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Aptitude tests & how to tackle them successfully

The reason for documenting this topic is to provide guidelines to fresh graduates on the way to tackle aptitude tests that are organized by recruiting organizations.


What is Aptitude test ?

An aptitude test is, generally, any test designed to measure potential for achievement.

The word aptitude is sometimes misused to mean ‘ability’ or ‘achievement’; however, there is a subtle difference between the three words aptitude, ability and achievement, which can be distinguished as follows:

· aptitude – how quickly or easily you will be able to learn in the future;

· ability – what you are able to demonstrate in the present;

· achievement – what you have accomplished in the past.


There are nine different types of aptitude, which may be summarized as follows:

General learning: Learning and understanding, reasoning and making judgments.

Verbal aptitude: General lexical skills – understanding words and using them effectively.

Numerical aptitude: General mathematical skills – working with numbers quickly and accurately.

Spatial aptitude: Understanding geometric forms, and the understanding and identification of patterns and their meaning. Example: understanding how to construct a flat-pack piece of furniture from a set of instructions.

Form perception: Inspecting and perceiving details in objects, and making visual comparisons between shapes. Examples: studying an object under a microscope, and quality inspection of goods.

Clerical perception: Reading, analyzing and obtaining details from written data or tabulated material. Examples: proofreading, analyzing reports and understanding graphs.

Motor coordination: Eye and hand coordination, and making quick and accurate rapid movement responses. Examples: actually being able to assemble the flat-pack piece of furniture once you have understood how it should be done, being able to operate a computer keyboard quickly and accurately, and sporting skills.

Finger dexterity: Manipulating small objects quickly and accurately. Examples: playing a musical instrument, and sewing.

Manual dexterity: The skill of being able to work with your hands. Examples: painting and decorating, building things and operating machinery.


In case of most aptitude tests there is usually a set time limit, which must be strictly adhered to in order for the test to be valid, and there is usually an average score that has been standardized in comparison with the scores of a group of people who have taken the same test.


In general, most aptitude tests have questions on following topics:

1. Number System - Reflects the standardized structure of the numbers and its concepts involved.

2. Arithmetic - One of the deciding factor to analyze your IQ.

3. Algebra - Developing fluency in computing values for the variables.

4. Modern Mathematics - Appreciate the differences involved in mathematical explanation and experimental evidence

5. Puzzles - Develops most of the skills involved in grooming the mind, to enact faster.

6. Reasoning - Enables to deal with the complex data in a abstract manner.

7. Geometry - Explore Spatial Reasoning.

8. Matrix - Advanced method to deal with composite values.

9. Data-Interpretation - Designing the graphical structure to analyze and estimate current and future scenario.

10. Visual Sequence - Develops Reasoning without language.


Do you know what to study to attempt an aptitude test ?

There is no specific syllabus to test Mental ability, the significant way to solve these questions is to understand the ideas/concepts involved in 'Basic mathematics', which is applied in day to today life. (To be specific its Primary and High-school Mathematics Syllabus.)


Are Aptitude tests difficult ?

Many fresh graduates are unable to pass the aptitude tests. Reasons can be 'There wasn't enough time', 'I did it man - Full Fluke ', 'Guess work only', 'I had studied but I didn't know where this is from', 'I was not confident enough', 'This company paper was tough'.

There is a preconceived notion that aptitude tests are "hard to crack".

The only way to know where you are wrong is by “PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE & PRACTICE and also one should avail proper GUIDANCE”


How do you study for aptitude tests ?

Students must prepare for aptitude tests by preparing for the types of information covered and the types of questions that are asked. There are several techniques used to prepare for an aptitude test, regardless of the type of aptitude being measured. The following are some of the more commonly used techniques:


Study guide:

The first step to preparing for an aptitude test is to obtain a study guide. It does not matter whether you purchase one or access it through the Internet. A study guide will cover every area of the test, detailing what types of information are included in that area. This will help you know what material you can study in order to best prepare for the test. Many study guides also include information on the time limits and scoring system for the test, as well as practice tests for the various sections.


