Psychological Testing: What to Expect

When it comes to Psychological Testing, there are several questions and concerns that arise from individuals. Here we will address the most common misconceptions regarding psychological testing, and some helpful tips if you will be taking any psychological tests.

Common MYTHS about Psychological Testing:

They are pass/fail.

Psychological tests are not pass/fail. The tests merely show you where you rank among others your same age (or grade). It is impossible to fail a psychological test!  They also give you great insight into your strengths and weaknesses!

You must be smart to take them.

You don’t have to be “smart" to take them. The tests measure across all different levels of ability, and our tests span from birth all the way to older adulthood!  Therefore, you WILL get lots of things right – but also some wrong too. We have to measure what is super easy, and also where you start to struggle so that we know your full abilities.

They are too hard.

While most of the tests do tend to get progressively more difficult, this is only to push you to your fullest capacity so an accurate representation of your ability can be determined. However, the items will always start out easy to get you comfortable before increasing to the more difficult items.

    They are not fun.

    When people hear the word “test” they often associate it with no fun. But the tasks and items conducted across the measures can often be very enjoyable and fun! Most of the time it doesn’t feel like you’re taking a “test” at all, but rather brainteasers and puzzles.

    They only measure Intelligence.

    There are numerous psychological tests that measure all sorts of things. There are the traditional “IQ” tests, but there are also tests for achievement, attention, autism, motor control, behavior, speech, and many more!  With a true, psychological evaluation, an IQ test is a small part of the puzzle, but typically necessary. Why are they necessary, you ask? Simply because a person's cognitive functioning gives clinicians an idea about what a person's potential is. From here, we can make predictions about what academic or attention skills should be like.  If attention, academic, or mood features are unusul or unexpected, we have reason to suspect a clinical diagnosis. 

    I already know my IQ; I took a test online.

    Online tests are in no way reliable and are certainly not standardized.  There are many issues with relying on an web-based (or even magazine-based!) IQ test.  

    I am only interested in counseling. I do not need a psychological test. 

    Many counselors and their clients benefit from the results of psychological testing because it provides very helpful information regarding realistic therapy goals and outcomes, based on having an accurate diagnosis. Further, even if the diagnosis is not in question, it can provide information regarding current strengths and struggles. Therefore, it can be very helpful in treatment planning and ensuring that your therapy experience is the most effective possible.

    Helpful Tips for individuals taking Psychological Tests:

    Get a good night sleep the day before.

    This is by far the MOST IMPORTANT!

    Eat a good breakfast. 

    If attention is a concern, skip on the fruit juices or other high sugar items. We don’t want you unnecessarily hyper and distracted!

    Don’t drink anything with Caffeine or other stimulants, even if you think they “have no effect”. 

    This can make you hyper and more distractible, leading to reduced attention and focus.

    Don’t worry. 

    It’s completely painless!

    Don’t overthink it. 

    Just go with your first instinct.

    Don’t try to “practice” the test beforehand. 

    This will skew the results, and usually not in your favor. Also, it will not give us an accurate representation of your abilities.

    We hope that this post helps to answer any questions or concerns regarding testing. As always, if you have any additional questions, do not hesitate to reach out to one of testing technicians, or the psychologists.  Additionally, you may also reach out with more general questions to


    Kimberly Holland, MA

    Psychometric Technician 

    Share This Post