There are several skills tests on freelancing sites.They are usually very long and very tough.I was wondering if getting good scores on these tests are helpful to the freelancer or is it just a waste of time?

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    Since I found the answers to some tests online, I've been avoiding them like the plague. There seem to be quite a comprehensive collection of answers available if you google. – user152 Dec 26 '14 at 17:38
  • I scored 99th percentile on both my quizzes and haven't seen a bounce in proposals accepted, FWIW. – Joel Wigton Jul 7 '16 at 17:39

As someone who has hired people to write copy for me, the tests can be useful. I want someone who can write good English straight away. It is a pointless exercise if I hire someone and then have to fix their English!


Well, they are useful but on the long run. Even if they don't praise you for good results on these tests, in my experience I learned a lot from them. So solving them is like reading a book: you find something unknown and you educate yourself on that topic.

The other good news for you is that many large companies who hire freelancers DO respect results on these tests. I have been chosen a couple of times just because I was in top 5% in certain IT fields.

The third people will not hire you before you pass their tests. And they usually rent test services from the same companies like your freelancing websites. There are not many good test services. I've faces this scenario with large companies who have 1000+ employees. No way they will hire you without these tests.

This will not happen momentarily, but will for sure on the long run. And if I am not mistaken, you are freelancing on the long run, right? :)

So don't listen people on forums complaining about this since they all thought that heaven will open once they reach top 5% on some test.

Just be patient and do any test for yourself on the first place, not for others.


I'm slightly cynical of most of these tests, because they are usually on sites that exist to sell you training... plus in the Real World you have to ask yourself whether hiring managers will know what they are, or what a test proves.

However, anything that you may consider a positive addition to your portfolio is worth pursuing.

Ultimately, it is impossible to predict what might be the decider that gets you the gig - but having something relevant (whether a certification or a good reputation on SE) that the other candidate(s) do not cannot be a bad thing?!


On a personal level, some years back I undertook a number of the BrainBench tests - after one of the assessments was required at an interview - but afterwards no-one else seemed to give a hoot. So I haven't done any recently...

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    Many large companies employing remote workers will buy such test which you have to pass during the interview process. I am doing the same when hiring juniors remotely. – Peter MV Sep 16 '13 at 9:49

Yes, the tests are very helpful, especially when you are new to the portal and don't have any portfolio, reviews or rating on your profile. In this scenario the Tests act as a proof of your skills and education and helps client to gain confidence in your skills.

In-fact for established profiles also clients consider this as a factor, including other factors like your Portfolio, Rating, etc.

However, only publish your scores if you are among the top candidates, average scope or tests in which you failed can create a bad impression.


These tests are just a little bit of information that shows how good you know of your field. Usually, if you have experience then these will not be that hard. Don't expect people to hire you just for your great results but when having to choose between 2 freelancers the clue to will surely choose the one with the high score on the tests. So in short: no, it is not a requirement but yes, it will help out in some cases.


The tests vary based on industry. I've taken tests for marketing, development, and English skills.

I make sure to take the English tests so potential clients know that when I say I'm native they know it's true.

As for other tests, some sites have outdated tests that go against industry best practices or don't realize how the industry works. For example, I do very well on SEO tests because I do onsite, offsite, social media, email, content, and technical SEO work. 75-85% of the SEO's I work with have very little technical knowledge so they would receive poor scores in those areas of a test but still be at the top of their field. There are also people who specialize within a specialty. For example, I work with an SEO who specializes in offsite SEO and she doesn't know much about technical or onsite SEO but she's better than most people I know who do SEO when it comes to offsite work.

Here's the obvious caveat:

The clients don't know what goes into those tests or how up to date they are. They just see a x% or x/X on your profile.

I didn't have any tests but English tests for about 8 months on Upwork and was still successful. After taking tests I did notice that I got interviewed more often because I could say "I'm in the top 10% for X" but I don't think it had any effect on my interview-to-hire ratio.

