A Study Guide for the USA Hire Assessment Test: with Tips
Updated November 18, 2023
- What Is the USA Hire Assessment?
- How to Take the USA Hire Assessment
- What Are the Different USA Hire Assessment Types Used?
- Other USA Hire Assessment Tests
- How Is the USA Hire Assessment Scored?
- USA Hire Assessment Test Practice Tips
- USA Hire Assessment Study Guide: USA Hire Assessment Sample Questions
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Final Thoughts
If you are applying for a federal role, you will likely need to take at least one of the USA Hire Assessments.
These are designed to measure general competencies as well as certain soft skills that are needed for government roles.
In this article, we will look at what you should expect from the USA Hire assessment, the different parts of the standard test and the extra assessments that you might face.
We will also give some example questions that are similar to the assessments and information about the scoring of the assessment.
Finally, we will give some hints and tips to help you prepare so that you can get the score you require to be successful in the assessment.
USA Hire is a series of assessments created by the US Office of Personnel Management (OPM). These assessments have been created to measure both general competencies and soft skills relevant to Federal roles.
The assessments themselves have been created by I/O psychologists, with benchmark scoring for each job series and grade. According to OPM, this ‘whole person assessment’ is an effective predictor of future job performance, which makes it an essential part of the recruitment process for more than 100 different job series.
The USA Hire Assessments are used by 40 government agencies to find the right candidates for roles, and the assessments are used to evaluate more than 500,000 candidates every year.
You will be asked to take the USA Hire Assessments after you have completed the initial application for a role at an agency that uses them, and you will usually take them online and in your own time.
The basic assessment package consists of five different tests:
- USA hire Occupational Math Assessment
- USA hire Occupational Judgement Assessment
- USA hire Occupational Interaction Assessment
- USA hire Occupational Reasoning Assessment
- USA hire Occupational Reading Assessment
You may be asked to complete other assessments as part of the application process, but this will depend on the role you have applied for.
How to Take the USA Hire Assessment
Federal roles are all advertised on the USA Jobs website, and you will need to create an application account to get started.
For some roles, you will need to answer some pre-application questionnaires, which could include:
- Occupational Data – Questions about workplace tasks related to the job position, looking at your prior level of experience
- Biographical Data – Questions relating to your behaviors and attitudes which relate to your employment history.
If selected at this point, you will receive an email containing a link to the assessments you need to take.
The USA Hire Assessments can be taken at home and on your own time; however the assessment window is only open for 48 hours following the closure of the job posting, so you need to be sure to complete it by that time.
If you haven’t received the email, you should check your spam folder, but the link should also be available from your USA Jobs account.
The assessment should take about two to three hours to complete, and you can start and stop as you need to in between each section.
The tests take about 30 minutes each, but the timing is limited to the questions – each question has an individual time limit of five minutes.
Once you have submitted an answer, you cannot go back and change it.
Once you have completed the USA Hire Assessment, your results are passed directly to the hiring team, so you will not find out immediately how well you have done.
Your application status will change depending on your performance; a status of 'referred' or 'eligible' means that you have scored highly enough for further evaluation, while a status of 'not referred' means that you have not passed.
The Occupational Math Assessment is a multiple-choice test that asks questions based on numerical reasoning as well as basic calculations.
You will be allowed to use a calculator and scratch paper in this part of the assessment.
You will have a time limit of five minutes per question, and the number of questions will depend on the job role that you have applied for.
The Occupational Judgment Assessment is essentially a video version of the situational judgment tests that are used in other recruitment processes.
Each scenario will provide some background information, and the situations are based on things that a federal employee might be expected to deal with in their day-to-day role.
With the following question, you will be given the perspective from which you should approach the problem. Each video has closed captions so you can follow along and understand even if you cannot hear the video.
Following each scenario, you will be provided with four possible courses of action to take, and you need to select the best and worst course of action. The idea here is to select the answers based on which action would solve the problem and which would make the problem worse.
Again, the number of questions on this section of the test will vary, but you will have a five-minute time limit per question.
This part of the assessment is a questionnaire that is most similar to the personality tests that you might have encountered elsewhere.
Each question is followed by five possible responses, and you need to choose the one that best describes you.
As these questions are about the way you interact with others, your work preferences, and your work behaviors, it is better to answer them honestly.
Although there is no time limit on this section of the assessment, you should try and answer with your gut feeling rather than try to overthink it.
Again, this section of the test is multiple choice and is very similar to other logical reasoning assessments.
You will be provided with some information and need to decide which of the multiple-choice answers describes the logic presented.
You will need to demonstrate logical thinking while analyzing arguments and scenarios.
You’ll have five minutes to answer each question in this section.
This is an assessment of reading comprehension and is like a verbal reasoning test.
You will be given a passage or a paragraph of written information, and you will need to answer questions based on the data you have been given. The answers will be multiple choice, and you need to select the best option from them.
Again, you’ll have five minutes to answer the questions in this section, and the number of questions will depend on the role and the grade that you have applied for.
When you are taking the USA Hire Assessment, you might be asked to take some other tests, too, as part of the application.
These are usually related to the role you have applied for and will also change for different grades or levels of responsibility.
Some of the other tests include:
- Job Knowledge Test – Used in the application process where some specialist knowledge or education is needed.
- Writing Competence Assessment – This test is used to assess your writing skills at a level needed for general work, including things like grammar, spelling and sequencing of facts.
