What is objective testing?

February 15, 2024 | Guides

An objective test is a standardized measure. It objectively collects data, removing personal biases and ambiguity. Objective tests give clear, factual results that help consistent interpretation, which makes them particularly reliable for diagnosing conditions like ADHD.

There are only right or wrong answers, like in a math exam or pub quiz.

What is subjective testing?

Subjective testing is different to objective and is carried out by opinion and relies on individual point of view. A subjective measure can vary from person to person because it doesn’t rely on concrete, measurable data – for example, an observation, interview, or survey.

Combining objective and subjective tests when managing ADHD

To accurately evaluate and treat ADHD, both objective and subjective testing play a pivotal role. There are many clinics, however, that rely solely on subjective measures when managing patients, which doesn’t give them a holistic, well-rounded view of symptoms.

Clinicians need to understand both the individual experiences of a patient while also considering data that looks at their behavior in an impartial way.

Benefits of objective testing in ADHD

  • Saves time and money: Not only does objective testing help to give a better picture of a patient’s symptoms, but it helps save time and subsequently money. Patient waiting lists and the number of appointments needed for a diagnosis are reduced because of efficiency.
  • Better clinical confidence: Objective tests provide an accurate diagnosis by relying on quantifiable data, reducing the likelihood of misinterpretation or misdiagnosis*. This increases clinician confidence and speeds up the process without losing accuracy.
  • Early intervention: Timely and accurate diagnoses lead to early intervention, which can significantly improve patient outcomes like developing effective coping strategies or deciding to start treatment.
  • Personalized treatment plans: Clinicians can tailor treatment plans based on individual needs by retesting patients and observing their reaction to medication using easy-to-interpret reports.
  • Reduced age and sex bias: By reducing the risk of misinterpretation and standardizing the test process, objective measures reduce age and sex bias which can occur through subjective measures. Objective tests use an age and sex-matched control group to measure patients’ performance.

Interpreting objective ADHD tests: A clinician’s reference guide

Examples of objective ADHD tests

An example of an objective ADHD test is a continuous performance test (CPT), which evaluates sustained attention and impulsivity by having patients respond to specific stimuli, like in QbTest and QbCheck. Find out more about them and how they can transform your pathway.

*Gustafsson, U. & Hansen, M. (2023). QbTest for Monitoring Medication Treatment Response in ADHD: A Systematic Review. Clinical Practice and Epidemiology in Mental Health, 19.

Experience the benefits of objective ADHD testing first-hand and reach out to our team

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