I suggest taking language ones and maybe take a test a month to see if it impacts your overall success. There's no need to go crazy and spend 12 hours taking tests.

What are the value of these tests for freelancers?Next to Nothing. Often out of date or you can tell the person who made the test has never done extensive industry work. The answers for almost all online tests are online already and what's better a test from some website that is a collection of freelancers or a certificate from an online program such as various Hubspot certificates.

Value for the client? If they're new to hiring freelancers or don't know much about your industry then they'll likely find a skill test valuable to some degree. Especially if someone can say "I'm in the top 5%" and no one else can. Though as the client gets more experience being a client they'll notice that even freelancers who have high marks on tests aren't always skilled in the field.


Skills tests are good for self-assessment. If I were you, I wouldn't spend a lot of time on them unless required.

When I first started freelancing in 2012 and was looking for work on bid sites, I took a lot of skills tests on Elance and oDesk. This got me several invitations to write proposals for projects. However, because these clients would not pay a rate that I could live on in the US, I didn't get the job. I haven't landed any jobs on bid sites. From that perspective, a lot of those tests wasted my time.

Ever since I left the bid sites, I haven't taken any skills tests. The only real benefit I would see is that skills tests, if written well, give me an idea of where my gaps in knowledge are. For example, if there is a big feature of CSS3 that I simply haven't had to learn anything about during a previous project, the skills tests show me that I need to study this feature. A lot of companies (particularly technical/development companies) ask you to rate yourself from 1 to 10 with a particular skill. Skills tests are a good way to determine what your rating actually is. A lot of people tend to rate themselves high, not knowing that there is a whole large chunk of a skill that they possibly haven't even touched. (To use the CSS3 example again: You can think of a self-assessed 1-10 scale like this: If 1 means I've never used CSS and 10 means I'm Eric Meyer, most people that use CSS daily are probably 5 to 7.)

Before I was freelancing (as a UX designer), I was in the corporate world as a software developer. I'm familiar with technical interviews, which usually involved solving programming problems on the spot. Most of the dev shops that interviewed me were interested in seeing how good I was at thinking on my feet. Only one shop had me take a BrainBench test (in Java). I did fine but not great on it. If I recall correctly, that particular shop was a temp agency that turned out to not really have the position I interviewed for available. Lacking another suitable position, they offered me an interview for a job with another client with a far lower salary. I, of course, said no. One place that did hire me later had me take a test which was similar to an IQ test. Other than that and some technical questions (programming, object-oriented design, databases), they didn't give me any skills tests.

Overall, your work samples and references speak louder than your ability to do well on skills tests. Show results. One place where I worked hired someone with a long list of certifications who had freelanced for 2 years before coming to that company. He was fired less than 2 months later after multiple mistakes at the job.

Certifications and skills tests may allow you the opportunity to interview for a particular position or project, but don't stop there. Show that you do the work well.


I have hired freelance coders many times. First I will look for number of reviews & quality of those reviews.

Next I need verification of the skillset which the tests provide

So yes if there are 3 freelancers...

  1. No stars & no tests
  2. Many stars & jobs but no skill tests
  3. Many stars & jobs & several skill tests

.. I will be happy to chat with all of them but "3" will be the one I choose if they all sound the same.

Two of the best things you can do are put a targeted proposal & open chat communications immediately

These can out weight both reviews & exams taken

Often the times I have ignored reviews - the coder has let me down.

Also if your skill tests are just generic, english , HTML, CSS, jquery etc then of course these are expected minimum standards. So perhaps you wont notice much difference.

But think if the project requires a more specific skillset. FB or Twitter API, LINQ etc

This is when it gives you a greater advantage


The tests are not a waste of time. First, it helps the freelancing web site. In the long run that helps you. Also, some clients filter by tested applicants. It might or might not matter what your score was on any given test but at least you'll be listed as someone involved in that specific topic.

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