Aptitude tests guide

What is an aptitude test and what does it measure?

Aptitude tests are designed to measure your work-related cognitive capacity. The concept behind these tests is that each test question has only one correct answer, and everyone can correctly solve all the test questions. The only difference between people is in how quickly they can correctly complete the test (i.e. answer all the test questions). That’s why these tests are always timed. The time is defined in such a way that only 1% to 5% of the population can correctly solve all the test questions within the allowed time frame.

What do aptitude tests measure? These tests measure what psychologists refer to as your fluid and crystallised intelligence. The theory of fluid and crystallised intelligence suggests that people’s intelligence is composed of a number of different abilities that interact and work together to produce overall individual intelligence.

Fluid intelligence is the ability to think and reason abstractly and solve problems. It’s more commonly known as ‘street smarts’ or the ability to ‘quickly think on your feet’ . This ability is considered independent of learning, past experience, and education. Examples of the use of fluid intelligence include coming up with problem-solving strategies, ability to quickly learn new skills, ability to quickly integrate new information, strategic thinking, etc. The aptitude test that measures your fluid intelligence is called abstract reasoning.

The second component of intelligence that the aptitude tests measure is crystallised intelligence. Crystallised intelligence is the ability to learn from past experiences and relevant learning, and to apply this learning to a situation. Employers, obviously, will only be interested in your ability to apply your learnings to work-related situations. Work situations that require crystallised intelligence include comprehending written reports and instructions, ability to produce reports, ability to use numbers as a tool to make effective decisions, etc. This type of intelligence is based upon facts and rooted in experiences, and becomes stronger as we age and accumulate new knowledge and understanding. There are many aptitude tests that measure different aspects of crystallised intelligence. The most common are verbal reasoning, numerical reasoning, spatial reasoning and mechanical reasoning

Popular aptitude tests

Abstract reasoning

Also called conceptual reasoning, this test is unique in its design. It is a non-verbal test, which uses shapes rather than words or text to measure someone’s fluid intelligence. Each test question includes a series of shapes with common logical rules. Your fluid intelligence is measured by the number of correct answers (i.e. correct identification of the shapes’ logical rules) within the given time. Read more about the abstract reasoning test

Verbal reasoning test

This is a timed test that is designed to measure your verbal analytical skills (or verbal reasoning skills). These skills include the capacity to quickly identify critical issues from written material such as reports, and logically derive conclusions from written facts or data. If, for example, you can process written documents and can come up with the most important content fairly quickly, then there is a good chance that you have high verbal reasoning skills. Read more about the verbal reasoning test

Numerical Reasoning Test

This test is also a timed test. It measures your numerical analytical skills (or numerical reasoning skills).These skills include the capacity to quickly identify critical issues from numerical data such as graphs and tables. It also includes the capacity to use work-related numerical data such as performance figures or financial outcomes to make effective decisions. It is important to note that numerical reasoning skills don’ t measure your mathematical ability. Read more about the numerical reasoning test
 

Other aptitude tests that measure your crystallised intelligence but are less common:

Spatial reasoning

This timed test measures your ability to visually manipulate objects. This is used to measure your ability to efficiently organise a warehouse or any other type of space. It is also used to measure your ability to identify hazards in the workplace or to solve technical problems.

Mechanical reasoning

This timed test measures your ability to quickly comprehend mechanical concepts and solve mechanical problems.
 
 

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