Category Archives: situational judgement test

In this situational judgement test Category, you can firstly find all of our most useful and up-to-date situational judgement test information.

Secondly, you can find all of the test tips and test practice on our site.

We hope that you find all of our situational judgement test resources useful.

Rob Williams Assessment Ltd specialise in designing highly predictive psychometric solutions. In particular, situational judgement test design, realistic job preview design, aptitude test design and personality questionnaire design.

We work across a wide range of sectors and job roles. Our tailor-made psychometric offerings are as unique as our clients’ organisations.

Our organisation prides itself on client satisfaction. We have many positive LinkedIn reviews from our big client projects.

Screening test candidates

Screening

We cover both bespoke pretesting and bespoke screening tests. Screening tests can help you identify which applicants are a good match for the role and for your company culture.

These are more valid than cv’s which can leave recruiters to fill in the gaps between what’s written and what’s actually relevant. Skills tests during the application stage help filter out applicants who don’t have the skills you need. 

Continue reading Screening
Books in a pile for situational judgement test tips (1)

The Ten Commandments of SJT Design

I’d like to share my ten key SJT design lessons:

I   – Match to job competencies

II   – Conduct a range of job analyses

III  – Probe for scenarios AND answers

IV  – Follow the ‘Rules of Item Writing”

 V   – Score both SJT answer options

VI  – Leverage a subject-matter expert trial stage

VII  – Include realism rating scale

VIII – Maximise your trial numbers

IX   – Validate

 X     Update your norms/equal opp’s analysis

                  I.           Match to job competencies

You can buy off-the-shelf SJTs which cater to your industry or which are specific to a function such as sales. However, you then lose that one bit of magic that really makes an SJT special. This is that each question can be crafted to assess critical role behaviours. Having role competencies at your disposal, better yet behavioural indicators is helpful in scenario design. Although…

                II.           Conduct a range of job analyses

You should run critical incidents role analysis to capture all the critical behaviours: defined as those that lead to successful or unsuccessful workplace outcomes. For example, a happy or an unhappy customer interaction. With, or without, a set of up-to-date competencies for your role, you must schedule as many role analysis sessions at the start of your design process as time (and money!) will allow. 

If there are national – or international – role differences then it’s vital, particularly in the US, to document how your job analysis plan captures representative sample(s) for each role being assessed. Logistical pros and cons will certainly dictate the balance of role analysis formats you adopt. I usually recommend a blend of face-to-face strategic interviews with senior stakeholders; a telephone-based approach for job incumbents, but running separate focus groups for their line and regional managers.

            III.           Probe interviewees (for a range of options)

A few people in your sample will provide most of the information you need. Simply must include the obligatory Pareto Law quote here and say it’s exactly 80% of what you need. Take your time and probe these individuals carefully, going beyond the critical scenarios to explore possible correct and incorrect responses to that situation. Ideally also what a less experienced colleague may do in that situation. Then voila, your interviewee has written the SJT question for you!

             IV.           Follow the “Rules of Item Writing”

More seriously there’s lots of “rules” to writing clear and concise SJT scenarios and answer options. Too many to cover here in detail. Suffice to say that for each broken item writing rule, your SJT’s validity will suffer that little bit more.

               V.           Score both answers

When designing the scoring key/format, my preference is usually to score both the Most and the Least answers chosen. This has always worked well in terms of variance and final item selection.

              VI.           Include an SME Trial

A subject-matter expert (SME) review is vital. It must be done pre-trial so that any unsuitable scenarios are discredited before any valuable trial time is wasted on them. Do schedule in your own editorial time since you need to prepare a finessed Role Incumbent Trial version next.

Aim for 15+ subject matter experts from across the business who have different selection, managing and developing responsibilities for the role being assessed. You can sell this process to senior managers as “the real role experts”, thereby enhancing their engagement in your entire SJT design project!

           VII.            Check scenario realism

Your trial phase gives you the opportunity to get respondents to rate how realistic the scenario/answer options are. This is invaluable at the trial data analysis phase.

         VIII.           Maximise trial numbers

Aim for 300 current role incumbents to trial your SJT. Do extend the trial period if necessary to achieve this. However, such a high number is needed to ensure that you have sufficient numbers within each subgroup (for your equal opportunities analysis).

             IX.            Validate

To set accurate cut-off scores, it’s advisable to have collected a form of criterion validity evidence. You are likely to have two samples: your trial group and your validation sample. If the world was a fair place these two would have the same subjects in. In reality, they don’t, and you need to focus on those trial participants for whom you also have job performance data.

                X.           Updated norm group

My final, key lesson is to use an enhanced norm group as soon as you can, ideally from the start. Once you have sufficient numbers of “live applicants” this is the best norm group to use and any cut-off/equal opportunities analysis can be adjusted accordingly.

Numerical Reasoning book reviews

Buy this book to pass!

Brilliant book. Read it from cover to cover. Don’t skip the chapters. I know it can seem patronising, the way he breaks it down, but I’d recommend reading it through.

Brilliantly practical and informative

Very clear layout to follow, questions advance over the …

Very clear layout to follow, questions advance over the chapters and it sets a steady pace. This book helped me immensely to get all the practice I needed within 3 days.

A really useful book 

SJT design

Situational judgement test woman thinking.

Situational judgment test practice

We offer premium situational judgment test practice as well as the free EPSO situational judgement test practice below.

Additional assessment practice

Example Situational Judgement Test

EPSO SJT Example – Analysis and Problem-SolvingMost Likely / Least Likely
Your current task has been to manage implementation across the business of a new software upgrade. Unfortunately many of your colleagues have feedback that they prefer to stick with the older version and some are now even refusing to load this new update.
aFollow good change management practice by highlighting this obstacle to the project manager.
The decision has already been taken and must have been made for the right reasons.
cHold fire on involving your superiors but keep a record of such resistance.M
dIt’s a mandate from senior management which you also have to obey.L
Situational judgement test practice
EPSO SJT Example 2 – Working with OthersMost Likely / Least Likely
You have been presenting some new ideas to your team – most of whom have listened very carefully throughout. However one disruptive colleague has continually undermined your key points and the other key issues that were raised by your team.
aLet the team respond as they see fit towards the disruptive individual.
bMake it clear that either the disruptive behaviour stops or the individual leaves your meeting.           L
cHandle the disruptive individual as best you can until its possible to speak to them face-to-face.M
dFirmly state that you would all appreciate it if the individual kept their comments to themselves.

Free EPSO situational judgement test practice is available below. This is offered for each of the EPSO competencies:

Analysis and problem-solving

Delivering quality and results

Prioritizing and organizing

Resilience

Working with others

EPSO 2018 Example Questions

EPSO SJT Example – Analysis and Problem-SolvingMost Likely / Least Likely
Your current task has been to manage implementation across the business of a new software upgrade. Unfortunately many of your colleagues have feedback that they prefer to stick with the older version and some are now even refusing to load this new update.
aFollow good change management practice by highlighting this obstacle to the project manager.
bThe decision has already been taken and must have been made for the right reasons.
cHold fire on involving your superiors but keep a record of such resistance.M
dIt’s a mandate from senior management which you also have to obey.L
EPSO SJT Example 2 – Working with OthersMost Likely / Least Likely
You have been presenting some new ideas to your team – most of whom have listened very carefully throughout. However one disruptive colleague has continually undermined your key points and the other key issues that were raised by your team.
aLet the team respond as they see fit towards the disruptive individual.
bMake it clear that either the disruptive behaviour stops or the individual leaves your meeting. L
cHandle the disruptive individual as best you can until its possible to speak to them face-to-face.M
dFirmly state that you would all appreciate it if the individual kept their comments to themselves.

EPSO Test Practice

Practice Toolkit

We also offer free high quality EPSO test practice materials, such as EPSO accuracy and precision test practice.

We also offer a partner’s high quality EPSO practice tests.

Free EPSO Test Resources

EPSO is the European Union’s Personnel Office. The official EPSO site provides example SJT items which you can download here.

EPSO situational judgment tests

There are many EPSO roles, each with their own bespoke psychometric tests:

Assistants (AST-SC)

  • Reasoning skills tests: verbal, numerical and abstract interactive tests
  • Professional skills tests:
    • Accuracy and precision
    • Prioritising and organising
  • E-tray exercise: sample E-tray question

Assistants (AST3)

  • Reasoning skills tests: verbal, numerical and abstract interactive tests
  • Professional skills tests:
    • Accuracy and precision
    • Prioritising and organising
  • E-tray exercise: sample E-tray question
  • Sample situational judgment questions and scoring example

Administrators (AD – Generalists)

  • Reasoning skills tests: verbal, numerical, abstract and situational judgement interactive tests
    • Sample situational judgment questions and scoring example
  • E-tray: English
  • Group exercise
  • Oral presentation
  • Case study
EPSO test practice. Assistant working in office.

situational judgment test practice

Administrators (AD – Specialists)

  • Reasoning skills tests: verbal, numerical, abstract and situational judgement interactive tests
    • Sample situational judgment questions and scoring example
  • E-tray: English
  • Group exercise
  • Oral presentation
  • Case study

Lawyer-linguist (AD)

  • Reasoning skills tests: verbal, numerical, abstract and situational judgement interactive tests
  • Language comprehension tests: English
  • Group exercise
  • Oral presentation

Translators (AD)

  • Reasoning skills tests: verbal, numerical and abstract interactive tests.

Situational judgment test tips

Job specific psychometric test practice

CEB SHL Verbal and Numerical Reasoning Test Practice

Aptitude test practice books

Rob Williams’s five practice aptitude tests books are all available on Amazon:

Firstly, in our opinion Brilliant Passing Verbal Reasoning Tests is the best aptitude test practice book for Passing Verbal Reasoning Tests.

Secondly, in our opinion, Brilliant Passing Numerical Reasoning Tests is the best aptitude test practice book for Passing Numerical Reasoning Tests.

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Army situational judgement test. Army barracks with commander shouting at troupe.

Bespoke Situational Judgment Test Design

Rob Williams Assessment Ltd are specialists in bespoke situational judgement test design.

We led a UK-wide psychometric design project working closely with the British Army to create a full psychometric range of This included

  • Video based Army officer Situational judgement tests.
  • Realistic job previews for Army soldiers.

specification for SJT design

To provide potential candidates with realistic (face valid) situations they are likely to encounter, and feedback on their responses. Such highly informative feedback aims to improve candidates’ understanding of the demands of Army life.

Thus, better able to make informed judgements about their own suitability. As such, the SJTs are an important early selection filter, both for a candidate’s self-selection and as part of the advice given by Recruiting Officers.

More specifically, the “formative” aims of the SJTs from a candidate’s perspective are to:

  • firstly, identify likely suitability for undergoing and successfully completing Army training; and
  • Secondly, to broaden their understanding of the different demands of Army training (and future Army life).

