UK Seminary Application - Psychological Assessment

Hi all! I’m in the process of applying to a seminary and I’m going to be doing the psychological assessment this year, does anyone know what happens during it and if I need to prepare anything for it?

Thank you!

I’d like to know myself since I was going to apply to seminary as well shortly - and I think the psychological assessment is just to check there isn’t something “off” about a candidate, something so unsettling as to bar them from priestly ministry. I’d assume that paedophilia and other things are the main purpose for it, and of course any psychotic tendency.

Congratulations to both of you. Don’t worry, if God wants you he will help you get through the exams. If you fail you can always apply somewhere else.

God Bless You Both

I wouldn’t know.

Congratulations though.

Congratulations, dear friend!

Yes that is the primary purpose although normally a candidate with a significant psychological disorder would be screened out much earlier in the process. it’s important though that the psychological assessment isn’t seen as being limited to this. It’s larger purpose is in fact to provide an overview of your psychological make up - essentially, why you do what you do (for example, sacrificial personalities are unsurprisingly common in applicant for the priesthood). this in turn can help both you and your formators to have a better idea of your personality strengths as well as areas which need further work as part of your formation process. In this way, it can actually be of considerable benefit in helping you to understand yourself and helping for formators to help you to help yourself.

I have heard that they are quite rigorous and want to know everything. Trick questions, repeating same question differently worded, etc. One seminarian I know (my previous parish in the UK) was asked about his personal history with women. I think they want to make sure these men don’t have issues that could be problematic later on.

I think this is a good answer. It’s more than just to test if you’re crazy.

I will likely be beginning an application process for seminary very soon, and I’m rather excited to take the psychological exam - not only do I get to find out whether or not I’m crazy ( :smiley: ) but I also get to see what some pretty extensive tests say about my personality, which should be interesting.

I went through that when I was applying for the diaconate program.

It involved an MMPI test, which involved ‘fill in the circle’ type questions , pages and pages of it. Those were done at home and sent it.

Some of the standard personality tests, aptitude tests etc…

Then an interview with a psychologist and several of the visual tests (ink blot\Rorschach etc…) My wife was interviewed as well (no other testing)

Results came back a few weeks later. (and yes, I was accepted into the program, I stepped back when my wife and I began to expect our 5th and then 6th child.)

The cool part is that I know have a letter that attests to my sanity :slight_smile:

I went through a psychological assessment years ago when I was entering the Jesuits in the U.S. The priesthood and religious life attract a lot of people who are psychologically unbalanced, and they do neither themselves nor the Church any good by becoming priests or religous. Priesthood and religious life are challenging. The people of God need and deserve priests who are not so overwhelmed with their own inner struggles that they can put the needs of others first. Everyone has problems and imperfections, but a foundation of generally good mental health helps in being effective – and finding happiness – in serving others.

Hi chaps,

Seminarian emeritus for A&B here; been there, done that (the psychological).

Basically, the psychological is nothing to worry about at all - it’s mostly a back-covering exercise.

Most dioceses in the UK (I think Shrewsbury might be the exception) send their candidates to St. Luke’s in Manchester. You’ll spend two or three days there (we did it over a weekend).

The testing itself, involves two computer-based personality tests (about half an hour and an hour and a half long), a clinical psychological interview, an spirituality interview and a sexuality and personal history interview. You are, of course, under the lens when looking at your general interactions around the house, and at Mass.

Your answers will be collated in a long document and read back to you at the end to check for factual errors (there were several quite egregious ones in mine!). They will usually make some broad recommendations, such as “take a propedadeutic year to discern further”, or “is more of a thinker than a feeler - this should be addressed by appropriate formation”. Once ok’d by you, this report will be sent to yourself, your Vocations Director and, when you enter the seminary, the Rector will also get a copy. Otherwise, it a strictly confidential document.

Unless you come up with some completely outrageous stuff, they will recommend you for formation.

Overall, my own experience (and that of my fellow candidates I went with, as well as, later on, my brother seminarians), wasn’t overly great. It wasn’t a great “get to know yourself better” exercise - they only record what you yourself told them. I suppose it does give the rector of the seminary more information about you, but he’ll get to know you quite well regardless.

Anything else you’d like to know, post here or PM me.

I’ll say one for you all - good luck!

Usually psychological testing is done as a long multiple choice test with questions, often repeated in a different manner in order to help prevent people from trying to beat the exam. It’s also important not to over-think and read into the questions (Ie: "I like little boys? Strongly Agree, Agree, Disagree, Strongly Disagree). That was the advice were we given when doing it for the police hiring process, which also has a 150 question Pre-polygraph interview and Polygraph interview.

It’s not uncommon to have to also have a meeting with the psychiatrist for further clarification of your answers, so don’t be alarmed if you need one.

Thanks! These answers are really helpful, I’ll be sure to share what you’ve all said with others I know in conversation about this, it has calmed a lot of nerves I’ve had about this test, I thought it was presented a bit as though it’s all about trying to catch you out for something, but reading this has soothed worries! Great information, thanks for your help!

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