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Cognitive Ability Test

A cognitive ability test can be used to measure the cognitive (mental) ability of job applicants or employees. The Bridge Ability Suite has been the most used cognitive ability test by companies, organizations, and governments for 10 years. This aptitude test is often administered during selection or recruitment. Or it can be used to see if an employee can progress to a higher-level position. You can order this test separately (per candidate) or buy it through an affordable subscription.

Wat is a cognitive ability test?

Cognitive ability is the best predictor of job performance. A cognitive ability test can be used for the identification of the candidates with the right abilities and potential to succeed in the role. Being able to handle tough problems, make choices, and think clearly are key skills needed in today's jobs. Cognitive ability tests are strong tools that show how well someone thinks, understands, and works with information. They can really tell if someone might do well in their role.

Your candidate tested today with a cognitive ability test

The Bridge Ability Suite cognitive ability test (or intelligence test) measures the cognitive abilities of individuals with an education level ranging from vocational education (mbo) to academic education (wo) and within an age range from 15 to 65 years. The cognitive ability test assesses numerical aptitude (arithmetic), verbal aptitude (linguistic insight), and logical reasoning. The Bridge Ability Suite provides a very accurate prediction of someone's capacities to handle a new role or education.

With the help of The Bridge Ability Suite, a prediction can be made about someone’s maximum performance level (education level or professional level), and additionally, an indication of intelligence (IQ) can be given. Once you have ordered the cognitive ability test, your candidate can get started within 30 minutes.

How to order the cognitive ability test

  • You can order a cognitive ability test for your candidate or employee at our order page;
  • Only available for companies and organizations;
  • We will have the test ready for your candidate or employee within 30 minutes;
  • The test remains available until the participant has completed it;
  • After completing, the reports are immediately available;
  • As a company or organization, you can pay afterwards (by invoice);
  • If desired, you can go through the report over the phone with a TestGroup consultant after completion;
  • Large volume? Then opt for an affordable subscription.

Cognitive ability test with high predictive value

This professional aptitude test, due to its high predictive value, is a very suitable instrument to assess the capacities or intelligence of your candidates and employees. With this test, you substantiate a selection decision based on the tested intelligence and the potential of your candidate. This cognitive ability test can be used for recruitment, selection, and other applications within HR, among other things.

Features of the cognitive ability test

With The Bridge Ability Suite cognitive ability test, you can determine whether your candidate or employee has vocational, college, or university-level abilities. This way, you can better assess, for example, whether it is worthwhile to invest in education for an employee. Or, during selection or recruitment, you can measure whether a candidate has the appropriate level.

  • Time: 3 times 18 minutes;
  • Cheating is impossible: through the use of "item-bank technology," each candidate gets different questions during the test.
  • Measures numerical aptitude (mathematics), verbal aptitude (linguistic insight), and logical thinking;
  • Provides insight into the intelligence, capacities, and learning ability of a candidate;
  • Available for vocational, college, and university levels;
  • Available in 20 languages, including Dutch, English, German, French, and Spanish;
  • Online, reliable, and scientifically substantiated;
  • The tests can be taken separately or combined.

Why this cognitive ability test?

The Bridge Ability Suite is a professional cognitive assessment consisting of three parts: The Bridge Verbal, The Bridge Numerical, and The Bridge Abstract. This test is available at vocational, college, and university levels. You can order this test individually (per candidate) or through your own account on the Bridge Assessment Platform.

Sample report: cognitive ability test

You can view a sample report of the numerical cognitive ability test at college level here. This test uses a European college norm group. Versions of this test are also available at vocational and university/master levels. The report only shows the results of the numerical part of the IQ test. Separate reports are also available for the verbal cognitive ability test and the abstract cognitive ability test. The report displays the overall score of the test, as well as the scores on accuracy, speed, and efficiency. Moreover, it indicates whether the person guessed during the test.

Cognitive ability test: Verbal reasoning

Do you want to know how well candidates understand and analyze complex texts? The verbal cognitive ability test measures the ability to draw the correct conclusions from written information. Additionally, this cognitive ability test provides insights into the following sub-areas: vocabulary comprehension, text comprehension, and understanding arguments.

