Selection tests

Selection tests are commonly used in recruitment - try some yourself

Employers use selection tests to assess your reasoning skills in relation to others, and your ability to cope with tasks involved in the job for which you are applying. 

There are two main types of assessment:

Aptitude tests

These tests assess your competency and cover your skillset, abilities, your reasoning and your situational judgement. They test your behaviour in set scenarios, which allows the recruiter to understand from an early stage whether or not you are going to be able to successfully complete similar activities for them.

The most common tests, verbal reasoning and numerical reasoning, assess your logical reasoning (not your general knowledge). Situational judgement tests are used to get an idea of how you would react in work-based situations. Abstract or diagrammatic reasoning tests assess your logic and visual thinking skills, particularly for technical roles.  

Practise tests here (University of Edinburgh login)

The Watson Glaser Test in particular is used by law firms. The Lawyer Portal provides a free practice test:

The Watson Glaser Test - Free Watson Glaser Practice Test

Personality tests

These tests have no right or wrong answers and measure person, environment and fit. They cover your values, your interests, character, behaviours, how you deal with relationships and so forth. Answer these questions as honestly as you can, as your ‘workplace’ self; don’t try to guess what answer the recruiters want.  

These short learning modules provide more advice: 

Understanding personality tests (University of Edinburgh login required)

Popular personality tests (University of Edinburgh login required)

How to succeed 

  • Practise!  Familiarity with different sorts of questions will improve your speed and accuracy. 

  • You’ll need to concentrate, so do the tests somewhere you won’t be disturbed. 

  • If possible, work out how much time you’ll have for each question, and keep track of your timing as you work through the questions. Work as quickly and as accurately as you can. Many tests are designed to put you under pressure. If you are struggling to answer a question, move on to the next one. 

Many other sites include free practice tests (they also invite you to pay to access more) and these free tests are well worth a look. For example, Assessment Day's practice tests and advice on how to approach them include verbal and numerical reasoning, situational judgement, critical thinking and many more.

Assessment Day 



Recruitment methods are constantly evolving and the introduction of ‘gamification’ has brought an element of fun and interactivity into the recruitment process. Gamification - or game based assessment – incorporate online game elements, often in the early stages of the process. They may be used in tandem with, or as an alternative to, traditional selection tests. It serves a dual purpose: to make the recruitment process more effective and time-efficient for employers and reduce potential bias, as the assessments do not focus on background or experience. As the overall process is more enjoyable, it is hoped candidates will become more immersed in the experience, giving a more authentic response.

How to prepare for gamification

It’s unlikely you will come across exact replicas of a specific employer’s test – they tend to keep them well hidden.

AssessmentDay allows you to practise one test free, and they have useful descriptions of some other games:

AssessmentDay - gamified assessments (game-based)

Read this guide from targetjobs for more tips on what to expect:

targetjobs - the graduate job hunter's guide to gamification