UK-based Practice Aptitude Tests Managing Director Guy Thornton shares some top tips on how to prepare to pass any recruitment assessments that comes your way.
By Guy Thornton
Aptitude tests are used globally by employers who want to get a clearer picture of the different candidates applying for roles at their company. Designed to tease out how you think, where your skills lie, which areas you need to work on and how you’re likely to fit into the wider team, they’re an invaluable tool when it comes to hiring the best people for the job.
Whether it’s a role in accountancy, healthcare, finance or engineering you’re looking for – we’ve outlined the following pointers for passing any aptitude test:
Do your research. First things first, find out as much as possible about the company you’re taking the test for, what the role is likely to involve and why it is the company values aptitude tests. Armed with this knowledge, you’ll have a clearer idea of the kind of candidate they’re looking for, and the sorts of skills they’re likely to be searching for in you.
When it comes to the tests themselves, it’s good to know whether you’ll be taking a numerical, verbal or diagrammatic reasoning test, or a situational judgement or personality test. This information should be supplied, but if not it’s always worth asking.
Preparation is everything. Once you know which aptitude test you’re taking, the single best thing you can do to succeed is practice, practice, practice. There really is no substitute for working through as many mock tests as you can and then analysing every result to learn where your strengths and weaknesses lie.
Set the mood. Practising in similar conditions to the ones in which you’ll eventually take the test is a great way to prepare. First things first, get rid of any distractions and try and find a quiet, well-lit room where your attention won’t be diverted. It’s a good idea to set the room up with everything you’ll need to get through the questions; paper, pens, a timer and a glass of water are the essentials, but you may have other ideas of things that’ll help you.
Don’t panic. Doing your first mock test can be daunting. The questions are designed to be challenging and it takes a bit of time to get used to the layout, time pressure and thought process needed to answer successfully. But stick with it! The best thing you can do is take a deep breath, read each question slowly and calmly and try to think rationally. If you’re really stuck on a question, either when practising or on the day, move on and come back to it if you have time.
Think outside the box. There may well be times that taking a mock test just isn’t practical or feasible. But there are still other ways you can prepare. Make a short commute count by finding a pattern or puzzle game to work through on your phone or put your verbal reasoning skills to the test by asking yourself questions on a passage of your novel.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Sometimes we all need a little bit of help to get by. Telling friends and family members you’re taking an aptitude test ensures you have people to cheer you on and encourages you to meet your goal. If you’re struggling to commit to practising, ask someone to check in with you regularly to make sure you’re working through the mock tests. A bit of encouragement really does go a long way.
Be confident. Every individual has unique strengths and assets – and you’re no different! Even if you struggle to put your finger on where you can add value, practising the mock tests will give you a much clearer sense of what you’re good at. If you put the time and effort in there’s no reason you won’t succeed, and you may learn a thing or two about yourself along the way. Approaching challenges with a positive mental attitude and a healthy dose of confidence is a stance adopted by many of the world’s most successful leaders.
Visualise winning. The chances are, if you’re putting time and effort into taking an aptitude test then you’re pretty excited about what may lie at the end of it. Whether it’s been your dream job forever, or a career path you’ve only just stumbled upon, clearly focusing on your goal is a good way to remind yourself why you’re putting such time and effort in, and why it will all be worth it.
There are many different aptitude tests out there, but passing each and every one of them really does come down to a few simple tricks: preparation, practice and positive mental attitude. And the good news? Everyone has these tools within them.