Personal Excellence PackagePersonal Excellence Package|Amstrad Computer User)
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After a long period of quiet on the CPC, Iansyst have sprung back to life with Personal Excellence Package (PEP) - a collection of personality, intelligence and agility tests for the recesses of your psyche to wrestle with.

There are four sections to PEP: Intelligence, Personality, Performance and Mental Each part consists of a series of tests The first section, Intelligence, is designed to measure your Intelligence Quotient (IQ). IQ testing has come under fire for some time (see box), but is still fun -and you never know, you might be worthy of MENSA membership.

Four IQ tests exist; they must be done in order, preferably on different days and in absolute privacy. Each test takes twenty minutes - if you're in an office take the phone off the hook and lock your door - and there's no going back once you've started. You have 20 minutes to answer 32 questions (roughly 30 seconds per question). You can't save tune by answering one question quickly and moving on to the next - you have to work to the test's timetable.

Obviously you become accustomed to the way the questions are thrown at you, which explains why each successive test is just a touch harder After every test a score will appear. The average is 100 Iansyst claim their tests have been accurately tested between 90 and 140. Over 140 and you're nearing genius level.

There should be little difference in your score after each test although - say Iansyst - nerves, illness, tiredness, distractions and computer phobia can all produce results below your true potential.

On completion of the lour tests you have the option of viewing your results The computer will send an analysis to either screen or printer. Your logical, numerical, verbal and visual strengths (and weaknesses) will be pointed out. together with your overall IQ and your percentage placing in the nation's intelligence charts. The latter result is always phrased extremely politely even if you are in the top 91 % of the population.

Hidden meaning The second section. Personality, is where your personality (what else) comes under fire. This section is split into two: one part to assess your public persona and the other to deduce your private persona. Each part hits you with 100 questions after which the computer reports back on 13 different aspects of your personality

The public persona test uncovers your leadership qualities, your drive and your ability to organise. Private persona deals with your social skills, your relationships and your personal life. There are four possible responses to a statement such as "Slow drivers make me furious": strongly agree, agree, disagree and strongly disagree. The idea is to answer the questions quickly, without thinking too much about them Of course it isn't hard to fool the computer and lead it up the wrong track -for instance, to make yourself appear cheerful, generous and kind.

The IQ controversy

Intelligence Quotient (IQ) testing is designed as a measure of intelligence. Results are usually calibrated against the established Wech-sler scale; the average bemg 100 points.

From its origins, just before the first World War. intelligence testing has aroused a constant clash of opinions. The reasons are numérous:

  • A test hasn't been devised that is utterly free from cultural bias.
  • Different tests produce different results.
  • An individual might produce dissimilar results at different tunes.
  • No universally-accepted definition of what constitutes intelligence exists

IQ tests may be imperfect, but they are still the best method of predicting an individuals set of mental abilities.

Far better results are obtained by getting someone else, who knowsyou well, to answer the questions. Whether you really want to know the truth is another matter. Both personality tests should be taken with a pinch of salt; don't attach too much importance to the results. At the end of the day they are fun and amusing, and the outcome can be arranged.

On the ball

The Performance section allows you to measure your mental effectiveness depending on various external factors. Each test can be repeated as often as you like, under different circumstances. The records are stored on disk and can be viewed or printed at any time. These tests are supposed to be taken over a period of time; in this way a true picture of when you are at your best and worst can be painted - you could theoretically plan your working day around the results. But you'd have a hard time convincing your boss that it was only worth your while working between 2pm and 3pm on Tuesdays.

There are three tests circadian rhythm, alcohol effects and stimulant effects The first measures the variation in your mental performance at different times of the day. Everyone finds that their mental speed and accuracy vary during the 24-hour cycle For example, some people find that they can achieve a lot in the morning and gradually slow down during the day. Conversely, others have a slow start and increase in pace as the day draws to an end. By knowing when you're at your peak, you can decide when to make those vital business phone calls and when you're likely to score highly in tests.

