<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none;" alt="" src="https://dc.ads.linkedin.com/collect/?pid=157458&amp;fmt=gif">

Measuring Candidate Ability (Part 3/3)

Measuring Candidate Ability (Part 3/3)

Measuring Candidate Ability (Part 3/3)

The third and final part in our trilogy of blog posts looking at Ability Tests. This week we cover the high-level series of our assessments, Utopia, and also take a look at accessibility, verification and accessibility. 


Utopia (Expert series of Ability Tests)

Areas of Use

The Utopia series consists of high level critical reasoning tests. They measure abilities which are particularly relevant to the performance of: 

  • Graduates 
  • Managers 
  • Professionals 
  • Specialists


The Utopia series has been designed to be appropriate for the assessment of individuals of graduate calibre. Candidates assessed using the instruments have typically achieved at least A-Levels or post-school Diplomas/Certificates. 

There are 3 different assessments in this series.


Verbal Reasoning (Expert)

Our expert level Verbal Reasoning Test is for roles where candidates have to comprehend, analyse and draw conclusions from written information. 

Candidates will have to:

  • Show they can comprehend and make judgements about written extracts 
  • Display their ability to measure critical reasoning skills, and not just simple comprehension 
  • Evaluate whether a statement is true, false, or impossible to say 


Test time limit: 11 minutes 

Number of questions: 16  

Number of questions in the item bank: 48 

Practice questions before starting the assessment: Yes 

Also available in: Swedish, Finnish, Norwegian


Numerical Reasoning (Expert)

For roles where candidates will need to be comfortable with numbers, mathematical functions and interpreting data. 

Candidates will have to:

  • Show they understand and are able to analyse numerical data 
  • Test their numerical comprehension, reasoning and arithmetic 


Test time limit: 20 minutes 

Number of questions: 16  

Number of questions in the item bank: 64 

Practice questions before starting the assessment: No 

Also available in: Swedish, Finnish, Norwegian


Abstract Reasoning (Expert)

For roles where candidates will need to deal with complex data, identify patterns, trends and rules, and solve problems. Also known as diagrammatic reasoning or an inductive reasoning test.

Candidates will have to:

  • Show their ability in working with new concepts and ideas 
  • Predict next in the sequence using rational strategies 


Test time limit: 45 minutes 

Number of questions: 16  

Number of questions in the item bank: 32 

Practice questions before starting the assessment: Yes 

Also available in: Swedish, Finnish, Norwegian

Developing an Ability Test for High level Candidates 

The ability assessments in our high-level (Utopia) test series are based around a common scenario to maximise their face validity and interest. 

The initial items were developed in partnership with an investment banking firm, based on job analysis of their high level roles. This was conducted in house by our team of business psychologists. 

While the first rendition of paper and pencil items were piloted and standardised with this sponsor, the items then underwent further development to ensure they were suitable for wider test use, and where relevant involved further general market research into specific forms of assessments. 

Pre-trialling involved piloting the items on a group of graduates, who provided feedback on the tests from a candidate’s perspective, and by members of our consultancy team who provided feedback from a professional test publisher perspective. Some changes were made to the tests in order to make them more candidate centred. 

Next, the trialling versions of the tests were trialled on a sample of graduate candidates applying for roles in a variety of sectors. In both the tests, items were selected for the final versions on the basis of their contribution to the psychometric reliability of the overall measure, and their level of difficulty. Items were removed which were either too easy or too difficult. 


The scenario above describes the initial development phase for each series of ability test. Since this time the assessments have undergone further development based on continual use and analysis. For more specific information about the development of our ability tests contact us using the details at the bottom of this page.

Verifying Ability Test Scores for Candidates

Once your candidates have completed a cognitive ability test, you can request they complete a quick verification test to measure the extent to which their scores are similar to their first completion of the assessment. This can be used if you suspect some form of collusion or cheating, or simply would like to measure the candidate’s ability twice to gather more information. 

Verification tests are a shorter version of the original ability test the candidate completed,  using different questions. The results of this assessment are presented in the ability test report alongside other ability test results. 

Accessibility of our Ability Tests

Psycruit assessments use a “power test” philosophy, meaning that candidates answer increasingly difficult questions, with fair time limits. This minimises demands on reading speeds and processing time, a common source of test bias on those who read or process more slowly than others (for example, candidates for whom English is not their first language, have visual conditions, or a form of dyslexia/dyspraxia). 

Our assessments measure underlying abilities, uncontaminated by reading/processing speed. 

We also comply with UK DDA requirements to ensure maximum accessibility for respondents. The Psycruit candidate interface conforms to level “Double-A” of the W3C accessibility guidelines. This means that all fonts are resizable and are fully compatible for users with accessibility devices such as screen readers and refreshable Braille. 

Users can also change the contrast of the screen and background colour of the assessments, and test timers can be adjusted for candidates who may need increased time limits. 

If you have any further questions about ability tests on Psycruit, please take a look at the rest of the Help Centre, and our FAQs. If you can't find what you're looking for, please contact one of the team on 01273 734000 or email support at support@criterion.co.uk  

Published by Ryan Inglethorpe

June 3rd, 2020 | Development, Ability Test

Share This Story, Choose Your Platform!