Aptitude tests measure the test-taker's ability to solve problems in a variety of ways. Aptitude tests gauge how apt or inclined a person is toward a subject area, not how much information he or she knows about the subject. Aptitude tests are usually standardized, meaning that scores are based on statistical percentages and averages. Understanding some information about the test in advance can help the test-taker move through the exam more quickly. During the test, be aware of time requirements.
Understand the score range and the criteria for each score. For instance, a score in reading comprehension at the 90th percentile means that the test-taker scored better than 89 percent of test-takers based on predetermined averages, not actual scores from the test as taken. Check the scores and percentile ranking. Think about how many correct answers are needed in each section of the test.
Understand how the test is scored. Some tests do not count unanswered questions into totals, for example. Such information will help you decide when to move on during testing and when to guess.
Know how the test is structured. Typical examples of test categories are reading comprehension, writing and math. Check the exam preparation book for details on the specific aptitude test.
When taking the test, examine carefully the reading comprehension section. Find the major argument or thesis of the excerpts given. Try reading the questions beforehand for more efficient reading of the text.
Read math questions other than word problems carefully, but try not to spend too much time working out any one problem. Read word problems for important details that skimming can miss.
Highlight or underline the important parts of the writing prompt as it is read. Pay special attention to any specific information the prompt is asking, such as an opinion or comparison. Structure the essay as it fits the prompt's requirements.
- Social Psychology: 5th edition; Elliot Aronson, Timothy D. Wilson and Robin M. Akert; 2005
- Studentmarket.com on SAT
- Practice before the test using sample questions from the exam preparation book. Take each section of the test in the required amount of time. Bring a watch on the day of the aptitude test.
- According to Social Psychology, research indicates that the test-taker's attitude can affect performance. If students are harshly judged and made to believe they will do poorly, they likely will.
Josalin Mitchell began her writing career in 2009. She has written web content as well as grants, training manuals, reports and brochures for nonprofit agencies. Mitchell has a Bachelor of Arts in English and women's studies and is currently pursuing a Master of Arts in Teaching in English education.