ACER Assessments

Prepare for your next ACER test with tailor-made practice materials.

What are ACER Tests?

The Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) is an independent educational research organisation. It has been providing high quality support and expertise to policymakers and practitioners since 1930.

As well as conducting research in the education sector, ACER offers assessment and professional development services. In 1999, it established Testgrid, to facilitate the shift to online aptitude testing.

ACER is now one of the world's leading assessment services companies, supplying over 7 million tests a year to organisations across 70 countries. It offers expertly crafted tests, informed by its 90 years of educational research.

ACER tests are psychometric assessments designed to give an objective insight into an individual's skills across several key areas. The tests are used by schools, colleges, universities, training organisations, governments, and a wide range of employers, to adeptly assess students and prospective employees.

As well as its standard test offerings, ACER also provides bespoke testing tailored to an organisation's needs. This ensures that companies are recruiting the right talent into open roles, and that schools and universities can gather the data needed to make decisions around capacity building and improving learning outcomes.

When used in a recruitment context, ACER tests are encountered after initial application submission or at assessment centres, as an unbiased way of streamlining the talent pool.


What are the Different Types of ACER Tests?

The two main ACER tests encountered in the recruitment process are the Core Skills Profile for Adults and the Vocational Selection Test. Both tests assess the verbal, numerical, and abstract reasoning skills of prospective employees in a timed scenario. Test takers will need to be clear on what to expect from the assessments, so they can prepare adequately.

ACER Core Skills Profile for Adults (CSPA)

The ACER Core Skills Profile for Adults is an assessment made up of numeracy and literacy tests. It is designed to provide insight into core verbal and mathematical skills, identifying strengths and weaknesses. The test has three main sections: reading, numeracy, and writing.

The ACER Core Skills Profile is an adaptive test, which means that its difficulty is determined by your performance. The first ten questions are used to set the level of the remainder of the test (either low, intermediate, or advanced).

The test has 25 questions in total, and candidates are scored based on all of their responses – both those before and after the adaptive level selection.

CSPA Reading

The reading section of the Core Skills Profile test presents candidates with a series of texts based around a wide variety of subjects. The questions will be based around the information contained in the paragraphs. You will need to carefully read and analyse the passages, making any necessary inferences or deductions to answer the questions correctly.

You will be able to view both the question and the text simultaneously, as the test is not a memory exercise.

CSPA Numeracy

The numeracy section of the CSPA assessment assesses your ability to interpret numerical data and manipulate numbers. The questions will be grouped around the following content areas: numbers and algebra; measurement and geometry; and statistics and probability.

You will need to be comfortable with rapidly performing calculations related to these topics, as the test has a limited amount of time for completion.

CSPA Writing

The writing section of the Core Skills Profile test provides insight into candidates' writing ability by requiring the composition of two short letters, reports or reflective passages based around a specific brief.

It is likely that the brief will be relevant for the sector or role to which you are applying. The two combined tasks ensure employers obtain a reliable picture of your writing skills.

ACER Vocational Selection Test (VST)

The ACER Vocational Selection Test is an ability assessment used by employers to determine the skill levels and potential of prospective hires. The assessment consists of five possible tests – verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, abstract reasoning, mechanical reasoning, and interpersonal understanding.

When taking the assessment, however, you will only encounter three of these test areas, as selected by the employer.

VST Verbal Reasoning

The ACER verbal reasoning test assesses your ability to understand and interpret written text. You'll be presented with a series of passages and related questions. It is a multiple-choice assessment.

As well as the usual style of verbal reasoning question - where you'll be presented with a statement and asked to indicate whether it is 'true', 'false', or if you 'cannot say' based on the information given – the test also features word list and association questions.

Word list questions will require you to select the word that does not fit with the rest. The word association questions will explore your ability to rapidly identify connections between word meanings.

