Technical aptitude tests are sometimes known as a technical test battery. They are often used in pre-employment assessments for roles like mechanics, machine operators and technicians.
Unlike more general psychometric tests, technical aptitude tests are weighted towards roles that need mechanical or technical knowledge. The assessments may include some aspects of verbal reasoning or numerical reasoning, but the questions will be related to the industry and role you are applying for.
The technical aptitude test will typically focus on:
- Mechanical reasoning: understanding mechanical concepts, and demonstrating knowledge of theories
- Visual skills: spatial awareness, inductive reasoning and diagrammatic reasoning
Remember that the technical tests will be asking questions relating to your knowledge of things like tools and machines, as well as physics and mechanics like fluids, optics, circuits and diagrams.
Here are five tips on how best to prepare for these more technical tests:
Step 1: Practice
The most important way you can prepare for any pre-employment assessment is practice.
With technical aptitude tests, practice can help you become familiar with the style of questions, and the way in which they need to be answered (eg multiple choice).
Practicing under exam conditions helps you to learn how to answer the questions quickly and efficiently. Check out these tips for taking technical aptitude tests.
Step 2: Identify the publisher
To make the most of your practice, find out who the publisher is of the test you are about to take. You might be provided with this information as part of your application, or alternatively you might need to contact the recruiter.
You can find specific practice assessments from some of the main test publishers like SHL and Korn Ferry to make it more relevant and ensure that you are used to the test format, how the questions will be presented, and the time limits for the test.
Step 3: Refresh your theoretical knowledge
It’s important to revise the general theories of mechanics and physics, so that you can apply the knowledge when needed in the test.
While you don’t need to go back to elementary physics, it will help to remind yourself of the basic principles of things like gravity, pulleys and levers, electricity, force and sound.
Step 4: Revise critical reasoning skills
Technical aptitude tests focus on your technical skills, but there are likely to be some questions for which you will have to read, understand and analyse data, and form a conclusion from it.
In verbal reasoning, you will be presented with a passage of text, often related to the job role, and will have to extract information.
In numerical reasoning, you will be presented with charts, tables or graphs, and you’ll need to complete some basic maths to find the right answer.
In diagrammatic reasoning or inductive reasoning, you will be presented with some images or shapes and will need to find out what is missing or what comes next.
Practicing these types of questions will help you develop targeted reading, basic maths knowledge, and be prepared to find patterns that will help make you successful in the test.
Step 5: Don’t underestimate spatial reasoning
Manipulating shapes in three dimensions is becoming increasingly important in technical and mechanical roles, so getting to grips with visualising objects in different ways (like mirror images or unfolded shapes) will help you to improve.
A great way to practice spatial awareness is with video games – first-person shooters and driving simulators in particular. Check out some useful tips for spatial awareness tests.