A capacity test is a timed test with multiple choice questions with only one correct answer. Your score is compared against a norm group in order to make an individual judgment. This means that when compared to the norm group, you can score below average, above average, or simply average. This is often the part that employs strict selection criteria and candidates tend to be the most nervous about it. For certain positions, you must have a minimum level of academic working/thinking capacity according to the test in order to pass.
There are many types of problems, which often can be divided into the domains numerical, abstract, and verbal. Tasks with numbers (e.g. number series, word problems, calculation skills) belong to the numerical intelligence domain. Exercises with figures (e.g. figure sequences or matrix assignments) belong to the abstract intelligence domain. Problems of a linguistic nature (e.g. syllogisms and analogies) belong to the verbal and logical reasoning domain of intelligence. The above tasks are included in almost every assessment (95%).
How do I properly complete a capacity test?
Since there are multiple choice questions, you may arrive at your answer in different ways.
- The “Working backward” strategy: By looking at the given answer alternatives, you use logic to work backwards and find out which answer is right.
- The “Working forward” strategy: With this you try to look at the answers without looking at the alternatives and see if it lies somewhere among the alternatives.
For relatively simple assignments (number series and figure sequences), you can start with a “working forward” strategy. If the tasks become more difficult, such as with double analogies, then you will often fall back on the “working backward” strategy. The best way is to become as familiar as possible with the three intelligence domains and the tasks associated with them. This familiarity means that you will be able to see the principles behind the tasks faster and come to the right answer more quickly. It is important to always be aware of how much time you have and how many problems the test contains. By doing so, you get a rough indication of the test and a sense of certain things, e.g. that spending three minutes on a task is too long.
To guess or not to guess?
Yes, it often pays to guess. Although there are tests that are corrected for guesswork, this does not typically occur. After all, it is not easy to determine whether someone is guessing and moreover, every answer can be called a guess, albeit one with a specific degree of certainty. Do not guess all the answers at the end of the test; try to solve three or four of them with educated guesses. For example, try crossing out all the wrong answers quickly, so that the guess you make is more informed.
Low/disappointing score – what happens now?
There may be different explanations for a low score. The most significant reason in our opinion is insufficient preparation. Incorrectly reading instructions is common as well. Stress and an eagerness to start result in the instructions being quickly interpreted instead of read properly. “I thought that I only had to indicate one figure and not two.” Low stress tolerance and fear of failure can lead to a lower score. Stress results in a narrow perspective and you literally see less than when you are relaxed. Careless work because you have set the goal of providing all problems with an answer instead of solving them correctly. Spending too much time on a specific task. Your need to find the solution results in spending too much time on one problem, so you end up answering fewer questions and have a lower chance of a good score. Cognitive fixation ensures that you use the one-decision rule (one which you understand well) and therefore apply this rule when there is no reason to. Other explanations may be: a decrease in your ability to concentrate due to stress or fatigue, or continuous doubt about the answers you give. A good answer ends up checked again, so you lose a lot of time on a problem that you already answered correctly.