VST Quantitative Reasoning

The ACER quantitative reasoning test is a numerical test that assesses a candidate's ability to process and manipulate numerical information. Unlike most standard numerical reasoning assessments, the mathematical questions on the quantitative reasoning test are written as word problems.

You'll need to extract the salient information and perform the necessary calculation to solve the problem presented. The questions will be multiple-choice.

As well as being confident in dealing with fractions, percentages, ratios, averages, general arithmetic, and basic algebra, you'll need to be able to absorb the information in the questions rapidly and isolate the key details.

VST Abstract Reasoning

The ACER abstract reasoning test assesses your logical thinking and problem-solving skills. You'll be presented with a series of non-verbal questions featuring shapes and symbols. You'll be required to analyse the patterns presented to determine the relationships between the components in the diagrams.

Based on your analysis of the connections between and translations of the shapes, you'll need to select the missing element from a selection of answer options.

VST Mechanical Reasoning

ACER's mechanical reasoning test assesses your understanding of basic mechanical principles in applied contexts. You may need to perform calculations around force, pressure, or speed, indicate the next step in an operational processor select the correct tool for a particular job.

Unlike many mechanical reasoning tests, this assessment seeks only to explore a basic knowledge of mechanical concepts. It is sensible, however, to ensure your knowledge is comprehensive to avoid being caught out by a trickier question.

The questions will feature elements such as pulleys, levers, gears, springs, shafts, weights, clamps, and electrical circuits. You'll need to work quickly, as you'll have 20 minutes to answer 42 questions.

VST Interpersonal Understanding

The ACER interpersonal understanding test is similar to a personality test, exploring motivations, behaviours, and personality traits. This section is used to gain insight into a candidate's character and determine if they are a good cultural fit for the company. The questions will likely be tailored to gauge alignment with the organisation's core values.

You will be presented with a series of statements and required to indicate the degree to which you agree or disagree with the sentiment or course of action. From this, a personality profile will be formed.

Online Writing Assessment for Adults

ACER's Adult Online Writing Assessment (OWA) may be encountered as part of the Core Skills Profile for Adults test, but may also be administered separately. During the assessment, candidates will be set two tasks to assess their writing capabilities. These will focus upon persuasive writing and writing in the style of a report.

The persuasive writing (or argument task, as referred to by ACER) will ask you to present a point of view on an issue in a clear, logical manner. Your argument must be coherent and evidence-based, presenting the facts to effectively support your opinion.

For the report, you will need to rationalise the information you are provided with (which may be in the form of emails, articles, datasets and/or images) and distil the key information into a well-structured summary report.

Writing prompts will outline the subject for each task - these are designed to appeal to a wide variety of sectors and individuals. If the company has requested it, these prompts may directly relate to the sector and role you are applying for.

Top 5 Tips to Prepare and Pass Your ACER Tests

1. Prepare using practice tests

Sitting practice tests is the best way to familiarise yourself with the format, structure, and content of the ACER tests. Psychometric tests are unlike other forms of assessment, so it pays to get used to answering questions in this unique style. Once you've completed a practice ACER test, be sure to review it carefully. This will help you to identify your strengths and weaknesses and prioritise your remaining preparation time accordingly.

2. Hone your pace

ACER assessments are timed, so you'll need to work quickly and accurately to prove you can think clearly under pressure and achieve a high score. Try to find out how long you have to complete your assessment and the number of questions involved. From this, calculate how long you have to answer each question. When completing your practice tests, aim for this pace, as you'll need to complete all the test questions to stand a chance of progressing to the next stage in the recruitment process.

3. Get creative with your revision

Practice tests are an important part of preparation, but these can also be supplemented with more creative and fun activities. Complete online puzzles and word games, read and summarise newspaper articles, analyse passages in your favourite book, or complete number games such as Sudoku. All of these activities will help to sharpen your logical thinking, attention to detail, and problem-solving skills.

