If we define the word ‘aptitude’ in very simple terms, it would be ‘the natural capacity to do some work’. If all of us knew what we are good at innately, life probably would have been much easier. But most of us make discoveries about ouselves all our lives. Most of us do not know that we are good at certain things and probably average or bad at other things! It takes quite a few trials for some of us to realise what we are actually good at and would like to pursue.
This lack of knowledge about ourselves can prove to be disastrous when children begin to think about their careers. A wrong choice can ruin a child’s future; if not future, at least a few years. Here comes the role of aptitude tests.
An aptitude test is a test that is designed to assess what a person is capable of doing. In other words, to predict what a person is able to learn or do, given the right education and training. It helps to determine and measure a person’s ability to acquire through training, some specific set of skills like intellectual, motor, and the like. These tests suppose that people differ in their special abilities and that these differences can be useful in predicting the future achievements of these people.
• General or multiple aptitude tests measure a broad spectrum of abilities (e.g., verbal comprehension, general reasoning, numerical operations, perceptual speed, or mechanical knowledge. Aptitude tests also have been developed to measure professional competancies like legal or medical and special abilities like clerical or mechanical.
Tests like these are utilized for a wide range of purposes. Teachers can make use of these evaluations to determine the performance of their students. The tests which are introduced for just educational purpose may include ‘Scholastic Assessment Test’ or SAT , ‘American College Testing Exam’ or ACT, and ‘Differential Aptitude Test’ or DAT. These tests evaluate a student’s overall academic proficiency and particular abilities. The DAT test is one of the most commonly used exams for career and personnel assessment.
Again, several aptitude tests are designed to evaluate a person’s specific abilities which are related to certain professions. For assessment and recruitment purpose, companies make use of tests such as PAPI or ‘Personality and Preference Inventory’, PSL, Situational Judgement Test and many more. There are also some Fault diagnoses tests that are conducted while hiring staff for technical positions where they have to recognize and repair faults in certain electronic-control systems.
It has often been pondered upon as to when is the right time to take aptitude tests when children are concerned. According to erudite people in the field of psychology, such tests
should be taken just before certain academic milestones where subject selection is required. It maybe in the 10th or 12th standard when the undergraduate stream (arts, commerce or sciences) needs to be finalized.
The format of an aptitude test may differ, but it essentially tests students on a few basic faculties such as verbal, spatial, numeric and mechanical. It assesses one’s understanding, design and artistic ability and their capacity to cope with the more technical streams.