All You Need To Know About Aptitude Tests

Graduate jobs

March 05, 2021


Aptitude or psychometric tests are a common tool used by employers to find out more about a candidate while reducing the risk of bias. An aptitude test may be used to assess your capabilities in a specific area (such as literary or numerical reasoning), evaluate your logical and quick-thinking skills, or simply get a more accurate picture of your personality and what kind of employee you will be.


Aptitude tests are most commonly used as part of the application process alongside other methods of assessment, such as a “traditional” one-to-one interview or a group exercise. During the pandemic, you might find that more and more employers decide to use aptitude tests, as this is an assessment format that can easily be done from home over the internet and does not require any human input.

Here are a few things you should know before diving into aptitude tests as part of your job applications:

Practice, practice, practice

You might think that the nature of aptitude tests means you don’t need to do any studying or preparation in advance — this couldn’t be further from the truth. You do need to prepare as you would for any other assessment; this is especially true if you will be taking the test in a second language.


There are plenty of resources available online for you to practice the skills you will need. Here are some links to free online mock tests: Graduates First, Assessment Day, Cubiks Online.

There is more than one type of aptitude test
There are many different kinds of aptitude tests; which one you’ll be tested through during your application depends on what skills or aspects of your personality the employer is looking to assess or shed more light on.


The most common types of aptitude tests involve literary reasoning, numerical reasoning, spatial reasoning, inductive reasoning (pattern-seeking), logical reasoning, and personality testing. The latter may involve multiple-choice questions involving hypothetical work-related scenarios (e.g. “what would you do if you found yourself in this situation?”)


Try and find out which kind of tests are commonly given in the application process; if you are applying to a large graduate scheme, there might be more information available on social media or through dedicated forums, thanks to candidates from previous years sharing their experience. For most graduate schemes, situational judgement tests are commonly a part of the process, because “a large part of your work will involve making decisions - some small, some large enough to impact on global businesses” 

If it’s a personality test, don’t overthink it or fake it

If you are taking a personality test, the clue is in the name: your employer wants to find out who you are and what makes you tick. Don’t overthink your answers or put too much effort into trying to figure out what your employer wants to hear from you: the idea is that a personality test should be done as naturally as possible, using your own attitude and way of thinking.


The worst thing you can do is “fake it” and try to put on a fabricated personality while taking the test; you won’t be able to keep this up in the long run, and eventually you’ll damage your prospects if you get to the interview stage and your personality ends up reflecting very differently than it did on the test.


Time Management is Key
Many online/computer-based aptitude tests are timed, which means you’ll need to allocate your time carefully to make sure you’re able to complete the test without having to rush. When starting the test, try and estimate how much time you have for each question (e.g. if you have 1 hour and 25 questions of roughly the same difficulty, you’ll have about two and a half minutes per question).


If you get stuck on a question, make a mental note and move on to the next one; you’ll be able to come back to it later, once the easier questions are out of the way. Try and set five minutes aside at the end to go over the entire test and check for any missed spots or last-minute corrections.

If it doesn’t go well, don’t despair

Aptitude tests are usually just one part of the wider assessment process. If you feel like your aptitude test hasn’t gone well, keep your head up and prepare yourself for the next challenge — you might get another chance to prove your skills and abilities in a different way, or on a different application.


Written by Lucia Forlini-Cataldo


Lucia Forlini-Cataldo is a marketing assistant and freelance journalist based in Warwickshire. She recently graduated from Coventry University (Automotive Journalism MA) and is keen to build up her writing experience and portfolio. 


Her previous experience includes a Social Media/Brand Recognition internship with Coventry MotoFest and a stint as the Marketing and PR Manager for Warwick University’s Formula Student Racing team during her undergraduate studies (English Literature and Creative Writing BA, Warwick University).

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

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