Here at AXA, we know that just the mention of the word ‘test’ can cause serious panic. For many, it’ll induce memories of stuffy exam halls, frantic pen pushing and distracting foot tapping. Luckily, online reasoning tests promise none of this. For a start, you can take them from the comfort of your own quiet space. And what’s more, they’re not designed to assess your mathematical genius or literary potential, rather to see how you handle information and look at things logically.
Online tests will only ever form one part of the overall application process. We really appreciate that you’ll be keen to perform well but we don’t want you to panic. We want you to go into any online test feeling positive and confident. Having a good understanding of what the test involves and how to approach it will help you to do this. So, we’ve put together a snapshot guide to get you off to a winning start.
Before the test
Know what to expect. We believe that unfamiliarity with the structure of tests can hinder your performance – research and practice are key. Like many other employers, we provide examples to give you an idea of the kind of questions you’ll be asked and the format they’ll be in. We always advise people to take advantage of these as they can really help to optimise your achievement. Practice makes perfect, after all.
Go back to basics. For many, it may have been years since you’ve done anything particularly mathematical. All employers know this. And, contrary to popular belief, numerical reasoning tests aren’t there to assess how much you remember of Pythagoras’ theory or test your algebra. They’re designed to evaluate your logical thinking and how well you understand and process information. There’s no need to dig out your old GCSE Maths books but it’s well worth refreshing your general arithmetic and polishing your percentage and ratio calculation skills.
Get ready. You’ll usually be given a deadline to take the test by, so try not to leave it until the last minute. Get a good night’s sleep the night before and make sure you choose a time and place that will help you work to your fullest potential. Are you more productive first thing in the morning or later on in the day? Avoid taking the test very late at night or just after a heavy meal as you may find it harder to concentrate. Choose somewhere quiet, comfortable and free from distractions. And, make sure you have everything that you need to hand – a pen and paper for your workings out, a calculator, glasses, water, etc.
During the test
Re-read the instructions. You’d be surprised how many people’s test results suffer because they misread or failed to follow the instructions. At the beginning, you’ll normally have a chance to read the full instructions and complete some practice questions before the timer starts. Take full advantage of this. Try to avoid skim reading throughout the test as you could miss out on details that are crucial to getting the answer right.
Balance speed with accuracy. Keep an eye on the clock and weigh up the remaining questions with the time that you have left. Try and stay on track. The questions are likely to get more difficult towards the end of the test. If you get really stuck along the way, move on, you may be able to come back to the question later. The test is designed to be challenging – you don’t have to reach the end to succeed. The important thing is that you try and answer as many questions as you can, as accurately as you can.
Make the best of what you have. A common error that test takers make is over-thinking things and drawing upon their existing knowledge when the answer is actually right in front of them. It’s important that you make full use of all of the information that you’ve been given. If you do get really lost, it might be useful to eliminate the answers that you feel are definitely wrong and make educated decisions from the choices that you’re left with. It’s often better to pick the most suitable answer if you’re unsure as you won’t be scored on answers left blank.
Best of luck, from all at AXA!