Practice tests:

The purpose of the practice test is to become accustomed to the types of questions asked on aptitude tests and how those questions are asked. In addition, practice tests give you the opportunity to brush up on skills that have gotten rusty, such as mathematical processes and operations or answering questions about essays. By reviewing the questions you missed on practice tests, you can figure out your problem areas. You can also take a timed practice test to help you prepare for the time limits involved in the actual test.


Establish a study plan:

Make studying for the aptitude test part of your daily routine. Focus first on your problem areas. If you have a study guide, it is easy to set up a study plan that allows you to focus on your problem areas because you will know what material is covered in that area. Once you have mastered your problem areas, you can add a review of the areas that are not as difficult for you. Include practice tests in your study plan so you can track your progress by the improvements in your test performance.

So much importance is placed on aptitude tests that many people experience a great deal of fear and anxiety in regard to taking them. While you cannot simply study some lecture notes and know the answer to every question, you can prepare yourself for the types of information and questions present on aptitude tests. If you focus on problem areas, stick to your study plan, and practice before the test, you will discover that you have no difficulty performing well on an aptitude test.

Always know the kind of the problems aptitude compromises of. Have a quick recap of all the “tricks involved in the trade” before stepping in for solving the test paper. Practice is the only thing which makes you perfect.


Aptitude test solving tips:

When you attempt a aptitude test you should stay clam and composed. Here are some tips that can be very useful:

Take a quick look at the Questions:

Have a quick look at the questions. This will give you the general idea about the type and number of questions. You are sure to find many questions you are comfortable with. This will help you to get started with confidence.


Time Management:

In many exam you can find out in advance the number of questions that will be asked in the test. You can calculate the average time you should spend per question. If you cannot do this calculations in advance, do it rapidly before you begin answering the questions. This will prevent you from spending far too much time on any one question.


No Harm in Intelligent Guessing:

In many test where there is no negative marking. Guessing does help you if you are not sure of the correct answer, but in some way you are able to eliminate one or more answer choices as  wrong your chance of getting the right answer is improved and it will be to your advantage to guess the answer to such questions.


Attention to details:

First of all read the instructions given at the beginning of the paper carefully. Know the instructions at the beginning of all the different set of questions. Take a note of small tricks and words involved and can change the question completely. Pay special attention to details, which can change the meaning of questions completely.


Important: Do not start to answer the questions, without first reading the part that gives instruction. The figures/letters in the question may be familiar, but in the question itself, there may be something different which the examiner wants to know.


Reject the obvious wrong answers outright

Objective type questions have four to five answer choices and, usually, you have to select only one correct choice from the choices available. If you are able to locate the correct answer immediately, do not waste time on the other choices. Reject the wrong answer outright. This will help you to save time.


Rephrase the question:

If the outcome of a question is not clear to you in the way it is given in the test, try to rephrase the question. A complete understanding of what you are required to answer is essential. By rephrasing the questions you may get a clear understanding of what is asked.


Select the best answer:

From the answer choices, select the best answer. There may be questions where none of the answers seem hundred percent correct to you. Simply choose the one which seems the most correct to you.


Advantages of Aptitude tests:


A fresh graduate will benefit as aptitude tests will:

1. Improve Mental-ability

2. Better Skill Acquisition

3. Develops Speed

4. Gain Confidence

5. Develops innate learning ability to understand and reason

6. Assess your own Strength and Abilities

7. Help thinking out of the box

8. Natural or acquired disposition or capacity for a particular activity


A recruiting company will also gain all of the above advantages as it will be able to recruit a better candidate. The company also has few more advantages like

· They are relatively free of bias and prejudice and are difficult to cheat on

· They are often very cost effective as their high predictive value helps ensure a good job fit

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