  • Number of questions: 25
  • Available time: 17 minutes

Cognitive ability test: Numerical reasoning

Are you looking for a reliable online test that measures numerical skills? In this numerical reasoning test, candidates must, among other things, perform calculations and compare data and tables.

  • Number of questions: 25
  • Available time: 17 minutes

Cognitive ability test: Logical reasoning (abstract)

Do you want to know if candidates are suitable for financial, technical, or scientific roles? Within thirty minutes, this logical reasoning test measures the ability to think strategically, analyze processes, and understand and process numbers.

  • Number of questions: 25
  • Available time: 17 minutes

Why companies and organizations should use a cognitive ability test 

Each time a job opening is advertised, hiring managers face the challenge of sifting through numerous resumes, many strikingly similar. However, relying solely on resumes doesn't effectively forecast an applicant's job performance. So, what's the solution for accurate and consistent evaluation? Enter cognitive ability tests. These tests are a hidden gem for recruiters, offering multiple advantages such as enhanced employee performance and productivity, reduced turnover, and considerable cost reductions. This is because cognitive ability tests for hiring evaluate a candidate's intellectual capabilities, spotlighting abilities that aren't evident on resumes or cover letters. These tests provide insights into questions like:

  • Is the applicant capable of abstract thinking?
  • How well do they grasp complex ideas?
  • How swiftly can they learn?
  • Are they flexible to change?

Recruiters often try to gauge these abilities during interviews, but it's challenging. Direct testing of a candidate's cognitive skills brings a new level of precision to the hiring process. This guide is your comprehensive resource for utilizing cognitive ability tests in hiring. It will help you:

  • Comprehend the theory behind cognitive ability tests and their effectiveness
  • Learn precise methods to implement these tests in your recruitment process, including practical advice and key do's and don'ts
  • Understand the various types of tests and determine which ones align with your hiring needs
  • Access additional resources, especially useful in persuading your team members Let's explore how cognitive testing ensures you consistently hire the best candidates.

What are cognitive ability tests?

A cognitive ability test is a pre-employment assessment tool measuring a candidate's cognitive skills and mental aptitudes, such as problem-solving, spatial reasoning, and numerical reasoning. These tests, among various other tests and online assessments, not only help identify top candidates but also streamline and expedite the recruitment process.

What does a cognitive ability test measure?

Cognitive ability tests evaluate a candidate's cognitive ability across various domains. Essentially, they assess how an individual thinks, not just what they know. In recruitment, cognitive ability tests can evaluate skills like:

  • Logical thinking: Can a candidate analytically solve logical problems?
  • Numerical reasoning: How proficient is a candidate with numerical data?
  • Verbal reasoning: Can a candidate grasp the main ideas in a text?

In hiring, cognitive ability tests predict a candidate's likelihood of success:

  • For senior positions, these tests assess candidates' quick thinking and decision-making with multiple variables.
  • For entry-level roles, they help identify candidates with high potential who are adaptable – a key skill for thriving in the workplace, as per research by McKinsey & Company.

How is cognitive ability tested?

Cognitive ability is typically gauged through brief, multiple-choice assessments. These might include logic puzzles, mathematical problems, or reading comprehension questions. Similar to TestGroup's other psychometric tests for recruitment, cognitive ability tests may focus on a specific skill (e.g., numerical reasoning) or encompass various intelligence types, akin to a general intelligence test. The questions aren't overly challenging, but a time constraint compels quick thinking. Generally, cognitive ability tests take between 10-30 minutes to complete. Their rapid pace mirrors real-world scenarios where quick, logical decisions are crucial. Thus, they offer an accurate prediction of a candidate’s performance in the workplace and their ability to swiftly adapt to new situations.

Is a cognitive ability test equivalent to an IQ test?

