Aptitude and ability tests are designed to assess your intellectual performance.
There are at least 5,000 aptitude and ability tests on the market. Some of them contain only one type of question (for example, verbal ability, numerical reasoning ability, etc.) while others are made up of different types of questions.
They are always presented in a multiple-choice format and the questions have definite right and wrong answers.
They are strictly timed and to be successful you need to work through them as quickly and accurately as possible.
The different types of aptitude tests can be classified as follows:
- Verbal ability – Includes spelling, grammar, and the ability to understand analogies and follow detailed written instructions. These questions appear in most general aptitude tests because almost all employers require job candidates with good communication skills.
- Numerical ability – Includes basic arithmetic, number sequences and simple mathematical reasoning. In management-level tests, you will often be presented with charts and graphs that need to be interpreted. These questions appear in most general aptitude tests because employers usually want some indication of your ability to use numbers even if this is not a major part of the job.
- Spatial ability – Measures your ability to manipulate shapes in two dimensions or to visualize three-dimensional objects presented as two-dimensional pictures. These questions are not usually found in general aptitude tests unless the job specifically requires good spatial skills.
- Mechanical reasoning – Designed to assess your knowledge of physical and mechanical principles. Mechanical reasoning questions are used to select for a wide range of jobs including the military (Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery), police forces, fire services, as well as many craft, technical and engineering occupations.
- Fault diagnosis – These tests are used to select technical personnel who need to be able to find and repair faults in electronic and mechanical systems. As modern equipment of all types becomes more dependent on electronic control systems (and arguably more complex), the ability to approach problems logically to find the cause of the fault is increasingly important.
- Data checking – Measures how quickly and accurately errors can be detected in data and are used to select candidates for clerical and data input jobs.
- Work sample – Involves a sample of the work that you will be expected to do. These types of tests can be very broad-ranging. They may involve exercises using a word processor or spreadsheet if the job is administrative, or they may include giving a presentation or in-tray exercises if the job is management or supervisory level.
- Concentration tests – Used to select personnel who need to work through items of information in a systematic way while making very few mistakes.