Test Format & Components -
the Psychometric Entrance Test
The English sections test your proficiency in the English language, as demonstrated, among other things, by your vocabulary and your ability to read and understand texts in English.
English is the international language of research, and a lot of study material is available in English only. Adequate proficiency is essential for reading textbooks and academic articles, researching and writing academic articles, and participating in scientific conferences, in almost all fields.
There are three types of questions in the English sections: sentence completion, restatement and reading comprehension.
Details and explanations of components of the English domain appear here: examples and explanations of English questions.
These questions consist of a sentence in which a word or set of words is missing. The examinee must complete the sentence using the most appropriate response. This type of question tests not only the examinee’s vocabulary and grammar but also the ability to infer meaning from context. The ability to complete the missing information on the basis of the context provided by sentences is important for the fluent reading of texts in general and in a non-native language in particular. The sentence completion questions test the practical ability to read academic texts in English.
More information about sentence completions can be found here: sentence completion in examples and explanations.
These questions consist of several sentences, each followed by four possible ways of restating the main idea of that sentence in different words. For each question, the examinee must choose the one restatement which best expresses the meaning of the original sentence. This type of question does not test whether the examinee can restate a sentence in English, but whether he or she can identify two sentences that have the same meaning despite differences in syntax and semantics. The examinee must isolate the meaning of the sentence from the key words that appear in it and from the relations them. During academic studies, students are exposed to sentences organized in a wide variety of syntactic structures. The ability to identify these structures is essential to comprehending their meaning.
More information about restatements can be found here: restatements in examples and explanations.
The reading comprehension questions in the English domain, like those in the Verbal Reasoning domain, test the ability to read and understand texts. The texts cover a wide variety of topics, and the questions relate to the ideas and details presented, as well as to the structure, the connections between different parts, the conclusions that can be inferred and so forth.
The ability to answer these questions is closely tied to the reading comprehension skills needed for academic studies. Students in higher education are required to read a large number of texts in English on a variety of topics. They need an extensive vocabulary and the ability to infer the meaning of words from context. These abilities are also important for academic studies because they enable the student to handle long and complex texts, identifying relations between the ideas and arguments expressed in them. The questions may involve words or details appearing in the text, connections between sections of the text, inferences based on the text, and so on.
More information about reading comprehension can be found here: reading comprehension in examples and explanations.
Some examinees feel tired and have trouble concentrating after a few hours of testing. The limited time allotted in the Psychometric test reduces the chances that their performance will suffer. The time limit also ensures that all examinees are tested under the same conditions. Furthermore, the speed at which examinees answer the questions reflects their command of some of the abilities that the test examines. Therefore, the time limit is one of the features of the test that make it possible to distinguish between examinees with high ability and those with lower ability.
The time limit sometimes causes frustration; many examinees feel that it hampers their ability to perform well on the test and believe that if they had more time they would get a higher score. They are of course right, except that ALL the examinees would then have higher scores, and the discrepancy between them would remain more or less the same. Extending the time of the test would be like adding a fixed factor to the scores of all examinees: such a factor might increase the scores, but it would not change their relative positions (that is, the distribution of examinees according to their scores). Indeed, studies conducted by NITE show that when the allotted time is increased to 1.5 of the original time, the relative placement of examinees is almost unchanged. The results of the study can be viewed in NITE report #344.
In many fields of study candidates are ranked according to their Psychometric test scores as well as their Bagrut scores, and those with the highest scores are admitted according to a predetermined quota. It follows that increasing the time allotted on the Psychometric test would not affect the admissions decisions, and the same candidates would be admitted.
In addition, we can assume that if the average score on the test were to go up significantly, the thresholds for admission to departments that have cut-off scores would also go up. It is therefore most likely that someone who was not admitted to a certain department because of a low score on a timed test would also not be admitted on the basis of a higher score on a test having a longer allotted time.