Anyone else feel stupid after all these shortlisting tests?

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Strelitzia
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Anyone else feel stupid after all these shortlisting tests?

Post by Strelitzia » Mon Feb 22, 2016 3:51 pm

I know I have posted a lot about these shortlisting tests but does anyone else feel like this...

I applied to three course centres that required shortlisting tests (then got some unexpected extra ones thanks to a pilot study), as I thought it would level the playing field for getting an interview given I have not had an AP, a clinically relevant RA, a PWP post, or a paid post supervised by a psychologist for any decent length of time, etc.

I have always done well academically throughout school, college, undergraduate and postgraduate, but of course I invested the time and effort into this and I did not take it for granted. I thought I would be able to handle whatever test they used because I did think I could meet the demands in a training post and of my past experiences.

However, I have never felt more stupid and inadequate in my life than doing some of these general mental ability type tests and I am completely losing confidence in myself and my abilities to be able to do a doctorate programme based on this! Like, presumably the test scores are predictive of something they are looking for and if I seem to struggle with those, then clearly I am not right for it despite my many other qualities and strengths?!

Anyway, I was just wondering if it was just me that felt discouraged and dejected going through this part of the process or if others had similar thoughts and feelings.

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moony
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Re: Anyone else feel stupid after all these shortlisting tes

Post by moony » Mon Feb 22, 2016 4:14 pm

I have never felt like more of a dunce than I did at the end of the last UEL test (Raven's progressive Matrices?). I can see why it might be useful, but also hope that they don't rely to heavily on it as part of the application process.

It's the first time I've ever run out of time in a test, I still had about five or six questions left to go. I guessed way over half of my answers. It is frustrating and like I said, it made me feel very inadequate and unintelligent. Though, with perspective, I know that I'm NOT stupid (I have two pretty good degrees to prove it), and that I can work intelligently and competently. Just remind yourself of all your achievements and hard work so far.

A couple of online tests can capture aspects of your ability, but not yourself as a whole character and what your strengths and weaknesses are. As psychologists, or psychologically minded people, I'm sure the selectors will realise that, and look at test scores in conjunction with your experiences, and how you express yourself on your form etc.

In the meantime, chocolate and a cup of tea does wonders. :)
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Shmit
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Re: Anyone else feel stupid after all these shortlisting tes

Post by Shmit » Mon Feb 22, 2016 4:17 pm

Hi Strelitzia,

I can completely understand where you're coming from! I've been chatting with a couple of colleagues today about the pre-selection process and how it has made me feel. You've attended higher education, gained A-levels/GCSE's, yet you're still feeling like you need to prove to others that you're clever enough. The whole process is a difficult one, you're putting yourself forward for something you feel ready and a good candidate for, but at the risk that you could be rejected and made to feel like 'you're not good enough'.

I feel like reflecting on this process as a whole is really helpful in itself. I've learnt so much about my thought processes, core beliefs and difficulties with rejection, just from the doctorate application process let along my work! What I keep telling myself is that there's lots of other people who are just as good (and better) who are trying to achieve the same goal... it's not that I'm not good enough but that there's lots of us who are.

Also in terms of the pre-selection tests, I keep trying to tell myself that the results aren't out yet so it's hard to tell at this very moment how well we've all performed. I feel like I did rubbish, and yes I might have, but I was anxious, there was a lot of pressure, I've achieved good grades and gained some amazing experience (which I wouldn't have if I wasn't 'clever' enough) so it could be that I've done better than I thought. Ruminating on the tests doesn't help things (for me anyway)... it's all sent off, I can't change what I put and I'm probably only focusing on the ones I struggled on rather than reminding myself of the ones I actually felt confident in answering.

RhubarbCrumble
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Re: Anyone else feel stupid after all these shortlisting tes

Post by RhubarbCrumble » Mon Feb 22, 2016 4:39 pm

When I've been practicing for these tests, particularly the verbal reasoning, I find myself really struggling but am often surprised at the end at the score. So you never know! I like to tell myself that if I prepared well and struggled then everyone else will have struggled too. Because you're marked against other people, it is impossible to predict the outcome.

Don't lose hope, you might be surprised by the results!

And do some courses not still look at your form too? So you don't have to score in the top 80%, there is a pass mark, probably or about 60% you just have to have got higher than that.

RhubarbCrumble
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Re: Anyone else feel stupid after all these shortlisting tes

Post by RhubarbCrumble » Mon Feb 22, 2016 5:11 pm

But in answer to your question, yes, they do make me feel stupid! Especially the numerical reasoning, which is super frustrating because I'm actually really good at maths! After every test I do I have to keep reminding myself of that....