How are situational judgment tests designed?

Medical schools, for example, use situational judgment tests to assess the temperament for managing high-pressure situations in the most moral, effective way possible. These situational judgment tests are unique to the medical school context. They use bespoke scenarios representing those critical incidents a doctor needs to know how to manage. It’s important to note that these SJTs don’t require extensive medical knowledge; rather they evaluate a candidate’s decision-making skills. 

Situational Judgement Design Exemplar

An example of our situational judgement design requirements for the Army Officer project:

  • The answer options for each situation are all different, so read them through carefully.
  • For each question, to indicate which action you consider would be best and worst.
  • To be honest about what you think you would do in each situation.
  • That you don’t need any Army experience to answer the questions, and:
  • The SJT is not timed, but most people take about 30 minutes to complete it.

Competency-based SJT Research basis

For example, drawing together previous situational judgement test research, with a particular emphasis on that of Riley and Walker-Smith (2006), the following areas were expected to emerge through the design process:

  • Discipline
  • Military awareness
  • Commitment
  • Sociability
  • Resilience

See this page for more info on the Army Situational judgement test design and the Officer Situational questions design.

Bespoke situational judgement test design

Situational Judgement Test Validity

SJTs have higher validity if respondents are asked what they ‘would do’ as opposed to what they ‘should do’ (Ployhart and Ehrhart, 2003). ‘Would do’ prompts were therefore used because they are more likely      to elicit responses that reflect respondents’ behavioural preferences, rather than their rating of what they consider would be the most appropriate thing to do (regardless of whether they would do this, or act otherwise).

Varying schools of thought exist with regard to response format. Whilst some authors argue that having ‘right’ as well as ‘wrong’ responses can make SJTs too obvious (Hauenstein et al, 2010), only scoring right options truncates the information available for scoring. Thus, we took the a priori decision to score both right and wrong options.

Psychometric Test Designs

Additional assessment practice

Our psychometric test designs

Strengths Design  ~ Realistic Job Preview Design ~ Personality Test Design ~ Situational Judgment Test Design ~ Psychometric Test Design.

Army situational judgement tests

Situational Strengths

There is a specialised form of situational judgement test called the Situational Strengths Test.

Situational Strengths Test

One company that uses this test is Lloyds pharmacy, where the CAPP Situational Strengths Test is used to recruit pharmacists.

Situational strengths tests have these advantages (in any context):

– Easy to administer to large audience.

– Relatively strong validity.

– Can assess sample of the relevant KSA’s.

– Refreshed items possible.

– More difficult to fake responses.

Situational Exercises

  • Scenarios from job analysis used to design simulation exercises.
  • Parallel version developed to maximise exercise integrity.
  • To minimise risk of applicants sharing details of tools.

The following situational strengths scenarios are examples only. Actual client projects always start with the most suitable level of role analysis. Then again validate the content against client requirement by choosing the most predictive scenarios and answer options.

Every scenario used also gives candidates a realistic insight into the role. Thus your applicants’s understanding of their own fit with the role. This operates in addition to the assessment component (of the same situational strengths test).

Every scenario used also gives candidates a realistic insight into the role. Thus your applicants’s understanding of their own fit with the role. This operates in addition to the assessment component (of the same situational strengths test).

Situational Judgement Test Research 2019

Employers are increasingly using bespoke situational judgement tests (where the candidate is presented with scenarios and asked to select the best and the worst thing to do next) as a way to learn more about their character and attitudes to work.

Situation judgment tests 2019

Graduate recruitment trends in 2019

The increase in the number of graduate courses and the career benefits of having a degree have driven a huge increase in the number of graduates. There remains a limited number of vacancies each year on graduate trainee schemes.

During the recent years of recession, the number of graduate entry roles became even more restricted; making graduate recruitment even more competitive. Microsoft, for example, received 15,000 job applications for each of its 150 graduate position in 2009. That year, the success ratio of applications to job offers was 1:100 at Microsoft.

This has created a “bottleneck” between the high number of recent graduates and the considerably lower number who are successfully placed on graduate entry schemes. Clearly, there are severe implications of such a challenging job market for graduates.

For employers too, there is a “war on talent” to find and sign-up the best possible graduates in the marketplace. It is a recruiters’ market, however most recruiters want to recruit the top echelon of high-performing graduates who are showing the best leadership potential, the most effective ability to work in teams, the highest levels of motivation and drive etc. SJTs offer an effective means of measuring each of these abilities and attributes.

Situational Judgement Test Research


Situational judgment tests in the news

On BBC Radio 2, in February 2014, Dr Almuth McDowell referred to the benefits of situational judgement tests and one of the SJT example items developed by Rob Williams Assessment Ltd.

The same interview on SJT benefits also featured in The Times on 4th Feb, Dr Almuth McDowell, a lecturer at the University of Surrey, says psychometric testing has an important role to play, but only in conjunction with other measures, not least because it is possible to cheat. 

Additional situational judgment test tips are available in Rob Williams Assessment Ltd’s latest Career Builder article entitled “How to succeed at management interview tests”.

Example of situational judgement tests 

You mention in passing to a colleague that you believe there are some financial risks associated with a financial product that’s about to be launched to customers. In a team meeting later that week, your colleague shares this information with your manager – without mentioning your name. How do you react?

You are then asked to select your most preferred and least preferred responses

(a) Apologise on your colleague’s behalf for their poor explanation.

(b) Suggest that your colleague does their own research.

(c) Ask your colleague to also include you in future.

(d) Check that your manager understands the risk involved.

By using real life scenarios, the idea is that employers will get a better understanding of how you might operate in the work place.

Branching situational judgement tests 

As psychometric tests have become more commonplace, the bigger users have commissioned their own bespoke situational judgement tests. Rob Williams Assessment has worked on several such projects for High Street banks and for the European Union. Another recent innovation of test developers has been online adaptive tests. With these tests, if you are doing well, you will find that the questions get progressively harder. That can feel like a challenge since you are pushed until you reach the most challenging level you can. This is the level at which you – just like other candidates with your level of verbal reasoning – start to get questions wrong.

The innovative design of shorter and more efficient tests was driven by an increasingly aware of the immediacy of the Internet and our increasing use of emails and social media in short, sharp bursts.  This discourages test takers from spending 30-40 minutes online doing the same questionnaire. Its better for everyone to keep test takers engaged when being tested – not bored!

So what will adaptive tests mean for you as a prospective test taker?  The biggest difference is the shortness of the test. The second major difference is that you will find an adaptive test more challenging. Without getting into their highly technical make-up, the test adapts to your ability level. More specifically it adapts to find the most challenging question that you can answer correctly.

In the past you may have found questions on a test fluctuating in difficulty or generally becoming more and more difficult the further on you get in the test. Consider a test of twenty questions with the first the easiest and the twentieth the most difficult.

Knowledge-based situational judgement tests 

Some or all of the scenarios presented in an SJT can test specific job knowledge. For example, a retail marketing SJT may ask questions about the 3Ps (price, position, promotion) of product marketing. Alternatively both an SJT measuring generic decision-making skills may be used alongside a knowledge-based test.

Video based Situational judgment tests in 2018

Simulated situational judgement tests are increasingly common as recruitment sifts. Adding 2D or 3D workplace scenario graphics brings the situational judgment test scenarios to life. This can only promote the company brand and make employers using simulated situational judgment tests more desirable employers.

UK and US psychometric test publishers have produced both video-based and animated SJT scenarios. Animated SJTs are easier – and therefore cheaper – for global companies to develop.

Situational judgement test research 2010 – 2018

Becker’s development and validation of a situational judgment test of employee integrity.

Secondly, Bergman’s scoring situational judgment tests: Once you get the data, your troubles begin.

Next, Bledlow’s situational judgment test of personal initiative and its relationship to performance.

Also, Campion’s state of research on situational judgment tests: A content analysis and directions for future research.

Then, Catano, V. M., Brochu, A. & Lamerson, C. D. (2012). Assessing the reliability of situational judgment tests used in high_stakes situations. International Journal of Selection and Assessment, 20(3), 333–346.

Also, Chan’s situational judgment and job performance.

Next, Guenole’s Are situational judgment tests precise enough for feedback in leadership development?

Houston’s development of the enlisted computer adaptive personality scales.

Plus, Krumm’s how “situational” is judgment in situational judgment tests?

Also, McDaniel;s towards an understanding of situational judgment item validity and group differences.

Then, McDaniel’s situational judgment tests.

Mumford’s development and validation of a team role knowledge situational judgment test.

Next, Peus’ situation-based measurement of the full range of leadership model. Development and validation of a situational judgment test.

Also, Putting judging situations into situational judgment tests: Evidence from intercultural multimedia situational judgement tests.

Finally, Sharma’s development and validation of a situational judgment test of emotional intelligence.

Situational judgement test research 2010 – 2019

Firstly, Becker’s development and validation of a situational judgment test of employee integrity.

Secondly, Bergman’s scoring situational judgment tests: Once you get the data, your troubles begin.

Next, Bledlow’s situational judgment test of personal initiative and its relationship to performance.

Also, Campion’s state of research on situational judgment tests: A content analysis and directions for future research.

Then, Catano, V. M., Brochu, A. & Lamerson, C. D. (2012). Assessing the reliability of situational judgment tests used in high_stakes situations. International Journal of Selection and Assessment, 20(3), 333–346.

Also, Chan’s situational judgment and job performance.

Next, Guenole’s Are situational judgment tests precise enough for feedback in leadership development?

Situational judgement test research 2010 – 2019 Part II

Also, Houston’s development of the enlisted computer adaptive personality scales.

Plus, Krumm’s how “situational” is judgment in situational judgment tests?

Also, McDaniel;s towards an understanding of situational judgment item validity and group differences.

Situational Strengths Tests

Then, McDaniel’s situational judgment tests.

And finally, Mumford’s development and validation of a team role knowledge situational judgment test.

SJT research 2008 – 2019 Part III

Next, Peus’ situation-based measurement of the full range of leadership model. Development and validation of a situational judgment test.

Also, Putting judging situations into situational judgment tests: Evidence from intercultural multimedia situational judgement tests.

Finally, Sharma’s development and validation of a situational judgment test of emotional intelligence.

Secondly, Campion’s state of research on situational judgment tests: A content analysis and directions for future research.

Thirdly, Catano’s assessing the reliability of situational judgment tests used in high stakes situations.

Fourthly, Guenole’s are situational judgment tests precise enough for feedback in leadership development?

Fifthly, Krumm’s how “situational” is judgment in situational judgment tests?

Situational judgement test research 2008 – 2019 Part IV

Firstly, Lievens’ situational judgment tests: From measures of situational judgment to measures of general domain knowledge.

Secondly, McDaniel’s Toward an understanding of situational judgment item validity and group differences.