Partially, yes. In common usage, "IQ" often refers to a measure of general intelligence, indicating one's ability to grasp concepts and solve problems. From this perspective, IQ tests and cognitive ability tests appear similar. However, "IQ" (Intelligence Quotient) technically denotes your score on a cognitive ability test in relation to the average score within a specific country. Traditionally, IQ was determined by comparing scores to others of the same age. Nowadays, it's calculated based on the number of standard deviations from the median score of test-takers. In simpler terms, IQ represents one aspect of the results of a cognitive ability test, focusing on the intelligence of the individual. Common IQ tests include the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale (WAIS) and newer versions of the Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scales and Woodcock-Johnson Tests of Cognitive Abilities, among others. However, using IQ tests for employment is outdated. We suggest utilizing cognitive ability tests that align with current recruitment best practices instead of traditional IQ tests.

Why should recruiters opt for cognitive ability tests in hiring?

Finding the perfect candidate every time remains elusive, but recruiters can greatly benefit from tools that enhance the hiring process. Cognitive ability tests, though often underused, stand out for their effectiveness in employment contexts. Here are seven compelling reasons to start incorporating cognitive ability tests immediately:

1. Job performance prediction

One of the strongest arguments for cognitive tests is their ability to forecast job performance. For instance, a 1998 study by Frank L. Schmidt compared 19 different employee selection methods for their predictive power. These included education level, job experience, structured and unstructured interviews, job knowledge tests, and cognitive ability tests. Schmidt discovered cognitive ability as the top predictor of job performance.

2. Assessing learning and problem-solving skills

The reliability of cognitive tests in predicting job performance stems from their ability to gauge a candidate's adaptability and agility in an evolving work environment. Job performance often hinges on the speed of learning new skills rather than pre-existing knowledge. An employee with higher cognitive abilities is likely to learn faster, adapt quicker to changes, and find solutions to novel problems more efficiently.

3. Uncovering hidden potential 

Resumes showcase past achievements but don’t necessarily reflect future potential. Cognitive ability tests for talent management can reveal candidates with significant potential but less extensive resumes. This is particularly valuable when hiring for entry-level roles lacking experienced candidates. Investing in fast learners can ensure a workforce that is adept at every organizational level.

4. Time and cost efficiency

Cognitive assessments are just as predictive of job performance as structured interviews. Schmidt’s research also found cognitive tests to be the most cost-effective hiring method. They streamline the pre-screening process, saving time and resources.

5. Reducing bias

Active reduction and elimination of bias in hiring is a must for every recruiter. Cognitive tests add objectivity to this process. However, even recruiters committed to equal opportunities might hold unconscious biases about intelligence, leading to unequal treatment of candidates. Cognitive ability tests offer a way to assess intelligence based on merit, standardizing the recruitment process and mitigating unconscious biases.

6. Candidate attraction

A thorough vetting process signals a commitment to hiring the right talent, valuing skills and potential above all. It shows candidates that the company is progressive, dedicated to bias-free hiring, and strategically driven. Using modern screening tools and thoughtful questions not only assesses skills but also provides insight into the company culture, enhancing the candidate experience and attracting suitable talent.

7. Enhance employee retention

Cognitive ability tests can boost retention in your workforce by ensuring you attract and recruit the most suitable candidates from the beginning. Employee retention is often a crucial KPI (Key Performance Indicator) for HR teams. The expense of replacing a staff member can range from half to double their annual salary, as per Gallup's findings. This might appear steep, but when considering costs for advertising the position, conducting interviews, screening, recruiting, onboarding, training, time spent by management, reduced productivity, diminished engagement, deteriorating customer service, increased mistakes, continuous training expenses, and the effect on company culture, the expenses quickly accumulate. Indeed, according to the same report by Gallup, employee turnover is costing American businesses a trillion dollars annually – much of this is avertable with the right procedures in place. Employing cognitive ability tests in recruitment can be a vital part of your retention strategy when utilized effectively.

Types of cognitive ability tests for recruitment: exploring the diversity

Once you decide to incorporate cognitive ability tests in your hiring process, for instance to measure cognitive ability on bachelor level, you'll soon notice the variety of these tests. To navigate this, let's delve into why such diversity exists.

So, what's the reason behind the numerous cognitive ability tests?

  • These tests are designed to gauge intelligence. However, there's no consensus among psychologists, neuroscientists, and philosophers on what intelligence actually encompasses. Although there's no universally acknowledged intelligence theory (hence no singular definition), it's agreed that intelligence is multifaceted and can't be accurately measured by just one test.
  • Therefore, before employing cognitive ability tests, understanding various intelligence theories and the reasons behind the categorization of tests into different cognitive domains is beneficial.

