Situational Judgment Tests: 20 Important Facts and Practice Questions and Answers

Situational Judgment Tests
Situational Judgment Tests help employers to effectively assess candidates’ ability to handle daily challenges at the workplace.

Situational Judgment Tests: 20 Important Facts and Practice Questions and Answers

Situational Judgment Tests, or SJTs, are part of the aptitude tests that are used by hiring companies to measure the decision-making ability of a candidate.

Candidates are offered work-specific scenarios and asked to evaluate how they would react to a potential work problem.

They are asked to assess a collection of multiple answer options to determine their preferred solution, from the options and which of the proposed actions would be more or less likely to result in their desired work performance.

Candidates are offered a range of diverse situations that they might experience in the job they are applying for.

A number of possible actions are suggested for each situation, and there are typically around 4 to 5 actions although this differs.

Situational Judgment Tests have been growing in popularity as an assessment technique since the late 90s.

Some of the organizations that are currently using the SJT as part of their recruitment process include Sony, Fire Service, John Lewis, Waitrose, Deloitte, and the NHS, Wal-Mart.

20 Important Facts about Situational Judgment Tests

Here are important facts and tips about the Situational Judgment Test that you need to know:

  1. How are Situational Judgment Tests Used?

Any situation that involves making a judgment successful is where Situational Judgment Tests can be used. This could be an individual or group level situation involvement.

The Situational Judgment Test is used by many graduate professions and managerial roles in their early-stage recruitment process.

Even medical schools in some countries also use the Situational Judgment Test to choose a complex range of skills and thinking abilities needed to train to become a doctor.

The US Foundation Programs that offer postgraduate training for medics use the Situational Judgment Test as a vital part of its selection process.

Decision-making, flexibility, professionalism, ethics, and personal skills as important prerequisites for doctors are all successfully assessed using Situational Judgment Tests.

  1. Why do Companies use Situational Judgment Tests?

Different hiring companies use the Situational Judgment Test because it is economical, effective, and a convenient way to select the potential strong performers from a huge set of candidates.

Organizations that use the Situational Judgment Test usually recruit for this role on a regular basis and have a high volume of candidates applying for a position.

Situational Judgment Tests are more used in the recruitment process for a graduate training scheme or internship programs, but less used for more senior positions.

  1. What do Situational Tests measure?

Situational Judgment Tests that are designed for jobs are used to evaluate specific sets of job competencies.

These are usually 4 to 8 competencies extracted from the job description. Competencies that are agreeable to the SJT format consist of:

  • Communicating
  • Resilience
  • Planning and Organizing
  • Leadership
  • Influencing
  • Decision-Making

Situational Judgment Tests measure the general score of judgment ability and can also be applied to the evaluation of personality and values.

There are several types of generic Situational Judgment Tests while there are some that are tailored to a particular organization.

  1. What does a Situational Judgment Test look like?

Situational Judgment Tests usually offer a description of a short scenario, accompanied by a few questions with options.

Specialist knowledge isn’t required before answering such scenarios correctly.

Each scenario of the Situational Judgment Test has a minimum of one challenge, typically with many aspects to consider, reflecting the realities of carrying out the tasks on the role.

The candidates are typically instructed to choose the most correct answer option, even though they occasionally need to choose the incorrect option.

The Situational Judgment Test for Foundation Entry to become a doctor is another familiar Situational Judgment

Test format where you will be asked to select which of the answer options are right.

  1. Does a Situational Judgment Test have a time limit?

Is the Situational Judgment Test timed? Roughly all Situational Judgment Tests do not have a time limit.

You will always have to answer the questions honestly and on time.

The first answer that you remember is often the one that reflects your true response.

Therefore, you will perhaps be told to go with your first impression and you will take as much time that is allotted to you on the assessment day.

The Situational Judgment Test has no time limit but there will be guidelines for the length of time the candidate will be given to complete the test, so it matters not if you spend a longer time.

  1. Different SJT providers and their usual time recommendations?

SHL has an SJT that consists of 24 questions with no time limit but around 20 minutes will be recommended for completion.

Talentlens is another company that publishes a series of graduate STJs called IRIS with no time limit. a&dc also publishes SJTs and instructs that candidates have about 30 minutes to complete the 20 scenarios each of which comprises four questions.

  1. What must you do to do well in a Situational Judgment Test?

No special knowledge or training is required to take the Situational Judgment Test. But it is worth it to take lots of practice tests.

When taking the test observe the detail of both the possible answers and how you are instructed to attempt the questions.

Each scenario and each possible response must be read thoroughly for proper understanding before ranking the responses.

If you are asked to rank answer options, try to put them in some relative order.

Don’t make assumptions about the scenario, even if it looks the same as the one you have met before.