Thirdly, Mumford’s team role test. The development and validation of a team role knowledge situational judgment test.

Situational Strengths Tests

Fourthly, Peus’ situation-based measurement of the full range of leadership model. The development and validation of a situational judgment test.

Then, next is Sharma’s development and validation of a situational judgment test of emotional intelligence.

And next is Rockstuhl’s putting judging situations into situational judgment tests: Evidence from intercultural multimedia situational judgment tests.

Plus, Weekley’s low-fidelity simulations.

Then finally, Westring’s estimating trait and situational variance in a situational judgment test.

SJT research 2008 – 2019 Part VI

Firstly, Allen, V., Rahman, N., Weissman, A., MacCann, C., Lewis, C., & Roberts, R. D. (2015). The Situational Test of Emotional Management–Brief (STEM-B): Development and validation using item response theory and latent class analysis. Personality and Individual Differences, 81, 195- 200.

Secondly, Ekman, P. (1992). An argument for basic emotions. Cognition & emotion6(3-4), 169-200.

Thirdly, Bledow, R., & Frese, M. (2009). A situational judgment test of personal initiative and its

Situational Strengths Tests

relationship to performance. Personnel Psychology62(2), 229-258.

Fourthly, Carver, C. S., Scheier, M. F., & Weintraub, J. K. (1989). Assessing coping strategies.

And next Chan, D., & Schmitt, N. (2017). Situational judgment tests. The Blackwell handbook of personnel selection.

Then finally, Ambady, N. (2003). When familiarity breeds accuracy: Cultural exposure and

facial emotion recognition. Journal of personality and social psychology85(2), 276-290.

Situational judgement test research 2008 – 2019 Part V

Firstly, Elfenbein, H. A., Der Foo, M., White, J., Tan, H. H., & Aik, V. C. (2007). Reading your

counterpart: The benefit of emotion recognition accuracy for effectiveness in negotiation. J

Secondly, Farh, C. I., Seo, M. G., & Tesluk, P. E. (2012). Emotional intelligence, teamwork effectiveness, and job performance: The moderating role of job context. Journal of Applied Psychology.

Thirdly, Heggestad, E. D., & Morrison, M. J. (2008). An inductive exploration of the social effectiveness construct space. Journal of personality.

Fourthly, Hogan, R., Chamorro-Premuzic, T., & Kaiser, R. B. (2013). Employability and career success:

Situational Strengths Tests

Bridging the gap between theory and reality. Industrial and Organizational Psychology.

And then, Kaplan, S., Cortina, J., Ruark, G., LaPort, K., & Nicolaides, V. (2014). The role of organizational leaders in employee emotion management: A theoretical model. The Leadership Quarterly25(3), 563-580.

Motowidlo, S. J., Dunnette, M. D., & Carter, G. W. (1990). An alternative selection procedure: The low-fidelity simulation. Journal of Applied Psychology75(6), 640-647.

Ng, T. W., Eby, L. T., Sorensen, K. L., & Feldman, D. C. (2005). Predictors of objective and subjective career success: A meta‐ analysis. Personnel psychology58(2), 367-408.

Then finally, Schlegel, K., & Scherer, K. R. (2016). Introducing a short version of the Geneva Emotion Recognition Test (GERT-S): Psychometric properties and construct validation. Behavior research methods, 48(4), 1383-1392.

Situational strengths tests

Firstly, our situational judgement test designs.

Also finally, our Army situational judgement tests.

Our Psychometric Design Toolkit

Firstly, our strengths psychometric ~ Secondly, our psychometric test design ~ Then our personality test design ~ And finally our Realistic Job Preview Design.

Situational Strengths Tests

Situational judgement test design

We focus here on situational judgement test design.

Secondly, here is a quick intro to situational judgement test formats:

In addition to situational judgement test design, we also specialise in other forms of psychometric test design, such as personality test design and verbal reasoning test design.

Premium Situational judgement test practice

                  I.           Match to job competencies

  • You can buy off-the-shelf SJTs specific to your industry.
  • Or which are specific to a function such as sales.
  • However, you then lose one bit of SJT magic that makes them special. This is that each question can be crafted to assess critical role behaviours.

                II.           Conduct a range of job analyses

  • You should run critical incidents role analysis to capture all the critical behaviours. These are those leading to successful or unsuccessful workplace outcomes.
  • For example, a happy or an unhappy customer interaction.
  • If there are national – or international – role differences then it’s vital to document differences. In particular for the US.
  • We recommend a blend of face-to-face strategic interviews with senior stakeholders.
  • Plus, a telephone-based approach for job incumbents.
  • Also, running separate focus groups for all line managers.

            III.           Probe interviewees (for a range of options)

A few people in your sample will provide most of the information you need. Simply must include the obligatory Pareto Law quote here and say it’s exactly 80% of what you need. Take your time and probe these individuals carefully, going beyond the critical scenarios to explore possible correct and incorrect responses to that situation. Ideally also what a less experienced colleague may do in that situation. Then voila, your interviewee has written the SJT question for you!

             IV.           Follow the “Rules of Item Writing”

More seriously there’s lots of “rules” to writing clear and concise SJT scenarios and answer options. Too many to cover here in detail. Suffice to say that for each broken item writing rule, your SJT’s validity will suffer that little bit more.

               V.           Score both answers

When designing the scoring key/format, my preference is usually to score both the Most and the Least answers chosen. This has always worked well in terms of variance and final item selection.

              VI.           Include an SME Trial

A subject-matter expert (SME) review is vital. It must be done pre-trial so that any unsuitable scenarios are discredited before any valuable trial time is wasted on them. Do schedule in your own editorial time since you need to prepare a finessed Role Incumbent Trial version next.

Aim for 15+ subject matter experts from across the business who have different selection, managing and developing responsibilities for the role being assessed. You can sell this process to senior managers as “the real role experts”, thereby enhancing their engagement in your entire SJT design project!

           VII.            Check scenario realism

Your trial phase gives you the opportunity to get respondents to rate how realistic the scenario/answer options are. This is invaluable at the trial data analysis phase.

         VIII.           Maximise trial numbers

Aim for 300 current role incumbents to trial your SJT. Do extend the trial period if necessary to achieve this. However, such a high number is needed to ensure that you have sufficient numbers within each subgroup (for your equal opportunities analysis).

             IX.            Validate

To set accurate cut-off scores, collect criterion validity evidence. You have two samples. Firstly, your trial group. secondly, your validation sample. Focus on those trial participants for whom you also have job performance data.

                X.           Updated norm group

My final, key lesson is to use an enhanced norm group as soon as you can, ideally from the start. Get sufficient numbers of “live applicants”. This is then the best norm group to use. Any cut-off/equal opportunities analysis can be adjusted accordingly.

Lazard Brothers and AECOM graduate engineers

  • Situational judgement test validations

British Army Situational Judgement Test Designs

Psychometric lead role with Kenexa IBM; managing twenty associates.

  • We developed over twenty psychometric tests;
  • Situational judgement tests for Officers and for Soldiers;
  • Realistic job previews for Officers and for soldiers;
  • Ability tests (including problem-solving test) for Officers;
  • Ability tests (including a spatial reasoning test) for soldiers;
  • Officer personality questionnaire;
  • Soldier career guidance tools.

Education and public sectors

  • Numerical reasoning, verbal reasoning, abstract reasoning and decision analysis tests.
  • Critical reasoning aptitude test (legal sector).
  • Situational judgement test (health sector).

Citibank Situational Judgement Test Design

  • Designing blended assessments for retail and call centre operations across the USA.
  • Allowing for cultural differences in Mexican operations.
  • Managing item writing team for SJTs, ability tests, biodata questions etc.

Situational Judgement Test examples

In 2015 we produced an online situational judgement test and a realistic job preview for BUPA’s Care Assistant role.

Each Care Assistant SJT scenario addressed Bupa-specific value(s) and high quality approach to residential care. Whilst, also showing a trainee Care Assistant was highly likely to encounter in their first few days of employment.

BUPA Aims for situational judgment test design

The first priority was a reliable and face valid situational judgement test. The realistic job preview (RJP) would then be an adapted, non-test version of the SJT.

SJT design challenges

  1. Improve the current recruitment process for care assistants using a sift to remove those applicants who did not demonstrate Bupa’s caring and resilient approach to care.
  2. Use realistic job scenarios to capture the key values and behaviours for effective performance as a Care Assistant. This was in both residential and/or nursing Bupa care homes.
  3. Using an advanced situational judgement Best and Worst answer format. This was to determine which of these key values and behaviours was measureable.
  4. Produce a final version with up to 20 of the best situations. This was based upon analysis of the trial situational judgement questionnaire results.

The Key Steps to a Situational Judgement Test Solution

In consultation with Bupa, an assessment tool was produced via the following stages:

  • The Care Assistant job description and BUPA values documentation were analysed.
  • Role analysis sessions based on the collection of critical incidents.
  • Visionary interviews were held with Care Home Managers.
  • Interview notes were analysed.
  • Scenario writing was completed for each competency/value.
  • Each scenario was based on the job analysis output.

Key Steps Part II

  • Two item writers used their own item-writing style to create a broad range of scenarios.
  • Each item writer then reviewed the other’s items for ease of understanding, social desirability and suitability for assessing Care Assistant skills (using an SJT).
  • A consensus was reached as to the final set of representative trial item scenarios.
  • Produced a trial (Subject Matter Expert) version for completion and review by a small cohort of Care Home Managers. Their comments were particularly useful for editing scenarios and ensuring the realism of the trial scenarios.
  • An edited and improved trial (Care Assistant) version was then produced.
  • Arrangements were made to conduct a paper trial of 70 care assistants working around the UK.
  • For each scenario, trial participants were also asked to rate how realistic the scenario was. Plus, to add any comments.

Situational Judgement Test Solution Steps Part III

  • BUPA trial participants were asked to rate the effectiveness of each action associated with each situation. The rating scale was from Totally Ineffective to Highly Effective.
  • Convene a panel meeting with several Care Home Managers and recruitment personnel.
  • Then review each scenario’s trial statistics.
  • The consistency of statistical analysis was presented to these SMEs for discussion and final scenario selection.

 The Beneficial Outcomes

  • Best practice was followed throughout the design process in SJT design.
  • An SJT was produced which successfully incorporated a range of care home-specific scenarios.
  • SJT’s also make excellent company-specific tests. With a bespoke psychometric test, organisations can design the content of their test(s) to match their own industry sector. 

How are situational judgment tests designed?

See this page for more info on the Army Situational judgement test design and the Officer Situational questions design.

Medical schools, for example, use situational judgment tests to assess the temperament for managing high-pressure situations in the most moral, effective way possible. These situational judgment tests are unique to the medical school context. They use bespoke scenarios representing those critical incidents a doctor needs to know how to manage. It’s important to note that these SJTs don’t require extensive medical knowledge; rather they evaluate a candidate’s decision-making skills. 