- Work Simulation – In this evaluation, you are required to attend a test center, and you will be placed in work situations so that your reactions and skills can be tested.
- Accomplishment Record – This is a discussion about your general and work-related accomplishments, focusing on the specifics of what you did and why it worked.
- Structured Interview – In this interview, each candidate is scored to rank them according to the rating system used by USA Hire.
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Although you will not find out your score on the assessment, you must do as well as you can throughout the test because you will need to reach a certain score to be considered for the role you have applied for.
Once you have completed the test, your combined final score will be somewhere between 70 and 100, and this is used to rank you against the other candidates.
Typically, only the top-performing candidates will be given the opportunity to move further through the recruitment process.
Alongside this is particular cut scores, which are the series and grade-specific scores that are used. Each job might have a different cut score, which experts have established as the minimum score demonstrating proficiency in the role.
According to most sources, you will need to score at least 70% in the USA Hire Assessment to be considered for the role you have applied for, and it is important that you do.
Your score will remain valid for 12 months, and it will be used in other applications that you make in that time if you are unsuccessful in this role.
If you fail the test, you cannot retake the assessment for at least 12 months.
Taking tests is nerve-wracking, even as an adult. One of the best things that you can do to help yourself is to become familiar with the tests and know what to expect so that you feel more confident about the content and ways to answer and can focus instead on choosing the right answer from the multiple-choice options.
You can get familiar with using guides like this one and the practice material available on sites like JobTestPrep.
As part of getting familiar, complete at least one practice test based on the same structure and content.
This will help you create a benchmark of your knowledge and abilities, and you can use the results to focus on any skills that you might need to revise.
Practicing with a timer will also help you be more aware of how long you are taking to answer a question.
Have a look at the concepts and skills that are needed in each section of the test, and do some research using tests that are similar in content and structure – so check out verbal reasoning test tips to understand more about the USA Hire Reading Assessment, for example.
Make sure you know what types of questions you’ll face so that you can structure your study appropriately.
Cramming just before an exam is a recipe for stress and failure, so if you know that you are applying for a federal role, you should create a study schedule that still considers your usual activities.
Make sure you leave time for rest and relaxation, too – it is important to look after yourself while studying.
As already mentioned, tests are stressful, but your cognitive performance could suffer if you don’t get enough sleep before the assessment.
In the run-up to the test, focus on eating healthily and staying hydrated, and aim for at least 6-8 hours of sleep every night.
You need to buy some shirts for an important event, and the store has them on sale. The sale price is $21.00, and they have been reduced by 30%.
What was the original price of each shirt?
All members of Company A came to the canteen.
Katherine came to the canteen.
Katherine works at Company A.
If the first two statements are correct, is the third statement:
c) Uncertain based on the provided information
Read the statement and think which answer best describes you most of the time:
’I sometimes find it tempting to disregard all tasks when there are lots of small tasks to do’.
a) Strongly agree
e) Strongly disagree
Your score on the USA Hire Assessment will be passed directly to the hiring agency. You will not normally know how well you have done – but you can find out whether you have gotten through to the next step by checking the details in your account.
The USA Hire Assessment is a pre-employment evaluation created by psychologists on behalf of the US Office of Personnel Management.
It has been created to assess competencies and soft skills that are predictors of job success in Federal roles.
There is no previous knowledge needed to pass the USA Hire Assessment, but it can be challenging to pass because there are a lot of different subjects covered in the assessment. If you want to achieve a high score, you need to practice.
One of the best places to prepare for the USA Hire Assessment is JobTestPrep. Here you will find a full guide to the assessment, example questions with worked answers, revision material and even full-length practice tests so that you are as prepared as possible.
The USA Hire Assessment is not timed as a whole. Still, almost every section places a time limit of five minutes on each individual question. Most candidates complete it within two to three hours.
The number of questions on the USA Hire Assessment will depend on the role you have applied for. It is a lengthy assessment, and you can expect more than 150 questions over five different subject areas.
You can find sample questions for the USA Hire Assessment at JobTestPrep – this is the home of preparation and revision when it comes to the USA Hire Assessments as there is a full guide to the test, including tips and hints. There are also full-length practice tests available.
The USA Hire Assessment is designed to evaluate candidates for Federal roles to ensure that they meet the required standards of competency and the soft skills that predict future job success. It is an unbiased way of evaluating candidates based on their skills.
You can fail the USA Hire Assessment if you do not meet the different benchmark scores. In most roles, you need to score at least 70% to be considered, but your overall score will also be ranked against other candidates, so you need to beat them too.
If you do not get the required score for the role you have applied for, you will not be allowed to retake the USA Hire Assessment for a period of one year.
Any roles that you apply for in the meantime that use USA Hire Assessments will use your score – this might affect your ability to get a different role if the tests are the same.
You can get a complete guide for the USA Hire Assessment at JobTestPrep.
Not only is there a step-by-step walkthrough of each section of the test, but you will also get example questions with worked-out answers, revision materials and hints for success. You can also take advantage of some full-length practice tests too.
The USA Hire Assessments are part of the recruitment process for more than 40 Federal agencies, and it is designed to focus on the key competencies and soft skills that are related to future job success.
While you do not need any previous knowledge of Federal work to take the assessments, practicing and revising will help you score high enough to be considered for the role you have applied for, which is important because you are only allowed to take the test once every 12 months.
The test is easy to access, but you only get 48 hours to complete it. It is the first stage in the process of getting a role in a government agency.