On-line Skills Assessment

What is an on-line skills assessment?

On-line skills assessments are designed to test a candidate’s knowledge of specific areas that are considered important to a particular type of job (e.g., knowledge of the industry, knowledge of commonly used equipment, knowledge of safety rules and regulations, etc.) or a specific aptitude (e.g., reading comprehension, math skills, logic, etc.).

These tests consist of a number of multiple-choice questions.  A multiple-choice question is a question with several possible answer choices.  Your task is to pick out the answer choice that gives the best answer to the question.  Although the number of questions vary, these tests typically consists of about 50 – 150 different questions.

How can I prepare for an on-line skills assessment?

The first thing you should do is to read the job bulletin and study it carefully.  The job bulletin states the minimum requirements for the position, describes characteristics of the ideal candidate, provides an idea of what the job entails, and what knowledge and skills are needed to successfully perform the job.  Test-takers are highly encouraged to study subject areas listed in the job bulletin by visiting relevant websites, reading text books, manuals, professional publications, and applicable regulations, since it is highly likely that the skills assessment test content will include questions relating to this information.  Test-takers are also encouraged to study common practices of the industry, types of equipment used, rules and regulations, latest trends of the field, etc.

Test Taking Strategies

Although there is no "best" way of taking a test, there are several strategies that may lead to improved performance.

  1. Note the time limit and number of questions included on the test.  This should give you an idea of how much time you should allot to answering each individual question.  Work as quickly and accurately as possible.  Most of the tests administered in employment situations are timed.  Since the number correct influences how well you perform, you should not spend too much time on any one item; if you don’t know an answer to an item, mark it to come back to later and move on to the next question.
  2. Listen carefully to the test administrator (proctor) and read along if you have the instructions.  The instructions will most likely include information on the number of items, the format, the time allotted, and may give hints about scoring and strategy.
  3. If sample problems are provided prior to testing, work them out completely in order to become familiar with the format of the items.  The sample items may be easier but are essentially similar to the format of actual test items.
  4.  If you think you know the right answer to a question, go ahead and answer the question.  If you do not, rule out answers you know are incorrect.  If you have no idea of the correct answer, you can guess, if you will not be penalized for wrong answers.  Test instructions will indicate if candidates will be penalized for guessing.
  5. Work steadily until time is called.  Check your work but be careful changing answers.  Research suggests that a changed answer is often incorrect.
  6. Ask questions prior to the test administration if you do not understand the question format or test requirements.

Test Taking Resources