4. Set up your equipment

ACER tests are completed online, so you'll need access to a laptop, tablet, or phone to sit your test. Before you start, check the stability of your internet connection. As the tests are timed, any delays in loading the questions will cause complications. It is also sensible to check that your browser has been updated to the latest version, to ensure the test interface can operate correctly.

5. Don't panic if you get stuck

Some of the questions on the ACER reasoning tests will be challenging, so don't worry if you find yourself stuck on a particular question. Due to the fast pace required to complete the tests, however, you cannot afford to waste too much time mulling over an answer. As the ability tests are multiple-choice, select your best guess and move on to the next problem.

Sample ACER Assessments question Test your knowledge!

Score: /6

If both balls were dropped with the same force at the same time, which would hit the ground first?

  • A
  • B
  • Impossible to tell
  • They'd land at the same time

Imagine a sequence where every successive term represents a geometric progression. If the first term is 2 and the third term is 18, what is the second term in the sequence?

  • 6
  • 9
  • 12
  • 15

You have a scenario where a lighter object is placed on a balanced seesaw, at a greater distance from the pivot point compared to a heavier object. If the seesaw is balanced, which principle does this illustrate?

  • The principle of gravity
  • The principle of mechanical advantage
  • The principle of magnetism
  • The principle of velocity

In a particular system, three gears are connected. Gear A has 10 teeth and is rotating clockwise. Gear B has 20 teeth and is in contact with Gear A. Gear C has 15 teeth and interfaces with Gear B but not A. In which direction is Gear C rotating?

  • Clockwise
  • Counter-clockwise
  • Cannot be determined
  • Not rotating at all

During an exercise in spatial visualization, you have to determine which object does not conform to the group based on rotation and flipping. Four objects are squares of the same size; three have a diagonal line from the top left to the bottom right, but the fourth has a diagonal line from the top right to the bottom left. Which one is the odd one out?

  • The one with the line from the top right to the bottom left
  • The one with the line from the bottom left to the top right
  • The one with the line from the top left to the bottom right
  • Cannot be determined without more information

If a predictive index showed that over the course of a year, a factory's monthly production increased on average by 5 units per month starting from 100 units in January, how many units would you expect to be produced in December of that year?

  • 150 units
  • 160 units
  • 155 units
  • 165 units

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ACER Assessments Tips

Understand the Format

Get comfortable with the structure of ACER psychometric tests. Familiarity can considerably boost your confidence and performance.

Practice Regularly

Consistent practice can help improve your speed and accuracy. Try to solve different types of questions to gain versatility.

Time Management is Key

Work on your pacing to ensure you can complete the test within the time limit. Use practice tests to refine your timing strategies.

Read Instructions Carefully

Before diving into the questions, read all instructions thoroughly to avoid simple mistakes.

Free Practice on Military Aptitude Tests

Make the most of the opportunity to use our website, Military Aptitude Tests, to take practice tests for free and get a feel for the real thing.

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ACER Assessments FAQs

How are the results of the ACER tests used by employers?

Employers utilize the results of ACER tests to assess candidates’ aptitudes and capabilities for various roles. They help to determine your problem-solving abilities, critical thinking, and whether your skills match the job requirements.

Are the ACER tests hard?

The difficulty of ACER tests can vary, depending on your strengths and weaknesses. They're designed to measure your inherent abilities, so while challenging, they're manageable with preparation and practice.

What do I need to take ACER tests?

To take ACER tests, you typically need a quiet environment, a reliable computer with an internet connection, and official identification. Check specifics with your test administrator.

What types of tests are included in the ACER tests?

ACER tests include various assessments like verbal reasoning, numerical reasoning, abstract reasoning, and sometimes, job-specific aptitude tests tailored to the role you're applying for.

Where can I practice free ACER test questions?

The best way to prepare for ACER tests is by practicing, and you can find many free practice test questions on Military Aptitude Tests. This website offers a diverse range of free practice tests tailored to ACER's testing methodology.