Aptitude tests determine a person's ability to learn a given set of information. They do not test a person's knowledge of existing information. The best way to prepare for aptitude tests is to take practice tests. They are meant to "predict future achievement" in basic content areas like math, reading, response time and reasoning ability, according to Encyclopedia Britannica. Aptitude tests are timed and are commonly given using computers instead of the traditional bubble sheets and number two pencils, according to the University of Kent.
Use study materials specifically designed for the test you are preparing for, since different aptitude tests measure different elements of aptitude. Specific aptitude tests may be required for certain careers, but aptitude tests are also used to measure a student's potential for success in college. Aptitude test scores are part of determining whether or not a person will gain entrance into college, for instance. If you are enrolled in school, visit the guidance counselor or student services center, where free study materials will be available. If not, you may have to purchase the materials through the specific agency that produces that aptitude test.
Study the review materials that are provided with the practice book, if available. Otherwise, it is a good idea to review the basic principles of mathematics and grammar. Remember, knowing the principles is more important than reciting information. Aptitude test questions should only take a minute or two to answer and usually do not need to be "worked out" if the test-taker has studied the principles of language and math.
One helpful way to prepare in advance for the basic principles that are tested with aptitude tests is to save old textbooks in algebra and language studies. If the aptitude test is in a specific content area, such as dentistry, save textbooks related to that content area.
Spend the most time on those sections in which you need the most improvement, but make sure your results are as accurate as possible. Take the practice aptitude test or tests in the same environment in which you will be tested. Make sure it is quiet. If you will be taking the test on the computer, try to use software programs instead of booklets. Make sure you are well-rested and are not ill. Not feeling up to par can artificially decrease practice scores, thereby increasing anxiety about the test itself and perhaps lowering the real score in the end.
Students with disabilities should ask about the policy on accommodations. Accommodations should be made for test-takers with learning disabilities or test anxiety problems, for instance. Make sure that you let school officials know well before the day of the test, however, since they may need to consult with higher authorities about the appropriate way to make accommodations.
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.