IBM’s employment exam

It was the weirdest exam I have ever taken in my whole life! They named the employment exam as Information Processing and Aptitude Test (IPAT) which in my opinion could be renamed to ‘Inde Ako Papasa Talaga Test (translation: I’ll Surely Fail Test).

I could have let go of the fact that they came late, (1pm exam started 1:25pm) or that one of the examiners forgot to give me the test materials (first the test questions then next the calculator) or that it was very quick (27 minutes) and short but I was just weirded by the fact that I started the exam without the examiner giving the usual explanation of the different exam modules. I was simply caught off guard when I started. Yes, the examiner, Miss Dina/Tina told us who she is and gave a brief overview of the company which is friendlier than that of Accenture’s however when it came to handling the exam proper she was a disaster.

How? One she did not tell us what we were allowed to do and not to do. Second, she did not explain what the materials they gave us is for. I was unsure if the other paper was for scratch or not because something else was written on it. I thought it was another special paper that is part of the exam. Third, she was not even that assertive in exercising the time limit on each modules. Fourth, as already mentioned she did not explain the objectives or instructions is each module. It did not help that the some of them I have never encountered before. Fifth, and the worst of all, the time limit is inclusive of reading the instructions! It was such a waste of time.

IBM is one of the companies where I would like to work but base on my performance on the IPAT exam I have more hope for an Accenture job.

30 thoughts on “IBM’s employment exam

  1. dont worry friend, i already taken the exam already today, my schedule is 10:00 am and im so early. im not feeling nervous about the examination, all i have to do is to try it whatever happens but im carefull to my answer because it is right minus wrong strategy exam…i know, we are 10 applicants getting the examination in that schedule, im afraid because all my competitors have a
    gifted face, you know, look-smarter type of a person. you know what? 2 of us are called because they are passed, one boy and one girl, and the rest are failed including me. 😦 the examiner said that i will come back when 6 months before i can re-apply again…i wish i have a copy of that exam to analyze it. 😦

  2. I was looking for an OJT last summer when one morning i got a call from a friend who told me that there were still slots in IBM Philippines. It was at 11am and he told me to go to the place at 1:30pm. Desperately looking for a place to have my OJT (because it was kinda getting late already), I took the chance to get into the program. It was a specialized internship wherein applicants should take the pre-employment IPAT examination. I think IBM doesn’t really make OJT applicants take the exam. Anyway, there were about 10 to 12 of us in that miniscule conference room and, unlike me, all of them were seeking employment. Honestly, I was surprised about the topics included in the exam and the friggin short time to answer them! Moreover, I missed the line in the instruction that says it was a correct-minus-wrong type of exam! It surely gave me a chronic headache afterwards. It caught me off guard as well ’cause i just came back from a vacation in bora! Anyhow, I just did everything that i could. We waited for the results in the lounge for about 30mins. When the examiner came back, the first name she called was mine. My heart was pounding really hard as I approached her. Then she told me, “Congratulations! You passed the IPAT examination garnering an IT Position Cut-off…” It was such a relief hearing those words. I did not know what happened to the others ’cause I left the lounge right away. One thing is for sure though. I saw not one of them during my whole stay in IBM Philippines. I am not sure if they did not pass or probably they did but went to other IBM subsidiaries. I guess I just got really lucky that day. Anyway, good luck to those who are about to take the exam. My advice is, do not guess for an answer. Just answer those that you think you can, as many as you can but be sure about them. You will not have time to review your answers nor write formulas on paper. Go straight to the calculator if you can. Be wary of trick questions. There were certainly a lot of them. 🙂

  3. @OJT
    congratulations that you have passed the exam! Although honestly another multinational IT company here in the Philippines are hiring IT Consultants without the need of any exam, just an interview.

