Many big global employers like PWC, KPMG, Deloitte and EY use aptitude tests as a pre-employment assessment method, especially for early career job openings like internships, industrial placements or graduate schemes. The main reason these are used is due to their objectivity and ability to reveal the potentials of candidates who might not have many years of experience. If you are a student or graduate applying for an entry-level role, here are 9 easy steps to master the art of aptitude tests.
Step 1: Know the types of tests
Before you even start, it is important to know that aptitude tests come in all shapes and sizes, depending on what each of them is trying to achieve; for example, measuring one’s personality, skills or natural cognitive abilities. Some of the most commonly seen tests include:
- Numerical Reasoning Tests
- Verbal Reasoning Tests
- Diagrammatic Reasoning Tests
- Situational Judgement Tests
- E-Tray Exercises
Step 2: Know your industry
A good understanding of the industry you are looking to get into and its requirements is crucial. Do your research on career sites like Glassdoor, Prospects or LinkedIn, get to know your field of interest and network with people who have had experience here; you will gain valuable insights into the key skills expected in your industry and therefore, the type of Aptitude Tests that you will likely need to practice.
Step 3: Know your employer
Delving a bit deeper, time to ‘stalk’ your chosen employers. Go above and beyond, besides their official career site, many important information regarding employers’ company culture (and whether this suits your values and motivations) as well as their recruitment process can be found on various social media channels. This knowledge will eventually lead you to the type of Aptitude Tests your dream employers use and even the test publishers that they are partnering up with.
Step 4: Reflect on what you have to offer
Alongside the external discoveries mentioned earlier, a solid self-awareness or an honest reflection of who you are internally will get you ahead of the game. Explore your traits and preferences, both personally and professionally with informal tests and compare these results to see if they align with your industry and employers. Who knows, this might even take you to completely new directions.
Step 5: Practice hard
Now that you are equipped with a good idea of the types of Aptitude Tests you will encounter, the next step is to set up a serious schedule to practice. Regularity can increase your test-taking skill, your familiarity with the formatting of these tests as well as your speed and accuracy in general.
Step 6: Practice smart
It is not just about practicing hard, strive to practice smart, too. Some tests, like Basic Comprehension Tests or Verbal Reasoning Tests, measure your mental agility when dealing with bulks of information; and as a candidate avoiding making assumptions and taking things as they are will be the key to success. On the other hand, Abstract Reasoning Tests or Diagrammatic Reasoning Tests often ‘trick’ applicants with almost identical-looking multiple choice answers; thus, you need to train your instinct and stay sharp. An in-depth understanding of the tests’ style and pace will get you through.
Step 7: Find further advices
When taking a break from your practice session, keep an open mind and find further resources regarding Aptitude Tests and how to ace them. Universities often provide workshops and mock test centres where students can attend in real exam conditions and get personalised feedback. There are also many FREE tests and guides online, besides examples, FAQs and interviews with past successful candidates on the employers’ career page. Make the most of them.
Step 8: Nail your tests
Once you have got a hang of Aptitude Tests overall, you are ready to nail your online application. Usually, employers will send an automated email invite with a deadline of a few days from when you registered to complete these tests, so make sure all the practicing is done well in advance.
Step 9: Stay resilient
Finally, Aptitude Tests and the whole recruitment process are not only daunting at the beginning, they can become time-consuming, frustrating and almost impossible sometimes. You will find yourself getting disqualified at least a few times, but do not assume that you are not good enough of a candidate; it is simply about test-taking skill and how experienced you are with Aptitude Tests in general. So keep practicing, stay resilient and the right role will find you by surprise.
By Nikki Pham