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Spatch
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Re: Anyone else feel stupid after all these shortlisting tes

Post by Spatch » Mon Feb 22, 2016 5:46 pm

However, I have never felt more stupid and inadequate in my life than doing some of these general mental ability type tests and I am completely losing confidence in myself and my abilities to be able to do a doctorate programme based on this! Like, presumably the test scores are predictive of something they are looking for and if I seem to struggle with those, then clearly I am not right for it despite my many other qualities and strengths?!
It's worth bearing in mind that any test for this population is going to have a high ceiling in order to discriminate between people otherwise it would be pointless. These aren't tests to see if you have mastered a given set of criteria that you should have, but are there to discern the most capable of applicants. Graduate level tests are supposed to stretch the candidate to the edge of their abilities and some, like computer adaptive tests they use for US clin psy entry, have thousands of questions and that feels like the difficulty increases infinitely. On the plus side it's hard to judge if you have done well enough, because nearly everyone will have found the tests incredibly difficult.

No one who is in a position to be sitting these tests could be considered stupid, it's more like the difference between being very bright and exceptional. It's not about being "good enough" it's more about the tyranny of crappy numbers that adds to the unpredictability and uncertainty. .
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askeo
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Re: Anyone else feel stupid after all these shortlisting tes

Post by askeo » Mon Feb 22, 2016 6:02 pm

I completely feel your pain Strelitzia.

I am terrified of actually clicking on the numerical reasoning link after having failed every single practice test I could find online. Instead of making me feel more prepared and ready, I feel utterly useless and have no trust in myself at all to do well. Agh, this process is so soul destroying. I wish someone had told me 4 years ago not to worry so much about getting a first, having 3 years of AP experience and postgraduate qualifications in order to be considered for a DClin interview, but to focus instead on taking advanced maths classes in my free time with the aim that my processing speed for calculating percentage increases on profit margins would be supersonic. :oops:

RJParker
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Re: Anyone else feel stupid after all these shortlisting tes

Post by RJParker » Mon Feb 22, 2016 7:51 pm

It's important to remember they are designed to make it very very hard for you to complete all items in the time limit. The better you do the harder it gets (with all the adaptive testing providers which I think is pretty much everyone).

Numerical reasoning tests are not testing your mathematical ability - the calculations are always simple, the test is how quickly you can see the process. You often don't need to do all the calculations to get to the answer as you discount options as you go. You also have to remember that you are being assessed within a cohort of peers - not that many of them have a doctorate in mathematics.

svr
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Re: Anyone else feel stupid after all these shortlisting tes

Post by svr » Mon Feb 22, 2016 8:28 pm

I can totally relate to your sentiment, Strelitzia. No matter how many practice tests I do, I'll never be quick enough to do well in the numerical reasoning test. It's nice to know I'm not alone in feeling this way!

Shmit
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Re: Anyone else feel stupid after all these shortlisting tes

Post by Shmit » Mon Feb 22, 2016 10:27 pm

I know for Leicester they're taking the top 42 scores (for each of the three tests combined) to interview, and not considering the application forms.

svr
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Re: Anyone else feel stupid after all these shortlisting tes

Post by svr » Tue Feb 23, 2016 9:48 am

Shmit wrote:I know for Leicester they're taking the top 42 scores (for each of the three tests combined) to interview, and not considering the application forms.

Plymouth have said that they will use the GMA tests in conjunction with the application form.
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moony
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Re: Anyone else feel stupid after all these shortlisting tes

Post by moony » Tue Feb 23, 2016 3:39 pm

My understanding is for UEL - you need to score in the top 75th percentile.

Does anyone know if that is the case for each of the three tests. So If I came in the bottom 25th percentile for one of them, does that mean that my application wouldn't be considered? Or do they look at test scores in conjunction with the application to determine who they'll see for interview?

I think the process is almost as confusing as the test itself!
"The brain is a monstrous, beautiful mess." ~ W. Allman Apprentices of Wonder: Inside the Neural Network Revolution

nancycruz
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Re: Anyone else feel stupid after all these shortlisting tes

Post by nancycruz » Tue Feb 23, 2016 3:59 pm

Totally feel your pain! Practiced every critical reasoning test I could find online and did fantastic...Just did the UEL tests and did terribly! So disheartening!

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Re: Anyone else feel stupid after all these shortlisting tes

Post by Marcus » Tue Feb 23, 2016 4:36 pm

Dear All,

I echo your disappointment. Prior to applying for the Clinical Doctorate I attempted to apply for jobs involving behavioural science / data analysis jobs role (one of them being with CQC). In all three I managed to get Shortlised and receive Interview invites for. In most cases, I handled myself quite well (so I was told by the Interview panel) and responded quite well to all the statistically orientated / research questions. However, I fell down when I had to complete these 'tests' on Numeric reasoning ! Additionally, I struggled with interpreting information from graphs! (A task that sounds deceptively simple, yet I failed miserably). I think the Interview panel were surprised, as they clearly saw from my CV and application I had a First Class degree, a Masters degree, almost a PhD, completed several courses in SPSS, data modelling, R Programming etc. Yet, I appeared pretty useless and handling tests what they (the interview panel) perceived to be as quite a typical test of intelligence. I actually have great admiration for people who manage to secure positions on these Graduate Schemes which are usually shielded by endless rounds of numeric and verbal reasoning tasks.

