Aptitude tests measure your cognitive ability -- how well you perform mentally and can think logically. These tests are designed as a measurement tool to help employers, organizations or educational institutions make judgments and predictions about your abilities. According to Psychometric Success, there are more than 5,000 aptitude tests on the market.
Single aptitude tests measure one ability or skill. These tests are used when an employer or other party needs someone to possess a specific ability. You might be tested on your verbal ability, your mathematical ability or even your critical thinking ability. For example, if you apply for a banking job, you might be asked to take an aptitude test that measures your banking math skills. If you score high on this kind of test, you are likely to do well in a job that requires the skill.
Multiple aptitude tests measure a range of abilities and skills in specific areas. Aptitude tests that measure more than one ability are referred to as aptitude test batteries. These tests may measure both your verbal and math abilities. They might also measure your ability to work with your hands or ability to work with multidimensional objects.
Students at all levels are subject to standardized testing. These are usually aptitude tests used by institutions to predict a student's ability to learn or succeed. High school students might take the Scholastic Aptitude Test, or SAT, when applying to college. College students interested in going to graduate school might take the Graduate Record Examination, or GRE. Medical students take the Medical College Admissions Test, or MCAT; law students take the Law School Admissions Test or LSAT; and business students take the Graduate Management Admissions Test, or GMAT.
Organizations and industries have used aptitude tests to influence job decisions since the 1940s. As jobs became more highly specialized, requiring greater skill, aptitude tests have become even more important. The U.S. Department of Labor developed the General Aptitude Test Battery, or GATB, in 1947 to help people understand their skills and abilities and to assist with career counseling. The Army administers the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery, or ASVAB, to more than a million people every year. Most people will take a job or industry-specific aptitude test during their lifetime.
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