Pros and Cons of Objective Tests vs Subjective Tests

Jan 07, 2019

Pros and Cons of Objective Tests and Subjective Tests

Assessment tests are the preliminary and fundamental method of evaluating students’ mental ability, problem-solving skills, technical knowledge, etc., and is the best way of filtering out the average performers to shortlist the others for further rounds. These tests help recruiters understand how talented and skilful students are based on their scores, allowing them to focus on other aspects such as their communication skills, subject expertise, work ethics, etc., in the interview round to select the most suitable candidates for the position and roll out the offer letter.

Purpose of assessment tests

Since colleges allocate only a fixed number of hours to the campus recruiters, and the hiring company also has limited funds to invest, it is under a mounting pressure of selecting students accurately and hiring the best ones for the job. Individually evaluating each student is an arduous task hence candidates are filtered out based on their assessment test scores at the preliminary stage itself. These tests assess the aptitude and the subject knowledge of the candidates and shortlist the best performers for a personal interview round. Here are the main purposes of assessment tests conducted in a campus recruitment drive:

  1. Evaluate the knowledge and skills of the students: Assessment tests evaluate the candidates on a lot of aspects. The questions assess the subject knowledge, technical skills, aptitude and problem-solving ability of the candidates in depth and generate scores based on how well they perform in them. Those with higher scores get shortlisted for further rounds.
  2. Filter out the average performers: Assessment tests have questions from different subjects that test the candidate and are a great way of filtering out the average performers. The candidates who have an in-depth knowledge of their course subjects fare well in the tests and get shortlisted for the interview round while others are left behind. Hence, these tests are a great medium to eliminate the average candidates in the preliminary round thereby unburdening the recruiters from interviewing a large number of candidates to select the best fit for the job profile.
  3. Save the interviewers’ time: Assessment tests are surely a time-saving process in a campus recruitment drive since they help shortlist only those candidates who have an overall good score in all the tests. This way, the interviewers get to focus on interviewing only those candidates who scored well in the tests and evaluate them for various other skills that are desired by them to shortlist right ones for the job.
  4. Avoid loss of right candidate: If the shortlisting process is not conducted appropriately, the company either loses on the right candidates or ends up wasting a lot of time of the interviewers in the attempt of finding the right candidates. Therefore, assessment tests are the best way to eliminate the average students who do not possess the desired skill sets and shortlist only those who have a good subject knowledge and other skills desired by the company.  This is the best way to avoid the loss of good candidates joining the firm.
  5. Eliminate prejudice in the selection process: Recruiters design the assessment tests in a way that they evaluate candidates for an in-depth understanding of the subject. In this way, the interviewers interview only those candidates who have performed well in the assessment tests and are shortlisted based on their individual scores. Such unbiased tests eliminate prejudice in shortlisting candidates for interview and help interviewers evaluate them better.

Subjective vs. Objective tests

For campus recruitment drives, assessment tests can be both subjective and objective. While the objective tests evaluate the technical skills and aptitude, subjective tests assess the conceptual understanding of the subjects. Objective tests are of a multiple-choice format where each question comes with four unique answers to choose from, while subjective tests involve penning down a detailed description of the concept asked in the questions.

Whether they conduct objective or subjective tests, the recruiters should design their assessment tests in such a way that they assess all the necessary skills required from a candidate, and shortlist those who score the highest. These tests should neither be very difficult nor too easy and must evaluate how students think and approach the questions.

Pros and cons of Subjective tests

The major advantages of subjective tests include:

  1. Evaluates candidate’s understanding of the subject and its concepts
  2. Understand the thinking and problem-solving ability of the candidate
  3. Evaluate how each candidate approach the same question and select the one with the best approach
  4. Evaluates the writing and communicating ability of the candidate

The major disadvantages of subjective tests include:

  1. Consumes a lot of time since candidates should be given sufficient time to attempt
  2. Designing subjective tests requires a lot of efforts since the subject matter experts have to come with the right type of questions
  3. Subjective tests may have to be conducted offline, in the traditional way, since online tests can be hard  to prepare
  4. In the case of coding questions, the students can trick the coding tool or software used by the company to come to the right answer without actually being aware of how to solve it
  5. Only a few candidates can take subjective tests at a time to keep the entire session foolproof

Pros and cons of Objective tests

Objective tests also have a number of advantages and disadvantages. The pros include:

  1. Can be conducted online or offline easily
  2. Easy to set a time limit, and also give ample time to attempt
  3. Can include a large number of questions which test for multiple concepts of a subject
  4. Easy to evaluate and present scores
  5. A large number of students can be accommodated to attempt the test at one time
  6. It is completely unbiased

Cons of objective test

Following are the disadvantages of an objective test:

  1. It cannot check in-depth knowledge of a candidate
  2. The tests do not evaluate the candidate’s language or writing skills
  3. Scope of guesswork leads to average candidates getting shortlisted for the interview round


Shortlisting the best candidates for a particular job profile is important while conducting a campus recruitment drive. This is done by checking the assessment scores of all candidates who appeared for these tests. Assessment tests not only evaluate the candidate’s subject expertise but also assess their mental ability and problem-solving capability. Having a mix of objective and subjective tests is a good practice since objective tests can be conducted quickly and filter candidates easily, while the subjective tests can be administered to a more suitable set of candidates to evaluate their skills sets in depth. Thus, subjective tests can be the selection test for the interview round, and help the interviewers get the top performers to the interview round and shortlist the best-suited ones among them. To know more, visit

Jan 07, 2019

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