Is general intelligence a thing?

Earlier intelligence theories posited a general intelligence, leading to the development of general IQ tests. Charles Spearman, who proposed the General Intelligence Theory, observed that performance in one cognitive task often correlates with others. He theorized a general intelligence influenced by attention, speed, memory, and visualization capabilities, termed "the g factor."

What about multiple intelligences?

Contrarily, what if intelligence isn't singular? In this scenario, recruiters would assess a range of cognitive abilities in candidates. Howard Gardner's 1983 book "Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences" introduced the concept of multiple intelligences. Considering brain damage studies, evolutionary history, and other factors, he suggested that intelligence comprises several distinct cognitive abilities, not strongly correlated. 

While Gardner's model isn't the sole intelligence theory, most modern theories incorporate some multiple intelligences aspect. Therefore, it's logical for recruiters to use different tests for various skills, including verbal, mathematical, logical, creative, and emotional intelligence assessments. The broader the test range, the higher the likelihood of identifying candidates with diverse cognitive abilities. Here's a brief overview of each test's focus and applicable roles, but remember, these cognitive skills are beneficial in almost any job. We'll also provide examples of cognitive ability tests suitable for employee selection.

Numerical reasoning

This assesses a candidate's proficiency with numbers. Numerical reasoning tests in employment gauge abilities to interpret data from graphs, tables, sequences, and text, crucial for data-driven decision-making roles. 

Logical reasoning

This involves problem-solving through inductive and deductive reasoning. In a work context, it's about identifying, analyzing, and meaningfully using information. Logical reasoning tests also indirectly gauge working memory: high scorers typically manage more information simultaneously. 

Verbal reasoning

Verbal reasoning tests typically require candidates to discern relationships among words, substitute words using analogies, and respond to a sequence of true/false/cannot be determined queries.

A detailed guide on integrating cognitive ability tests in recruitment

Confused about how to effectively include cognitive ability tests in your recruitment process? Here's a straightforward approach.

  • Select appropriate cognitive ability tests: Choose a test, such as The Bridge Ability Suite that can actually predict job performance and measure abstract reasoning, verbal reasoning and verbal reasoning.
  • Establish a benchmark: To make your candidates' cognitive ability test results meaningful, compare them with a baseline. Test your current top performers and use their scores to define what an ideal candidate looks like.
  • Administer tests to candidates: A major advantage of these tests in recruitment is their ability to expedite the screening process. Combine cognitive ability tests with personality tests to identify the most suitable candidates for the role.
  • Review test outcomes: Compare each candidate's scores against your benchmark. Candidates significantly below the benchmark might be eliminated, while those meeting or exceeding it should be considered for interviews.
  • Conduct Interviews: Interview candidates who passed the skills assessment. If their test results indicated any strengths or weaknesses, probe these areas further during the interview. Also, consider following up on any weak points with reference checks or additional skill evaluations.
  • Decision time: Combine the skills test results with other assessments, including online interviews, a career test and reference checks, to make your hiring decision. Remember, cognitive ability tests shouldn't be the sole factor in this decision.
  • Reassess and update benchmarks: Continuously evaluate your high performers' test scores and adjust your benchmarks accordingly. The more data you accumulate, the better your hiring decisions will be.

Using this method, you'll soon enhance your recruitment of top talent.

Dos and Don'ts: cognitive ability testing insights and practices

While cognitive ability tests are potent for recruitment, they should be part of a comprehensive hiring strategy. The tests alone offer valuable insights, but the real challenge lies in effectively utilizing this data.

