Psychological testing might sound intimidating, but it’s designed to help you. In many ways, psychological testing and assessment are similar to medical tests. For physical symptoms, a physician might order X-ray or blood test to understand what’s causing those symptoms. The results of the test will help develop a treatment plan. Psychological evaluations serve the same purpose. Psychologists use tests and other assessment tools to measure and observe a client’s behaviour to arrive at a diagnosis and guide treatment.
What makes them different and challenging is that physical symptoms and their causes can be seen by the others, whereas psychological entities like intelligence and personality are not something tangible and thus cannot be seen. They are mostly paper-pencil tests and do not require the use of any machines. That is why psychological tests are administered and interpreted only by trained psychologists, mostly Clinical Psychologists.
Purpose of Psychological Tests
Psychological tests are administered for a variety of reasons depending on the setting in which they are used. Some of these purposes are:-
- For arriving at a diagnosis
- For analysing the personality dynamics of an individual which helps in understanding and predicting their behaviour pattern
- For assessing the severity of a disorder
- For assessing neuropsychological conditions like Dementia, Traumatic Brain Injury, etc.
- For recruitment purposes in corporate and defence services.
Types of Psychological Tests
- Intelligence Tests: Administered mostly among children and adolescents for gaging their Intelligence Quotient (IQ). Intelligence tests for adults are also available.
- Personality Tests: Personality refers to one’s usual way of thinking, feeling and behaving across settings and situations, which develops based on one’s temperament, past experiences, upbringing, and way of interpreting things.
- Aptitude and Interest Inventory: These inventories help in determining the interest area of the participant and also whether he/she has an aptitude for that particular field.
- Neuropsychological Tests/Battery: A Battery is a collection of tests which are administered together for finding out the structural and functional abnormalities of the brain due to stroke, injury, ageing or infection.
Every individual is different and unique, and these psychological tests help in devising individualised treatment plan best suited for the welfare of the patient. They form an integral part of the psychological interventions.