Jess has spent 10 years working in graduate recruitment, including as trainee recruitment manager for a magic circle firm. She is the founder of Star Potential, a consultancy business which provides a range of services in early careers recruitment. She can be reached via LinkedIn or by email at email@example.com for more information.[/quick_fact]
Setting the scene
Do the test when you have a fresh mind and are at your best. Your ability will be impacted if you have had a stressful day, are tired, or have been working for a long period of time before the test. Try to do it when you are alert – for instance, I am not a morning person at all and my brain doesn’t really kick in until mid-morning. So I would never sit a test first thing in the morning, but someone else who is an early bird might find it is the best time for them.
Schedule your test into your diary, like you would a face-to-face assessment. It means you are less likely to do it when you have done everything else you need to, or worse forget to do it within the allotted timeframe you’ve been given.
Try to get rid of any distractions you can. If you are doing it online on a computer/laptop, close down all the other tabs you have open on your computer and also turn notifications off on your mobile phone. The smallest pop-up or alert can distract you and you can lose your concentration.
Completing the Watson Glaser Test
Try to be decisive with your answers. Most of these tests are multiple choice. If you are unsure what the answer is, try to eliminate those you definitely know it won’t be and then try to make a reasonable guess for the remaining answers.
Keep an eye on the time allocated but don’t worry if you don’t complete the full test in the allotted time. Many of these tests are designed so a significant proportion of people won’t complete the test. By not completing the test does not mean you have failed it and you can still do very well, although it is obviously better to try and finish it if you can.
Judging your performance
Don’t assume because you have been successful/unsuccessful in one test that it means you will have the same outcome with similar tests. You don’t know how the firm is using the test as part of the selection process (some firms will use it as a sole filter, others will weigh it up against other information in your application), plus you don’t know what the norm group (who you are being benchmarked against) is nor the percentile cut off (can be as low as 20th percentile or as high as 75th percentile).
Some thoughts on practice
You can’t perfect your ability in these tests in a short space of time so there is little point practicing like crazy. You can get more comfortable and confident with them and this can enhance your abilities to do well. Long term practice can enhance your abilities, alongside developing your verbal comprehension through other activities, but you will get more benefits from the other activities (e.g. building your CV and skill set) so these things are probably more worthwhile investing time in long term than just practicing and practising tests over and over again.
Practice tests and resources
General websites (various tests):