The most rapid and precise method of obtaining information about any psychological component is the use of a reliable test. These tests also allow psychologists to be more effective by gathering important information, which might be overlooked otherwise. When interpreted correctly, test results also provide a starting point for clarifying specific difficulties that interfere with the patient's daily life. The type of test selected is dependent upon the type of information the psychologist wants to obtain.
Intelligence is not a measure of what a person knows but rather how effectively a person processes information. The most widely used intelligence tests are those developed by David Wechsler. There are three Wechsler tests, the Weschsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence (WPPRI), the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (WISC), and the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale (WAIS). Another frequently used intelligence test is the Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale. The Stanford-Binet is one of oldest intelligence tests and is designed to be used with people from age 2 through to adulthood.
The most well-known personality test is the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI). The MMPI-A is used for adolescents. The MMPI is a very complex test that requires a psychologist to have extensive training to interpret. The MMPI is also used in testing for psychopathology as it measures depression, paranoia and other patterns of thinking and behavior that may indicate the existence of a psychiatric disorder. The NEO-PI is a popular well-researched personality test identifies how strong core personality characteristics are. These traits include emotional stability, social interaction, optimisim and openness to a variety of experiences. The Myers-Briggs Type indicator (MBTI) is another well-known personality test. It was developed from the work of psychologist Carl Jung. The MBTI provides a summary of characteristics that indicate one of 16 specific types of personality.
Achievement and Aptitude Tests
A distinct area of psychological testing is achievement and aptitude tests 1. Although clinical psychologist rarely use these, schools and universities count on these tests constructed by psychologists to assist with screening candidates and in determining placement in criteria-based programs. Achievement tests are used to measure what a person has learned, and aptitude tests measure one's potential for learning new skills or abilities. A widely used achievement test is the TerraNova, which is used with children from kindergarten to the 12th grade. This test is usually given to entire groups by schools. Another commonly used achievement test is the Wide Range Achievement Test 3 (WRAT3). This test is not given in groups but administered individually and is designed for ages 4 through 75. The Kaufman Test of Educational Achievement (K-TEA) is another individually administered achievement test use to assess children's academic achievement. One of the most well-know aptitude test is the Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT) which is used to predict college performance. The Preliminary Scholastic Assessment Test (PSAT) is often use to assess how well a student will perform on the SAT. The American College Testing (ACT) test is another aptitude test often required for college admission. The Graduate Record Exam (GRE) is used to determine aptitude for performance at the graduate level. Along with the general GRE, versions of the test have been created to measure aptitude in specific areas, such as:
- medicine (MCAT)
- dentistry (DAT)
- law (LSAT)
- management (GMAT)
- “Psychological Testing and Assessment” Ronald Jay Cohen & Mark Swerdlik (2009)
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