THE JOBSEEKER'S GUIDE TO
An aptitude test is a systematic means of testing a job candidate’s abilities to perform specific tasks and react to a range of different situations.
The secret to not being intimidated by tests?
WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF APTITUDE TEST?
These are the most common types of aptitude test that you will encounter:
Numerical reasoning tests
These tests require you to answer questions based on statistics, figures and charts.
Verbal reasoning tests
A means of assessing your verbal logic and capacity to quickly digest information from passages of text.
A business-related scenario that assesses how well you can prioritise tasks.
Tests that measure your logical reasoning, usually under strict time conditions.
Situational judgement tests
Psychological tests that assess your judgement in resolving work-based problems.
Inductive reasoning tests
Tests that identify how well a candidate can see the underlying logic in patterns, rather than words or numbers.
Cognitive ability tests
A measurement of general intelligence, covering many categories of aptitude test.
Mechanical reasoning tests
These assess your ability to apply mechanical or engineering principles to problems; they are often used for technical roles.
Watson Glaser tests
Designed to assess a candidate’s ability to critically consider arguments; often used by law firms.
Abstract reasoning tests
Another name for inductive reasoning tests.
Spatial awareness tests
These tests assess your capacity to mentally manipulate images, and are often used in applications for jobs in design, engineering and architecture.
Error checking tests
An unusual type of aptitude test that focuses on your ability to identify errors in complex data sets.
Test Structure for Aptitude Tests
Tests are timed and are typically multiple choice. It is not uncommon for some available answers to be deliberately misleading, so you must take care as you work through. Some tests escalate in difficulty as they progress. Typically these tests are not designed to be finished by candidates.
SCORES AND MARKING
An ‘average’ performance is all that is required to pass an aptitude test.
Most employers take people’s backgrounds into consideration for marking.
For example, maths graduates will have an unfair advantage over arts graduates on a numerical test.
Many aptitude tests incorporate negative marking. This means that for every answer you give incorrectly, a mark will be deducted from your total (rather than scoring no mark). If this is the case, you will normally be told beforehand. In any test that does incorporate negative marking, you must not guess answers, even if you are under extreme time pressure, as you will undo your chances of passing.
PRACTICE IN ADVANCE
Evidence suggests that some practice of similar aptitude tests may improve your performance in the real tests. Practice exam technique and try to become more familiar with the types of test you may face by completing practice questions. Even basic word and number puzzles may help you become used to the comprehension and arithmetic aspects of some tests.
PREPARATION BEFORE THE TEST
Treat aptitude tests like an interview: get a good night’s sleep, plan your journey to the test site, and arrive on time and appropriately dressed. Listen to the instructions you are given and follow them precisely.
TAKING THE TEST
TAKING THE TESTYou should work quickly and
accurately through the test.
Don’t get stuck on any particular question: should you have any problems, return to it at the end of the test. You should divide your time per question as accurately as you can – typically this will be between 50 and 90 seconds per question.