Test Format & Components -
the Psychometric Entrance Test
The verbal skills most relevant for academic studies are reading comprehension, written expression, listening comprehension and verbal expression. There is a strong correlation between reading comprehension and listening comprehension, as well as between written expression and verbal expression. In both cases, assessment of the former covers the latter as well. Moreover, assessment of listening comprehension and verbal expression would require an expensive and complex testing apparatus. For these two reasons, the Psychometric test only assesses reading and writing skills.
Reading comprehension and written expression abilities are based on a rich vocabulary, an understanding of the rules of language, and logical thinking - that is, the ability to draw conclusions. In addition, each one of these abilities is based on a wide variety of more specific skills, such as inferring meaning from context, connecting ideas, clear and systematic organizing of ideas, distinguishing between essential and secondary information, formulating new ideas and expressing them articulately and precisely. All of these skills are important for academic success in both the humanities and sciences. Undergraduate students are required to read articles and textbooks in order to learn about complex and wide-reaching topics. In order to do so, they must draw on reading, comprehension, analysis and deduction skills. They are also required to summarize various topics, present original ideas and write about them in academic style. These are skills that are systematically assessed by the Psychometric test.
Details and explanations of components of the Verbal Reasoning domain appear here: examples and explanations of Verbal Reasoning questions.
A detailed description of the abilities assessed by each type of Verbal Reasoning item follows, along with an explanation of its relevance to academic studies.
The writing task consists of an essay on a given topic. The essay must be at least 25 lines long, written in academic style, with clear and well-reasoned presentation and discussion of an argument. An idea can be an opinion or a description of a phenomenon. The discussion should provide details and explanations, and present supporting arguments, proofs and conclusions. The structure of an academic text should reflect the way you develop the idea: the different parts of the essay should follow a logical progression, and the connections between various arguments should be clear. Precise, clear language and a consistent register are needed for good academic writing. It makes no difference what idea you choose to express as long as it is well reasoned, well supported and clearly worded. The author’s “personal voice” is reflected in the stance adopted, and expressive ability is reflected in the capacity to provide an in-depth explanation and to discuss the idea in a methodical and critical manner.
Academic writing, which is used for many high school subjects, is the form of writing customarily used for written exercises, tests, essays and research in institutions of higher education. The abilities that are tested in the writing task are thus similar to the writing and formulation skills necessary for academic studies.
Two raters independently evaluate each essay, taking into account that they are reading first drafts that were written under time constraints. Each rater evaluates the essay in terms of two dimensions: content and language. In evaluating content, raters examine the various arguments presented in terms of quality and complexity and the extent to which critical thinking is demonstrated in them. In evaluating language, raters consider wording, writing style and language level. These elements are the basis of good academic writing, and candidates who have not sufficiently mastered them will find it hard to present their ideas in writing.
Further information about the writing task can be found here: writing task in examples and explanations of test questions. A partial list of writing tasks that have appeared in previous tests can be found here.
Questions of this type examine the ability to precisely define a connection or relationship between words or phrases. This ability is based on three important aspects of verbal reasoning: vocabulary, the ability to identify the relationship between two words or phrases, and the ability to identify a similar relationship in another set of words or phrases.
Understanding analogies is essential to the acquisition and comprehension of new subject matter. It enables learners to make connections between concepts, phenomena, principles and ideas that are new and the knowledge that they already possess. It also enables learners to compare and identify similarities and differences between two new pieces of information. Learners are thus able to deepen and extend their understanding and increase the likelihood that the acquired knowledge will be retained and available for recall when needed.
More information about analogies can be found here: analogies in examples and explanations.