What are the psychotechnical tests and what types are there?
Nowadays it is not uncommon to hear that a psychotherapist has to pass us, for example during a process of selection of personnel in a company. And it is not the only moment that is going to happen to us throughout our life, being something more frequent and habitual than it may seem. But, What is a psycho-technical test and what do you want to achieve? Is there more than one type of psychotherapist or are they all the same? In this article we are going to make a brief comment regarding these issues.
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What are psychotechnical tests?
They are understood by psychometric tests to a type of objective tests designed to evaluate in an objective way (without mediating in the obtaining of results the subjectivity of an evaluator) the intellectual capacities of one or several people. These are highly structured, voluntary response tests controlled by the subject and in which the objective of the test is not masked (being relatively easy to imagine what is being measured). The answers issued by the analyzed subject will be treated as sincere and true, although they are performance tests that would not benefit from attempts to vary the answers.
Most of these tests are of maximum execution, that is to say, that value the maximum potential shown by a subject with respect to a skill or characteristic concrete in a certain time limit. They usually assess the general intelligence and aptitudes of the subject being examined, and this assessment may have very different objectives depending on the case. In general, it seeks to check the adequacy of a person's abilities to the needs and elements required to access certain permits or posts, or simply to assess if there is any alteration or difficulty in the adaptive functioning of the person.
It is common for them to pass along with a personality test in order to evaluate not only the cognitive skills but also the way of being and the pattern of thought and habitual behavior of the person analyzed. Later, after analyzing the information obtained by both types of test, some type of decision can be made. Keep in mind, however, that the tests in themselves they do not offer information beyond a score, which must be interpreted and analyzed based on the information of the subject that is available and the comparison with different scales or criteria.
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Types of psychotechnical tests
There are different types of psychotechnical tests , since not all are oriented to obtain information of the same aspects nor are carried out with the same objectives. In this sense, some of the large groups in which we can classify them are the following.
1. Care and concentration test
These tests evaluate the ability to remain attentive to a stimulus, maintain fixed attention to the appearance of a specific element or to realize changes in the appearance of alterations. Generally monotonous tasks are used in which it is easy to get bored and distracted or in which it is complex to detect a stimulus different from the rest.
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2. Reasoning test
Organize information, draw conclusions and look for solutions quickly it is fundamental for many jobs and facilitates the general adaptation to the events that we face on a day-to-day basis. There are multiple ways of evaluating reasoning, some of them being the solution of problems, the planning of alternatives for action in hypothetical situations or the decision between two options and the justification of why. It is also frequent to have to look for relationships between different stimuli and to solve matrices. Spatial, verbal, numerical or mechanical reasoning may be included, in addition to the abstract one.
3. Spatial aptitude test
Distinguishing shapes and being able to navigate correctly through space is a skill that helps us to orient ourselves and understand what is happening around us. In multiple jobs or at the time of driving have a certain level of this ability is essential. Usually different visuospatial tests are used , how to decide what will be an object that we see from another perspective or keep a point within some concrete margins.
4. Verbal aptitude test
Communicating efficiently, knowing how to understand and express what other people think and think at high speed, is essential in dealing with other people. Vocabulary, lexicon, speed of reading and writing, grammar and spelling are some of the aspects examined in this type of test.
5. Test of numerical aptitude
Making calculations is very useful in multiple jobs or in our day to day. The numerical aptitude is usually examined from mathematical problems , rules of three or direct calculation (usually not usually overly complicated unless you are opting for a position that requires great competition in this sector, but the number of successes and errors in a specific time is measured).
6. Linked to executive functions
Work memory, decision making capacity, response inhibition, planning and problem solving ... all these capabilities can be analyzed through different tests. Usually they are used in the neuropsychological evaluation and in the clinic , although some can be adapted for other uses.
Areas in which they apply
If most of us know what a psychometric test is, it is because at some point in our life we have had one. In fact, nowadays they are very frequent in different contexts in which it is required to know the mental aptitudes of a specific person with a specific objective. Among the different possible contexts, some of the most frequent are the following.
1. Labor scope
The area where we probably most frequently find ourselves in need of passing one of these tests. Companies usually have a series of requirements on the skills their employees must gather , so that through the passing of these tests can obtain a score in skills such as speed of writing, verbal comprehension, lexicon, numerical ability, ability to solve problems or visuospatial abilities among many others. That is why they are part of most personnel selection processes (although the interview is usually more important).
2. Educational field
Psychotechnicians are also often employed in education and training, as a way of observing the abilities of students. They can be used to adjust the level and content to the student's abilities, see their level of development or if there have been improvements in the course of an educational program or even to establish selection criteria for acceptance in some universities or centers.
3. Clinical practice
Another area in which psychometric tests are used is in clinical practice, to assess the abilities and aptitudes of patients. This is very useful to assess, for example, the existence of alterations in patients with dementia or other alterations that can generate variations in mental abilities , or simply to assess the current capabilities of the patient.
4. Driving license
Driving a vehicle is a great responsibility. We are in command of a powerful and heavy machine that is going to go into circulation and that must be handled with great caution and skill to avoid causing or suffering accidents. That is why it requires an evaluation of the skills of the future driver before granting a permit, to observe their attention and concentration skills, the visuoperceptive and visuospatial ability and the ability to react.
5. Weapons license
Although much less frequent than the previous two, some people need to carry a firearm. This is the case of police, security guards and hunters . But no weapon should be given to anyone, since they pose a great responsibility and a great danger to others if they are not used correctly. For this purpose, different psychometric tests are usually used, among other tests, in order to decide whether or not requirements are met in order to have a weapons license.
- Cohen, R.J. & Swerdlik, M.E. (2002). Psychological tests and evaluation. McGraw-Hill: Madrid.