10 Study Skills Tips

Find time to study.

  • In our opinion if you manage your time badly, you will be less productive. So manage it well! This can lead to increased stress and anxiety levels. In particular, around exam time.

Keep to a routine.

  • Work in the same place at the same time each day. Also, make sure you have everything you need before you start.

Work to your strengths.

  • Schedule challenging tasks for when you are most alert. And routine ones for when you are more tired.

Don’t waste time.

  • Rather than reading irrelevant material, skim and scan. Then decide if you need to read something in-depth.

Avoid distractions.

  • Switch emails and social media off. This prevents your mind wandering while trying to learn new information!

Regularly review your notes – Edit out what you don’t need. Ask yourself the question, Is this relevant to my assignment? How does it relate to what I already know?

Vary how you to take notes.

  • Use Mind Maps and diagrams to generate ideas. Or to focus your ideas for essay or report plans.

Be critical

  • Make sure that you always add your own comment to every concept or quotation that you write down. Maintain a critical and analytical approach at all times!

Plan your work.

  • If writing an assignment produce a detailed plan before you start to write it. This will make the drafting process much less stressful

Understand different styles.

  • Understand different writing styles. For exampls, academic journal and journalistic styles. You can put what you read into perspective. In particular, you can become more aware of any particular bias.

Realistic Job Preview Design

This are an area that Rob Williams Assessment Ltd also specialise in. This builds on our situational judgement test design and we are often asked to design both a realistic job preview and a situational judgement test at the same time.

Our approach to the design of realistic job previews has the following phases.

Many application processes now start online with a realistic job preview design that potential applicants take on the company website to “test” if the role still appears suitable after finding out about the realities of the role. Hence it’s a job preview but a realistic one.

Realistic Job Preview format

Typically, the test format is similar to an SJT design. However, the realistic job preview (RJP) is not a test or assessment. Thus, there’s usually a more sophisticated SJT used. This is in a subsequent phase.

Step-by-step role preview design 

  • Plan a representative sample.
  • Conduct a highly detailed  set of telephone interviews and focus groups.
  • Item writing for the SJT / RJP.SJT / RJP item reviewing.
  • Trial the SJT and rJP.
  • Conduct statistical analysis.
  • Present trial results at a standard-setting meeting with SME’s.
  • Validate the SJT and RJP.
  • Norm the SJT and RJP.

Rob Williams latest book 

Are you chasing a job that you really want, but need to take a verbal reasoning test to get it? With the help of this book, you’ll sharpen your skills and quickly become confident in your ability to pass. 

Brilliant Passing Numerical Reasoning Tests book – also available for download from the Apple Store. 

– – – Situational Test Design – – –

Consumer Jobs

Situational Judgement Test Design Examples

Enjoy our free situational judgement test examples.

SJT examples

Each situational judgmeent test respondent must review a full set of scenarios. For each SJT scenario the respondent must analyse the possible rationale for each multiple-choice answer options being the correct answer.

For example, making a judgement…

  • As to which answer response option is most closely aligned with the company’s expectations. This could be around complying with company rules or acting in line with company values.
  • Based on ambiguous or incomplete information.
  • On achieving a shared goal.
  • About which actions are more likely to achieve the objective (outlined in the SJT scenario).
  • On how best to interact with colleagues in their team. Or on a work project.

Premium Situational judgement test practice

Working With Others competency

EPSO SJT Example 1 – Working with Others

Most Likely / Least Likely

If a problem requiring urgent attention occurred in my department but I know that it was a colleague’s responsibility, I would…
aContinue as normal and stay focused on doing my own job. 
bInform my manager about the colleague who was a fault. 
cStop doing whatever I was doing and help to fix the problem.

M

dConsider it my supervisor’s job to speak to the colleague at fault.

L

Delivering Quality and Results competency 

EPSO SJT Example 1 – Delivering Quality and Results

Most Likely / Least Likely

Two colleagues are transferred into your team from a poorly performing team; comprised mainly of new joiners. Your manager proposes that you monitor the quality of their work. It is your responsibility to drive their performance upwards.
aProduce and review daily performance reports before sending them to your manager. 
bSet additional targets of a type that each colleague has agreed will motivate them          M
cGive the two colleagues a  few days to settle in and then call a meeting. 
dAsk each of the two colleagues which reward will be the most effective at motivating them.

L

Prioritising and Organising competency Situational judgement test example

EPSO SJT Example 1 – Prioritising and Organising

Most Likely / Least Likely

You have two very important deadlines to meet by the end of your working day. However it is becoming clear in your final two hours of working that you are in danger of missing both deadlines.
aSpeed up your remaining tasks so that you will still be able to meet both deadlines. 
bAim to achieve one deadline and to renegotiate the delivery date for the other. 
cWork out what’s left to do and then prioritise the most critical tasks for the time remaining.

M

dFocus on still doing a quality job even if you must miss a deadline.

L

Analysis and Problem-Solving competency

EPSO SJT Example 1 – Analysis and Problem-Solving

Most Likely / Least Likely

This year there’s already been lots of new processes causing some problems amongst your team. As a result, some of your colleagues are now very resistant handling any more change. In fact, one of your closest team colleagues has just confided in you that they really cannot cope with another increase in their daily responsibilities.
aAdvise your superior a colleague was feeling very stressed, which could be a wider team problem          M
bBe empathetic whilst suggesting that they are more confident about their capacity for coping. 
cAdvise your colleague to take a deep breath for the time being, and to wait for things to improve. 
dSuggest that there are specialists who are experienced at coping with stress at work.

L

Resilience competency Situational judgement test example

EPSO SJT Example 2 – Resilience

Most Likely / Least Likely

Each member of your team agreed a set of priorities with your manager. Surprisingly you and the team just heard a presentation by this senior manager outlining a completely different set of priorities.
aGet your team’s perspective on the situation and pass on these views to your manager. 
bEmail your senior manager a breakdown of the differences and copy in each of your team. 
cFocus on the meeting and its outcomes – the previous set of priorities is clearly now out -of-date.

L

dHighlight to your senior manager how what you just heard contradicts what was said before.

M

Additional assessment practice

Our psychometric test designs

Strengths Design  ~ Realistic Job Preview Design ~ Personality Test Design ~ Situational Judgment Test Design ~ Psychometric Test Design. ~  Army situational judgement tests.

Situational judgement test examples

Job Preview Design

Many application processes now start online with a realistic job preview design that potential applicants take on the company website to “test” if the role still appears suitable after finding out about the realities of the role. Hence it’s a job preview but a realistic one.

Realistic role preview design

Typically, the test format is similar to an SJT in that job scenarios are presented which give the test-taker / job applicant an idea of what the job entails. Whilst the realistic job preview (RJP) is not a testing phase often there will be a more sophisticated SJT in a subsequent phase. In more sophisticated examples still graphics or video technology is used to further enhance the Realistic job preview / SJT experience for candidates.

This are an area that Rob Williams Assessment Ltd also specialise in. This builds on our situational judgement test design and we are often asked to design both a realistic job preview and a situational judgement test at the same time.

Our approach to the design of realistic job previews has the following phases.

Step-by-step role preview design 

(1) Planning a representative sample

(2) Conducting a highly detailed  set of telephone interviews and focus groups.

(3) Item writing

(4) SJT and RJP item reviewing

(5) compile a trial version to be reviewed by 10-12 subject matter experts (SME’s) in the role

(6) Trialling the situational judgement test

(7) Statistical analysis

(8) Presentation of trial results at standard-setting meeting with core SME’s

(9) Validation and norming the situational judgement test

– – – Job Preview – – –

Additional assessment practice

Our psychometric test designs

Personality Test Design ~ Situational Judgment Test Design ~ Psychometric Test Design.

Situational judgement test woman thinking.

Situational Judgement Test Practice

In our opinion, this is the best page you will find for situational judgement test practice resources.

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Situational judgement test tips

  • Firstly, identify which 3-4 factors need to be considered in your decision-making. For example time, money and quality impact upon many business decisions.
  • Think in advance of the highest priority criteria: which could be commercial awareness, planning/organising, maintaining an ethical approach.
  • Note, that this is important since when you are presented with an SJT scenario you must “judge” the Best and Worst response to that scenario within that specific work context.
  • Judge the Best response to be the one that addresses all these factors. It’s advisable to answer as the most ethical employee.
  • In our opinion, firstly if two of the answer options are very similar then it’s unlikely that either one is the Best or Worst answer. For example, a short-term fix to the SJT scenario would only be half-right.
  • In our opinion, secondly, you need to select an answer option with a longer-term, complete solution.

Our Top Tips

  • Each SJT scenario will measure one of these competencies based on both the best and worst answers, so focus on getting both correct. 
  • Each SJT scenario requires you to make an effective judgement. This will involve prioritising which aspects of the scenario are most important to fix first. . Any answer option that does not move the scenario situation forward will not be the correct “Best” action to take. The “Worst” answer option will be one that makes the situation even worse.
  • While several answer options may seem like a sufficient solution in the short-term, you shouldn’t be looking for a quick and easy stop-gap solution. The “Best” solution will always be the one that actually solves the problem. You need to identify a medium- to a long-term solution that has lasting benefits.
  • Be your most ethical self when taking an SJT. Any answer option that is slightly unethical or dishonest to anyone involved will not be the correct answer. Look for the most virtuous answer if there is one – demonstrating respect for others, integrity and conscientiousness.
  • Logically, the “Best” and “Worst” answers need to be distinct from the other answer options. Check if two answer options seem very similar to you. It’s likely these are the “distractor” answer options and neither the best – or the worst – answer.

Situational judgement practice. Woman on customer service call.Real situational judgement test examples

The Graduate Dilemmas SJT is used to assess the most relevant graduates to take through to the assessment centre and / or to interview.

Administrative Dilemmas SJT is used to assess the judgement and decision-making of admin, clerical and secretarial roles.

The Customer Service Dilemmas SJT is used to assess face-to-face customer service skills.

Call Centre Dilemmas SJT is used to find out who can deliver excellent call centre sales and customer service skills.

The Management Dilemma SJT is used to assess the most or to develop more effective managers.

Background to situational judgement tests

Situational judgement test questions can be designed around a specific role. Because SJTs are bespoke, candidates rate them highly as a valid application stage.

In fact, there is a type of SJT called a realistic job preview which is used solely to give job applicants a realistic preview of a role.

In our opinion, the situational judgment test presents realistic job scenarios. The idea is that employers will get a better understanding of how you might operate in the work place.

  • These measure those skills of judgment and evaluation which are vital to any managerial role. Role-specific competencies will be measured, typically customer service, communication and teamwork.
  • SJTs are a highly effective means of measuring an applicant’s competency behaviours – i.e., the characteristics that determine how they behave in certain areas.
  • SJTs are a fair test of how the candidate would solve a job’s daily challenges.

