What Exactly Is the PI/PI LI Test?

The Predictive Index Learning Indicator (PI LI), formerly known as the Professional Learning Indicator (PLI), is a basic psychometric exam distributed to companies across the country by The Predictive Index. Similar to the Wonderlic in conception, the PI LI is a cognitive ability test designed to evaluate basic numerical reasoning, verbal comprehension, and abstract thinking.

If you’ve been asked to take the Predictive Index Learning Indicator exam as part of the interview process, you’ll want to make sure you know what to expect on test day. While seemingly simple, this assessment is trickier than it seems.

What is the Predictive Index Cognitive Assessment?

The PI LI assessment is a simple online test with 50 multiple-choice questions. You’re given a total of 12 minutes to complete all of the questions, and the use of calculators is not permitted.

While only 5 questions are displayed at one time, you can flip back and forth through the questions answering them in whatever order you see fit.

Each question on the test is worth one point, and the maximum possible score is 50. Each grade is then converted from a raw score to a scaled score, which the company uses to compare and filter candidates.

While no points are deducted for wrong answers, your prospective employer will be able to see how many questions you missed in each of the three different sections.

There is no official passing standard on the test. In most cases, the PI test is used as an initial screening test. The company itself will establish a minimum acceptable score for the open position, and hiring managers will filter applicant resumes based on their scores when discussing who to invite into the office for an official interview.

Why Was the Test Created?

The Predictive Index was founded officially in 1955, but their story dates back to World War II when a man named Arnold S. Daniels volunteered to serve in the U.S. Air Force. Daniels trained as a navigator before he was sent off to fight in England. His team completed a stunning 30 missions without suffering even a single casualty.

When his commanders noted his achievements, they quickly sent Daniels to work with a group of psychologists whose job it was to discover the secret to his success. Daniels went on to study workplace psychology at Harvard and eventually developed a series of intelligence tests designed specifically for employers.

Essentially, your employer hopes that, in administering these tests, they’ll be able to learn what they can’t learn from a resume. Intelligence level, along with work ethic, experience, and resources, can tell you an immense amount about a person’s capacity to excel in the professionally. Smart employees learn and master new tasks more quickly, and they’re far more likely to be willing and able to take on more responsibilities as time goes on.

What’s on the PI Cognitive Assessment?

The PI contains three general categories: numerical reasoning, verbal comprehension, and abstract thinking. On the exam, you’ll be asked to:

  • Complete Number Series
  • Solve Word Problems
  • Identify Visual Patterns
  • Finish Analogies
  • Answer Formal Logic Problems
  • Give Synonyms and Antonyms
  • Perform Basic Calculations

How Do I Prepare for the Predictive Index Learning Indicator?

The PI Cognitive Assessment is designed to generally measure intelligence–a simplified I.Q. test, if you will. However, while you wouldn’t necessarily prepare for an I.Q. test, you can and should prepare for the PI evaluation.

Unfortunately, many well-educated, bright individuals head into the test unprepared, and they receive low scores not because they’re stupid, but because they simply don’t know what to expect from the exam.

The PI Cognitive Assessment is unique because of its harsh time limit. With only 12 minutes to answer 50 problems, you won’t have more than 15 seconds to spend on any individual question. While the questions themselves aren’t extraordinarily difficult, you won’t even have an extra seconds to spare.

Make sure you practice ahead of time with at least a few sample tests. Take the test within the given time limit, and then carefully go over each of your answers marking where you could have answered more quickly or worked more efficiently.

Last Thoughts

The PI Cognitive Assessment is accredited by the American Psychological Association and has been used for decades to test prospective employees. Make sure that if you’ve been asked to take the PI LI exam, you take the time to familiarize yourself with the structure of the test and review the test’s questions carefully so you can perform at your best.