Aptitude Test Resources

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Career aptitude tests represent a type of career examination that assesses an individual's innate talents and abilities in relation to a profession. Unlike pure "achievement" tests, pure aptitude tests do not gauge accumulated knowledge or skill; hence, theoretically speaking, studying or practicing for them should be ineffective and unnecessary, even when a job is at stake. Scores on pure aptitude tests that are not specifically career aptitude tests may, if very high, deserve mention in interviews for positions that require the innate talents sought by an employer, e.g., Mensa-level IQ.

A number of free, quick and "light" career aptitude tests are available online, e.g., the free 5-minute test at the Princeton Review. As one reviewer has suggested, some are better-often much better-than others.

By taking a career aptitude or general aptitude test, you can help determine your specific competencies or the degree to which you possess them and, with the test results, determine how these skills map into various types of jobs and whether you and the job are well-matched. Because there is a very wide range of design expertise, test reliability and validity associated aptitude tests and more informal quizzes, caution should be exercised in choosing and interpreting the results of any aptitude test, including career aptitude tests.

The results of an aptitude test can be used to identify and predict an individual's ability to learn or perform a given activity or acquire and process information. These tests are based on the presupposition that all individuals have innate strengths and weaknesses when it comes to processing and producing information or behaviors, and acquiring certain types of knowledge and skills. The test is given as a way to discover the person's particular aptitude to succeed at the given task or discipline to which the test has relevance. An aptitude test in its purest form does not test knowledge; therefore it cannot be studied for ahead of time. However, many tests, such as the S.A.T. or GRE, are combined aptitude and knowledge tests that can be prepared for in advance.

Moreover, many tests widely used to measure aptitude, e.g., the Miller Analogies Test for graduate studies, are highly dependent on achievement (e.g., vocabulary), culture (e.g., "croquet mallet is to ball as hockey stick is to X") or even mere practice (e.g., taking the test more than once). Moreover, some research has suggested that children's I.Q. scores can be boosted by playing a game called "Wff 'n Proof" or through the so-called "Mozart Effect" achieved by listening to Mozart's music).

There are several types of intelligence-related aptitudes people possess in varying degrees, including verbal, numerical, sensory, spatial, mechanical, logical, visual or auditory pattern-recognition, and analogical reasoning aptitudes. Although "E.Q." ("emotional intelligence") is increasingly discussed-especially in connection with career path management, definitions and tests of it have yet to be developed to the same level of refinement, uniformity, reliability and recognition associated with I.Q. tests.

Career aptitude tests are administered for a variety of reasons, such as career exploration and college major qualification. Employers often use these tests as initial screening devices to assist in finding the best fit for a given position within an organization. Post-secondary educational institutions administer several of these types of tests, including the S.A.T., A.C.T., G.R.E., G.M.A.T., L.S.A.T. and M.A.T. (Miller Analogies Test). Although these tests are used primarily as a basis for admission to undergraduate and graduate programs, it may be tactically advantageous to mention very high scores, e.g., on the L.S.A.T., in a career interview that is screening for those specific aptitudes.

It should also be noted that the majority of these tests are a combination of knowledge (achievement) and aptitude and should be prepared for ahead of time to maximize performance.
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