Interest and aptitude testing are not new concepts, but they are currently used in new ways. Increasingly, employers are using psychometric assessment, which includes interest and aptitude testing, to narrow a wide field of job applicants to the best candidates. These tests are also useful for students nearing graduation to help narrow down a viable education or career path.
Interests vary with age, experience, education and environmental exposure and are cumulative. As people age, they discover new interests and build on old ones, creating and combining elements into new areas of interest. What begins as a childhood passion can become a lifetime interest or a viable career direction. Interest testing asks questions designed to find a career match best suited to areas of interest or to determine whether a current career is the best choice.
Aptitude tests are used to measure the ability to reason, including verbal, comprehension, numerical and abstract reasoning skills. One of the most widely used aptitude tests, the ASVAB, was developed by the Department of Defense to assess potential success in military positions and match candidates to jobs based on ability. The sections included in the ASVAB battery of tests are general science knowledge, word knowledge, paragraph comprehension, electronics information, mathematics knowledge, arithmetic reasoning, auto and shop knowledge and mechanical comprehension.
Taken together, interest and aptitude tests reveal what you are most interested in and what areas you are likely to find success. If you initiated the tests, you will receive a list of potential careers based on your scores that fit your interests and abilities. If a potential employer initiated the tests, you may be hired or excluded by the results. Selecting a life-changing direction is one of the most difficult decisions to make in life. Testing can help exclude unrealistic goals and focus on what you are both interested in and capable of.
Who Should Take These Tests?
Interest and aptitude testing helps determine career or education direction. Anyone considering college, other continuing education or a career change would benefit from testing. People with handicaps would also benefit from testing. They and others around them may only see what they cannot do and overlook hidden potential.
It is difficult to study for interest and aptitude testing. The questions are designed to reveal how you think, not necessarily what you know. Some math skills and general mechanical knowledge are included on the aptitude test, so a brush up on high school level mathematics might prove helpful. There are dozens of practice tests that you can take for free online to familiarize yourself with the type of questions you'll be asked.
Before taking any test, get plenty of rest and get your supplies and clothes in order the evening before to avoid stress on the morning of the test. Wake early and leave yourself plenty of time to arrive and get settled before the test begins. Don't stress out over the answer to a single question. If you don't know the answer, skip it and go back later to figure out the answer if you have the time. It is usually better to answer as many questions as you can correctly than waste time trying to answer all.