with the information in a test is different from your ability to understand the English language, so it is preferable for you to sit a test that is written in your native language. It is up to you, but you may find it useful to ask the employer if a test is available in other languages. Some of the popular tests, such as those from SHL, are available in over 30 different languages.
  • To improve your performance on verbal reasoning tests, try reading broadsheet newspaper articles to improve your English language comprehension