How to Ace the PI Cognitive Assessment: Winning Tips for 2021

This guide will help you cope with every aspect of the PI cognitive assessment in 2021. 

Watch my video guide and also get the 6 most important tips for success on the test. You can join the discussion at the bottom to receive answers to your questions. Let’s start!

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.

9 question types of PI cognitive assessment

Start with the official sample questions! 

Not many candidates are aware of the 20 official PI cognitive assessment sample questions which are found on the Predictive Index website. These questions are available in two formats.

  1. A timed test with 20 questions.
  2. A PDF that includes the same questions and an answer key.

 

The PI does NOT offer explanations per question and it will not provide a score report. I offer a PDF that explains these 20 questions in detail. Make sure to grab a free copy of it here:

Tip 2: Take a Full-length Practice Test

Taking a PI cognitive assessment practice test is beneficial as it will add the time-pressure element to the topics presented above. A full-length PI assessment lasts 12 minutes and includes 50 questions. Taking it straight away without some preliminary preparation may be overwhelming in the beginning, and you can start with a shortened, compact version of the test (e.g. 25 or 30 questions, with respective time constraints) to get the hang of it prior to committing to the real deal.

12-minute-timer

You’re welcome to try my free sample test with 30 questions and 8 minutes, which is provided as part of the prep course I just mentioned in the previous section.

I offer a tailored prep course for the PI cognitive assessment, which includes lots of practice materials, video lessons and practice drills. Most importantly, it also includes 4 full-length mock tests (12 minutes, 50 questions each).

Join over 2,400 candidates who’ve increased their score potential with my prep course.

  • Predictive prep: This resource nicely displays 12 original sample questions that adhere to the PI cognitive assessment style. Good brain teaser!

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.

correlation graph

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! 

megaphone

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. 

Tip 6: Understand What is a Good Score for Your Job

Knowing how PI cognitive assessment scoring works is important, as you will be able to set yourself a goal according to the employer’s expectations. Read more about PI cognitive assessment scores or take a free sample lesson that explains this topic further.

higher-than-average PI cognitive assessment score range

(Bonus)Tip 7: Step Into Your Employer’s Shoes

The PI company, the official publisher of the assessment, provides a lot of information to prospective customers (employers) about the test. If you really want the full picture of the test’s objectives, capabilities, and more, I recommend visiting this page on their website. Not a must, but definitely another interesting aspect to consider. 

Take My Prep Course to Get Started

Your journey to a higher PI cognitive assessment score starts here. Join over 4,000 candidates who’ve benefited from my pi cognitive assessment prep course. Rated 4.9/5!

Nice to meet you! I am Gideon, Founder at 12 Minutes

My prep courses have been taken by over 80,000 candidates.
I know pre-employment cognitive ability tests inside out and I am passionate about helping you succeed. Join the discussion below if you have any questions, or simply use the chatbox at the bottom right corner.

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  1. As part of the preparation through your service, am I allowed to go ahead and take the test with you to see how I would score on my own before I receive your assistance
    so that I can measure my improvement after your service?

    1. Hi Teresa,

      If you’re referring to taking the first full-length practice test in my prep course, the answer is yes.
      Feel free to contact me using the chatbox at the top left corner of the website (look for “Need help?”)

  2. If I take the test in my mother tongue, does my employer know what language I took the test with?

    1. Hi Justin,

      Your employer could find that piece of data if they want, but there are low chances that they will. The employer cares about the result. If the score is good, it will indicate that you have some of the traits that are required for the position. And in general, you should take the test in the language in which you feel most confident.

      Let me know if you have more questions.

  3. I have dyslexia, but I’m concerned about disclosing this to an employer (as it may give them the perception that I’m not capable of doing the job). Should I still disclose this fact and request more time?

    1. That’s indeed a sensitive situation and I can relate to your concerns. Thank you for sharing.

      In my opinion, this depends on how well you would do on the test given the standard timing (12 minutes). If after practicing you see that your scores are satisfying, then perhaps you can afford not to use this perk. However, if your preparation efforts show that you’re lagging behind in your ability to score well, then I think it’s worth informing the employer and getting the extra time. After all, if you score higher on the test, you will be perceived as a stronger candidate.

      Feel free to consult with me, but take into account that this is a personal decision in the end.

      Sincerely,
      Gideon

    1. Hi Nick,

      Each employer has a different policy in regards to publishing candidates’ results of the PI cognitive assessment (PICA).
      Some will send an answer within a few hours, some within days. Some will just tell you if you passed or not, and others will share the score details with you.

      Let me know if you have more questions.

      Cheers,
      Gideon

  4. Did research on prep for the 50q in 12m _after_ my assessment instead of before. Only got to ~21 q’s. Knocking on wood that the assessment doesn’t hold me back

  5. This is my first experience without any course or any preparation. I just sit for the assessment test to know what it is. Its really fun and works to build up the confidence level.

  6. for PI Cognitive test: is it good to skip questions and go to other easier questions? Thanks

  7. Hello,
    I wish to know if CCAT cram prep and PI Cognitive assessment course are different ?

    I have to prepare for CCAT,

    Thanks,
    Swapan