This guide will help you cope with every aspect of the PI cognitive assessment.
To save your time, I’ve narrowed it down to the 5 most important tips for success. You can choose to further explore test topics using the references I provided throughout the article, but it’s enough that you follow those 5 tips to maximize your score potential.
Tip 1: Know the 9 Question Types
There are 9 question types on the PI cognitive assessment, and you better familiarize yourself with each one of them if you want to do well on the test. It’s not necessarily about mastering each question type; It’s more about knowing what you’re good at and what makes you waste too much time. Identifying your strengths and weaknesses at this step will help you perform better on the test, as you’ll be able to make quick decisions on whether to skip a certain question or not. You can approach this preparation step in a more “relaxed” manner, i.e. without timing yourself yet. I recommend that you see how well you fare with each question type by practicing sample questions. I’ve listed some great resources below.
Best by practice!
Here are three resources that will help you experiment with each question type.
If you haven’t taken my 100% free cognitive ability introductory prep course yet, now is the time! Join over 10,000 candidates who’ve taken this course and get practice questions and resources per each of the 9 question types seen on the PI cognitive assessment. And don’t worry, you will not be asked to put credit card details or anything like that. It’s a free resource, and will always be free.
This resource nicely displays 12 original sample questions that adhere to the PI cognitive assessment style. Definitely recommended as a brain teaser: https://www.predictiveprep.com/pi-cognitive-assessment/
Tip 2: Practice with 12-minute, 50-question Tests
The PI cognitive assessment is not the only cognitive ability test that uses the 12-minute, 50-question format. The Wonderlic and the Logiks General (Intermediate) test are two such examples.
While they’re not 100% similar to the PI in their question styles, they’re about 80% similar. The Wonderlic test has been around for years and is popular thanks to the fact that it’s used in the NFL (National Football League in America). Luckily, there are numerous free practice tests that mimic the Wonderlic and they are a great way to practice for the PI, especially for tuning your mindset to the 12-minute time restriction. Here are three resources that provide a 100% free Wonderlic test:
I offer a tailored prep course for the PI cognitive assessment, which includes lots of practice materials, videos and practice drills. Most importantly, it also includes 3 full-length mock tests (12 minutes, 50 questions each) and one mini assessment (8-minute 30 questions).
Join over 700 candidates who’ve increased their score potential with my prep course.
Tip 3: Speed is Key
Similar to other pre-employment cognitive ability tests, the PI cognitive assessment is all about completing as many questions as possible in 12 minutes. Your ability to answer correctly more questions indicates your ability to process complex information and your capacity to deal with the cognitive demands of the job.
However, you are NOT supposed to correctly solve all the questions in the allotted time: only 1% of the population are able to correctly answer more than 40 questions on the test.
Your main goal is to see ALL 50 questions so that you increase your chances of solving as many questions as possible that fall under your strengths.
You do not want to run out of time at question 14/50 and discover that you haven’t had a chance to look at 36 other questions on the test. Many candidates fall into this trap and underperform.
Learn more about this in my blog article, how to solve 50 questions in 12 minutes.
Tip 4: Take the Assessment in Your Mother Tongue
The first step before taking the test will be choosing your language.
The PI cognitive assessment is available in over 50 languages and I urge you to take the test in your mother tongue, given of course that your reading speed and vocabulary are indeed better in your mother tongue.
If you take the test in a second language, you will likely read slower, stumble upon more unknowns, and this can affect your score by up to 6 or 8 missed answers – a huge impact that can take your score from the 90th percentile to the 50th percentile!
Here is the list of available languages for the PI Cognitive Assessment:
Afrikaans; Albanian; Arabic (Gulf); Arabic (International); Armenian; Azerbaijani; Basque; Bengali; Bulgarian; Catalan; Chinese (Simplified); Chinese (Traditional); Croatian; Czech; Danish; Dutch; English; Estonian; Farsi; Filipino; Finnish; Flemish; French; Georgian; German; Greek; Hebrew; Hindi; Hungarian; Icelandic; Indonesian; Italian; Japanese; Kazakh ; Khmer; Korean; Lao; Latvian Lithuanian; Macedonian; Malayalam; Malay; Norwegian (Bokmål); Polish; Portuguese; Portuguese (Brazil); Punjabi; Romanian; Russian; Serbian (Latin); Slovak; Slovenian; Spanish (Modern Sort); Swahili; Swedish; Tamil; Thai; Turkish; Ukrainian; Urdu; Vietnamese; Xhosa; Zulu
Tip 5: Stand for Your Rights as a Test Taker!
You must be aware of the below two points.
1 Requesting to be retested. The test can be administered in two rounds or a single round. This depends on the employer. If it’s two rounds, then round 1 is done from the convenience of your home and round 2 is done at the employer’s premises.
Anyone can have a bad day or a misfortunate incident that could lead to a lower score than expected. If you feel like you’ve done poorly on any of the rounds, speak it out! Tell the employer or recruiter what prevented you from performing well and ask to be re-tested. Hopefully, your request will be approved.
Here are important quotes from the official PI cognitive assessment admin guide regarding retesting:
Allowing respondents to retest may also help to more accurately assess respondents who perhaps are less familiar with timed, computerized assessments.
As you can see, the PI company believes that it’s beneficial to allow a candidate to be retested.
And here’s another important quote:
[The employer] may need to communicate the results to the respondent to help them decide whether they would like to retest. Respondents will see a different configuration of items at each administration; however, respondents should not be allowed to take the PI Cognitive Assessment more than three times. If a respondent takes the PI Cognitive Assessment multiple times, the selection decision should be based on his or her highest score, regardless of which attempt is associated with that score.
If company chooses to only assess respondents once, there are still some conditions under which a retest may still be warranted:
• A respondent reports technical problems, like internet disconnection.
• A respondent reports being highly distracted during the assessment due to unforeseen
circumstances, like a fire alarm.
From the above, we learn that communicating your difficulties to the employer/recruiter can help prevent your application from being disqualified. If you come across any unexpected issues during the assessment, you should ask for a second chance.
2 Disabilities and time additions. I’m quoting again from the official admin guide:
The Predictive Index offers two extended time formats of the PI Cognitive Assessment: 18-minute and 24-minute versions, which allow for time-and-a-half or double the original time limit, respectively.
If you have a case for reasonable accommodation, use it! This can completely change your score.
What About More Tips?
Do you still have burning issues regarding the PI cognitive assessment? Here are additional articles that I wrote and might help you. You’re also very welcome to submit a question below and I promise to answer it ASAP!
Gideon, Founder at 12 Minutes
Former Director and VP at test prep companies, ex-teacher and private tutor.
Knows pre-employment cognitive ability tests inside out. Passionate about helping you succeed.