If you have been given information about the competencies assessed then try not to forget it as you progress through the test.

If you haven’t been given this information then make your best guess as to the competencies that are related to the role you are applying for.

By spotting the competencies that the questions are addressing, you can more easily get into the right mindset to evaluate the options effectively.

  1. What are the benefits of Situational Judgment Tests?

There are a lot of benefits that the Situational Judgment Test provides. The test can assess a wide range of competencies, values, and personality traits.

The test is easy to offer online to a large candidate pool. In terms of validity and being highly job-related, the test has relatively strong research support.

In terms of diversity issues, the test is fair since there is a minimal adverse impact due to gender or ethnic origin.

In addition, Situational Judgment Tests offer great flexibility in how they can be applied within the usual context of recruitment or hiring.

Instead of a more traditional verbal reasoning test and a personality questionnaire, online Situational Judgment Tests are being used more as recruitment sifts.

  1. What is the process for answering the Situational Judgment Test?

The methods you can use to answer the Situational Judgment Test questions include completing practice samples as part of the primary instructions.

The practical situation should be of the position you’ve applied for. In this life situation, try to judge what to do next.

Your answers give your potential recruiter a better understanding of how you would probably perform if you worked there.

Responding to 15 to 25 well-crafted, tailored situations will follow a similar process to answer the most common, critical incidents that are most frequently encountered.

  1. Preparing for a Situational Judgment Test?

There are lots of practice aptitude test websites available today to help candidates prepare for taking the Situational Judgment Test.

By completing practice tests, you will get acquainted with the right format for the test.

You can also visit the Rob Williams Assessment website and gain an advantage over useful Situational Judgment Test tips and strategies.

  1. Who is Rob Williams?

Rob Williams is a psychometric author that published the Rob Williams Assessment Ltd – a company that specializes in designing tailored Situational Judgment Tests, aptitude tests, and personality tests.

A well-designed Situational Judgment Test is broadly considered to have higher engagement with their target audiences and fairer than other assessment formats.

  1. Why is the Situational Judgment Test so popular?

Situational Judgment Tests are so popular that they are used by particular audiences as a practical replacement for work performance, such as graduates and those undergoing specialist training in the Police, Fire Services, and more.

SJTs measure your experience of managing difficult, versatile work tasks, and projects requiring individual assessment.

The test requires decision-making and effective judgment ability. For that reason, the Situational Judgment Test becomes one of the well-liked psychometric assessment tests.

  1. Tips for doing extremely well on the Situational Judgment Test

Here are top tips to help you do extremely well on the Situational Judgment Test:

  • Always start by answering the easiest questions first.
  • Start by asking yourself answer options that are inappropriate, and so can be eliminated.
  • Those aspects of the scenario which are most important to fix first must be prioritized.
  • Any answer option that does not improve the situation should not be the best action to take.
  • Always remember that the worst answer option will be the one that even worsens the situation.
  • You should not be looking for a quick and easy stop-gap solution, but a problem-solving answer.
  • A permanent or semi-permanent solution that has lasting benefits must be sought.
  • Look for unique answer options.
  • Choose what an individual should do in the circumstances described.
  1. Different styles of Situational Judgment Tests

Situational Judgment Tests can be offered in diverse ways, requiring the candidates to use various means to respond to the situations presented.

These tests can come in paper-based, text-only, computer-based, and video clips to present the situation (with written response options), as well as animation and computer-generated avatars to perform the situation (also with written response options).

  1. How are your SJT Results presented to the employer?

Once you have completed the test your answers are scored, which is usually carried out on the computer. Your result will be shown to the potential employer.

During the design of the test, the recruiter will score the Situational Judgment Test by comparing your answers with the best-fit answers as recommended by job professionals.

The number of answers that you rate ‘correctly’ in the test can be compared to the results of a group of previous test-takers once the test has been automatically marked.

This is called a norm group.

How closely your responses matched those of the experts, or your overall score on the test, might be given to the employer.

Your score will be broken into individual competency scores.

Besides the overall test score, a standard graduate Situational Judgment Test might return five additional scores (for example drive, people skills, communication, analysis, and planning) to the employer.

Information on how your overall scores and your individual competency scores are compared to previous test-takers of a similar category are matched typically in the form of a percentile score.

For a competency of getting 160 out of the 200 test-takers, might be placed on the 80th percentile.

  1. Where can I practice the Situational Judgment Test?

Practicing will be a great way to prepare for Situational Judgment Tests. By studying what to expect from questions, you will know how to react to certain situations.

You can practice along with tips, guides, and accurate answers to trial questions on websites that contain Situational Judgment Test questions.

  1. Which employers use the Situational Judgment Tests?

You can’t talk about the most popular aptitude tests currently used these days without making mention of the Situational Judgment Test.

