What is a Saville Assessment?
A Saville assessment is a series of tests commonly taken during the recruitment process, or for advancement opportunities within existing employment.
A highly regarded tool for talent acquisition, the series includes both aptitude and personality tests that assist employers in identifying the strongest candidates for any given role.
Saville assessments are widely used across the finance sector, and in these cases, are specifically designed to imitate the kind of tasks you'd expect to complete within a financial service role.
This approach is similar to the SHL test series, as both companies were founded by renowned Occupation Psychologist, Professor Peter Saville.
If you're asked to take part in a Saville assessment, you'll typically do so remotely via an online platform known as Oasys. Some employers may ask you to repeat the assessment in person to verify your results.
What you can expect from a Saville assessment varies depending on the employer and seniority of the role applied for. To help you prepare for all eventualities, you'll find information below on each of the test types included in the Saville portfolio.
Saville Assessment aptitude tests
Saville aptitude tests are administered in two formats: both timed, and both multiple choice.
A single aptitude test focuses on a specific area, for example, numerical or verbal reasoning. When used for graduate or higher level roles, these tests commonly have a time limit of between 24 and 30 minutes, though some are shorter. They can be taken either remotely or at an approved assessment centre.
Swift aptitude tests are a form of blended assessment, combining various abilities into one shorter test. These are administered online only and, depending on structure, last anywhere from nine and a half to 24 minutes.
There are two levels of single assessments here: verbal analysis and verbal comprehension. Whilst the latter is used for entry level roles, you're more likely to encounter the former for graduate positions or above.
Both measure your language comprehension and ability to interpret written information. You'll need to evaluate a statement or paragraph of text to determine whether or not a suggested conclusion, inference or assumption can be made from it, answering with true, false or cannot say.
The verbal analysis aptitude test has a time limit of 24 minutes, whereas the entry level verbal comprehension test takes 16 minutes. You are also likely to complete a verbal aptitude test as part of a Swift assessment.
A key skill for roles in finance, numerical aptitude tests assess your ability to effectively and accurately interpret data, drawing evidence based conclusions from it.
In a Saville test, you'll be presented with various data sets in the form of graphs, charts and tables. You'll need to weigh up the information in front of you and pick the correct answer to a question prompt from multiple choice options.
Again, there's a shorter, less complex entry level test, and a 24 minute assessment for graduate level posts. For roles in finance, numerical aptitude will be a key component of a Saville Swift assessment.
Mechanical aptitude tests are commonly used for roles of a technical nature, measuring a candidate's ability to work with fundamental physical principles.
Questions revolve around concepts like direction, force and movement, with problems presented in the form of illustrations and diagrams. These will be inclusive of things like pulleys, gears, wheels and levers, and you'll need to respond to a question prompt by selecting from multiple choice options.
This is one of the shorter standalone assessments, with a time limit of just 16 minutes, and is also used in shorter form within blended assessments.
As a single assessment, the diagrammatic aptitude test is 24 minutes in duration, and measures your ability to work with operators to achieve a desired outcome.
You'll be presented with diagrams showing inputs, process and outputs, along with a reference key. Your task is to identify which of these operators brings about the specified result. Diagrammatic aptitude tests also contain sections on flow chart comparison and fault finding.
When used as part of a Swift assessment, these tests are commonly taken in conjunction with mechanical aptitude tests.
Error checking aptitude
Error checking tests are administered according to role seniority. For example, an entry level candidate would sit a six minute assessment, whereas a higher level position would be subject to a more complex and lengthier test.
This is all about checking the accuracy of transposed information. You'll be given a set of original verbal, numerical or coding information, and a transposed set, and will need to quickly compare the two to identify potential errors.
In a Saville abstract aptitude test, you'll be shown a series of patterns and sequences, parts of which will have been removed. You'll need to apply logic to identify rules and relationships, selecting the correct option for the missing part.
On their own, these tests are short, with just 16 minutes to work with precision through as many problems as you can.
In the spatial aptitude test, every question revolves around shapes. You'll see four objects per question, and will need to apply your spatial awareness to identify which of the four is different to the other three.
To add to the complexity, on some occasions these shapes will be shown from different angles. You'll also need to work with both speed and accuracy, as you'll only have eight minutes to answer as many questions as you can.
