How to Test for Aptitude


Aptitude tests provide an accurate assessment of an individual’s strengths and weaknesses. It is beneficial to administer these tests in high school, as the results can provide valuable guidance to students when choosing a college course of study and career path. Aptitude tests are also beneficial to employers seeking job candidates with a specific combination of strengths, as well as adults planning to enter the workforce or considering a career change. Employers may prefer to write their own aptitude tests in order to custom-design questions that address specific workplace situations and focus on candidate's strengths or weaknesses.

Things You'll Need

  • Computer
  • Printer
  • Word processing program

Aptitude Test Basics

  • Write multiple-choice questions that offer test-takers a range of responses. For example, pose the query, “When assembling products from a box or kit, do you read the instructions?” and provide the choices, “A) Yes, I read each step before I even begin working,” “B) I glance at pictures and diagrams to see how the finished product should look,” “C) I will look at the directions if I run into a problem,” and “D) I throw the directions away with the box and figure out how to assemble the product myself.”

  • Instruct the test-taker to complete all questions on the aptitude test and set a time limit for the exam. An average of 30 seconds per question is a good rule of thumb. Explain the importance of choosing the answer that best matches the person’s first instinct rather than over analyzing the questions.

  • Include at least five questions that address learning styles. Ask about the person’s need to hear instructions, read directions, see illustrations of processes or have tasks demonstrated by another person. Determine if the subject prefers to figure out things alone, or prefers to be part of a team or have a mentor.

  • Determine the candidate’s leadership aptitude with a series of three to five questions about following established procedures or developing new methods and whether the person is comfortable questioning the way things are and providing alternatives. Inquire about the subject’s time management skills and ability to identify wasted time in completing tasks.

Determine Intuitive Abilities

  • Ask if the subject computes numbers mentally with ease or requires the use of a pencil or calculator to solve numeric expressions. Provide at least five series of six or more numbers with different patterns and give four choices for the number that should follow. Patterns could be as simple as counting by odd numbers or as complex as doubling the interval between each numeral in the series, but be sure the pattern could be recognized in an amount of time proportional to the amount of time you allot for the test.

  • Inquire about speaking ability in at least three questions. Ask about the person’s ability to give clear verbal directions to someone and express complex ideas sequentially. Determine whether the person enjoys public speaking, avoids it or falls somewhere in between the two extremes.

  • Pose one or two questions to determine the candidate’s ability to visualize a project from inception to completion and communicate the process to others by drawing diagrams and illustrations. Provide three images of disassembled polyhedrons with one or more shaded sides and ask the subject to choose the correct visual representation of the assembled shape to test spatial orientation aptitude.

Workplace Interaction Aptitude

  • Question the test-taker’s tendency to make objective decisions or to rely on personal feelings when making choices. Find out whether the person looks at the “big picture” or the small details when given a new task to complete. Ask if the candidate would rather be an idea person or a practical worker who carries out the ideas of others.

  • Determine how well the candidate works with others and under supervision by proposing work situations and asking for the subject’s response. Questions could ask what the person would do if he/she overheard two co-workers discussing a problem and knew a solution, or how the subject would respond to criticism from a superior for causing customer dissatisfaction by following procedures that delayed delivery of merchandise.

  • Conclude the test by posing an open-ended question that presents a moral dilemma in the workplace, such as observing an employee taking company property and requesting the person’s response to the situation and justification for the individual’s reaction. This will test writing aptitude and evaluate a person's convictions.

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