Situational Judgment Tests are often used by large corporate organizations, banks, law firms, business service organizations, financial institutions, and medical schools.

  1. Is there any pass mark for a Situational Judgment Test?

Generally, there is no specific pass mark for a Situational Judgment Test. Your score will often be ranked along with that of the other candidates.

That means if a particular test was easier or harder, everybody would be assessed fairly.

But you should attempt to answer at least 80 percent of the questions correctly.

  1. Developing a Situational Judgment Test

A Situational Judgment Test can be developed by carrying out a job analysis that includes collecting critical occurrences.

These critical occurrences are used to develop various situations where the judgment of the prospective new hire would need to make a decision.

Subject matter experts such as excellent employees are asked to make suggestions based on effective and less effective solutions to the situation once they are developed.

A separate set of specialists then rate this from best to worst and score the test with the highest-ranked options – giving the respondent a higher score or lower depending on how the test is scored.

  1. Advantages of Situational Judgment Test over other measures

The design process of Situational Judgment Tests results in higher relevance of content than other psychometric assessments.

The SJT has scenarios that are based on real incidents and that makes the test to be more acceptable and engaging to candidates compared to cognitive tests.

In order to give a better overall picture of a candidate’s aptitude for a certain job, the Situational Judgment Test is used in combination with a knowledge-based test.

Traditional psychometric tests do not account for the communication between ability, personality, and other traits.

The SJT makes use of measures that directly assess job-relevant behaviors, and also shows reduced levels of adverse impact, by gender or ethnicity, when compared to cognitive ability tests.

Situational Judgment Tests Practice Questions and Answers

If you are planning to take the Situational Judgment Tests real soon, then these practice questions and answers (combined with serious studies) will help you prepare effectively to achieve your dream of succeeding. These include:

Question One

You work as a department manager and you have lately thought of a new development that would make the work process better. Some of the workers in your division agree with the change but some disagree. One of your employees openly criticizes the idea before your director.

What would your action be or otherwise and why? Select ONE option.

A. You warn the employee for going over your head to the director and work to promote your idea with even more keenness.

B. You make a decision not to react to the critics so as to avoid unnecessary conflict.

C. Employees’ trust in their manager is important so you decide to implement only some of the changes to keep my employees satisfied.

D. You meet the employee for a talk and explain to him/her that bypassing your authority is unacceptable.

The best answer in this scenario is D.

Question Two

You had a marketing meeting with the senior marketing manager and your supervisor and found yourself in the middle of a serious disagreement between them. You know that the two are not compatible professionally and that they are in constant disagreement.

They are currently disputing about ways for a new campaign, and insist you support one person.

What would your action be and why? Pick ONE option.

A. You agree to the plan of the senior marketing manager. Since she is more
senior and she has more power over your rank in the company and so it is politically advised to support her.

B. You examine the advantages and disadvantages of each side and make a decision
accordingly without getting involved in their personal quarrel.

C. You accept the idea of your supervisor. He has more authority over your daily schedules in the company since he is your senior, too, and therefore it is politically advised to support him.

D. You think that getting concerned in this argument would be harmful to you as both sides are superior to you. So, you refuse to pick a side to support saying that both strategies are in the same way well acceptable.

The best answer in this scenario is B.

Question Three

You have been working as a Company’s salesperson for the past one year and have over and over again achieved great sales numbers. Due to personal reasons, you have lately been distracted at work and as a result, your work performance has gone down. In addition, the sales figures of your team have dropped off as well due to changes in the market. Your director is blaming your poor performance on poor leadership on your part instead of considering the changes in the market.

What would you do and why? Choose the BEST and WORST options.

A. You make clear your personal situation to the director and apologize for the
decline in the performance of my team. You ask for permission to build up your strength by taking a few days off.

B. You make a decision to keep your personal matters away from your job responsibilities and have a discussion with other sales directors concerning their plans in coping with the volatile market. You dedicate yourself wholly to your job.

C. You keep the director informed on the changes occurring in the market place and explain that there is nothing that can be done at this moment in time to make sales grow.

D. You reprove your team members for their poor work performance and set new, more
possible sales targets in line with the changes in the market.


The best answer is B while D is the worst one.


Candidates that take the Situational Judgment Test are presented with a wide array of situations related to the daily challenges met in workplaces and complex environments.

For every scenario, there is a collection of responses provided and you’ll be required to rate the effectiveness of each response in a given situation.

The recruiter will judge your response and evaluate your profile accordingly by analyzing your problem-solving and critical thinking skills and how they align with the job profile you are applying for.

>> Learn how to make a great score in Situational Judgment Tests (SJT); prepare effectively for the test with Practice Tests consisting of detailed explanations of answers.