Skill Tests on Fiverr - what are they and how do they work?

31 August 2020

Back in September 2018, freelance marketplace Fiverr started rolling out a new feature for sellers called 'Skill Tests'. I've recently taken and passed two Skill Tests myself - in Analytical Skills and in English Language. So what were my impressions?

The first thing to note is that the number of tests available on Fiverr has been significantly reduced since launch. Initally more than 400 skills were available to be tested, but now the number has been reduced to below 20 (see the list here).

I suspect that maintaining 400 skills quickly became unmanageable: updating the questions (if only to make cheating more difficult) would have been like painting the Forth Bridge. The more cynical side of me also suspects that Fiverr reduced the number of tests in order to encourage uptake of its Learn from Fiverr section instead. Learn from Fivver enables buyers to "take courses from the world's leading experts, gain a badge and win clients" - for a fee. The fewer free Skill Tests available, the more courses are sold instead.

Also, just a heads-up that the Skill Tests section officially remains in 'beta', so it wouldn't be surprising if Fiverr made other major changes in future - or abandoned it entirely.

Why take Skill Tests?

There are two reasons as far as I can see why you might want to take a Skill Test. The first is simply to give potential buyers additional confidence in your abilities. As Fiverr says:

As part of our ongoing efforts to increase overall marketplace quality, Fiverr gives sellers the opportunity to take tests to verify their skills. As a seller, you can increase buyer trust by verifying your skills.

The second reason is because "in some categories you are required to take a test to publish a Gig" (a Gig being a service that you list on Fiverr as a seller). For example, you cannot publish a Gig in the 'Writing & Translation' category without passing the 'English Skills Test' - which, incidentally, is different to the English Language test. When you try to publish a Gig that has a Skills Test requirement, you will be prompted to take the test:

Take test prompt on Fiverr

If you don't take the test immediately, your Gig will remain as a draft.

I don't have a list of which Tests are prerequisites for which category. Certainly I was able to post Gigs in the 'Web Analytics' section of the 'Digital Marketing' category before I had taken and passed the Analytical Skills test. If anyone does have a list of the prerequisites then I would be interested to see it.

There is no indication that passing tests affects the Fiverr search algorithm in any way; in other words, it won't make your Gigs be seen by more buyers. At least, if it does, Fiverr isn't saying so.

Time limits and other restrictions

The tests themselves are multiple choice tests delivered by Expert Rating. Both the tests I took consisted of 40 questions in 40 minutes, giving me - obviously - one minute per question. For the Analytical Skills test in particular, this was a very tight time limit and I used all 40 minutes. Many of the questions in this test were logic puzzles (of the logic grid kind, but without the grid itself); solving these in one minute each is highly challenging.

Clicking outside of the test window results in an angry warning, and I imagine that doing so repeatedly will lead to an automatic fail. This is of course another measure to discourage cheating, but also prevents you from using desktop tools such as Notepad. Luckily I had an actual pad of paper to hand so was able to make notes on that (useful for solving those logic puzzles).

Scoring and results

The pass mark for both tests was 60%; I scored 68% in Analytical Skills and 92% in English Language. It may seem like I only just scraped a pass in Analytical Skills, but apparently this score is enough to put me in the "Top 10% of 18,330 users tested". Unless a great number of users scored between 60% and 68%, this suggests that most people who took this test failed.

Prospective buyers see any tests you have passed and chosen to "show on profile", along with your score and 'status' (eg "Top 10%", "Top 20%", "Passed") for each. As a test-taker you also have access to additional information not shown to buyers: the time you spent on the test, your results by sub-category, and the number of other users to have taken it. (A Fiverr support article does say that buyers can also see this information but that isn't currently the case.)

Test instructions

On starting a test, Fiverr displays a page of instructions - not all of which seem accurate. For example, it says:

Questions will be displayed one at a time. A next button is provided at the bottom of the test page for navigating to the next question. Do not press the next button if you have not answered the question.

Once you have answered a question, you cannot go back and change your answer.

However both the Analytical Skills and English Language tests gave me a 'Mark for Later' button and the ability to return to these questions at any time later on. For example in this screengrab you can see that I am currently on question 38 but have marked question 33 (in red) for later:

Fiverr mark for later button

With time being tight, one sensible strategy would be to answer all the obvious questions first and then return to the more time-consuming ones after that. This would minimise the risk of running out of time with easily answered questions still unread.

Just as a caveat, the 'Mark for Later' functionality seemed to work fine for me but I cannot absolutely guarantee that the answers I marked for later were counted towards my final score. (I didn't achieve 100% in either test and Fiverr doesn't tell you which questions you got wrong.) So you will need to decide whether you want to follow Fiverr's instructions to the letter or, like me, assume that they have become slightly out of date and make use of 'Mark for Later'.

For info, here are the full instructions:

Fiverr skill test instructions

If you are a Fiverr seller, I hope this info on Fiverr's Skill Tests is of some use. And if you are a buyer and want to make use of my services (especially in analytics), then please check out my profile.

Finally, if you have never used Fiverr before, then sign up now to get 20% off your first order.

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