Aptitude tests: you must remember them, those days at school when all regular classes were cancelled and instead were handed an HB pencil, an eraser and a sheet of paper with lots and lots of multiple choice options. You got very specific instructions about answering them and very strict timeframes to do answer them in. You were told that there were no right and wrong answers, which was supposed to relax you, but which really made you think that there was some trick involved.
Aptitude tests are designed to test your innate skills. They see whether you have a flair for languages, numbers or mechanics. They’re supposed to give your life some direction; help you pick a career or, more immediately, a university degree. They’re not designed to test your intelligence (like IQ tests controversially do). They are designed to test ability, or potential ability.
There are five aspects to general aptitude tests:
Schools and universities aren’t the only ones that use aptitude tests. Many employers also use aptitude testing to screen applicants; these test for more specific traits than general aptitude tests. So if you’re applying for a job at an international magazine, then you might have to take a verbal aptitude test. If you’re applying for a job with an architecture firm, they might ask you to take spatial and maths aptitude tests. Mechanical aptitude tests are used by the army and various engineering jobs.
No Preparation Necessary?
In school, aptitude tests are thrust upon you without warning. They test natural ability. But it is possible to practice for aptitude tests if additional testing is required for university entrance or for your career. There are books available that help you with the various aspects of the tests, but there are also online resources available that provide examples of aptitude questions and answers prepare you for what to expect.
Whether you choose to prepare for tests depends entirely on you. There are those that argue that innate ability is there, regardless of preparation. But there are also those who think that every little bit helps and that preparation will enhance your natural ability.
All psychometric tests come under scrutiny and there are always going to be experts who prove arguments for and against their use. Aptitude tests are less controversial than IQ tests. One of the reasons for this is that aptitude tests measure more than one element. While IQ tests are designed to test intelligence as a single measure, aptitude tests measure several different characteristics, some of which are completely independent and some which are interdependent.
Of all the psychometric tests available, aptitude tests are considered among the most accurate.
But that doesn’t mean they are 100% accurate. And, you shouldn’t take what the aptitude test says as gospel. The results are a suggestion, nothing more. If your test results show that you have an aptitude for numbers but you really want to work with animals, you can still follow your dreams.
Aptitude tests give an indication of where your skills lie and they can help you get into university or kick-start your career, but they are not the be-all and end-all.
Remember, the choice is always yours and you decide your own fate.