woman sitting on bed with flying books

An aptitude test is a style of testing used to assess a person’s abilities through several testing formats. There are many different types of tests available today, offering organisations, employers, and schools a simple way to assess a person’s ability in a particular area. This could be as simple as testing a person’s numerical skills, speech, or problem-solving skills, like the popular, highly respected and well used CCAT test.

Most typically used by employers during the hiring process to review a candidate’s ability to perform within the workplace. The use of these tests has made the hiring process less time-consuming and more accurate. Allowing employers or HR managers the ability to shortlist candidates based on the results of their aptitude tests. With hundreds of aptitude tests on the market, there are plenty of testing styles to choose from.

Where aptitude tests originated 

For years aptitude tests have been used as a simple and effective style of testing. Although the first origins of aptitude tests are not clear, we know they have been used for centuries. Dating back to as early as the centuries BC. Ever since humans became interested in testing one another’s ability, there has been some form or style of aptitude test used by the population.

Tests to develop ability have been used over centuries for a wide variety of reasons. If you think back to the years of medieval war and battle, soldiers were assigned positions based on their specific skills and abilities. For example, those with a unique skill in archery would be placed in a different position on the battlefield, as opposed to those who were stronger in 1-1 combat. The only way for leaders to determine their strategy was to assess the soldiers’ ability with assessments and tests prior to heading into war.

Why are aptitude tests used today

Today, as previously mentioned, aptitude tests are most commonly utilized by employers to determine a candidate’s ability to perform in a role. Their existence and prevalent use provides a simple solution for hiring managers to make a quick assessment of a candidate when a role receives hundreds of applicants.

The benefits of aptitude testing makes them a popular and powerful tool for employers and other organisations looking to hire, offer a position, or test a person’s ability to perform.

The benefits of aptitude testing include:

  • Reputable tests are reliable and standardised meaning they are fair and reliable
  • They improve the quality and efficiency of the hiring process
  • They are easy and cost-effective to deliver
  • A good quality test will allow you to make comparisons between the results of those tested
  • The majority of these tests are now marked using computers, making them as fair as possible

How aptitude tests are used 

Most often, large employers, such as Walmart, choose to use aptitude tests when hiring for customer-facing positions. Using an aptitude test such as those assessing logical reasoning, numerical reasoning, or verbal reasoning, will determine whether an applicant has the skills necessary to deal with customers on a daily basis.

In other settings, such as in colleges and universities, these tests can be used to determine whether a student possesses the necessary skills to enroll in a course. For example, the LSAT exam, which all law school applicants must sit before admission into a law school.

Prior to taking an aptitude test, many candidates will make use of online resources and pre-test study guides to help them prepare. There are plenty of online providers offering useful resources, such as practice tests and tips for passing.

Aptitude tests on the market today 

There are many different tests now widely used across the world. These include the CCAT test which is used to measure a person’s ability to problem-solve, use new information, and think critically. As mentioned earlier, the CCAT or Criteria Cognitive Aptitude Test is most commonly used by employers to determine how quickly an applicant can learn new skills and undergo training for a new role.

Other well-known aptitude tests include:

  • Graduate Requisite Exam (GRE)
  • LSAT test used by law schools
  • Numerical reasoning test
  • MCAT test for admission into medical school
  • The Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT) taken during high school by students
  • Specialist pre-employment aptitude tests such as the Walmart Assessment test
  • Caliper Assessment
  • Kaplan Nursing Entrance Exam