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The Psychometrics Centre

Cambridge Judge Business School Executive Education

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Review of the British Army Recruitment Battery (BARB)

In 1997 the UK Defence Evaluation and Research Agency (DERA) asked us to assist in the evaluation of the scoring mechanism of the British Army Recruitment Battery (BARB).

BARB is a computer-based, psychometric assessment that was developed by DERA and Plymouth University. It is a series of timed questions that assess a candidate's ability to absorb information quickly, accurately and logically. The computer automatically calculates the candidate's score, based on the number of correct answers and time taken. The final score is referred to as the GTI (General Trainability Index).

All potential recruits to the British Army are required to take BARB on application. It consists of five different tests and takes about 30 minutes to complete, using a touch-screen response system. The tests are:

  • Reasoning
  • Letter checking
  • Number distance
  • Odd one out
  • Symbol rotation

On the basis of the data supplied were we able to make a series of recommendations that were subsequently taken into account in the scoring of BARB.

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