The Group Bourdon or dot test is used for jobs that require you to concentrate for long periods of time. The train driver Group Bourdon test is the most common type of usage for this style. This test is unlike most other tests, so preparation is key. The largest number of applicants fail at this test, so make sure you aren’t one of them!

What skills does the Group Bourdon Test examine?

This type of test is designed to assess your visual perception, concentration and carefulness. These are skills that are necessary in jobs such as train drivers, where you need to concentrate on your job the entire time you are travelling, even though it may all look and feel routine.

The Group Bourdon is a fast moving test, looking at your ability to be accurate when working through tasks quickly.

What does the Group Bourdon Test involve?

This test may be taken on both a computer or with a paper and pen. You are given a page which is covered with groupings of dots. In all there are 25 groupings per row, 21 rows per page, and five group bourdon test sheets. The dots may be a group of 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6, and your task is to pick out all the groupings of 4.

You have two minutes to complete each page, and the test will move you on automatically at the end of two minutes whether you have finished or not. In all the test will last 10 minutes. As you work through the pages you may find that it gets progressively harder to concentrate, which is precisely the point of the test.

How is the Group Bourdon Test marked?

The group bourdon test is scored in three categories and a number of marks against each one. It is important to note the different variables that your score report will highlight so that you know what to practice for.

Perception and attention

There are two parts to this section of the report: targets omitted and marked incorrect. These are looking at your accuracy in spotting the information you are looking out for. The marked incorrect section is particularly important as you lose marks for wrong answers.


This section wants to know how many clicks you made in the 10 minutes of the test. The scores you will be given are against total cells; mean cell time; median cell time; completed rows; mean row time; median row time. Whilst the scores in this section would suggest that you want to hurry through, remember that under accuracy, you lose a point for every wrongly marked answer.


This section looks at your row fluctuation, or how consistent your speed is throughout the test. The lower the number the better for this score.

Prepare for the Group Bourdon Test

This test has several elements that you can and must prepare for ahead of taking your train diver dot test.

For one thing you should train yourself to concentrate for longer and longer periods of time. The point of the group bourdon concentration test is to see how long you can focus on repetitive information. It will get harder to concentrate as the test goes on, but you can improve your concentration so that it takes longer to reach that point.

Take a few minutes to learn what the various combinations of four dots look like. Once you know what they look like your brain will pick them out instinctively.

Finally work your way through practice tests. The more familiar you are with the test, the quicker you will get at going through the rows, and the more accurate you will be at identifying the correct groupings, all of which will lead up to a better score in your bourdon test.