Who may test me?

This depends on what the test measures. Some tests are controlled by law, and may only be used by people who are specifically qualified and registered to use them.

Regulation  R993 of the Health Professions Act reserves certain activities for registered psychology professionals. Psychological assessment is a big part of the activities that are reserved for the profession of psychology. This is done to protect the public, because psychological assessment requires special training and care to prevent harm and protect the rights of the persons being tested.

pdfDownload regulation R993 here268.68 KB

It is an offense for an unregistered person to perform an action that is reserved for a health profession such as Psychology. If found guilty, a penalty of a year's imprisonment and/or a fine may be imposed.

It is even worse for an unregistered person to pretend to be a registered psychology professional - in that case the penalty can be up to five years in prison and/or a fine (Health Professions Act, Chapter 3).

The list of areas that may only be tested by registered psychology professionals is very comprehensive. This article will highlight some of the most important, so that you may know your rights.


Your personality:

Such tests will ask you questions about how you normally behave, what you like doing, what type of person you are. You may be asked to rate yourself on various statements, or say how much a certain description is like you. Sometimes you have to say which of a set of descriptions is most like you, and choose one which is least like you. Sometimes the questions relate to a work situation, others are more general. These tests usually don't have a time limit. They can be done using pencil and paper, or completed on computer.

Other personality tests may require you to tell a story based on a picture. or to describe what an inkblot looks like to you. These tests require special training and they may only be used by psychologists who have done the necessary training.


Emotional functioning:

Tests that measure emotional functioning may look at an aspect of your personality that is specifically related to your feelings, moods and emotions. For example, these tests may ask you questions about how happy, sad, angry, frustrated, on anxious you are. Sometimes these tests and questionnaires make people feel rather uncomfortable or embarrassed, and therefore they may be used only by a registered psychology professional.


Intellectual abilities and aptitudes:

Intellectual ability tests measure how you think, solve problems and learn. Some are called "Intelligence tests". Aptitude tests are interested in how easily you can learn to do specific things, rather than your ability to learn and solve problems in general.

Some ability tests questions relate to language, other relate to numbers, and some present the questions in the form of shapes and diagrams. Some are called "reasoning tests" - such as verbal reasoning, numerical reasoning, or any type of reasoning. If the test requires you to figure out a problem for yourself and not rely on things you already know, it is probably a reasoning test. You may also be required to solve problems by manipulating blocks or puzzle pieces. Tests can be completed on computer, using pencil and paper, individually or in groups.

These tests are reserved by law for psychology professionals because they measure what is called "cognitive structure" and "cognitive functioning


Interests

Interest questionnaires ask you questions about what activities you most enjoy doing and what type of work you might prefer.

The questions could be presented as words, sentences or even pictures. In most cases you would have to rate yourself of say which activities you prefer most and which you like least.

These tests are often used to guide people in the choice of subjects to study, or to help them make a career choice.  Because these tests are used to make important decisions about a person's future, the consequences of making a mistake and giving the wrong advice could be serious. A person might spend years studying unsuitable subjects. spend a lot of money learning the wrong things, or enter a career that is not suited to them and spend years being unhappy in their work.

Interest questionnaires are reserved by law for registered psychology professionals.


Tests of psychopathology

These tests are designed to identify or diagnose patterns of behaviour and thinking that are considered abnormal and that may require psychological or psychiatric treatment. These are specialised techniques that are used only by psychologists who are registered in the proper categories and who have had the necessary training.


Neuropsychological assessments

These tests are designed to measure whether your nervous system  and brain are functioning properly in a psychological sense. These tests may require special apparatus and they certainly require special training. Only psychologists who have had such training may use them.