An objective test is a type of psychological testing that gauges the test taker's conscious thoughts and feelings without regard to the test administrator's beliefs or biases. The conclusions drawn from an objective test are generally considered more accurate than other types of psychological tests; projective tests, which reveal unconscious motivations on the part of the test taker, and subjective tests, which are self-reporting tests, are two prime examples of less reliable testing. If a test taker is forthcoming and honest in his or her answers to the questions posed, an objective test can help greatly in determining the test taker's personality. Objective tests are primarily given as a type of employment testing or in psychoanalytic settings.
The defining trademark of an objective test is that it must be able to be graded according to a universal standard. A multiple choice, true-false, or straightforward question and answer format are the most commonly administered styles. A definitive set of answers allows the administrator to gauge the results of the test against a benchmark, thereby eliminating any personal beliefs, opinions, or prejudices the test administrator might have.
There are several aspects involved in the creation and development of an objective test. Utilizing data from the field of psychometrics — the study of psychological measurement techniques — and clinical psychology, test developers embark on a series of steps to craft a successful test. These steps include a determination of what populations will take the test, the goal of the test, and the precise psychological results the test is attempting to deduce. The developers will then put together a roster of questions that correspond with the goals of the test.
Each question on an objective test is then gauged for its psychological soundness. If experts or statistics support the aim of the question, it remains as part of the test. This step is undertaken to ensure the test is as accurate as possible in meeting the specific aims of the process.
After developers have designed a format for the objective test, they will launch a sample version that helps determine which tests are more effective than others. When this preliminary testing procedure is complete, the test is edited and revised as necessary. Another preliminary testing process takes place, and developers utilize the findings of these tests, in conjunction with statistical practices, to institute a universal standard by which all objective tests can be measured.