Scott, To Be Certain


Saturday, March 01, 2008

Suicide And Other Pursuits Preferable To Psychometric Testing

In this complex tableau we call 'life', we are every so often struck by moments of sheer clarity, moments so beautiful in their simplicity and directness that for a brief time the rest of the world falls away.

Yesterday, I had one of those moments. It was during a psychometric numerical reasoning test, when I was overcome by a virtually irresistible compulsion to drive the two pencils before me straight through my eyeballs with as much brute force and speed as possible.

OMG where can I find one of these

For those of you who are unaware, S2BC is to the fullest extent practicable a numbers-free zone - with the exception, of course, of the S2BC countdowns, the most recent of which (the Idol Top 20) is to be completed very shortly. ("We're not remotely convinced by that" - The World)

This is because I am in every imaginable way the most innumerate thinker on the planet. I can calculate sums reasonably swiftly and accurately, but anything beyond that is legitimately nausea-inducing for me. The Financial Review makes me nervous and queasy, Excel spreadsheets make me want to throw up and the moment the business report begins during the nightly news is precisely when I mentally retreat into my own private world of carousels and circus music.

Now I don't know what I was expecting before commencing this psychometric testing. Realistically, despite having some cursory prior experience with such testing, I believe I was clinging against my better judgment to the hope that the test might feature my preferred type of intellectual questioning along the lines of 'identify the next number in this sequence' or 'which of these shapes does not belong'.

Instead, there was something like this:

Followed by question:

"In year 3, half of the value of the gain made in Fund A was derived from monies that had been transferred from Fund C. What would the value of Fund C have been if some ugly but enormously endowed woman began breastfeeding her puppy while riding a unicycle?"

Or something similar. That is a rough approximation of my capacity for concentration when presented with numerical data: I immediately escape into a world of amusing unlikelihoods, while the numbers themselves dance around the page, laughing hysterically and sardonically at my malaise.

As an amusing post-script, and speaking of unlikelihoods: I passed the test. I didn't scoop my eyes out with a pencil, and the relevant prospective employer generously "invited" me for a further interview. But by this time I had tired of them and their stupid fucking test so I declined.

I am now miraculously employed by an institution that saw fit not to include psychometric testing in its recruitment. In future, I will not partake in any such form of testing, unless it contains something like this:

Now that's a test we'd all enjoy, is it not?


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