Paper and Pencil Assessments

What is a paper and pencil assessment?

A traditional paper and pencil assessment is essentially an assessment tool that asks a series of written questions. Candidates are asked to provide written responses to the questions in the available space provided, and are often used in recruitment to determine the suitability of a candidate.

A paper and pencil assessment can assess a number of factors, such as one’s aptitude and ability, as well as one’s personality, skills and interests. They can also be used to assess one’s knowledge of a specific job sector or industry, to give employers a clearer indication of the eligibility of the candidate.

When developing a pencil and paper assessment you will need to determine a number of factors, such as when you will provide the candidate with the test, and how long the test will be. This information will need to be relayed to the candidate prior to their attendance at the interview.

How to develop a paper and pencil test

The following is a guide on how to develop your own paper and pencil test if you have chosen to do so independently:

1.       List topic areas and tasks
2.       Specify the response format, number of questions, time limit and difficulty level
3.       Write the questions
4.       Develop a score guide
5.       Review the questions, including spelling, grammar and content
6.       Assess the scoring guide

Other factors to consider

When creating a paper and pencil test you will need to consider various other factors, including how many questions you will ask, how long the assessment will be and how much time you will allow candidates to respond.

Ensure that the questions you are asking are clear, accurate and easy to comprehend. Ensure that the level of language used to word the questions is appropriate for the requirements of the position.


Take the test yourself once it is complete, or ask a member of your team to sit the test in a realistic test environment. The purpose of the review is the ensure that the test is appropriate enough for the level of candidate that you seek.