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Is Aptitude really a myth?

The fact that one can prepare and improve their score on almost all types of aptitude tests raises an important question. Does what they call aptitude tests really measure your aptitude level? Let’s review the definition of what aptitude is.

An aptitude test is, generally, any test designed to measure one’s potential for achievement. The word aptitude is sometimes misused to mean ‘ability’ or ‘achievement’; however, there is a subtle difference between the three words aptitude, ability and achievement, which can be distinguished as follows:
aptitude – how quickly or easily you will be able to learn in the future;
ability – what you are able to demonstrate in the present;
• achievement – what you have accomplished in the past.
There are nine different types of aptitude, which may be summarized
as follows:
• General learning: learning and understanding, reasoning and making judgements. Example: how well we achieve at school.
Verbal aptitude: general lexical skills – understanding words and using them effectively.
Numerical aptitude: general mathematical skills – working with numbers quickly and accurately.
• Spatial aptitude: understanding geometric forms, and the understanding and identification of patterns and their meaning. Example: understanding how to construct a flatpack piece of furniture from a set of instructions.
• Form perception: inspecting and perceiving details in objects, and making visual comparisons between shapes. Examples:
studying an object under a microscope, and quality inspection of goods.
• Clerical perception: reading, analysing and obtaining details from written data or tabulated material. Examples: proofreading,
analysing reports and understanding graphs.
• Motor coordination: eye and hand coordination, and making quick and accurate rapid movement responses. Examples: actually being able to assemble the flat-pack piece of furniture once you have understood how it should be done, being able
to operate a computer keyboard quickly and accurately, and sporting skills.
• Finger dexterity: manipulating small objects quickly and accurately. Examples: playing a musical instrument, and sewing.
• Manual dexterity: the skill of being able to work with your hands. Examples: painting and decorating, building things
and operating machinery.

In the case of most aptitude tests there is usually a set time limit, which must be strictly adhered to in order for the test to be valid,
and there is usually an average score that has been standardized in comparison with the scores of a group of people who have
taken the same test.

In sum, either aptitude itself a fluid concept and it can be influenced through learning and practice OR no one really has a pure aptitude but what we have is hybrid form of constantly evolving ability combined with only minimal innate abilities.

Regardless of which one of the above is really true, you can always improve your test by using one or more of our aptutorials (aptitude test tutorials).


Why Do Recruiters Use Abstract (Logical, Inductive, Diagrammatic) Reasoning Tests?

Abstract reasoning Spearman diagramThe aptitudes and abilities assessed by verbal and numerical reasoning tests can readily be applied to real world jobs and positions, as many professional and even some non-professional tasks demand some skill with numbers and text. However, abstract reasoning tests, also known as logical or inductive reasoning assessment, appear to be made up of questions which  have little to do with applications in the real world. Yet these types of question come up in most graduate and management aptitude tests. So what is the use of these AR tests?

Abstract reasoning tests date back to the research done by the psychologist Charles Spearman in the 1920’s. Spearman used a statistical technique called factor analysis to examine relationships between people’s scores on different types of intelligence (IQ) tests.

He concluded that people who do well on some intelligence tests also do well on others (e.g. vocabulary, mathematics, spatial abilities, etc). Similarly, if people did poorly on one intelligence test, they also tended to do poorly on other intellectual tests. This led him to believe that there are one or more factors that are common to all intellectual tasks. As a result of this research, Spearman developed a two-factor theory of intelligence.

As the diagram above illustrates, Spearman said that intelligence mainly consists of “g” with bright people having a lot, and dull people having less. Spearman defined “g” as:

“the innate ability to perceive relationships and educe co-relationships”

If we replace the word “educe” with “determine” then you can understand why abstract reasoning questions are viewed to be a good measure of general intelligence, as they test your ability to perceive relationships and then to work out any co-relationships without you requiring any knowledge of language or mathematics.

Abstract reasoning tests use diagrams, symbols or shapes instead of words or numbers. They involve identifying the underlying logic of a pattern and then determining the solution. Because they are visual questions and are independent of language and mathematical abilities, they have come to be considered as an accurate indicator of one’s general intellectual ability as well as being “fairer” than many other aptitude test methods.

If you would like to learn more about Abstract reasoning test and to master the skills to get a top score on this test, then visit Look for Logical (Abstract) Reasoning Test Tutorial pack.

Aptutorial LATEST Aptutorial is an abbreviation produced from ‘aptitude test tutorial’ or ‘aptitude tutorial‘.

Aptitude test tutorials or aptutorials are designed to help those who have to take such tests to improve their performance and score results.

Aptitude tests are used by a variety of entities such as businesses (banks, consulting firms, etc) and universities (see CAT). There are many forms of aptitude tests available. Aptitude tests have been used for thousands of years. For example, in ancient China, chancery workers were selected by checking their basic numeracy skills.   One of the modern aptitude test formats was developed during the World War I by a man named Carl Brigham who had adapted an IQ test into a more specific aptitude test format(see SAT). Also, see this source for more information (SAT)   According to Britannica (see Aptitude test definition Britannica), an aptitude test is examination that attempts to determine and measure a person’s ability to acquire, through future training, some specific set of skills (intellectual, motor, and so on).

