This page explains why employers use aptitude tests and gives advice on how best to prepare for these.
Selectors use aptitude tests to assess your reasoning skills in relation to others, and to make judgements about your ability to cope with tasks involved in the job you are applying for.
The most common tests assess your logical reasoning (not your general knowledge) in the areas of verbal and numerical reasoning. Abstract or diagrammatic reasoning tests may also be used to assess your logic and visual thinking skills. They are administered under exam conditions.
Questions have definite "right" and "wrong" answers, which you often have to select from a range of alternatives, and are strictly timed.
Preparing for aptitude tests
Preparation is the key to success with aptitude tests. Register for the Careers Service online practice tests, and find links to more examples of aptitude tests via 'Practice tests and questionnaires', plus read our ‘tips for success’ below.
Sitting aptitude tests - tips for success
- Prepare in advance using the 'Practice tests and questionnaires' and 'Further help' sections available in this section.
- Ensure you arrive at the test location early, well-rested and positive, if sitting the tests at a test centre, or as part of an assessment centre.
- If sitting the tests in your own time, make sure you find a quiet location where you will not be disturbed or distracted, and will be able to concentrate.
- Take the time to work through any practice questions, before the test itself begins.
- Be aware of the time as you work through the questions - work out before the test starts roughly how much time you have for each question.
- Work as quickly and as accurately as you can.
- Don't spend too long on any question you are struggling with, though don't abandon a question prematurely if you are close to solving it.
- Avoid wild guessing - some selectors take marks off for incorrect answers.
- Try not to be overawed by the formal nature of the test or panicked by the time pressure. Sitting practice tests prior to the real thing often helps here.
- If it’s been some time since you worked with numbers, brush up your numeracy skills. See 'Further help' for more details.
This article was published on Aug 13, 2010