Emotional intelligenceLogic

What is an aptitude test and how does it compare to other tests and assessments? Whether you are taking or administering a test, understanding the role of aptitude testing will help you to prepare.

What is an aptitude test? 

An aptitude test is a structured way of assessing someone's ability to undertake specific tasks.  Aptitude tests generally assess a person's fluid intelligence or their ability to reason quickly and to think abstractly, also known as the ability to 'think on your feet'.  It is also a measure of how quickly you are likely to learn a new skill or job.  Aptitude tests will often be:

  • Administered either by paper test or online
  • In a multiple choice format
  • Time restricted
  • Taken in exam conditions
  • Used to assess speed and accuracy
  • Normed, comparing scores against other people

The test will typically assess different kinds of aptitude including:

  • Verbal reasoning - the ability to reason and draw conclusions from the information provided.
  • Perceptual speed - the ability to identify relevant and irrelevant information and check for errors.
  • Word meaning – the ability to understand written or spoken instructions.
  • Numerical reasoning – the ability to reason and draw conclusions using numerical concepts.
  • Spatial visualisation – the ability to work with shapes and visual concepts.

Practice aptitude tests

Doing an aptitude test for the first time can be quite daunting for anyone. It is natural to want to perform to the best of your ability and show a potential employer your suitability for the role. There are many online resources available to help you practice aptitude tests and familiarise yourself with the likely content of the tests. It is important to remember that aptitude tests do vary in their content so even if you have practiced, this may vary from the actual tests you are asked to complete.

When you are sent your invitation to complete an aptitude test, you will often be given the opportunity to complete example questions similar to those in the test itself. It is important that you always read the instructions to understand what is being asked of you in the test and then complete the example questions to familiarise yourself with them before you commence the test for real.

Numerical aptitude tests

A numerical aptitude test is often one of the assessments used as part of a broader suite of aptitude tests. A numerical aptitude test assesses a candidate's ability to reason and draw conclusions using numerical concepts, often within a restricted timescale. It is important to remember that a numerical aptitude test is not intended to measure your level of learned mathematical knowledge. Typically, numerical aptitude tests may include: basic arithmetic, interpretation of statistical tables, graphs and charts, ratios, percentages, estimations, fractions or currency conversions. Some assessments will allow you to use a calculator but some will not. It is therefore important to ensure that you check that you understand all the conditions before starting the test.  

Job aptitude tests

Many organizations will use a variety of assessment methods when seeking candidates to fill a job role. Job aptitude tests will be used alongside other forms of assessments such as behavioural profiling, application form, CV, interview and academic qualifications to assess someone's suitability for a particular job role.  The wider the range of assessments used, the more information a potential employer will be able to gather about a candidate and improve their chances of matching the most appropriate person for the role. A job aptitude test can help an employer to look beyond past achievements and more towards what someone has the potential to achieve in the future. There is no commonly agreed threshold or 'pass mark' for an aptitude test. This will be something determined by a potential employer according to the organizational or job requirements. 

Thomas General Intelligence Test (GIA)

The Thomas General Intelligence Assessment (GIA) is an aptitude test that measures your aptitudes in several areas, including: verbal, numerical and spatial reasoning. Each test within the GIA will ask you to complete short, simple tasks quickly and accurately.