First worked situational judgment test scenario

You have two very important deadlines to meet by the end of your working day. However, it is becoming clear in your final two hours of working that you are in danger of missing both deadlines?

You are then asked to select your most preferred and least preferred responses:

(a) Work out what’s left to do and then prioritise the critical tasks for the time remaining.

(b) Focus on still doing a quality job even if you must miss a deadline.

(c) Speed up your remaining tasks so that you will still be able to meet both deadlines.

(d) Aim to achieve one deadline and to renegotiate the delivery date for the other.

In this instance, the best response is (a) Work out what’s left to do and then prioritise the critical tasks for the time remaining. The worst response is (b) Focus on still doing a quality job even if you must miss a deadline. The best outcome is to meet the deadline after making a considered judgement call. Missing the important deadline is the worst outcome. 

Second situational judgment test scenario

If you have a job description or a detailed job advert this will probably tell you some, or all, of the role’s competency behaviours. These are the abilities and skills you need to demonstrate when completing the SJT.

Situational judgement tests typically measure problem-solving skills, team working, leadership/managerial abilities and, if applicable, customer service skills. Employers are looking for someone who has the necessary job characteristics and skills.

Final SJT scenario

You have a couple of key deadlines to finish by close of play. It’s 4 pm now and you could easily miss both deadlines?

What’s your Most Preferred and Your Least Preferred action to take next?

(a) Work out what’s left to do and then prioritise the critical tasks for the time remaining.

(b) Focus on still doing a quality job even if you must miss a deadline.

(c) Speed up your remaining tasks so that you will still be able to meet both deadlines.

(d) Aim to achieve one deadline and to renegotiate the delivery date for the second one.

Situational Judgement Test Explained Answer:

Your Most Suitable response should have been:

Work out what’s left to do and then prioritise the critical tasks for the time remaining. Since the best outcome is to meet the deadline after making a considered judgement call. Whereas, missing any key deadline must be the worst overall outcome.

Your Least Suitable response should have been:

Focus on still doing a quality job even if you must miss a deadline. 

– See more at:  What you need to know about situational judgement tests

Medical FPAS situational judgement test practice

Plus, here’s an example doctor situational judgement test:

  • It’s early morning and you are chatting with your colleague doctor. A colleague jokes they were out late at a party and feel a bit shaky this morning. Do you…?

a) Report your colleague to the authorities.

b) Advise your colleague to drink more sensibly.

c) Stop your colleague from treating any patients today.

Police situational judgement test practice

Plus, here’s an example police situational judgement test:

The manager of a large luxury clothing store is complaining to you about the large amount of theft from teenagers. This is the third time today you’ve been in this situation. Should you…?

a) Empathise with the manager and offer your help

b) Explain that now the police are involved, the thieves will be caught

c) Point out that other stores have similar problems

Civil Service situational judgement test practice

Plus, here’s an example civil service situational judgement test:

You’ve been leading your project team on a very challenging project for six months. For the second time this week, one of your closest colleagues has asked to speak to you privately. He says that he’s suffering from stress after finding the project commitments exhausting.

a) Explain his role responsibilities.

b) Offer to make changes to his job role.

c) Suggest that he goes to see a doctor.

Fireman situational judgement test practice

Plus, here’s an example fireman situational judgement test:

You’re attending a traffic accident when you are approached by an onlooker. They say they’d like to help and ask you what has happened. Would you…?

a) Insist they step aside and allow you to do your job

b) Request that they stick close behind you

c) Promise that you will get back to them later

Manager situational judgement test practice

Plus, here’s an example manager situational judgement test scenario:

You are at a meeting with your fellow managers discussing an incident which took place a couple of days ago. Although the incident was well handled, you have some concerns about the new procedures that have been introduced. Even though you feel you briefed your team on the new procedures they seemed to have difficulty knowing what to do at crucial times during the incident.

Practising psychometric test questions is known to significantly improve your chances of passing a verbal reasoning test. Try to squeeze in as much advance practice as possible so you can to improve your confidence and keep a clear head on the day. Continually review what you have learnt from practice situational judgement test sessions so that you use your time most effectively.

Situational judgement test practice. Man with clipboard interviewing woman.

When should I do my situational judgement test practice?

First, think about how much time you can spare for practising situational judgement test questions. Then set aside the time so you can conduct as many practice situational judgement test sessions as possible over a period of several weeks or months. Set aside a particular time of day or week when your mind is most alert. You will improve your SJT performance the most if you undertake several practice sessions instead of one big one. At first, it may seem as if you are only making small gains, but these small gains will soon add up to improved situational judgement test-taking skills.

You need this much situational judgement test practice

That depends on why you are taking the test and your current skill level. Your situational judgement test may be key to a new job or a new stage in your life. It’s always worth maximising your situational judgement test practice opportunities when your future is at stake.

Where should I start my situational judgement test practice?

If you don’t already know exactly what type of situational judgement test you will be taking, you should find out as your first step. Knowing what to expect on your test day will give you a big advantage, so learn as much as you can about the test you are going to take. Your recruiting organisation may send you to practice situational judgement test examples in advance of your SJT. 

This situational judgement test practice opportunity levels the playing field and gives everyone a fair chance – particularly important for people who have not taken a situational judgement test before.

It’s a great idea to call your prospective employer and ask for information regarding the situational judgement test you are going to complete.

Stretch yourself when practising situational judgement tests

This might seem like a quick win, but it isn’t. It will save you the time needed to work your way through the questions but it won’t improve your situational judgement skills.

Assessing Judgement & Decision-Making using SJT’s

Judgement is one of the most difficult skills to assess online. This is one of the reasons why situational judgement tests have become more and more prevalent in recent years since the first SJTs appeared on the market about fifty years ago. The two other main reasons are that situational judgement assessments also offer a fairer assessment than aptitude tests and personality questionnaires. A well-written SJT that is bespoke to a particular job role or managerial level will reflect the judgement and decision-making skills that are required.

Situational Judgement Test Strategies

Commonly featured as graduate recruitment sift, along with numerical reasoning and verbal reasoning tests, the SJT has several advantages:

  • SJTs are a highly effective means of measuring an applicant’s competency behaviours.
  • SJTs are a fair test with little bias due to gender or ethnic group.
  • Situational judgement test questions designed around a specific role.
  • Because SJTs are bespoke, candidates usually rate them highly as a valid application stage.

Situational judgement test tips

If you have a job description or a detailed job advert this will probably tell you some, or all, of the role’s competency behaviours. These are the abilities and skills you need to demonstrate when completing the SJT.

One of our key situational judgement test tips is that these typically measure problem-solving skills, team working, leadership/managerial abilities and, if applicable, customer service skills. Employers are also looking for someone who has the underlying characteristics and behaviours that will enable them to operate effectively in the given job role.

Passing situational judgment test sifts

  • Each SJT scenario will measure one of these competencies based on both the Best and Worst answers, so focus on getting both correct. You won’t need to get every question right, however, scoring low on any given competency will detract from your overall SJT score.
  • Other useful situational judgement test tips include the fact that each SJT scenario requires you to make an effective judgement. This will involve prioritising which aspects of the scenario are most important to fix first.

– – – Situational Judgement Test Tips – – –

  • Identifying and addressing this vital element of each scenario is the key to passing a situational judgement test. Any answer option that does not move the scenario situation forward will not be the correct “Best” action to take. The “Worst” answer option will be one that makes the situation even worse.
  • While several answer options may seem like a sufficient solution in the short-term, you shouldn’t be looking for a quick and easy stop-gap solution. The “Best” solution will always be the one that actually solves the problem. You need to identify a medium- to a long-term solution that has lasting benefits.

– – – Situational Judgement Test Practice – – –

Situational judgement test tips

  • Firstly, identify which 3-4 factors need to be considered in your decision-making. For example: time, money and quality impact upon many business decisions.
  • Think in advance of the highest priority criteria: which could be commercial awareness, planning/organising, maintaining an ethical approach.
  • Note, that this is important since when you are presented with an SJT scenario you must “judge” the Best and Worst response to that scenario within that specific work context.
  • Judge the Best response to be the one that addresses all these factors. It’s advisable to answer as the most ethical employee.
  • In our opinion, firstly if two of the answer options are very similar then it’s unlikely that either one is the Best or Worst answer. For example, a short-term fix to the SJT scenario would only be half-right.
  • In our opinion, secondly, you need to select an answer option with a longer-term, complete solution.

Our Top Tips

  • Each SJT scenario will measure one of these competencies based on both the best and worst answers, so focus on getting both correct. 
  • Each SJT scenario requires you to make an effective judgement. This will involve prioritising which aspects of the scenario are most important to fix first. . Any answer option that does not move the scenario situation forward will not be the correct “Best” action to take. The “Worst” answer option will be one that makes the situation even worse.
  • While several answer options may seem like a sufficient solution in the short-term, you shouldn’t be looking for a quick and easy stop-gap solution. The “Best” solution will always be the one that actually solves the problem. You need to identify a medium- to long-term solution that has lasting benefits.
  • Be your most ethical self when taking an SJT. Any answer option that is slightly unethical or dishonest to anyone involved will not be the correct answer. Look for the most virtuous answer if there is one – demonstrating respect for others, integrity and conscientiousness.
  • Logically, the “Best” and “Worst” answers need to be distinct from the other answer options. Check if two answer options seem very similar to you. It’s likely these are the “distractor” answer options and neither the best – or the worst – answer.

Situational judgement practice. Woman on customer service call.Real situational judgement test examples

The Graduate Dilemmas SJT is used to assess the most relevant graduates to take through to assessment centre and / or to interview.

Administrative Dilemmas SJT is used to assess the judgement and decison-making of admin, clerical and secretarial roles.

The Customer Service Dilemmas SJT is used to assess face-to-face customer service skills.

Call Centre Dilemmas SJT is used to find out who can deliver excellent call centre sales and customer service skills.

The Management Dilemma SJT is used to assess the most or to develop more effective managers.

Background to situational judgement tests

Situational judgement test questions can be designed around a specific role. Because SJTs are bespoke, candidates rate them highly as a valid application stage.

In fact, there is a type of SJT called a realistic job preview which is used solely to give job applicants a realistic preview of a role.

In our opinion, situational judgment test presents realistic job scenarios. The idea is that employers will get a better understanding of how you might operate in the work place.

  • These measure those skills of judgment and evaluation which are vital to any managerial role. Role-specific competencies will be measured, typically customer service, communication and teamwork.
  • SJTs are a highly effective means of measuring an applicant’s competency behaviours – i.e., the characteristics that determine how they behave in certain areas.
  • SJTs are a fair test of how the candidate would solve a job’s daily challenges.

First worked situational judgment test scenario

You have two very important deadlines to meet by the end of your working day. However, it is becoming clear in your final two hours of working that you are in danger of missing both deadlines?

