3 Keys to an Exceptional Test Taker Experience


3 Keys to an Exceptional Test Taker Experience

Heather Richards


We’ve all had defining moments in our lives. Things like graduating college, buying our first home or landing that dream job. Most of our defining moments are the result of hard work and perseverance. When it comes to professional milestones, this may include securing that required license or boosting your career prospects with a coveted certification.

With the potential stress that these high-stakes tests can create, the last thing a test taker wants is a cumbersome or confusing process. The experience should be smooth from preparation and initial sign-up through to receipt of final results. As a result of administering 17 million tests annually, we’ve learned a lot here at PSI about test taker expectations and the importance of eliminating friction points. By putting in the work up front and really following in the footsteps of the test taker, you can ensure that your program will deliver the experience your test takers expect. Here are three key steps to consider – taken from our full guide on How to make the test taker experience exceptional!

1. Keep the test taker at the heart of everything you do

Develop a test taker journey map
A successful marketing strategy that is equally applicable to effective test taker process design presents the opportunity to think through every step and potential scenario your test taker will encounter. Consider everything from initial sign-on to FAQs leading up to test day and finally delivery of test results.

Manage test taker expectations right from the start
While it sounds obvious, it’s worth stating that your website should be easy to navigate. Don’t allow any room for error or questions when it comes to where a test taker needs to go to complete the immediate next steps. Make information clear and succinct. Particularly when it comes to tests that involve online proctoring, you need to over-communicate.

Make application and booking clear and hassle-free
One of the easiest ways to achieve this is by implementing single sign-on (SSO). It keeps branding consistent, allows the test taker to complete all necessary steps without leaving your website, and streamlines pre-test eligibility requirement checks.

Engage and prepare test takers before their big day
As soon as a test taker’s registration is confirmed, you should have a welcome email sent. Consider keeping in touch periodically with a countdown as well as helpful tips leading up to test day. If the test is being administered in a test center, be sure to provide the address, directions, arrival instructions, and identification and facility requirements. If the test is taking place online, internet settings and bandwidth requirements need to be provided in advance, allowing the test taker to make any necessary arrangements to avoid any hiccups on test day.

2. Deliver a seamless experience from the beginning

Design and develop the right content for your program
Let’s not overlook the importance of the test itself, and the need to employ expert test developers and psychometricians to create fair and legally defensible content. The key to doing this is by orchestrating a job analysis survey and using those results to create an item bank. Then the item and test writing can commence, with regular reviews taking place to ensure that what these test takers are being evaluated on remains relevant.

Deliver a seamless and secure test day experience
This will differ slightly depending on whether your test takers are on-site in a test center or remotely through online proctoring. If the test will be administered in a test center, be sure that you offer convenient locations, comfortable and ADA-compliant facilities, and helpful, knowledgeable staff members. If online proctoring is selected, instructions for system compatibility checks, simple check-in and identity verification process, and access to a live person or support at any time need to be made available.

3. Make post-exam steps effortless

Get follow-up right with efficient results and effective reporting
Be upfront early in the process about how and when a test taker can expect their result. Whether it will be immediately upon test completion, emailed later, or requires an additional login after the fact from the test taker, be sure to communicate it to avoid any disappointment if it’s not available right away.

Remember recertification/license renewal and CPD
Chances are, this is not the last time a test taker will need to take a test with you. If this initial experience was smooth for them, they will likely return when they need to renew their license, recertify, or attain a new certification. Take this first encounter as an opportunity to make them a repeat customer.

To learn more practical steps on how to deliver the very best test taker experience, download our new guide How to Make the Test Taker Experience Exceptional.