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The ultimate guide for cognitive ability tests

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The ultimate guide for cognitive ability tests

Date: 04/08/2021 | Category: General

A resume or a CV doesn’t tell you all you need to know about a prospective employee’s skills and capabilities. For example, the resume will not tell you if the employee has the skills to make snap decisions during a critical situation. You may ask situation-based questions during the interview, but then you cannot be sure that the answers are genuine and not practised.


Resumes give you an overview of the educational qualifications, technical certifications, and experience of a candidate. A personal interview helps you gauge the skills and abilities of a candidate. However, even both these methods together don’t give you a fail-safe solution to recruit employees. We suggest you use cognitive ability tests, also known as General Mental Ability (GMA) assessments, as a part of your recruitment process.


What are cognitive ability tests?

Experts design cognitive tests to evaluate the core cognitive functions of the brain, which are

  • Perception
  • Attention to detail (subjective and objective details)
  • Memory
  • Language ability
  • Visual and spatial processing
  • Decision making
  • Problem solving
  • Motor skills
  • Planning
  • Abstract thinking
  • Numerical and verbal reasoning


Tests such as cognitive aptitude tests or reasoning tests are designed to recruit for specific job profiles. These tests are precise and reliable as they are scientifically designed. They maybe objective type or subjective type assessments depending on the job role and profile.


What does a cognitive ability test measure?

Cognitive assessment tests are generally designed to measure the following attributes.

  • Attention to detail
  • Problem solving
  • Critical thinking
  • Numerical reasoning
  • Reading comprehension
  • Spatial reasoning


How is cognitive ability tested?

Cognitive intelligence and emotional intelligence combine to form human intelligence. Emotional intelligence is the ability of a person to identify and understand various human emotions. The emotional intelligence level depends on a person’s ability to manage emotions. Cognitive intelligence is gained through learning, experiences, senses, and thinking. Memory, reasoning, judgement, and attention are essential for the development of cognitive intelligence.


Cognitive intelligence consists of fluid intelligence and crystallized intelligence. Fluid intelligence is spontaneous thinking and reaction in any situation. It also consists of abstract reasoning and critical thinking ability. Crystallized intelligence consists of knowledge and experience gained from various sources. So, cognitive intelligence is an application of abstract thinking and critical reasoning based on the knowledge and experience that the person has gained over his/her lifetime.


Types of cognitive ability tests

A few of the common cognitive assessment tests are


Verbal ability test: It evaluates a candidate’s communication skills with a focus on language and comprehension.

Visual reasoning test: This cognitive test evaluates a candidate’s imagination and perspective on various visual aspects.

Abstract reasoning test: It assesses a candidate’s ability to find logical connections using available information to solve a problem.

Problem solving test: It analyses a candidate’s ability to evaluate a problem from various angles and use a unique approach and critical thinking to solve the problem.

Spatial Reasoning Test: This test accesses a candidate’s ability to visualize 2D and 3D images and their movement.

Logical and critical reasoning test: It evaluates the application of logical and critical thinking skills in various situations using the available information

Decision-making and judgment test: It assesses a candidate’s ability to clearly judge a situation and make decisions using logical thinking, analysis and reasoning.


Why should recruiters use cognitive ability tests for hiring?

A report by the Aberdeen Group research states that organizations that use cognitive tests to evaluate candidates’ skills and abilities are 24% more likely to have employees who meet and exceed performance expectations. These unbiased assessment tests help:

  • Predict job performance
  • Measure learning and problem solving
  • Identify hidden potential
  • Save time and money
  • Avoid bias in the recruitment process
  • Improve retention


Why choose MeritTrac for cognitive ability test?

MeritTrac is an end-to-end online assessment platform designed for recruitment and talent development. It comes with prebuilt assessments for evaluating cognitive skills, communication skills, and behavioural skills. This platform also has domain-based and technology-based tests that recruiters will find helpful while hiring for tech-based job roles. You can easily conduct cognitive tests online via this platform during the initial round of assessments. If the prospective candidates meet the benchmark expected by your organization, then you can call them for the next level of interview. This online assessment method saves the time and effort of the recruiters and hiring managers. Also, the assessments are designed by experts and will give you an accurate and unbiased report of a candidate’s skills and abilities.



Cognitive ability tests can help you speed up the hiring process by 40%. The accurate and reliable results of cognitive tests have been found to reduce attrition by 35% as you get the best fit candidates for job roles. Build a powerful workforce by utilizing the right talent in the right place. MeritTrac online cognitive and aptitude tests can help you find the best fit candidates. Contact us for more details.