Because employers will use these tests when they need to reduce headcount, your future may depend on your ability to pass them.
Most employers today will screen candidates using Aptitude tests when recruiting people. These tests are the most objective way of screening a candidate; there is no subjectivity involved at all - either your answers are right or they are wrong.
The tests are given under examination conditions and in most cases are strictly timed. They often comprise of a series of individual tests to assess different abilities such as verbal, numerical, spatial and diagrammatic.
The questions have 'right' or 'wrong' answers, and gradually become more difficult as the test progresses. They are designed so that few people will actually complete them. You will therefore feel very pressurised, and working as quickly as you can, but without sacrificing accuracy, is important.
What matters is the number of questions you get right in comparison with the scores of your 'norm' group. This enables the employer to judge your ability to cope with the job, compared to that of your peers.
Aptitude tests cover a range of logical reasoning:
There are a number of things you can do to prepare yourself. Playing with word games, mathematical teasers and diagrammatic puzzles may help to get you into a logical and analytical frame of mind, and the following ideas may be of help to develop particular abilities:
- Verbal - spelling, grammar, critical reasoning
- Numerical - arithmetic, numerical critical reasoning
- Diagramming - logical reasoning from diagrams
- Spatial - ability to imagine the rotation of shapes
Because employers will use Aptitude tests when they need to reduce headcount, your future may depend on your ability to pass these tests. Although you cannot buy complete test papers, you can get practice leaflets containing examples of test questions from test producers Saville and Holdsworth (SHL). Their website can be visited at http://www.shlgroup.com/ie/.
- Numerical reasoning skills - practise basic mental arithmetic with and without a calculator. Addition, subtraction, division, multiplication and calculations of percentages and ratios are commonly required, and the ability to extract information from charts and graphs can be as important as the actual calculations in these tests. Reading financial reports and studying data in charts (eg in the quality or financial press) could be useful.
- Verbal reasoning skills - these are more difficult to brush up quickly than mathematical techniques. Reading manuals, technical reports or academic and business journals may help. Practise extracting and summarising the main points from passages of information.