If you have had a night out on the tiles or are suffering from influenza, your performance can be effected. It can't all be blamed on your circadian rhythm. The second test determines your performance according to the amount of alcohol coursing through your veins.

Only do this test if you're over 18 and you don't intend driving - it's not an excuse to drink the pub dry during your lunch break. The test asks you how many units you have drunk; typically one unit counts as half a pint of lager or a spirit. After that you have to keep a cursor close to another object on the screen. You must repeat this several times with different levels of alcohol inside you. The test is only calibrated to a maximum of 16 units; presumably after that time you won't even be able to find the computer.

You should find that a small amount of alcohol will improve your coordination, but after the break-point your performance drops rapidly. We'd like to remind you that this is an interesting test to do. but you should never drink and drive - whatever the test says your co-ordination is like.

The real you?

Although Collins have stopped publishing The Real You? it is the only other product to have appeared on the CPC that allows you to discover your IQ and personality.

The Real You? provides 16 tests covering work, intellect, personality, lovelife, anxiety and views If you want to know whether you're a true snob, a latent radical or a good lover then this could be the package for you The problem is finding it. The murkiest depths of computer stores is a good starting point Back in 1985 it cost £14.95 on cassette; if you do locate a copy don't pay over the odds.

One lump or two?

The last of the performance tests records your reaction speed and shows you how drugs - caffeine and medicines, say - effect your nervous system. The idea is to tap the space bar as quickly as possible when prompted.

Stimulants like caffeine (present in coffee and tea) increase reaction speeds, whereas sleeping pills and antihistamines will slow you down.

The final section - which contains three sub-sections - enables you to practise several mental skills. The first of these is called the X Factor It claims to be able to generate an infinite number of random logical and mathematical questions. There is a time limit in which you must answer as many questions as possible. Your first attempts will undoubtedly be poor, but once you get to recognise the style of questioning it shouldn't prove too difficult.

Next in line is the Typing Test. This, obviously enough, measures your typing speed and error rate. The computer displays 12 sentences for you to enter Only the fastest ten results are taken into account. No matter what your keying-in speed, the program always tells you that you would benefit from using one of Iansyst's keyboard training products.

Memory Test is the concluding part to PEP. Its function is to assess how much information you can hold in your short-term memory The computer displays a sequence of numbers for a few seconds, after that time you must enter the numbers back in in the same order. As you progress the sequence becomes larger.

Crash course

Once you've done the IQ tests, checked your typing skill, had a giggle at the outcome of your personality test and got blind drunk while assessing your performance, it is unlikely that you will go back for more.

You can't do the intelligence tests a second time as you'd get a false result - and you'd only be fooling yourself. The same can be said for the personality tests; once you've done them the thrill wears thin.

The Mental Exercise section is the only one with lasting appeal, but even that pales after a while, PEP is certainly entertaining and the things you find out about yourself can be interesting, but it tends to lose its appeal quickly. Doubtless you can think of many entertaining uses for the tests like personnel selection, party games, an educational tool or even to convince the nice officer that you haven't really had too much to drink.


★ PUBLISHER: Iansyst Ltd.
★ YEAR: 1988
★ CONFIG: 128K (CP/M Plus only)
★ AUTHOR(S): ???
★ PRICE: £24.95 (Disc, CP/M Plus only)


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L'Amstrad CPC est une machine 8 bits à base d'un Z80 à 4MHz. Le premier de la gamme fut le CPC 464 en 1984, équipé d'un lecteur de cassettes intégré il se plaçait en concurrent  du Commodore C64 beaucoup plus compliqué à utiliser et plus cher. Ce fut un réel succès et sorti cette même années le CPC 664 équipé d'un lecteur de disquettes trois pouces intégré. Sa vie fut de courte durée puisqu'en 1985 il fut remplacé par le CPC 6128 qui était plus compact, plus soigné et surtout qui avait 128Ko de RAM au lieu de 64Ko.