You are then asked to select your most preferred and least preferred responses:

(a) Work out what’s left to do and then prioritise the critical tasks for the time remaining.

(b) Focus on still doing a quality job even if you must miss a deadline.

(c) Speed up your remaining tasks so that you will still be able to meet both deadlines.

(d) Aim to achieve one deadline and to renegotiate the delivery date for the other.

In this instance, the best response is (a) Work out what’s left to do and then prioritise the critical tasks for the time remaining. The worst response is (b) Focus on still doing a quality job even if you must miss a deadline. The best outcome is to meet the deadline after making a considered judgement call. Missing the important deadline is the worst outcome. 

Second situational judgment test scenario

If you have a job description or a detailed job advert this will probably tell you some, or all, of the role’s competency behaviours. These are the abilities and skills you need to demonstrate when completing the SJT.

Situational judgement tests typically measure problem-solving skills, team working, leadership/managerial abilities and, if applicable, customer service skills. Employers are looking for someone who has the necessary job characteristics and skills.

Final SJT scenario

You’ve a couple of key deadlines to finish by close of play. It’s 4pm now and you could easily miss both deadlines?

What’s your Most Preferred and Your Least Preferred action to take next?

(a) Work out what’s left to do and then prioritise the critical tasks for the time remaining.

(b) Focus on still doing a quality job even if you must miss a deadline.

(c) Speed up your remaining tasks so that you will still be able to meet both deadlines.

(d) Aim to achieve one deadline and to renegotiate the delivery date for the second one.

Situational Judgement Test Explained Answer:

Your Most Suitable response should have been:

Work out what’s left to do and then prioritise the critical tasks for the time remaining. Since the best outcome is to meet the deadline after making a considered judgement call. Whereas, missing any key deadline must be the worst overall outcome.

Your Least Suitable response should have been:

Focus on still doing a quality job even if you must miss a deadline. 

– See more at: What you need to know about situational judgement tests

Medical FPAS situational judgement test practice

Plus, here’s an example doctor situational judgement test:

  • It’s early morning and you are chatting with your colleague doctor. A colleague jokes they were out late at a party and feel a bit shaky this morning. Do you…?

a) Report your colleague to the authorities.

b) Advise your colleague to drink more sensibly.

c) Stop your colleague from treating any patients today.

Police situational judgement test practice

Plus, here’s an example police situational judgement test:

The manager of a large luxury clothing store is complaining to you about the large amount of theft from teenagers. This is the third time today you’ve been in this situation. Should you…?

a) Empathise with the manager and offer your help

b) Explain that now the police are involved, the thieves will be caught

c) Point out that other stores have similar problems

Civil Service situational judgement test practice

Plus, here’s an example civil service situational judgement test:

You’ve been leading your project team on a very challenging project for six months. For the second time this week, one of your closest colleagues has asked to speak to you privately. He says that he’s suffering from stress after finding the project commitments exhausting.

a) Explain his role responsibilities.

b) Offer to make changes to his job role.

c) Suggest that he goes to see a doctor.

Fireman situational judgement test practice

Plus, here’s an example fireman situational judgement test:

You’re attending a traffic accident when you are approached by an onlooker. They say they’d like to help and ask you what has happened. Would you…?

a) Insist they step aside and allow you to do your job

b) Request that they stick close behind you

c) Promise that you will get back to them later

Manager situational judgement test practice

Plus, here’s an example manager situational judgement test scenario:

You are at a meeting with your fellow managers discussing an incident which took place a couple of days ago. Although the incident was well handled, you have some concerns about the new procedures that have been introduced. Even though you feel you briefed your team on the new procedures they seemed to have difficulty knowing what to do at crucial times during the incident.

Practising psychometric test questions is known to significantly improve your chances of passing a verbal reasoning test. Try to squeeze in as much advance practice as possible so you can to improve your confidence and keep a clear head on the day. Continually review what you have learnt from practice situational judgement test sessions so that you use your time most effectively.

Situational judgement test practice. Man with clipboard interviewing woman.

When should I do my situational judgement test practise?

First think about how much time you can spare for practising situational judgement test questions. Then set aside the time so you can conduct as many practice situational judgement test sessions as possible over a period of several weeks or months. Set aside a particular time of day or week when your mind is most alert. You will improve your SJT performance the most if you undertake several practice sessions instead of one big one. At first, it may seem as if you are only making small gains, but these small gains will soon add up to improved situational judgement test-taking skills.

You need this much situational judgement test practice

That depends on why you are taking the test and your current skill level. Your situational judgement test may be a key to a new job or a new stage in your life. It’s always worth maximising your situational judgement test practice opportunities when your future is at stake.

Where should I start my situational judgement test practice?

If you don’t already know exactly what type of situational judgement test you will be taking, you should find out as your first step. Knowing what to expect on your test day will give you a big advantage, so learn as much as you can about the test you are going to take. Your recruiting organisation may send you practice situational judgement test examples in advance of your SJT. 

This situational judgement test practice opportunity levels the playing field and gives everyone a fair chance – particularly important for people who have not taken a situational judgement test before.

It’s a great idea to call your prospective employer and ask for information regarding the situational judgement test you are going to complete.

Stretch yourself when practising situational judgement tests

This might seem like a quick win, but it isn’t. It will save you the time needed to work your way through the questions but it won’t improve your situational judgement skills.

Assessing Judgement & Decision-Making using SJT’s

Judgement is one of the most difficult skills to assess online. This is one of the reasons why situational judgement tests have become more and more prevalent in recent years since the first SJTs appeared on the market about fifty years ago. The two other main reasons are that situational judgement assessments also offer a fairer assessment than aptitude tests and personality questionnaires. A well-written SJT that is bespoke to a particular job role or managerial level will reflect the judgement and decision-making skills that are required.

Situational Strengths Test

An excellent example is CAPP’s Situational Strengths Test. This builds on the many advantages that SJTs have, being:

–Easy to administer to a large audience.

–Relatively strong validity.

–Can assess a sample of the relevant KSA’s.

–Refreshed items possible.

–More difficult to fake responses.

Bespoke VBR Example

  • 3-4 scenarios will assess each value, giving approx. 15-16 questions.
  • Provides accurate and meaningful feedback to each respondent.
  • This practical job preview has the advantage of using the same SJT format.

Situational interview(s) comprising:

  • Values.
  • Competency; and
  • Technical questions.

Situational Simulation Exercises

  • Scenarios from job analysis used to design simulation exercises.
  • Parallel version developed to maximise exercise integrity.
  • And to minimise the risk of applicants sharing details of tools.
  • Without compromising the validity of the assessment process

Situational Values-Based Interview

  • We propose a structured interview comprising values, competency and technical pharmacy questions
  • Collaborate with job incumbents to design technical questions/scoring guide.

A situational judgement test, or SJT, presents realistic scenarios similar to those that would be encountered when doing a particular job. Typically, candidates must identify the Best and the Worst course of action from four multiple-choice options. In other words, you must make two “judgements” about what to do and what not to do next in the “situation” presented. An alternative SJT format asks the test-taker to rank multiple-choice options in terms of effectiveness.

Situational Judgement Test Strategies

Commonly featured as graduate recruitment sift, along with numerical reasoning and verbal reasoning tests, the SJT has several advantages:

  • SJTs are a highly effective means of measuring an applicant’s competency behaviours.
  • SJTs are a fair test with little bias due to gender or ethnic group.
  • Situational judgement test questions designed around a specific role.
  • Because SJTs are bespoke, candidates usually rate them highly as a valid application stage.

Situational judgement test tips

If you have a job description or a detailed job advert this will probably tell you some, or all, of the role’s competency behaviours. These are the abilities and skills you need to demonstrate when completing the SJT.

One of our key situational judgement test tips is that these typically measure problem-solving skills, team working, leadership/managerial abilities and, if applicable, customer service skills. Employers are also looking for someone who has the underlying characteristics and behaviours that will enable them to operate effectively in the given job role.

Passing situational judgment test sifts

  • Each SJT scenario will measure one of these competencies based on both the Best and Worst answers, so focus on getting both correct. You won’t need to get every question right, however, scoring low on any given competency will detract from your overall SJT score.
  • Other useful situational judgement test tips include the fact that each SJT scenario requires you to make an effective judgement. This will involve prioritising which aspects of the scenario are most important to fix first.

– – – Situational Judgement Test Tips – – –

  • Identifying and addressing this vital element of each scenario is the key to passing a situational judgement test. Any answer option that does not move the scenario situation forward will not be the correct “Best” action to take. The “Worst” answer option will be one that makes the situation even worse.
  • While several answer options may seem like a sufficient solution in the short-term, you shouldn’t be looking for a quick and easy stop-gap solution. The “Best” solution will always be the one that actually solves the problem. You need to identify a medium- to a long-term solution that has lasting benefits.

Why use Situational Judgement Tests?

Candidates prefer SJTs compared to cognitive ability and personality tests.

Traditionally, selection into medical education professions has focused primarily upon academic ability alone.

There are mounting calls to widen access to medicine, to ensure that selection methods do not unfairly disadvantage individuals from specific groups (e.g. regarding ethnicity or socio-economic status) so that the future workforce adequately represents society as a whole.

What are Situational Judgement Tests?

Firstly, situational judgement tests (SJTs) assess individuals’ reactions to a number of hypothetical role-relevant scenarios, which reflect situations candidates are likely to encounter in the target role.

Secondly, in our opinion, SJTs measure pro-social Implicit Trait Policies (ITPs) – shaped by socialisation processes. For example, helping others in need), or disagreeable actions (e.g. advancing one’s own interest at others, expense).

SJTs have significant added value (incremental validity) over and above other selection methods such as knowledge tests, measures of cognitive ability, personality tests and application forms. SJTs have lower adverse impact compared to other selection methods, such as cognitive ability tests.

Are situational judgment tests valid?

Specifically, evidence consistently shows that SJTs used in medical selection has good reliability, and predict performance across a range of medical professions, including performance in general practice, in early years (foundation training as a junior doctor) and for medical school admissions.

SJTs have the benefit of being appropriate both for use in a selection where candidates are novices (i.e. have no prior role experience or knowledge such as in medical school admissions) as well as settings where candidates have substantial job knowledge and specific experience (as in postgraduate recruitment for more senior roles). An SJT specification (e.g. scenario content, response instructions and format) may differ depending on the level of job knowledge required.

 Why are situational judgement tests so popular?

Situational judgment is the ability to draw sound conclusions or make sound predictions about outcomes in a given context. We tend to think of judgment in the workplace as something exercised by those paid to make the big decisions. These are the people who tend to appear in the press headlines when things go wrong. Yet a quick search of occupational databases such as O*Net, using the search words judgment and decision making, instantly throws up 941 occupations ranging from the chief executive and secondary science teachers to cooks and cutting and slicing machine setters.

