Understanding the Results

In the PDF results report, there are several important scores to look at. Here we explain what they mean.

The most important score for aptitude tests is the percentile score (for personality questionnaires see sten scores below). A percentile score shows how your candidate performed relative to the comparison group. When reading the percentile score, it is important to note the comparison group (sometimes called a norm group). Let's look at percentile scores in more detail...

Percentile Scores

The percentile score is shown overlaid on a normal distribution curve to indicate that most peoples' scores cluster around the mean score, with fewer people scoring low and high scores, and even fewer people scoring at the very bottom or very top end. Most people score in the average range. 

Sten Scores

Beneath the percentile figure is a green square containing a white number ranging from 1 to 10. This is the sten score. Sten scores can be thought of as percentile scores expressed as a number between 1 and 10 (instead of 1 and 99 for percentiles).

More information on each of the important terms is given below.

Norm Group. The term norm group and 'comparison group' are used interchangeably. Norm groups are used for benchmarking. A 'graduates' norm group for example is a collection of thousands of previous test scores, all taken by graduates. As a result, candidates' scores can be compared against the average score within the norm group, thus benchmarking their score against other graduates. The same can be done for other demographics, such as 'senior executives' or 'managers' etc. 

Percentiles: Percentiles are fundamentally different from percentage scores. Percentiles are best explained through examples. If a candidate scores in the 50th percentile, this means that the candidate has scored higher than 50% of the norm group (i.e they got a score which is exactly in the middle of what everyone else got). If a candidate scores in the 90th percentile, they have scored higher than 90% of the norm group, putting them in the top 10%. If a candidate scores in the 10th percentile, they have scored higher than 10% of the norm group, putting them in the bottom 10%. 

A percentile score and the norm group give context to your candidate's results for benchmarking purposes. 

The alternative to percentiles would be to just give a raw score of say, "14 out of 20." But that wouldn't tell you much without knowing what other people scored. Is 14/20 a good score, a bad score, or average? We don't know, unless we compare it with scores other people achieved. This is what a percentile score does for us. 

Sten:  This is an abbreviation of “standard ten” and shows the approximate position of a candidate in regard to other candidates within that comparison group or 'norm group'. The sten score effectively represents where the candidate would place on a scale of 1-10, compared to all other candidates when arranged by performance. This can be thought of as simply another way of expressing a percentile score.

What's a high or low score?

We can answer this relative to the norm group. Other people may have different interpretations of what constitutes a 'low' or a 'high' score, but the following classifications are generally accepted:


If you want to talk to one of our consultants about any results, please call us on 02070 210526 or email [email protected]



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