Anyway, I have two books that I work through and it has greatly improved my numeric reasoning skills. When you do enough online numerical reasoning tests (in conjunction with this book), you realize they are actually all quite similar, its just a case of being familiar of what the questions are asking.I will never be good at Numeric reasoning, I don't have the mind for it, I accept that, but there are things you can do to build your confidence that may give you that advantage.

There are two books that I found to be most informative;

Numerical Reasoning - "How to Pass Numerical Reasoning Tests: A Step-by-Step Guide to Learning Key Numeracy Skills (Testing Series)" by Heidi Smith

Verbal Reasoning - "Brilliant Passing Verbal Reasoning Tests: Everything you need to know to practice and pass verbal reasoning tests (Brilliant Business)" by Rob Williams.

These books aren't perfect, but they did the trick for me.

The trick is to practice, practice, practice (I know its hard given all the million others things were expected to learn and prepare for). Once you can do these tests under timed conditions you will feel a lot better.

Cheers
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Strelitzia
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Re: Anyone else feel stupid after all these shortlisting tes

Post by Strelitzia » Tue Feb 23, 2016 5:52 pm

Thank you to everybody that has replied so far. It will take up too much space to quote my response to each one so I've just put everything in one. Although I don’t wish ill upon anyone, it is reassuring to know that other people are finding the process challenging mentally and emotionally at times like me and I am not just some total anomaly – it does sometimes feel like your ability to manage the stress and get through it is a test in itself! I do know people who have been through the process once and their experiences put them off even if they liked the idea of/could have coped with the job at the end and they went into alternative careers. I do wonder if this will be me.

So far I have done the Salomons test and their additional three they are trialling that do not go towards shortlisting this year. I think they are the same as UEL – SJT, WGCT, and RAPM. It was actually after doing these and looking into the numerical and verbal reasoning tests again that I started questioning my competence and losing confidence in myself. Having done some practice tests and seeing my scores, there were no pleasant surprises and the score is what made me start worrying and doubting so much about my performance, because I am almost certain it was too poor to pass at this level regardless of what anyone else got.

I think different courses use the test scores and application forms in different ways. For example, I applied to Lancaster, who after the initial sift to see if you meet the qualification and residency status, do not use the form and shortlist based solely on your performance on the GMA tests. Unless I have interpreted this incorrectly, you need to score at least in the 70th percentile but only the top 72 will be interviewed. At the time of applying I thought this was a positive given my work situation but now I am going through it, it does feel like there is more pressure implicitly placed on you and you are reduced to one or two numbers. It feels rather impersonal and even for some other tests, you might be able to give an essence of you and your style in your answers than those types of tests. I have never been interested in graduate schemes or sectors where these tests are more commonly used so this is my first formal encounter with them (I have only ever seen those types of questions on silly Facebook posts as a quiz where people try to answer them and nearly every answer option gets touted as the answer by someone but no one credible reveals the actual answer so you don't know if your guess was right or wrong, hahaha).

I do sometimes lose sight of my achievements and strengths after what feels like countless rejections and lack of progression, recognition and reward for what I have invested over the years, which then further hinders me in processes like these as I then struggle to think of or understate my positives!

Logically, I understand that the tests are designed to be challenging and for people to get things wrong to be able to distinguish between people who are already assumed to have a good level of education. However, that doesn’t totally stop the unhelpful thoughts and feelings creeping in and trying to take over! Like, perhaps according to some course centres I might not have the “mental ability” to undertake training and perform in a complex role because I did not pass the test to be even considered suitable for the role, yet for others they might be willing to give me a shot, and then what, see if I sink or swim? Lol. Hmmm.

For me it is too late to be intensively (frantically?!) studying and practicing material. I've still got tests for two course centres to go, each with multiple components. Like many of us here, I work full time, fixed hours. I work in a mental health team but I am not in a psychology role or a psychology department. This means I am limited with how much time I can dedicate to preparing for such shortlisting tests, as it all has to be done outside of work hours, so evenings or weekends or taking annual leave. I don’t know about anyone else but when I have a lot of direct clinical contact dealing with clinical problems, I need to take some time to unwind, look after myself, and live my own life and only a part of this includes dealing with tests, applications and interviews. I cannot dedicate all of my non-work hours to this and nor should it be necessary.

It does feel like entry into the profession has high expectations on candidates that is not always conducive to their health and wellbeing, which I find rather ironic.

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