How to Improve Your Test-Taking Skills in No-time?

Ok, so I am sure that you have an upcoming pre-hire psychometric test, and you are looking for ways to quickly improve your skills. Well, there is bad news and good news. The bad news is that I am not yet a mind reader, so I cannot know which test you are looking to take. The good news is that we can look at the hiring world’s most popular assessment test, the CCAT, and use it as a springboard for preparing for a wide range of tests.

The reason is that the CCAT covers a number of different topics like math, verbal reasoning, abstract/spatial reasoning, and logic. These topics are included at least in part on many other common pre-employment tests like SHL, Wonderlic, PLI, and more.

So, let’s break down the sections of the test and give you some tips and strategies that you can use to quickly get ahead of the competition to grab the job you want!

Starting Points

Precision is Key:

No matter what test you are taking, you need to practice prior to the exam. You will find many online courses with bold claims about how well they will prepare you for the real exam.

What should you check for?

  • That Study material is fully updated to match the newest test version.
  • That practice actually mirrors the real exam in terms of its time frame and question formatting.
  • That the preparation guide will not include any extra, general, or unrelated information that might bog you down.

Need for Speed:

Most tests are timed, and therefore it is crucial to always practice with the clock running and under the same time restraints of the real test.

Prep for one Test Section at a time.

Let’s quickly break down the various test sections of the CCAT and give you some tips on how you can answer faster and smarter.

Numerical Reasoning

The numerical section of the CCAT includes:

Word Problems

  • Basic Arithmetic – You can find online speed drills covering the four basic operations. This is important because when up against the clock, many people lose their nerves, so make sure you come ready.
  • Travel Time Problems – Before going into the test, make sure that you learn the formula, which can be arranged in several ways. 1. Speed = distance / time; 2 Distance = speed X time; or 3 time = distance / speed. Remember that every variable calculated needs the other two.
  • Combinatorics – Focus on mastering the Rule of Product and the Rule of Sum.

Number/Letter Series

The key is to understand that each group or term of letter and numbers have a pattern that must be quickly identified in order to find the missing pattern. Practice often and quickly.

Tables & Graph

Carefully read the information, pay close attention is answer possibilities are in decimal or percentage and use the approximation technique

Verbal Reasoning

The verbal section includes:

Sentence Completion

Read the sentence as thoroughly as you can and look for key organizational words like although, but, and rather… because these words are instrumental in terms of change of thought within the sentence or paragraph.


First, try to improve your vocabulary by reading regularly and by using Synonyms search, second while actually practicing for the test, start by eliminating the least probable choice, as this will help highlight the answer.


On this type of test, you want to make sure that you know the root of as many words as possible. For instance, if you know that the word mal has a negative connotation, and the word bene has a positive connotation will help you figure out antonyms like malnutrition and benevolent, which carry that same root.

Abstract / Spatial Reasoning

Next in Series

Get ready to look at shapes and lots of them because you are going to need some serious practice. Make sure you focus on understanding the rules and patterns prevalent in these types of questions because this will also help you solve matrices.

The Odd One Out

There are three primary steps to solving this type of problem.

  1. Use your intuition and choose one shape.
  2. Make a mental list of primary features like the number of sides, colors, and placement.
  3. Check feature by feature to see what matches.


When tackling matrices, you want to ensure that you first understand the five rules: Motion, progression, rotation, frequency, and construction. Next to prevent information overload when practicing stock to one feature at a time while focusing on the rows or columns.

Logic Test


This is a kind of logical argument where after looking at a few statements, you can draw a conclusion based on the facts discovered. There are two primary strategies to getting the answer.

  1. Verbal Method – Find the premise/s and talk out the conclusion based on the assumption.
  2. Venn Diagram method  – After drawing the diagram, check for conclusions that follow the information; however, keep in mind that the conclusion must follow all conditions.

Seating Arrangements

Before the test, it is important to note that questions can come in a wide range of forms, so it’s important to practice for every scenario, including: Linear, Circular, Square, rectangular, or a combination of the above. Make sure to initially steer clear of “negative information” or info that does not really tell you anything.

Error Checking / Attention to Details

This test is cross-referencing information and looking for errors and duplicates. Here are a few words of advice:

  1. Efficiency: As part of your practice, you have to learn how to move on if you are taking too long on a question.
  2. Review: After answering each question, take a quick look back at the data just to ensure that you did not miss anything.
  3. Instructions: Read all the instructions super carefully; you don’t want to miss anything just because you did not take the time to read.

When you break down the test and tackle it by subject, the challenge of passing will become much easier. Go pass that test!

Lana Martinez is a freelance technical writer living in the Santa Clara. She's a gadget and tech geek who loves to write how-to articles about a wide range of topics. When she's not writing about technology, Lana loves watching and reading mysteries, cross stitching, and attending musical theatre. She's also an avid Doctor Who fan.