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The Complete Guide To Aptitude Tests

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What are the different types of aptitude tests?

There are many different ways to test aptitude, these are the most common tests:

Numerical Reasoning

These demonstrate your ability to deal with numbers quickly and accurately.

Verbal Reasoning

These tests assess your understanding and comprehension skills. These are typically multiple choice.

Diagrammatic Reasoning

These tests assess your logical reasoning ability under a strict time pressure.

Situational Judgement

These tests assess how you approach situations encountered in the workplace.

E-tray Exercise

An In-Tray simulation or that assesses how well you can prioritise a number of tasks.

Error Checking

These tests assess a candidate’s ability to identify errors and assess the correctness of information.

Personality Tests

A series of questions that ensure the breadth of possible personality traits are measured.

Cognitive Ability

A measurement of general intelligence, covering many different categories of aptitude testing.

Spatial Awareness

These tests assess your ability to mentally manipulate images.

The best aptitude test preparation is practice!

How are the tests structured?

  • Prior knowledge

    No prior knowledge is assumed by the employer. Everyone is treated equally so that results are comparable.

  • Online or on paper

    Tests are usually taken online, at a testing centre or at a company’s office. They are electronic or paper-based.

  • Multiple choice

    Tests are usually multiple choice and timed. You’ll have around 60 seconds to answer each question.

  • Compare results

    Each test result is given a percentage. The results are quantified and compared with all other test takers.

How are aptitude tests scored?

  • There is no passing score for most aptitude tests. Your numerical test result is calculated relative to that of other people applying for the same role or similar roles.
  • This allows employers to learn how good your aptitude skills are in comparison to other candidates.
  • Occasionally tests will use negative marking. This means that incorrect answers will produce a negative score. Find out if your test uses negative marking before you start the test.

How do you prepare for a test?

  • Practice in advance

    There is no substitute for practice. Try as many questions as you can before sitting your assessment, to learn which questions you tend to get wrong, and the types of responses required.

  • Test preparation

    Make sure you get a good night’s sleep before the test day. Make sure you arrive on time, listen to the instructions and ask questions if anything is unclear. You will normally be given some paper on which to make rough workings.

  • Plan your time

    Don’t get stuck on one question. Work out roughly how much time you have per question before you start each test. Try a question, don’t guess. You can always come back to the question if you have time left at the end.

Taking the test

  • Divide your time per question as accurately as possible. It will be typically 60 seconds per question.
  • Focus on the areas you find hardest, focus the majority of your time on these questions.
  • Further to this don’t simply guess, the more practice you undertake the easier you’ll find it to make educated guesses.

Maintain a positive mental attitude, think of your aptitude test as an opportunity to demonstrate your ability and outcompete other applicants, not as an onerous mandatory task.

Your competitors will be fully prepared so you must be too. Don’t fool yourself and think you don’t need to practice as many questions as possible.

Our top 5 practice tips

These five tips are well worth remembering before you take an aptitude test for real:

  1. 1Practice as many aptitude tests as you can beforehand.
  2. 2Make sure you make a note of how much time you have and roughly how long you should be spending on each question.
  3. 3If you get stuck, don’t let the clock run down, move on, you might find the next question easier and you’ll pick up more marks by moving on.
  4. 4Use a good calculator. Make sure you are familiar with the calculator you’re using. The quicker you are with your calculator the higher you will score.
  5. 5Get used to working on paper. We recommend using a big A4 sheet as you’ll have enough room to do your workings.

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