What is an aptitude test, and how do you prepare for one?Hays: Working For Your Tomorrowon May 3, 2024 at 12:55 pm Career advice | Career tips


When participating in the hiring process, you will have several stages of interviews. The hiring manager’s aim in assessing an individual is to see if they have the skills needed for the job role. This process will include tasks to test your cognitive ability and problem solving skills.

One of these interview tests could be an aptitude test. So, what exactly does an ‘aptitude test’ mean, why is it included in job interviews, and how can you prepare for one during your application process? 

What is an aptitude test? 

An aptitude test assesses an individual’s abilities, skills, and potential for succeeding in specific roles. These skills tests measure various cognitive abilities. 

Simply put, an aptitude test is a tool for hiring managers. With aptitude tests, hiring managers can assess specific areas of an applicant’s suitability for a particular job role. Hiring managers can determine how well candidates can handle the demands of the position. Additionally, aptitude tests help to gauge whether candidates possess the necessary skills to do well.  

Depending on the organisation and its recruitment process, they can conduct aptitude tests in a number of settings. These tests can be online or in person and usually have time limits. Organisations can hold aptitude tests at an assessment centre as part of an overall assessment. Alternatively, some organisations host these tests at their offices or conduct them through recruitment agencies. 

Common aptitude tests include: 

Diagrammatic reasoning test 

This type of aptitude test assesses your ability to analyse and understand visual information. Diagrams, charts, or patterns are common ways of presenting this information. 

Numerical reasoning test  

This practical test evaluates your ability to interpret numerical data. Numerical reasoning tests essentially test your basic maths skills, such as percentages and ratios. 

Verbal reasoning test 

This test focuses on your critical thinking skills. Assessors will evaluate your ability to understand and draw conclusions from written text. 

Abstract reasoning test 

Using shapes, symbols or figures, this test evaluates your ability to recognise patterns, relationships and sequences.  

Logical reasoning test 

As the name suggests, this test assesses your ability to think logically. The test will assess if you can solve a given problem. 

Situational judgement test 

Within this test, you will choose the most appropriate answer based on a hypothetical workplace scenario. This test assesses your judgement and decision-making skills in real-life situations.  

What is an aptitude test for, and why is it included in a job interview? 

Hiring managers include aptitude tests as part of the selection process for a number of reasons:  

An objective way of assessing an individual   

This means hiring managers rely less on personal impressions and can form a less biased view. An aptitude test promotes fairness and diversity, with each individual having an equal opportunity to demonstrate their skills. 

Better hiring outcomes   

By using aptitude tests, employers can identify individuals who are more likely to succeed in the job role.  

Efficient screening process  

These skill tests allow the hiring manager to efficiently filter high volumes of candidates to simplify the selection process. From there, hiring managers can create a shortlist of the individuals who have the required skills.

How to prepare for an aptitude test 

Now you know what an aptitude test is and what it’s for, you should now look at how to prepare for one.  

Preparing for aptitude tests can help improve your chances of success. Here are some effective strategies to help you: 

Familiarise yourself with the test 

Once you know what kind of aptitude test you’ll take, familiarise yourself with it. Find out the types of questions and time limits. Use practical tests and sample questions to gain an idea of what to expect when you come to take the test.  

Identify your strengths and weaknesses 

Assess your strengths and weaknesses in different areas of your cognitive ability. Areas include your numerical, verbal, and logical reasoning. Focus on sharpening your strengths while ensuring you spend extra time improving weaker areas through practice. 

Keep practising  

Practice is key to success with aptitude tests. Dedicated time to work on practice questions and exercises can massively improve your chances of scoring well. There are many online resources offering a variety of aptitude test materials tailored to different skill levels. 

Ask for feedback and support 

Feedback from mentors or career advisors can dramatically improve your testing ability. Constructive feedback can help identify areas for improvement and help you in your approach to tackling the tests. 

Remain calm and confident  

A positive mindset can make all the difference when taking a test. The ability to remain calm under pressure with confidence in your abilities makes all the difference in your performance. Take the time to read each question, and don’t rush through the test for the best chance at success.  

Find more interview tips with Hays

For a full overview of the interview process and how to succeed, see more from Hays: 

How you answer your interview questions is just as important as what you say Lights, camera, action: how to impress in your video interview Or download or interview guide  

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