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Forum > Miscellaneous > Testing during Job search ( Moderated by Deepika, EleanorSews, CynthiaSue)

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Testing during Job search
Can I ask for something more realistic??
Lady_Mame
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Lady_Mame
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Date: 12/11/11 11:50 AM

I've been off and on looking for a different job due to office politics, and I finally found something more than decent that I know I can do. However, it was through an agency, and they use computer-generated tests to assess performance.

These have nothing to do with how the job would actually be done in the real world. At all. If I had been able to take it on Friday, I actually would have called the employment agency office and asked them several important questions -- is the wrong word use "witch" as opposed to "which" considered a grammatical error or a spelling error by the computer program? -- being the primary one (according to my woefully low test scores, I think this was considered a grammatical error -- what?)

Can I ask for her to give me a more realistic test where I can print out the document and highlight the errors, the same way I would do the actual job? Would that be considered "initiative" or "whining?" I don't like being told I'm a bad employee by an ambiguous, unrealistic computer program. (My mother, an English teacher, could not have passed this test.)

I need to get away from my current job, it's going all kinds of wrong directions, but I need to be fairly evalutated and judged too.

------
Needle Needle Straight and Slim, Dust and Sweep the House for Him! --Grimm Fairy Tales

Vintage Joan
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Vintage Joan
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In reply to Lady_Mame


Date: 12/11/11 12:12 PM

Could you clarify a bit what the test will involve and a bit more about the previous test you're describing? Some grammar-language tests seem to be programmed by people whose entire grasp of English style and grammar is apparently taken from what they've read in Strunk. Oops, sorry. I just injected an opinion (broke one of Strunk's rules).

My general advice would be, don't be timid -- take on the test as it's normally given to applicants, not printed out specially for you beforehand. This might be construed as lack of skill or confidence, or maybe a know-it-all attitude. If the test turns out to be full of inane stuff, just prepare beforehand by reviewing Strunk and pretending to go along, lol.

P.S. That "which" was probably a casualty of the which/that "rule," which is actually based on a misunderstanding of English style (taken from an actual valid principle but oversimplified). This nonsense has been messing with U.S. schoolchildren's heads for decades.




-- Edited on 12/11/11 12:27 PM --

------
my shield and my very great reward ~ Gen. 15:1

EleanorSews
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EleanorSews  Friend of PR
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Date: 12/11/11 12:24 PM

As someone who ran a design firm with clients whose projects frequently included written documents, I must say that since the early 2000's it was not time efficient to print out a document, edit it, then go to the computer and enter the editing. Our procedure moved to receive document, save as Edit # ___, turn on tracking and edit, save, send to whoever, then repeat process until document was complete.

Had someone asked me for a "more realistic" test, my response would have been that the test given was realistic for the work my office did.

Like Vintage Joan, I recommend getting a copy of Strunk & White's Elements of Style and becoming very familiar with it. Kate Tarabian's book is another possibility although Strunk & White authored the "bible".

Have you considered asking the agency if someone would be willing to take the time to discuss your test results in detail with you. Explain that you are looking to make a job change and would appreciate understanding those areas you should be working to improve. That would get my attention in a more positive way than someone asking me for a different kind (i.e., "more realistic" from your point of view) of aptitude test.

As the "which" and "witch" ~ not sure what the computer calls it, but I'd call it a grammar error and would think the person did not know the correct form of the word for the context. Not a good thing.

BTW, I often lunched with Strunk & White, reviewing areas where I had questions or just re-reading usages that I had trouble remembering properly.
-- Edited on 12/11/11 12:27 PM --
-- Edited on 12/11/11 12:27 PM --

------
"We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are." Anais Nin

"Attitude is the difference between an adventure and an ordeal." unknown

Vintage Joan
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Vintage Joan
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In reply to EleanorSews


Date: 12/11/11 12:30 PM

Quote:
Like Vintage Joan, I recommend getting a copy of Strunk & White's Elements of Style and becoming very familiar with it. Kate Tarabian's book is another possibility although Strunk & White authored the "bible".

This is only something I'm recommending she do in order to ace the test in case it turns out to be skewed in a Strunk sort of way. It's not something I'd ever recommend otherwise. And it's definitely not something to take to heart or to take as a reflection on one's own stylistic understanding.

-- Edited on 12/11/11 12:32 PM --

------
my shield and my very great reward ~ Gen. 15:1

AdaH
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AdaH  Friend of PR
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Date: 12/11/11 12:51 PM

I just took a similar test at a temp agency a week or so ago. I tested a little below average on most of it except the typing. I had not taken a test in over 30 years so found the experience very intimidating. The job I was testing for is the very one I got hired for. Yeah me! So unless the agency person told you that you didn't qualify for the job, do not feel all that bad about a lower test score.
The testing was not a very good fit for the job I was after. I worked for 20+ years in the field and was very good at my job, so getting below average test scores made me wonder about the whole process.

------
Ada

mastdenman
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mastdenman  Friend of PR
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Date: 12/11/11 12:54 PM

Companies who use these computerized tests know how wonky they are. I've never had problems with the math/grammer tests, but can't pass a typing test. I type in large part for a living, but when you ask the person in charge, they will tell you that few people pass the test and these are clearly capable people. I agree with getting the style manual, but computerized tests are what all agencies use now. They will usually let you log on and practice a bit before hand.

------
Marilyn

January 2009 to January 2010 81 yards out and 71yards in January 2010 to the present 106.7 yards out and 146.5 yards in. January 2011 to the present: 47 yards out and 69 yards in.

Coconuts
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Coconuts  Friend of PR
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In reply to Lady_Mame


Date: 12/11/11 1:07 PM

Part of the current problem is autocorrect- if I see "witch" instead of "which" I'm blaming Siri, because I haven't even seen that from idiots on FML.

Doris W. in TN
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Doris W. in TN  Friend of PR
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Date: 12/11/11 2:51 PM

Interesting that most of you think witch/which is a grammar error. I see it as a spelling error. We need to know the context in witch it was used.

Nancy1955
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Nancy1955  Friend of PR
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Date: 12/11/11 3:31 PM

The word - witch is spelled properly. However if used in the wrong context, it is a grammatical error.

ItzMePenny

ItzMePenny  Friend of PR
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In reply to mastdenman


Date: 12/11/11 4:39 PM

Quote: mastdenman
Companies who use these computerized tests know how wonky they are.

I agree. Years ago, before Windows, I was an expert in Lotus123. I'd been using it for years and I used the "/" shortcut so I was fast.

Then I had to take a test for a new job. My score was just above "Fail" because the software insisted on using the menu bar and if you didn't choose the correct menu on the first try, it lowered your score. My new employer thought it was hilarious because I'd worked for him before at another company so he knew my capabilities, but I always wondered about the unfairness of that test to others.

------
PennyZ

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