Minnesota Clerical Test and Its Limitations

The Minnesota Clerical Test was introduced in 1931. Since then the employers have been utilizing it to measure your clerical skills; perceptual speed and accuracy, for different clerical jobs. It has been improved many a times. However, in 1979, Andrew, Paterson and Longstaff revolutionized the Minnesota test with new sets of norms and inclusion of other sub-tests.


The classic Minnesota Test is comprised of two separately timed sub-tests; number comparison and name comparison. You are offered 100 identical and 100 dissimilar pairs of digital and letter combinations. You are required to choose the identical pair in each item.

Watch Minnesota Clerical Test on Video

Tips to Encounter

While encountering a Minnesota Clerical Test you must keep following tips in your mind:

1- It is a multiple choice questionnaire. You can find only one correct answer in each item.

2- You will find very slight difference in each dissimilar pair. It may be a letter or a digit.

3- The identical pairs are mixed with dissimilar pairs randomly.

4- It is a speed test. Answer as quickly as possible. Keep in mind the time limitations.

5- It is more critically an accuracy test. One mistake shall cost you two scores. One of its own and other deducted from your correct answers.


Minnesota Clerical Test

‘Reliability’ of a clerical test doesn’t mean its value to measure the best clerical skills in any group of candidates. It stands for one person’s consistent results on the same test, at different times.

Anne Anastasi and Susana Urbina define it as “consistency of scores obtained by the same persons when they are re-examined with the same test on different occasions, r with different sets of equivalent items, or under other variables examining conditions.” (Psychological Testing)

The manual of Minnesota provides sufficient data to analyze its reliability. You will find a lot of reason to believe that the test is reliable. The manual claims reliability from .81 to .87, which is good for its mode.

Criticism on Minnesota Clerical Test 

Some psychologists including Thomas and Ryan have raised serious objections on some findings of the proponents of Minnesota test. They observe:

1- The manual of the test does not discuss the significant versus the non-significant validity studies.

2- You can’t find detailed information about specific attributes of the job, tests and courses. Without this information the validity studies of the test are faulty.

3- The manual is unable to convey precisely what Minnesota Test is trying to measure.

4- The manual provides very little information about normalization standards of Minnesota clerical test in 1979. How the norm groups were selected? What was proportion regarding socio-economic conditions? How the gender was differentiated? Thus the 1979 norms can not be used today.

5- The late developments have increased the number of sub-tests from 2 to 12. The style has also changed over the tears. But norm grouping is still ambiguous. The vagueness poses a serious problem to the potential users of the Minnesota clerical test.

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