There are many different types of aptitude tests. Children take aptitude tests to gauge where they fall within their peers’ level of comprehension and knowledge. Adults take aptitude tests to gain acceptance to a higher learning institution or to apply for jobs in a wide range of career fields. An aptitude test is designed to determine an individual’s ability. This can be for education, a specific job field, a particular skill or a range of knowledge about a subject or subjects for entry into a college, institution or industry. While that sounds straightforward, aptitude tests are wide ranging and vary considerably in their scope and usefulness.

Definition of Aptitude Tests

Aptitude tests for school-age children usually revolve around general knowledge of information that those in their peer group have or should have mastered based on that age range or grade level. An aptitude test for young children can be given to discern whether they are performing at a higher level than their peers or need more work in certain areas to catch up to their classmates’ level of understanding of the general curriculum.

Aptitude test questions for employment can range from simple, such as a verbal aptitude test about jargon that a job applicant may need to have mastered within an industry, to complex, such as a mechanical aptitude test where a job candidate needs to show how he arrived at an answer to a complex mathematical or technical problem.

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Advantages and Disadvantages

Aptitude tests have many advantages. They can help an individual gain acceptance to a higher learning institution. They can help a struggling child realize where she may need to focus her energies and what her strengths are. An aptitude test can help a job applicant move into a new career field. The disadvantage of aptitude tests is that enrollment can be costly. They can also be difficult for both children and hopeful job candidates to take. They can range from $30 to $600 or more for in-depth and technical aptitude tests.

Aptitude and Intelligence

There is a difference between aptitude and intelligence. An aptitude test is not a fair test of actual intelligence. An aptitude test can’t always give a detailed picture of a child or job applicant's full potential. Some individuals are not good at taking tests or can better apply knowledge in real-life situations over theoretical situations that appear on test forms. Aptitude test questions vary by subject. There are many online practice tests that a test taker can complete before taking the actual test. Some are free, while others have minimal charges. They can help prepare the test takre for the actual test, alleviate some anxiety and shore up wavering confidence issues.

Types of Aptitude Tests

The range of aptitude tests can leave you breathless. The list of aptitude tests on which employers rely to whittle down piles of job applications to find the very best potential employees is long and varied.

More employers are allowing aptitude tests to be taken online. Usually, the job candidate has already navigated the application process and has arrived at the last step before being hired by the company. The aptitude test is used to further deduce whether that particular candidate is right for the position and gives a solid picture of the scope of his knowledge about a subject or industry.

The most common aptitude tests for employment consideration include verbal reasoning tests, which assess verbal logic and the capacity to digest and reiterate information; numerical reasoning tests, which center around using specific figures and charts; situational judgement tests, which are psychological in nature and revolve around judgement for solving work-related issues; and cognitive ability tests, which measure the job candidate’s general intelligence and mechanical reasoning to apply engineering or mechanical principles to problems in technical fields.

About the Author

Kimberley McGee is an award-winning journalist with 20+ years of experience writing about education, jobs, business trends and more for The New York Times, Las Vegas Review-Journal, Today’s Parent and other publications. She graduated with a B.A. in Journalism from UNLV. Her full bio and clips can be seen at www.vegaswriter.com.