A guide to Elements
Elements is a suite of ability tests that measure your reasoning skills in interpreting written information and reports, using figures, data and statistics, and understanding and manipulating abstract or logical symbols.
How does it work?
There are three tests available and you may be requested to complete some or all of them.
- Elements Verbal measures your ability to understand written information and to evaluate arguments about this information.
- Elements Numerical measures your understanding of tables of numerical data as well as your ability to make logical deductions.
- Elements Logical measures your ability to work flexibly with unfamiliar information and find solutions. People who perform well on these tests tend to have a greater capacity for conceptual and analytical thought.
All three tests are completed online, via our assessment system. There is no overall time limit for each test but within the tests, each question will have a time limit (see below). If you don't answer the question within the time limit, the test will move onto the next question automatically and you won't be able to re-visit previous questions during the test. You will receive warnings when you get close to the time limit for each question. On average, each Elements test takes 12 minutes to complete (up to a maximum of 16 minutes).
We recommend that prior to starting the assessments, you take the time to familiarise yourself with the format and time allowances by completing our practice assessments, which can be accessed for free. Be cautious when subscribing to third party practice sites that charge to offer access to test content. These sites do not provide recognised content, and may not store your data or credit card details securely. Some may even contain viruses or present other security hazards. Please contact Customer Services if you would like more information.Verbal question - click to enlarge
The Elements Verbal test consists of 15 questions based on passages of text. The passages are presented on the left-hand side of the screen and questions on the right. Below each question you are presented with a range of possible answers from which to choose. Sometimes you have to choose two answers and sometimes only one; it will always be clear whether you have to make one or two choices. There is no overall time limit for the test but there is a time limit for each question: 75 seconds for the first question on each passage of text and 60 seconds for subsequent questions.Numerical question - click to enlarge
The Elements Numerical test consists of 12 questions based on information presented in tables. The tables are presented on the left-hand side of the screen and questions on the right. Below each question you have a choice of answers to pick from, presented in a drop-down list. There is no overall time limit for the test but there is a time limit for each question: 90 seconds for the first question on each table (or set of tables) and 75 seconds for subsequent questions.Logical question - click to enlarge
The Elements Logical test consists of 12 questions based on an incomplete series of symbols. Your task is to identify the missing symbol from a number of alternatives. The symbols have no meaning, but the series always follows a logical sequence, both from left to right and from top to bottom. There is no overall time limit for the test but there is a time limit for each question: 75 seconds.
Adaptive testingAdaptive testing - click to enlarge
All three of the Elements tests are 'adaptive'. This means the system selects what questions to administer based on your previous responses and whether they were correct or incorrect.
You begin with a question of average difficulty. If you answer the question right within the time limit, you progress to a more difficult question. If you answer incorrectly, or fail to answer within the time limit, the system selects an easier question next. This process is repeated until you reach the end of your test.
As a result of the adaptive nature of the test, you will feel continuously challenged and stretched so don't worry if you feel the questions are difficult.
Speed and accuracy
When completing ability tests, it is important that you work both quickly and accurately to achieve your best score. Ensure you read each question and the response options carefully, while maintaining a good pace. Avoid skimming over the material presented and ensure you are fully focused on the information presented to you. Once you are satisfied you have the right answer, answer it and move on to the next question. While it is important to be accurate, procrastinating can waste time.
As you have a time limit for each question, the best strategy is to use the full time given and not to rush into an unconsidered answer. Always make sure that you understand what the time limits are, so that you can respond appropriately.
Your responses for each Elements test are compared with the scores of a comparison group (i.e. a group of people who have previously completed the Elements ability tests) and the result is given as a percentile (e.g. if your score is in the 75th percentile, you have done better than 75% of the sample population).
You should receive feedback on your Elements ability tests direct from the recruiter, hiring organisation or your employer. Even if it isn't initially offered, don't be afraid to ask for feedback on your performance as it may help in future situations.