So judgment is not the preserve of the corner-suite executive — it is a competency or skill that permeates all levels of an organization.

This is hardly surprising when you consider that all actions taken in the workplace are the result of someone somewhere exercising judgment. Yet, as a recent joint paper by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology (SIOP) states, the exercise of judgment in organizations is less than perfect, with a failure rate higher than fifty percent2.

Another reason to consider SJAs is the opportunity for testing and assessment professionals to extend the reach of their assessments beyond the evaluation of what someone knows. Knowing is not the same as doing. SJAs offer a vehicle to assess for higher-level skills and more complex learning objectives. This is something that has been recognized in the medical profession.

– – – Situational Judgement Test Practice – – –

This opportunity is particularly important for certification programs that want to ensure that their assessment of competence is not limited to what people know but extends to assessing what people are likely to do in the workplace — so that their decisions and actions demonstrate appropriate use of knowledge through effective judgment.

To distinguish between knowledge and judgment assessments, consider three item types measuring skills involved in driving a car:

Type 1:                       What does a yellow traffic light mean?

  1. Stop
  2. Go
  3. Caution
  4. Look behind you

Type 2:            If you are driving toward an intersection and the light turns from yellow to red, what should you do?

  1. Speed up and cross the intersection
  2. Continue at the same speed and cross the intersection
  3. Stop suddenly
  4. Stop gradually

Type 1 is a knowledge question and relies on memory for facts.

Type 2 is a question about the application of knowledge and requires some judgment.

SJAs are widely used to evaluate how someone would apply softer skills in situations involving others, such as communication, empathy and conflict resolution. Throughout this paper we will explore examples that will show how SJAs can tap into areas of competence that are more difficult to evaluate through knowledge tests alone.

Additional assessment practice

Our psychometric test designs

Strengths Design  ~ Realistic Job Preview Design ~ Personality Test Design ~ Situational Judgement Test Design ~ Psychometric Test Design.

Books in a pile for situational judgement test tips (1)

Situational judgement test tips

Our free practice situational judgement test tips are listed after our premium situational judgement test practice links below. Additional situational judgment test tips are available in Rob Williams Assessment Ltd’s latest Career Builder articles. In particular, you may find this article useful, What you need to know about situational judgement tests.

* * * CONTENT UPDATED APRIL 2020 * * *

Our Top Situational Judgement Test Tips

  • Each situational judgement test scenario will measure one of these competencies based on both the best and worst answers, so focus on getting both  You won’t need to get every question right, however scoring low on any given competency will detract from your overall situational judgement test score.
  • Each situational judgement test scenario requires you to make an effective judgment. This will involve prioritising which aspects of the scenario are most important to fix first. Identifying and addressing this vital element of each scenario is the key to passing a situational judgment test. Any answer option that does not move the scenario situation forward will not be the correct “Best” action to take. The “Worst” answer option will be one that makes the situation even worse.
  • While several answer options may seem like a sufficient solution in the short-term, you shouldn’t be looking for a quick and easy stop-gap solution. The “Best” solution will always be the one that actually solves the problem. You need to identify a medium- to long-term solution that has lasting benefits.
  • Be your most ethical self when taking an situational judgement test. Any answer option that is slightly unethical or dishonest to anyone involved will not be the correct answer. Look for the most virtuous answer if there is one – demonstrating respect for others, integrity and conscientiousness.
  • Logically, the “Best” and “Worst” answers need to be distinct from the other answer options. Hence if two answer options seem very similar to you, it’s likely these are the “distractor” answer options and neither the best – or the worst – answer.

Situational judgement test tips

  • Firstly, identify which 3-4 factors need to be considered in your decision-making. For example: time, money and quality impact upon many business decisions.
  • Think in advance of the highest priority criteria: which could be commercial awareness, planning/organising, maintaining an ethical approach.
  • Note, that this is important since when you are presented with an SJT scenario you must “judge” the Best and Worst response to that scenario within that specific work context.
  • Judge the Best response to be the one that addresses all these factors. It’s advisable to answer as the most ethical employee.
  • In our opinion, firstly if two of the answer options are very similar then it’s unlikely that either one is the Best or Worst answer. For example, a short-term fix to the SJT scenario would only be half-right.
  • In our opinion, secondly, you need to select an answer option with a longer-term, complete solution.

Our Top Tips

  • Each SJT scenario will measure one of these competencies based on both the best and worst answers, so focus on getting both correct.
  • Each SJT scenario requires you to make an effective judgement. This will involve prioritising which aspects of the scenario are most important to fix first. . Any answer option that does not move the scenario situation forward will not be the correct “Best” action to take. The “Worst” answer option will be one that makes the situation even worse.
  • While several answer options may seem like a sufficient solution in the short-term, you shouldn’t be looking for a quick and easy stop-gap solution. The “Best” solution will always be the one that actually solves the problem. You need to identify a medium- to long-term solution that has lasting benefits.
  • Be your most ethical self when taking an SJT. Any answer option that is slightly unethical or dishonest to anyone involved will not be the correct answer. Look for the most virtuous answer if there is one – demonstrating respect for others, integrity and conscientiousness.
  • Logically, the “Best” and “Worst” answers need to be distinct from the other answer options. Check if two answer options seem very similar to you. It’s likely these are the “distractor” answer options and neither the best – or the worst – answer.

Situational judgement practice. Woman on customer service call.

Best / Worst answers

Make a mental note of any differences with previous SJTs you’ve done. Typically you have to select which is the Best answer option, sometimes you also need to select the Worst option. Another common situational judgement test format is to choose which of the answer options are appropriate. For example, the situation judgement tests for Foundation Entry to become a doctor – the entire UKCAT application suite of tests also encompasses verbal reasoning, numerical reasoning, abstract reasoning and decision analysis sub-tests.

Unique answers

Secondly, look for unique answer options. Before answering, always read both the scenario and all the best possible answer options very carefully. The answer options are independent of each other. So if you do find two possible responses that are similar, you must study these and determine whether one is in fact a slightly better response than the other answer option. Always remember that it is the best available response required (from those shown). Also remember that you need to select what an individual Should do in the circumstances described. So, don’t answer with what you think is most likely to happen.

Long term solutions

Fourth, avoid solutions that only work in the short-term. Although several of the options may appear valid in the short-term and it’s tempting to be biased towards taking immediate action… remember that it’s the Best response that’s needed. This is more likely to be a medium- to long-term solution that has lasting benefits and does not require the managers (or other team members) to revisit the problem and solve it at a later date.

Situational judgement test tips – Answer honestly

Fifth, focus on answering as the most honest and ethical person you can be. Be your best possible self, not just in terms of your most focused, high-performing self but equally as important is to answer as though you are the most ethical worker. Every correct answer must be founded on honesty, respect, patience and many other virtuous qualities.

How to answer situational judgement tests

Remember specific instructions, such as answering what you should do. Remember that typically, situational judgement test instructions specify you to state what you should do. There may be a subtle difference on some situational judgement test questions between what you should and what you would do in that situational judgement test scenario.

People in office sitting at table discussion situational judgement test tips.

Know the role requirements

Reflect upon the job role’s core requirements. Consider the job role that you are applying for. The vast majority of jobs require effective teamwork so don’t give any situational judgement test question a Best answer that implies you have a poor understanding of collaborative working.

Also, think through the

  1. Role’s main responsibilities.
  2. Limits of these responsibilities
  3. People and financial resources available to you
  4. What remedial actions could you realistically take?

Often an situational judgement test test poses questions to test your understanding of what you cannot do within the confines of the job role. For example, the UKCAT situational judgement test that must be passed to get into a UK medical school will pose situational judgement test questions about patient confidentiality. It would be unwise to answer any situational judgement test question that brought into doubt your (medical) ethics.

Ignore the obviously incorrect

Plus, remove those answer options you know must be incorrect. With some psychometric tests, such as situational judgement tests, a useful test-taking strategy is to start by eliminating those answer options which are clearly inappropriate. Sometimes, rejecting several answer options may leave only the correct answer option for you to promptly select. Thereby saving you considerable test-taking time to use on other situational judgement test questions.

Situational judgement test tips – dealing with unethical answers

Also, always remember that any unethical answer options must be incorrect. Following on from situational judgement test Tip (9) there are particular actions which are highly unlikely to be the correct answer. 

Fourth, avoid solutions that only work in the short-term. Although several of the options may appear valid in the short-term and it’s tempting to be biased towards taking immediate action… remember that it’s the Best response that’s needed. This is more likely to be a medium- to long-term solution that has lasting benefits and does not require the managers (or other team members) to revisit the problem and solve it at a later date.

 

Plus, break the problem scenario down into the underlying constraints. Break down each situational judgement test scenario using logical analysis of the scenario’s components. You must establish the principal problem being set, plus any secondary constraints on the correct answer.  Knowing the principle situational judgement test problem then allows you to dismiss any of the possible situational judgement test answer options that do not address the situational judgement test’s principal problem. Then – from the situational judgement test’s remaining answer options – you can select the correct one as being that situational judgement test answer option which also addresses the scenario’s secondary constraints.

Avoid similar answer options

Review the answer options to check if there are two answer options that are very similar. It’s then worth focusing on the other answer options. Here’s the logic for why you can ignore the two similar situational judgement test answer options. The two answer options may differ in the form of action proposed. However think realistically; is the actual outcome from selecting either of these two situational judgement test answer options going to be the same? If so, then neither of these two situational judgement test answer options can be the best response. Or the Worst response to the situational judgement test scenario (by applying the same logical reasoning).

Learn from your feedback

  • Effective feedback is the key to improving your overall performance. That means going through the answer explanations in detail.
  • After each situational judgement test practice session, keep a record of how many questions you get right.
  • Compare your performances so you can gauge your improvement over time.

Work efficiently

  • Most tests are timed and you need to cultivate a focused and alert approach.
  • Your first priority is to work accurately as there’s no benefit in getting situational judgment test questions wrong.
  • But remember that the person sitting next to you could pass because they answered more questions than you did – even though they also got more questions wrong.

Review any careless mistakes

  • If you find yourself making too many careless mistakes you clearly need to slow down.
  • Yes, you need to work at a brisk pace, but the key is to find the fastest pace that allows you to get situational judgment test questions right.
  • It is also essential to read every word of every question very, very carefully to avoid sloppy mistakes.

Look for trends

  • Do you tend to make more mistakes at the beginning of your practice session?
  • This could be a consequence of nerves.
  • You need to work on achieving a high state of mental alertness immediately and giving the test 100 per cent focus as soon as you start work.

