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Mental Ability Test: Assessing candidates' mental ability and potential

A General Mental Ability Test is a type of aptitude test that has found extensive use in employment settings to screen out candidates. It is designed to assess a candidate's overall intellectual ability rather than specialized knowledge or skills relevant to a particular job. As a result, it helps recruiters identify suitable talent at the pre-hire stage.

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Inside this General Mental Ability Test

General mental ability refers to a candidate's ability to understand verbal information, perceive and process numbers and information in tabular/ graphical format, think laterally, and make logical connections between words and concepts to deduce crucial data. By testing general mental ability, talent acquisition professionals can spot the “diamond in the rough” talent with the required skills to thrive in the workplace.

Hiring managers and employers can administer the General Mental Abilities Test online to screen and shortlist candidates before hiring them. The test assesses an individual's level of cognitive functioning across a range of competencies: abstract reasoning, numeric reasoning, and verbal reasoning.

Key profiles that the test is used for include: 

  • Professionals across various critical roles at all job levels 
  • Individual contributors 
  • Mid and senior management roles across industries  


Employers use the General Mental Ability (GMA) Test in their recruitment and selection process to find high-potential candidates with exceptional cognitive abilities, such as critical thinking, deconstruction and problem-solving. This aptitude test is standardized and comprises items that can be consistently and accurately scored and are administered quickly and effectively, reducing operational costs and saving time.

The General Mental Ability Test assesses an individual's cognitive abilities and potential to thrive in diverse roles and helps streamline the hiring process by focusing efforts and resources on the most remarkable talent. Moreover, employers can enhance organizational outcomes, such as productivity and innovation, by recruiting candidates with strong mental abilities.

This test sheds light on an individual's cognitive potential rather than domain-specific skills or knowledge by measuring cognitive abilities such as abstract reasoning, numeric reasoning, and verbal reasoning.

Listed below are some more reasons why employers may find the GMA test crucial for their talent assessment process:

  • Help recognize potential high-performers: The Mental Ability Test can assist in identifying candidates who have the potential to perform well and excel in their roles in the long run, leading to better, long-term business outcomes. 
  • Help ensure transparency with minimized bias in evaluation: The General Mental Ability Test is structured to be objective and standardized. This can help keep hiring biases at bay and ensure that candidates are evaluated according to their abilities rather than their credentials. 
  • Help fulfill career development objectives: The Mental Ability Test can help pinpoint areas that may require further training or development, helping ascertain if they have the skills needed for success in their role.
  • Help enhance team dynamics: Screening applicants for general mental ability can enable employers to form wide-ranging and well-balanced teams, which can contribute to building better collaborative teams with improved team dynamics. 

This is because when the GMA test is used as a selection tool, it is more likely to identify applicants with varied cognitive abilities. Moreover, this test measures a diverse range of cognitive abilities. By measuring candidates' skills, employers can determine talent with distinctive intellectual abilities that are imperative for the job.

  • Help strengthen workplace safety: Candidates who score well on general mental ability may be more inclined to follow safety guidelines and demonstrate better decision-making in high-pressure situations, which can help enhance workplace safety. For example, an individual with high mental ability may be able to swiftly recognize potential safety hazards and respond suitably.  

In addition, employees who perform well on this assessment are likely to have strong critical thinking and analytical skills, which can help them identify and lessen the possibility of potential workplace risks. They may also have an improved ability to adjust to unpredictable scenarios and make rational decisions in stressful situations, a prerequisite for ensuring a safe work environment. 

General Mental Ability Test Competency Framework

Get a detailed look inside the test

Mental Ability Test Competencies Under Scanner

General Mental Ability Test


Abstract reasoning

This section consists of questions that measure a candidate's capacity to recognize patterns, comprehend intricate concepts, and think logically.

Numerical reasoning

The questions in this section encompass numbers and permutation and combination, averages and mixtures, ratios and percentages, age problems, profit and loss, time and work, and numbers and permutation and combination.

Verbal reasoning

The questions in this segment include topics such as para jumbles and reading comprehension.

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The Mercer | Mettl Mental Ability Test Advantage

The Mercer | Mettl Edge
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

The Mercer | Mettl Test is designed for recruitment purposes. However, we can also perform benchmarking for customized sample sets. For specific requests, please write to Mercer | Mettl.

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