Here’s how to maximize the benefits of cognitive ability testing:

  • Do: Ensure transparency: Be open with candidates about why they're being tested, the data being collected, how their scores will influence your decision, and any post-hire data usage. Transparency helps avoid legal or privacy complications.
  • Don’t: Intimidate candidates: Maintain a positive, encouraging tone in all communications about the tests. They are not designed to deter applicants. Instead, they provide an opportunity to build trust by demonstrating your company’s open and honest culture.
  • Do: Act on test results: Resist the urge to overlook low test scores due to strong interviews or impressive resumes. If you opt for cognitive ability tests, commit to using the results. Continually update your benchmarks by monitoring ongoing employee performance.
  • Don’t: Solely depend on test results: These results should be one component of a multifaceted recruitment process. Cognitive ability tests are most effective when combined with other tools like interviews, personality assessments, and role-specific skill tests.
  • Don’t: Standardize tests for all roles: Cognitive ability tests, measuring higher-thinking skills, are ideally suited for roles requiring significant on-the-job training, particularly at entry to mid-levels. For senior roles, diversify your testing to include a range of skills, including management ability and industry knowledge.
  • Don’t: Overlook potential biases: Aim to eliminate bias with cognitive ability tests, but be aware of inherent biases in some tests. Research shows that these tests can unintentionally favor certain groups. Ensure your hiring process is genuinely unbiased.

Sample reports: The Bridge Ability Suite

There are three reports available for The Bridge Ability Suite: the Bridge Abstract report, the Bridge Numerical report, and the Bridge Verbal report.

Sample Report: The Bridge Abstract

Sample Report: The Bridge Numerical

Sample Report: The Bridge Verbal

Video: how to use a cognitive ability test

A cognitive ability test, or IQ test, is the best predictor of job performance. The Bridge Ability Suite is one of the most widely used cognitive ability tests by companies and organizations worldwide. Through the use of "item-bank technology," each participant gets different questions during testing. This way, cheating is impossible. You can order The Bridge Ability Suite per candidate or use it in your own account on the Bridge Assessment Platform.

Frequently asked questions (FAQ) about using a cognitive ability test

  • What norms are available for The Bridge Ability Suite cognitive ability test?

  • A proper cognitive ability test, such as The Bridge Ability Suite, utilizes a norm group. A norm group consists of 500 individuals (n=500) who have previously completed this cognitive ability test. There are norms for vocational (MBO), higher professional (HBO), and university-level (WO/University) education.

  • How do you prepare for a cognitive ability test?

  • A candidate, employee, or applicant can prepare for a cognitive ability test by practicing. For this purpose, many tests can be found online, but there are also practice books available, such as the book on cognitive ability tests by Wim Bloemers.

  • Can this cognitive ability test also be completed at home?

  • The Bridge Ability Suite cognitive ability test can also be completed at home. This cognitive ability test uses 'item-bank' technology, which means that each candidate receives different questions. As a result, 'cheating' or looking up answers to test questions is impossible.

  • How can I order these cognitive ability tests?

  • You can order a cognitive ability test in three ways: by ordering a single test, using credits, or by subscribing for unlimited use. The more tests you take, the cheaper it becomes, of course. Those who subscribe also receive additional benefits, such as the immediate receipt of reports.

  • What types of reports are available?

  • There are three different reports available for the cognitive ability test. We have an Abstract, Numerical, and Verbal report. These are three different ways to get to know your staff or to screen new candidates during the recruitment process.

  • Is training required to administer the cognitive ability test?

  • Training is not mandatory to administer the test. Additionally, TestGroup's consultants are always available for questions and can go through the reports with you over the phone or a video-call.

  • For which levels are the cognitive ability tests available?

  • The cognitive ability test is available for three different levels, namely vocational (MBO), higher professional (HBO), and university (WO). This way, you can test staff members and applicants with various educational backgrounds.

  • For whom are the cognitive ability tests available?

  • Our cognitive ability tests are available only for businesses and organizations. Individuals cannot order these tests.

  • Why should I use a cognitive ability test during selection?

  • Because scientific research indicates that a cognitive ability test is the best selection tool available. The cognitive ability or intelligence of your candidate are a good predictor of future work behavior. Of course, whether a cognitive ability test is a suitable selection tool depends on the job function.

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Easy online payment after delivery of the test or online assessment. High volume use? Get your own account on our online assessment platform.

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In four easy steps: get your candidate tested today

  • Order a test or online assessment from our order page.
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Easy online payment after delivery of the test or online assessment. High volume use? Get your own account on our online assessment platform.

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