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clerical aptitude tests

Clerical Aptitude Tests

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Clerical Aptitude Tests

Clerical aptitude tests evaluate the skill level of candidates applying for clerical or administrative jobs. The skills assessed within these tests include verbal reasoning, numerical reasoning, error checking, data filing and document management skills.

What is a clerical aptitude test?

A clerical aptitude test specifically assesses proficiency at tasks related to clerical or administrative work, helping employers to determine which candidates have the skill level necessary for the job.

The most common clerical aptitude tests include assessments of verbal reasoning, basic numeracy, error checking proficiency and situational judgement tests.

Roles in clerical work include secretaries, administrative assistants and positions in data entry and office support. So if you’re applying for these positions, or anything similar, then it’s likely you will have to take a clerical aptitude test.

Who uses clerical aptitude tests and why?

Since clerical jobs are found in every sector – whether it be finance, education, operations or government – clerical aptitude tests are used by a wide range of employers to help streamline the hiring process.

The digital age has made the importance of having highly skilled clerical personnel even more critical. Seemingly small errors, or inefficient admin staff, can have a huge impact on a company as a whole.

Using clerical aptitude tests allows employers to better evaluate that they’re hiring people who have the correct level of skill for the position. Recruiters can get a sense for how well someone might perform on the job by assessing multiple skills in one setting, which more accurately reflects day-to-day working life.

So, if you’re asked to take a clerical aptitude test as part of the hiring process, it is important to do your best – it will be a determining factor in the success of your application.

What work skills and aptitudes do clerical tests measure?

Clerical jobs require high proficiency at a number of skills, and clerical aptitude tests aim to cover that by assessing the following characteristics:

Verbal reasoning

These test your ability to comprehend and process written information. Most tests present you with passages of text and then ask you to filter out key information in order to deduce correct answers, or whether a statement is true, false or uncertain.

Numerical reasoning

Numerical reasoning tests assess your ability to process and analyse data presented in a numerical format, which can include percentages, number sequences, data interpretation and financial analysis.

Accuracy and efficiency

Accuracy and efficiency when working with data is one of the most important clerical skills and is often assessed with error checking tests, also known as clerical checking.

These tests require you to comb through sets of information to find errors and assess the correct data under a time restriction. This helps to show your proficiency at working under pressure while still maintaining a high level of attention to detail.

You may also be asked to take a typing test, which assesses your typing skills by showing your words-per-minute and how many mistakes were made during the test. Employers generally have different standards for this test, but typing is a crucial skill in the modern workplace, so it can never hurt to improve your accuracy and speed.

Organisation

General organisational skills are critical when working in a clerical and administrative position.

E-tray tests are a popular way to assess this, by simulating the inbox of an employee who has fallen behind on their work – you then have to work through the tasks and manage the workload in the manner you feel to be most efficient. These are also known as document management tests.

Interpersonal skills

Many clerical positions are very social roles – meaning that you will be expected to work with lots of people from different departments and professional levels, and be a strong team player.

As such, some employers use personality tests to determine if you would be a good fit for their team.

You may also be asked to take a situational judgement test, which assesses your people skills and how you naturally react to impromptu difficulties that might arise.

How best to prepare for a clerical aptitude test

The best way to prepare for a clerical aptitude test is to practice.

There are plenty of resources out there to help you with this process, but Practice Aptitude Tests has thousands of free practice test questions and helpful guides on every aspect of preparing and taking aptitude tests, so it’s a great place to start.

Basic comprehension tests and basic numeracy tests are both useful for finding any gaps in your language or maths skills.

After those, the best practice tests for clerical aptitude assessments are:

Also, find out which test publisher is being used, so that you can find more specific practice tests. Major providers of clerical aptitude tests include SHL and Saville Assessment, and they both provide practice tests.

Prepare yourself for leading employers

Typical format & structure of clerical tests

Clerical aptitude tests incorporate numerous test types, since clerical jobs encompass a wide range of tasks and therefore require a number of different proficiency sections.

A typical test is 30–35 minutes long and is separated into short sections, usually around 2–3 minutes for each. Sections like verbal reasoning skills and data filing can be longer (perhaps 5–7 minutes).

clerical tests

Some employers prefer to use swift tests, which generally take fewer than 30 minutes to complete. As such, try to find out ahead of time the type of test you’ll be given.

SHL provides a clerical aptitude test known as the Personnel Test Battery, which sounds much worse than it really is. There are 12 tests in this category that assess the main skills needed in clerical and administrative work:

  • Processing basic work correspondence
  • Understanding written information
  • Basic reasoning skills
  • Straightforward calculation
  • Proofreading
  • Data checking
  • Handling multiple sources of information and filing them correctly

PTBs are around 18 minutes long, which means that they don’t take up too much time, but the time restriction can difficult.

Generally, a combined score of 70% is the pass level for employers, though it can vary.

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Clerical Aptitude Tests Tips

1Read the questions thoroughly

Don’t let yourself be caught out by the wording or skip over an important step. You might feel pressured by the time restriction to rush, but being accurate and thorough is more important.

2Strategise

Through practice, you should be able to understand the test structure and where your strengths and weaknesses lie in taking it. Gather all the information you can in order to improve your performance – which questions do you answer the fastest? Which ones take you more time? Where do you tend to make mistakes? Make a mental plan of action so you can work through the questions most efficiently for you.

3Stay disciplined

Don’t let the stress get to you on the day and throw off the work you’ve done to prepare. Once you have your strategy worked out, stick to it. You understand how you work, so the way to do your best is to stay disciplined and trust your technique.

4Double-check your answers

When practicing, try to build in time to go through your answers at the end of the test. This can provide a crucial opportunity to spot any errors and make sure you've answered all the questions. Since many aspects of clerical aptitude tests are based on comprehension and analysing data, coming back to questions can give you the time you need to process and come to the right answer.

5Take the test with confidence

Any test can be a stressful event, but being confident in your skills and abilities can really impact on your performance. Trust your knowledge and attempt all the questions – even ones that initially seem most difficult. The best way to build confidence in your test-taking abilities is to practice, so the more you can do, the better you’ll feel.

Clerical Aptitude Video Tutorials

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