The tests assume that people differ in their special abilities and that these differences can be useful in predicting future achievements.   General, or multiple, aptitude tests are similar to intelligence tests in that they measure a broad spectrum of abilities (e.g., verbal comprehension, general reasoning, numerical operations, perceptual speed, or mechanical knowledge). The Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT) and the American College Testing Exam (ACT) are examples of group tests commonly used in the United States to gauge general academic ability; in France the International Baccalaureate exam (le bac) is taken by secondary-school students. Such tests yield a profile of scores rather than a single IQ and are widely used in educational and vocational counseling. Aptitude tests also have been developed to measure professional potential (e.g., legal or medical) and special abilities (e.g., clerical or mechanical). The Differential Aptitude Test (DAT) measures specific abilities such as clerical speed and mechanical reasoning as well as general academic ability.

While aptitude tests are designed to objectively assess one’s innate ability, the fact that they are developed by other humans exposes them to bias and subjectivity. In addition, certain data contexts used in such tests can be readily memorized by those who can access similar questions, become familiar with test format and prepare accordingly.   Therefore, it may be possible to achieve a better score by preparing for the aptitude, which means it may be possible for a test candidate to demonstrate a higher aptitude score than he might obtain if he does not prepare in advance. Aptutorial providers such as rely on the idea that all aptitude tests have some degree of subjectivity and bias; thus some otherwise well-qualified candidates are disadvantaged in relation to others. Therefore, the use of aptutorials by test-takers can be justified for the purpose of creating an even playing field for all test candidates.

4 Techniques used by top scorers on Aptitude Tests

Have you ever wondered how some graduates manage to get top scores on aptitude tests? They must be extremely intelligent and talented people, right? Well, not exactly.  Studies have shown that some otherwise extremely ‘brainy’ people could get very low scores on aptitude tests due to a lack of speed, focus or confidence.  The reason is two-fold. First, different categories of aptitude tests are designed to test different innate abilities (called aptitudes) such as numerical reasoning, abstract thinking and verbal reasoning.  Some who do very well on numerical tests may easily fail the verbal test. In fact, extremely talented people tend to be one-sided so while they may get 100% on one type of aptitude test, they will likely get a very low score or even fail another one.

Second, the aptitude tests that employers (or recruiters) use assess at least two of your innate abilities – and you must meet their benchmarks on both tests. These abilities almost always contradict each other. For example, numerical reasoning ability is quite different from verbal reasoning ability. This implies that the recruiters are not looking for Einsteins (by the way Einstein was far behind his peers in his verbal ability as a child) but just average people who can perform well on the job.  Besides, it is quite unusual for a first-time test taker to get top scores on BOTH. Unless … well, unless you know the tricks AND you are not a freakin’ genius because if you were, it would be harder for you to follow these tricks and you would not need the bloody job anyway.

Having conducted some extensive research, below we have summarised our findings. The following are the key techniques used by top aptitude test scorers.


Learn about the exact types of aptitude test questions you may get on a real test. Discover new ways to solve them. This does not mean you are cheating because you are not preparing the answers for real test questions BUT you are learning about question types, data format (data tables, pie charts, etc) to be able to anticipate what cords you will have to cut. Put it in another way, if you were a starting brain surgeon, you would need know to exactly how the contents of the brain look like before you even are allowed to the operation room. This is what it is all about.


Learn about the key shortcut techniques to solve nearly half of the test problems in 15-30 seconds – in order to save time.  Imagine you are driving from one city to get to another.  How helpful would it be if you knew the shortcuts to get there also avoiding traffic jams and possible road repair situations? You could get there faster, with less stress and with more time to enjoy the scenery.  Learning the shortcuts to solve test problems does NOT MEAN you will have to be able to answer each question in 15 seconds. Shortcuts may not exist for some test questions. What you need to learn is how you can get 5 questions out of the way quickly so this adds up to 3-4 minutes of extra time. Then you will be working with less anxiety and more confidence through the rest of aptitude test problems.


Begin to apply your learned techniques in practice tests and anticipate and differentiate various test problems. Unfortunately, this one comes with practice. One erroneous assumption people make is that practice time long time, that it develops over months and years.  According to NLP practitioners and reputable psychologists, it is practically possible to achieve automation in a matter of days and even hours.  For example, you could improve your speed reading skills in days. You could learn how to throw a basketball into the net accurately in hours. Aptitude tests are not much different. Of course, your results will get better in 1 month than in 1 day, however, you can still improve a lot in several days enough to make a difference on the test day.


Learn to feel like a test champion each time you do a test. Have you ever watched boxing fights of a legendary former undisputed heavyweight champion of the world, Mike Tyson? He would say, “Fear is my friend, I use the fear to reflect it upon my opponent. If I don’t have fear, I don’t fight”.  Most novice test takers are really scared before the test.  Emotions could interfere with your ability to think straight during the test, however, there is no way to become emotion-free.  What you can do, however, is to imagine that recruiters too are scared that you will destroy their testing scheme by a getting a Knock-Out score in half the time allocated for the test thereby leaving them shocked. Learn to feel like a champion like Mike Tyson in his prime and you will have a chance to knock-out the test in the first round.

In sum, the above techniques could help you massively improve your aptitude test score. However, you also need the right tools achieve that. Therefore, we have developed GraduateMonkey aptitude test tutorials to help you along through your journey.  Click here to explore our test preparation packs.Image