The psychometric exam
The psychometric exam first came to be part of the Israeli education system in 1981 as a unified state exam. After having undergone a number of changes, it has become one of two criteria for selecting applicants to study at institutions of higher education. The second criterion is the Israeli matriculation certificate, known as the “Bagrut”.
The psychometric test in Hebrew is given four times a year, while that in English (combined option) is given twice a year. It is important to understand that there are no differences between the English and Hebrew exams; the composition of the exam is the same in all languages.
Some differences between the Hebrew and English exams are due to differences specific to the nature of the language at hand. For instance, in the combined exam, the time allotment for the first part of the exam (i.e. essay writing) is 35 minutes instead of 30 minutes (as in the Hebrew exam). Similarly, there are also more tasks in the Hebrew verbal sections (23 instead of 20 as in the English sections).
In general, the language does not affect the structure of psychometric test and thus one’s chance to be granted entrance to a university. There exist numerous myths that this or that exam variant is easier than the others. For example, there are rumors that the February exam is easier than the July one. However, no proof has been found to back this rumor. The roots of the gossip are incorrect analyses of the Institute for Testing and Evaluation’s statistical data.
The test can be taken in English only twice a year – in April and in July.
The academic average for the psychometric test in English is the highest. Thus the higher scores stem from relevantly successful test takers – Hebrew, English, Russian and French – and the exclusion of the statistics from the Arabic tests, where the scores tend to be significantly lower.