  4. I took this test when it was first implemented in 1999 at IBM. It’s basically an IQ test. They ask you basic algebra, arithmetic sequence, spatial sequence type problems. It wasn’t hard, but you have to be a genius to be able to answer them all in the time given. I was also really tired that day. I don’t know what my score was since its confidential, but my hiring manager said I had good IPAT scores.

  5. @HI:I want to try on IBM and apply for CSR. Is the IPAP exam you are talking about basic algebra, logic, etc. is the same with the exam for CSR position?

    Is there a 2nd exam/interview after the IPAP?
    How much is the starting for CSR? w/o experience?

  6. I have took the exam and the examiner told us to wait until 2 weeks to know the results if we failed or we passed. I was waiting for the email in 2 weeks and i was surprised that i passed. The exam is time pressure, its not that hard compared to some exams in IT Managers in Ortigas.

    Thanks and I hope I can find my real career in IBM.

  7. I share the same experience. last january 6 i took the exam and unfortunately did not meet the cut off. Better luck next time.

  8. Im about to take the IPAT on Monday. For those who passed, how much of the test were u able to answer? I was curious since it’s right minus wrong. How many modules are there that they squeezed within 27 minutes?

    Also, it seems the questions are all concerning abstract logic and math only. Don’t they have other types? Like word / vocabulary?

  9. I took the exam awhile ago and fortunately, I passed. We were just 4 who took the exam. 1st part was a little bit tricky. But if you will just follow and analyze the instructions, you will get the correct answer. The 2nd part was the easiest part of the exam. It’s just number sequence. In a span of 4 minutes, you can answer the 2nd part. But be careful because it is ¼ right minus wrong. The 3rd part was the hardest. It is Mathematical problem solving. I haven’t finished answering it and just leave the 3 unanswered questions blank. Again, it is ¼ right minus wrong.
    Well my advice is to read and understand carefully the instructions and answer the easier questions. Don’t dwell on questions that you can’t answer and don’t make guesses. Remember, it’s right minus wrong.

  10. I took it a while ago in DLSU considering that today is our job fair. I can say that it was difficult. The first part was not that hard. You just have to analyze the instructions and follow them. You need to be good at reversing matrix though. The second part, for me, was the easiest. I managed to get 15 sure answers in that part. My tip is, google number series practice sets and I am sure that you will do fine in this part. The last part is the most difficult part! I was only able to answer 3 out of 12 questions. Oh well, I hope I passed.

  11. The exam for the CSR is simple. its not right minus wrong.. I applied there last month but I am confuse because i passed the initial interview then the exam and I think i didnt passed the 3rd interview but i don’t why because the third is just the same as the initial interview and much even a shorten interview but how come i didnt passed the 3rd interview. we

  12. We are three then who applied, 2 girls and 1 boy, only the boy passed. We are really curious why didnt passed because we are good in the interview than that boy. He is not that good in English. Before i had so much respect with the company because i think they have a high standard in getting employees but after my application i don’t think so????

  13. I could say that i’ve been through several recruitment already and so far IBM has the worst process of all, the staff, even the manager was unorganized that you have to wait atleast more than 1 hour and ask them just for the results of each process. heard applicants complaining that their papers were missing and have to fill out another form after waiting for an hour for nothing. last step was OM INTERVIEW after bugging the receptionist for two hours re the result the hr manager emerged and said will call

  14. i had my examination last month. i cud say that it was not that hard, but i didn’t know it was right minus wrong.. oh, maybe that’s the reason why i failed. =(

  15. @neverhadthisworst where did you take the assessment day, in uk? I have mine next wednesday and I am quite worried about the IPAT thing..

  16. *sigh* i’m so nervous after reading all your comments… hoping i’ll pass the exam tomorrow…
    my friend took the exam yesterday and he passed the exam and the interview..

    Are there any differences bet. the exam of the I.T and Accountants?

  17. Hi guys. I got invited for a face to face interview at IBM but I am wondering if they will let me take an exam first because I just took a phone interview and the questions are just things that are written in my resumè and my ojt experience. Please answer I really need it.

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