Aptitude and ability tests are designed to assess your logical reasoning or thinking performance. They consist of multiple choice questions and are administered under exam conditions. They are strictly timed and a typical test might allow 30 minutes for thirty questions. Your test result will be compared to that of a control group so that judgments can be made about your abilities.
Aptitude tests are structured, pencil and paper (or sometimes computer-based) exercises, often presented in the form of multiple-choice questions. They are designed to assess your reasoning abilities independently of your academic or cultural background.
What are the different types of Aptitude Tests?
The tests that are commonly used in the recruitment and selection process can be classified as follows:
Verbal Ability Tests
These assess your ability to perceive and understand concepts and ideas expressed verbally. While these tests are designed to measure reasoning ability rather than educational achievement, it is generally recognised that verbal reasoning test scores are sensitive to educational factors.
Numeric Ability Tests
These assess your ability to use numbers in a logical and rational way. These tests require only a basic level of education in order to successfully complete and are therefore measuring numerical ability rather than educational achievement or experience. The test items involve number series, numerical transformations, relationships between numbers and numerical computations.
Abstract Reasoning Tests
These assess your ability to understand complex concepts and assimilate new information beyond previous experience. The test items require you to recognise patterns and similarities between shapes and figures. As a measure of reasoning it is independent of attainment and can be used to provide an indication of intellectual potential.
Spatial Ability Tests
These assess your ability to manipulate shapes in two dimensions or to visualise three-dimensional objects presented as two-dimensional pictures. There is a strong correlation between high spatial visualisation skills and success in science and mathematics.
Mechanical Aptitude Tests
These assess your understanding of physical and mechanical principles including an understanding of cause-effect relationships between mechanical components. Mechanical reasoning tests are used to select for a wide range of jobs including the military (Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery), police forces, fire services, as well as many engineering occupations.
How do I prepare for an Aptitude Test?
As with any part of the job-seeking process the more time and effort you put into your preparation, the better your chances. Depending on the job you’re going for, you should have a general idea of the kind of test you’re likely to face, whether verbal, numeric, abstract, data checking or some combination of these. With that in mind, search the internet for practice tests on the appropriate subject. There are a number of sites that offer such tests or links to other sites that do.
- SHL Global
- Queendom - the land of tests!
Other ways of getting your brain into the right frame of mind for facing an aptitude test is to do word puzzles or maths puzzles in the days or weeks before the test, pushing yourself to go as fast as possible against the clock and then checking your results. As well as sharpening your mind, this kind of practice will help boost your confidence when you finally arrive to face the real thing.
Practice reading and answering sample questions to get a feel for the sort of language used. Always make sure you understand what the question is really asking before starting to answer it.