Aptitude tests and how you can prepare for them

Aptitude Tests

What aptitude tests are all about?

Aptitude tests are some of the most common interview tests job seekers encounter today. Knowing how to prepare for them sets you apart from your competition. In almost every recruitment process, written interviews often precede oral interviews and are considered a very important step in selecting potential candidates for a job. During this step, many candidates are subjected to what are known as, ‘Aptitude tests’.

Aptitude tests seek to examine your logic, how fast you are able to think, how you react to situations, and how you use prior knowledge or the information given to you to solve problems. These tests are strictly timed and usually last for about 30 minutes regardless of how they are administered (in written form or online).

Types of Aptitude Tests

Aptitude tests can be classified into either power tests or speed tests.

Power tests;

These kinds of aptitude tests examine your fluid intelligence which entails your ability to reason abstractly, think strategically and solve issues. Fluid intelligence is related to the innate abilities you have and not necessarily the knowledge you could have acquired from education or experience.

These tests contain relatively few questions that are complex and require a lot of reasoning.

The specific skills an employer looks for by administering these tests are;

  • Problem-solving skills
  • Ability to easily comprehend information
  • Strategic thinking
  • Ability to learn new skills
  • Your creativity

Examples of such tests include;

  • Abstract aptitude tests; these measure your ability to think abstractly, identify important information and apply that information to solve problems.
  • Diagrammatic reasoning tests; these tests are similar to the abstract aptitude tests but involve questions that are in form of diagrams where you have to follow a number of logical rules and think abstractly to complete the diagram.
  • Logic reasoning tests; these tests entail questions about solving puzzles that require you to understand the logical rules a certain puzzle follows and then use that information to solve the puzzle.

Power tests are usually used to test candidates applying for managerial positions.

Speed tests;

Contrary to power tests, speed tests seek to examine crystallized intelligence which entails the ability to apply the knowledge you have acquired from their past experiences or education to workplace situations. Such situations include coming up with reports, comprehending rules, and instructions, to mention but a few.

These tests contain relatively straightforward questions and seek to examine how fast you can comprehend and answer questions.

The specific skills an employer looks for by administering these tests are;

  • Communication skills
  • Numerical skills
  • Ability to understand rules and instructions

Examples of such tests include;

  • Verbal aptitude tests; these tests examine your ability to communicate and use the English language.
  • Numerical aptitude tests; these test your numerical ability, ability to understand information from numerical data and apply it to the workplace.
  • Mechanical reasoning tests; these are usually administered for engineering or technical positions and seek to examine your ability to apply mechanical concepts to solve problems at the workplace.

Speed tests are usually used to test candidates applying for entry and mid-level positions.

What type of questions could you encounter in an aptitude test?

Whether you are taking a power or speed test, the key to passing any aptitude test is preparation. Preparation entails practicing various aptitude questions. Hence, you need to know the type of questions you could be asked.

Here are some types of questions you should expect in your aptitude test:

Questions testing verbal ability; such questions generally examine your oral communication skills; how well you comprehend statements; whether you are able to follow instructions or not; as well as, your verbal logic.
These kinds of questions are on grammar, sentence structure, and comprehension. These questions can further be grouped into:

  • Verbal reasoning questions; these test your verbal logic that entails the ability to draw conclusions from a given statement. For example; based on certain information given, you can be required to find the right answer to a question or to determine whether a statement is true or false in relation to the given information.
  • Verbal comprehension questions;  under this, a short or long passage is provided followed by questions about the passage. What is tested with these types of questions is your ability to read information, understand it and come up with the right answers.
  • English language questions; these examine your grammar, spelling, sentence structure and general use of the English language.

Questions testing numerical ability; these questions examine your ability to use numbers and deduce information from them. They could include questions requiring you to solve numerical problems, solve numerical sequences, or analyze information from graphs.

Work sample questions; such questions present a candidate with various work situations after which they are required to identify what they would do if faced with those situations. They could involve:

  • How you can solve a workplace problem
  • Coming up with a concept or new idea
  • Being asked to organize and prioritize tasks

Questions testing abstract reasoning; these test your ability to analyze logic patterns and use the information you get to solve problems. They also test your ability to reason logically and  learn new skills.

Questions testing spatial ability; with such questions, employers test for your ability to visualize, understand and remember how objects fit together or are related to each other.  They test your ability to manipulate different objects or shapes and are usually asked to candidates applying for design or engineering positions.

Questions testing mechanical reasoning; these test your ability to use physics and mechanical concepts to solve issues at the workplace. They are usually asked to candidates applying for technical, mechanical or military positions.

Questions testing your ability to identify errors; these test your ability to detect and solve errors in complex databases. These are often used to select candidates applying for data entry and clerical jobs.

Knowing what questions you could be asked guides you better in preparing for your aptitude test.

Here are some more tips you can follow that could help you pass your aptitude test:

Before the test:

  • Practice; it is advisable for you to find different examples of aptitude tests that you can practice with, before the actual test. This helps to grow your confidence and helps you get familiar with questions that they may be asked. Having an idea of these questions places you in a better place to pass the test than one who has no idea of what they could be asked.

It is also advisable for you to practice these tests in a comfortable and relaxed environment where you are able to think very well. you should also ensure that you time yourself when practicing the tests to assess their speed.

  • Prepare all the tools needed; before the test, you should ensure that you have all you need for the test. Such things include; pens, rough paper, and a good calculator. It is also advisable for you to practice with the different tools you are to use before the actual test. Finding all the necessary tools you need and having them in time prevents any tension that could arise from being disorganized.
  • Find out more about the test; should you have the liberty to ask, you should go ahead and use this opportunity to your advantage and ask about the type of aptitude test you will be taking, how long the test is to last as well as where it is to be taken. This helps you to further prepare for the test.
  • Relax; you should remember that aptitude tests mainly examine your ability to think logically. You are able to think better when you are more relaxed and not tensed. Therefore, before you take an aptitude test, you should try to clear your mind of anything that could destruct you or prevent you from calming down.

During the test:

  • Read instructions and questions very well; before beginning the test, you should ensure you read the instructions provided and understand them. You should avoid attempting questions before reading them in full and understanding them. For example, if you do not, you might miss out on an important instruction, which could actually be the basis of the whole test” e.g some tests have the instruction not to write your name on the paper but a number.
  • Avoid spending too much time attempting a question; should you get stuck and fail to come up with an answer for a question, you should go to the next question and come back to that question later. You have to remember that time is very key when attempting aptitude tests and instead of spending a lot of time on one question, you could attempt other questions. The best way you can go about this is, by allocating the maximum amount of time they are to spend on a certain question.
  • Avoid being too hasty; much as you may want to attempt all questions in time, it is important for you to take the right time to answer each of the questions. You should not just guess answers haphazardly.
  • Ask for feedback; you should ensure you ask for the results of the test after taking it. This helps you to assess your strength as far as the test is concerned and how to improve.

In conclusion, taking an aptitude test is similar to taking any other exam. If you are relaxed and well prepared, chances are high they will pass the test. We wish you the best of luck.

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