Analyse how you make mistakes

  • Are you making more mistakes near the end of your SJT practice session? This could be because you are rushing the last few situational judgement test questions. You need to work steadily and maintain concentration throughout any situational judgment test you take.
  • Are you clear on why you are getting certain situational judgement test questions wrong? This is key to improving – you need to learn from your mistakes. It’s vital to know where you need to improve most. If you are unaccustomed to a particular type of situational judgement question it makes sense to spend additional time getting comfortable with these questions. Don’t assume that you can pass without learning how to do that sort of situational judgment test question.

Have your own strategy!

  • SJTs are tricky with or without a strategy. The more specialised the role to which to you are applying for the more technical the SJT answer options will appear to you. In which case it really is a case of knowing the Best and the Worst options.

Use a Step-by-step approach

  • Logically, the “Best” and “Worst” answers need to be distinct from the other answer options. Hence if two answer options seem very similar to you, it’s likely these are the “distractor” answer options and neither the best – or the worst – answer. You are then asked to select your most preferred and least preferred responses:
  • Aim to be as ethical as possible when answering an situational judgement test. Focus on answering as the most honest and ethical person you can be. Since…
  • Any answer option that is slightly unethical or dishonest to anyone involved will not be the correct answer.
  • Be your best possible self. Be your most focused, high-performing self. Equally important though is to answer as though you are the most ethical worker. Every correct answer must be founded on honesty, respect, patience and many other virtuous qualities.

Also, always remember that unethical answer options must be incorrect. Here are a few examples of what we mean:

  • Non-compliance with organisational or industry rules/governance;
  • Type of dishonesty;
  • Challenging actions directed to your manager, or to those higher up the organisational ladder;
  • Aggressive actions or intent;
  • Hiding of errors or mistakes – particularly personal ones.

Situational judgement test tips

Additional assessment practice

Situational Judgement Test Designs. Man in box creating situational judgement scenario.

Situational Judgement Test Design

Situational judgement test design is one of our key psychometric test design specialities.

  • * * Content updated April 2021 * *

In addition to situational judgement test design, we also specialise in other forms of psychometric test design, such as personality test design and verbal reasoning test design.

Our Assessment Design Toolkit

Strengths Assessment ~ Disability Assessment ~ Leadership Assessment ~ Situational Strengths ~  Intelligence Strengths Test ~ Skills test design / Psychometric.

Our other psychometric test design specialities

Our situational judgement test design

Rob Williams Assessment Ltd have considerable experience in situational judgement test designs. Our approach to situational judgement test designs is to always design bespoke situational judgement tests based upon a highly detailed role analysis.

Introduction to situational judgement tests

A situational judgment test presents realistic scenarios similar to those that would be encountered when doing a particular job. By using real life scenarios, the idea is that employers will get a better understanding of how you might operate in the work place. Typically, candidates must identify the best and the worst course of action from four multiple-choice options. In other words, you must make two “judgments” about what to do and what not to do next in the “situation” presented.

Example situational judgement test

You have two very important deadlines to meet by the end of your working day. However it is becoming clear in your final two hours of working that you are in danger of missing both deadlines?

Select your most preferred and least preferred responses:

(a) Work out what to do. Then prioritise the critical tasks for the time remaining.

(b) Focus on still doing a quality job even if you must miss a deadline.

(c) Speed up your remaining tasks so that you will still be able to meet both deadlines.

(d) Aim to achieve one deadline and to renegotiate the delivery date for the other.

Answer to situational judgement test example question

In this instance, the best response is (a) Whereas, the worst response is (b) Focus on still doing a quality job even if you must miss a deadline. The best outcome is to meet the deadline after making a considered judgement call. Missing the important deadline is the worst outcome.

Best practice SJT design

The SJTs we design follow these best practices in SJT design.

– Firstly, review existing role descriptions and competency framework literature.
– Secondly, conduct job analysis sessions (face-to-face or telephone-based) with a selection of subject matter experts.
– Thirdly, reate draft scenarios encompassing positive and negative behavioural responses
– And then write realistic responses to each draft scenario.
– Also, run a small trial of the draft SJT scenarios with a set of subject matter experts. This is primarily to agree the scoring key.
– And then analyse descriptive statistics for the first trial.
– Run a full trial of the draft SJT scenarios.
– Apply and check the scoring key against the trial SJT test results.
– Analyse descriptive statistics for this trial (mean, SD etc).

Ongoing situational test trends

Situational judgement tests (SJTs) have also become prevalent in graduate recruitment. These tests presents scenarios to applicants and asks them to select the best and the worst thing to do next. SJT’s are very popular in the United States due to their excellent record of fairness across different ethnic groups.

Bespoke situational judgement test design benefits

  • Strong research evidence – a highly valid and fair test of a range of professional skills.
  • High face validity and job relevance
  • Reduced adverse impact  – especially compared to aptitude tests such as verbal reasoning tests with their high language loading.
  • Cost effective development time – a relatively cost effective testing solution.

Digital situational judgement test formats

Rob Williams Assessment Ltd have worked on many situational judgement tests including the different formats described above: ranking 4-6 response options, choosing the Best and/or the Worst response option, and producing video-based online situational judgement test simulations. Rob Williams Assessment Ltd have experience in developing situational judgement tests in the retail, graduate, healthcare and armed service sectors.

In particular we offer considerable experience in the most effective ways to write SJT scenarios and response options that work, as well as the most useful statistical analyses to conduct of your trial SJT data. This is crucial for ensuring the validity of the SJTs you are developing.

Situational Judgement Test Designs. Woman at interview

Situational Judgement Test Advantages

SJTs advantages, in any suitable recruitment context, ae varies and numerous. The main ones that make SJTs particularly attractive, for example to sift out graduate applicants, are as follows:

  • Easy to administer to large audience
  • Relatively strong validity
  • Can assess sample of the relevant KSA’s
  • Refreshed items possible
  • More difficult to fake responses

Situational Judgement Test Designs. Person at laptop with notepad.

SJT Design Projects

  • Lazard Brothers and AECOM graduate engineers. Situational judgement test validations
  • Citibank. Designing blended assessments for retail and call centre operations in American and Mexico. Managing item writing team for SJTs, ability tests, biodata questions etc.
  • Citibank telephony customer service agents (Mexico, Malaysia, India) and retail banking roles (North America): manager, assistant manager, bank teller, personal banker.
  • European Union. Development of project management and IT skills-based aptitude tests for the European Union.
  • British Airways cabin crew, British Airways customer service and call centre operatives.
  • BUPA Care Assistants 
  • Lazard Brothers SJT validation  and cut-off setting
  • AECOM graduate engineers SJT validation and cut-off setting
Beneficial SJT Design Project Outcomes
  • Best practice was followed throughout the design process in SJT design.
  • An SJT was produced which successfully incorporated a range of care home-specific scenarios.
  • The most suitable set of scenarios could be hand-picked at the SME panel meeting, as well as gaining buy-in and discussing implementation.
  • Providing some scenarios for telephone interview sifts.
  • Setting a suitable cut-off and validating the tool.
  •  

Situational judgement test applications

Increasingly online situational judgment tests are being used as a recruitment sift in place of a more traditional verbal reasoning test and/or personality questionnaire. Here are some of the advantages that situational judgement tests offer compared to more traditional psychometric tests:

– More efficient to use one psychometric combining elements of both reasoning and personality assessments

– Once a bespoke situational judgment test is developed, it is more cost effective

– Situational judgment tests excel at sifting out high volumes of poorer quality candidates whilst selecting in the high calibre candidates who have scored highly across the range of role competencies

– Fairer assessment in terms of diversity issues since there is minimal adverse impact due to gender or ethnic origin

– Situational judgment tests are particularly good at assessing cultural fit. A well designed situational judgment test can therefore assess organisational values – as well as an organisation’s competencies per role.

– Situational judgment tests (SJTs) can act as a realistic job preview since SJTs and RJPs (RJPs)  have the same test format. Candidates can sift themselves out of a recruitment process at an early stage – often even before applying if the realistic job preview sits freely available on the company website.

– You can purchase generic situational judgment tests from most UK psychometric test publishers. A bespoke SJT is a more effective sift even though it will be more expensive initially.

Situational judgement test design

Why use Situational Judgement Tests?

Candidates prefer SJTs compared to cognitive ability and personality tests.

Traditionally, selection into medical education professions has focused primarily upon academic ability alone.

There are mounting calls to widen access to medicine, to ensure that selection methods do not unfairly disadvantage individuals from specific groups (e.g. regarding ethnicity or socio-economic status) so that the future workforce adequately represents society as a whole.

What are Situational Judgement Tests?

Firstly, situational judgement tests (SJTs) assess individuals’ reactions to a number of hypothetical role-relevant scenarios, which reflect situations candidates are likely to encounter in the target role.

Secondly, in our opinion, SJTs measure pro-social Implicit Trait Policies (ITPs) – shaped by socialisation processes. For example, helping others in need), or disagreeable actions (e.g. advancing one’s own interest at others, expense).

SJTs have significant added value (incremental validity) over and above other selection methods such as knowledge tests, measures of cognitive ability, personality tests and application forms. SJTs have lower adverse impact compared to other selection methods, such as cognitive ability tests.

Are situational judgment tests valid?

Specifically, evidence consistently shows that SJTs used in medical selection has good reliability, and predict performance across a range of medical professions, including performance in general practice, in early years (foundation training as a junior doctor) and for medical school admissions.

SJTs have the benefit of being appropriate both for use in a selection where candidates are novices (i.e. have no prior role experience or knowledge such as in medical school admissions) as well as settings where candidates have substantial job knowledge and specific experience (as in postgraduate recruitment for more senior roles). An SJT specification (e.g. scenario content, response instructions and format) may differ depending on the level of job knowledge required.

Situational judgement test design

Real situational judgement test examples

The Graduate Dilemmas SJT is used to assess the most relevant graduates to take through to assessment centre and / or to interview.

Administrative Dilemmas SJT is used to assess the judgement and decison-making of admin, clerical and secretarial roles.

The Customer Service Dilemmas SJT is used to assess face-to-face customer service skills.

Call Centre Dilemmas SJT is used to find out who can deliver excellent call centre sales and customer service skills.

The Management Dilemma SJT is used to assess the most or to develop more effective managers.

Background to situational judgement tests

Situational judgement test questions can be designed around a specific role. Because SJTs are bespoke, candidates rate them highly as a valid application stage.

In fact, there is a type of SJT called a realistic job preview which is used solely to give job applicants a realistic preview of a role.

In our opinion, situational judgment test presents realistic job scenarios. The idea is that employers will get a better understanding of how you might operate in the work place.

  • These measure those skills of judgment and evaluation which are vital to any managerial role. Role-specific competencies will be measured, typically customer service, communication and teamwork.
  • SJTs are a highly effective means of measuring an applicant’s competency behaviours – i.e., the characteristics that determine how they behave in certain areas.
  • SJTs are a fair test of how the candidate would solve a job’s daily challenges.

Situational judgment test design