Finally, you may be asked to complete a workplace English assessment. This is administered as a standalone test only, and is 16.5 minutes long.
It's an assessment of your basic understanding of the English language when used in a professional context. You'll see incomplete sentences based on hypothetical work based scenarios, and will need to fill in the gaps from multiple choice options.
Saville Assessment situational judgement test
Alongside it's comprehensive range of aptitude tests, Saville Assessments also offers tests to help employers determine culture fit, it's situational judgement test being one.
Here, you'll be required to analyse a series of hypothetical scenarios, all based on situations you'd commonly encounter in the workplace. For each, there will be a given response to the situation in question, and you'll need to rate how effective you consider this to be.
What the employer is looking for here is a confident decision maker that understands the behavioural norms of a professional setting, and is able to respond accordingly when challenging circumstances arise.
Saville Wave personality questionnaire
Another test type used to determine culture fit is the personality questionnaire. Saville Assessments publishes these under its Wave banner, with Wave Focus Styles and Wave Professional Styles being those widely used in the screening stages of recruitment.
They both take exactly the same format. You'll be presented with various statements that relate to things like working preferences, relationships, communication styles and problem solving. You'll state to what extent you agree or disagree with each statement.
Whilst there are no definitive right or wrong answers, Wave Focus Styles could be considered the entry level test, as it takes just 13 minutes to complete. Wave Professional Styles on the other hand runs to a duration of 40 minutes, delving much deeper into a candidate's character.
On completion of your personality test, your prospective employer will be given a detailed report on your personality type, helping them to determine if you're a suitable fit, both for the role on offer and for the organisation's working culture.
Which financial employers use Saville tests?
Many of the biggest names in global finance use Saville assessments as a way of identifying top talent, including:
These employers receive high volume applications, particularly for graduate schemes, so use both aptitude and personality assessments to streamline the recruitment process, and ensure only those with the right skills and abilities progress to the interview stage.
Most of them also use Saville tests for internal promotional opportunities. With that in mind, you can reasonably expect to sit these assessment types throughout your career, so learning to perform well on them is key.
Top 5 tips for preparing and passing a Saville Assessment
1. Find out what test types are included
As we've discussed, Saville tests can be taken as standalone entities or as part of a blended Swift assessment. To give yourself the best chances of success, you need to know exactly which type of assessment you'll be taking, and which of the above test types you'll face.
2. Take plenty of practice tests
Although a Saville assessment measures your natural ability, rather than learned knowledge, preparation is still vital. These tests come with added time pressure, so you need to get used to working at speed. Practice tests will help you do this, as well as ensuring you're familiar with what to expect on your official test day.
3. Take time to enhance your skills
It's true that you can't really 'revise' for a Saville assessment, but you can improve your natural abilities. For numerical aptitude tests, take time out everyday to practice basic arithmetic and set yourself tasks that involve analysing data. You can also improve your verbal aptitude by reading complex texts with a critical eye.
4. Set yourself up right
When it comes to taking your official test, double check your internet connection for reliability. Turn off any notifications on your machine, leave your phone elsewhere and make sure housemates or family members know not to interrupt you. You need complete concentration on the task at hand.
5. Pay close attention to detail
Be sure to read every question carefully so as not to miss pertinent information, and try not to let the time pressure get to you. You need to strike the right balance between working both quickly and accurately.
What do I need to complete the Saville Assessment?
In most cases, you'll take your Saville assessment remotely at a location of your choice. To do so, you'll need a laptop or computer, a stable internet connection, and a level of privacy. It is not recommended to take a Saville assessment on a mobile device.
Is the Saville Assessment hard?
Saville assessments are designed to challenge you. Generally speaking, if you're a suitable candidate for the role you should have no problem in completing the tasks at hand, but time constraints and the pressure of performing well add to their complexity. As such, solid preparation should be a top priority.
How are Saville tests scored?
Saville tests have a complex scoring system. For aptitude tests, as well as receiving a total score for every correct answer, you'll also be scored for your accuracy, speed and caution. These scores make up your final report, so employers have a comprehensive overview of your performance.
The Wave personality questionnaire uses an in-depth profiling strategy based on psychological principles.
How long is the Saville Assessment?
This depends entirely on the type of assessment your prospective employer uses. Single aptitude tests can take anywhere up to 30 minutes, whilst Swift assessments typically run between nine and a half to 24 minutes.