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Are you a recruiter or hiring manager looking for candidate pre-employment assessment tests and tools including aptitude tests?

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What is an aptitude test? What are the types of aptitude tests? How to pass aptitude tests? If these are questions on your mind, this is the guide for you.

In this text we go into depth about aptitude assessments, how these are used in recruitment to find the best candidates for a role and the expert tips you can use to prepare and pass your upcoming job aptitude test.

A recent study found that candidates who do not practise assessments, tend to fail at the first hurdle of psychometric assessments (54%-84%). This study looked at the Top 100 global employers.

Bradley et al. (2019)

Sign up with GF and take FREE practice aptitude tests developed by former SHL experts who developed the tests for 8,000+ companies and gain personalised tips based on your performance.

Read on to discover…


  1. What is an Aptitude Test?
  2. What are the Main Types of Aptitude Tests?
  3. Why do Employers Use Aptitude Tests?
  4. Types of Questions in an Aptitude Test
  5. Aptitude Test Examples
  6. Why Practice for Aptitude Tests?
  7. How to Prepare and Pass an Aptitude Test?
  8. The Science Behind Aptitude Tests
  9. Aptitude Test Publishers
  10. Aptitude Test FAQs 

Let’s get started!

What is an Aptitude Test?

An aptitude test is a standardised assessment to assess the cognitive skills and potential of candidates. Employers can appraise a candidate’s ability using an aptitude assessment test to make a decision on the best applicants to hire for the role.

What’s the difference between an aptitude test and an ability test?

  • Aptitude tests are similar to ability tests. Aptitude assessment tests assess the potential to acquire knowledge generally, ability tests place these in a specific work context. For example, a numerical reasoning test for an Accountancy job.
  • Graduates who are seeking Finance, Business, Accountancy, IT, Law etc. as their professional career will most likely have to take an aptitude assessment.

What are the Main Types of Aptitude Tests?

Here are a few basic types of aptitude tests commonly used by employers:

  • Numerical Reasoning Test This test assesses the candidate’s ability to make the correct calculations using a set of numerical data such as charts and tables.
  • Verbal Reasoning Test – Verbal reasoning assessments measure the candidate’s ability to interpret and draw conclusions from a written passage of text. 
  • Logical Reasoning Tests – In this test, the candidate’s problem-solving, pattern-identifying, and reasoning abilities are evaluated using a sequence of diagrams and shapes.
  • Diagrammatic Reasoning Tests – These assessments require candidates to use logical reasoning skills to interpret the patterns in a sequence to solve problems.
  • Abstract Reasoning Tests – These assessments assess the candidate’s abstract reasoning ability using a sequence of diagrams, shapes, numbers or patterns.
  • Spatial Reasoning Tests – These assessments measure the candidate’s ability to compare and analyse various 2D and 3D shapes to solve problems.
  • Numerical Estimation Tests – These measure a candidate’s ability to work with numbers quickly and effectively to make mathematical calculations without the use of a calculator.
  • Critical Reasoning Tests – In this assessment, the candidate’s ability to critically reason is measured using a variety of statements and questions around the information provided.
  • Personality Questionnaire – Personality assessments or questionnaires aim to understand the candidate’s workplace preferences through a series of questions or statements.
  • Situational Judgement Tests – In this assessment, candidates are provided with likely scenarios and will be required to choose the best (and worst) decision options.

Good to know: Personality assessments assess the candidate’s aptitude to fit with the behaviours required for a role. Situational assessments focus on the nature of behaviours themselves, and whether these demonstrate the level of competence required.

Why do Employers Use Aptitude Tests?

Employers often use aptitude tests to monitor the candidate’s efficiency and problem-solving skills. Aptitude assessments assess these abilities through various questions, usually under strict timed conditions. These test results provide an insight into the cognitive ability and performance of each candidate. 

Good to know: The objective of an aptitude test is to assess a applicant’s ability by scoring their speed and accuracy of their answers. Using these scores, the aptitude assessment tests allow the employer to make a more informed hiring decision based on their performance.

Sartori and Pasini (2007)

Which employers and industries use aptitude tests?

Here is a list of top industries and employers that commonly use aptitude assessment tests during their hiring processes:

IndustryCompany Name
ConsultancyKPMG, Accenture, EY and PwC
FinanceGoldman Sachs, Deloitte, JP Morgan and Lloyds Banking Group
TechnologyAmazon, HP, Siemens and Oracle
FMCGP&G, Nestle, Unilever and Adidas
LawSimmons and Simmons, Linklaters, Baker McKenzie and DLA Piper

What types of questions should we expect from these employer aptitude tests? Keep reading to find out!

Types of Questions in an Aptitude Test

What types of questions are used in an aptitude test?

Aptitude tests are conducted online or offline based on the test organizer’s preference. The candidates will have to complete the assessment that may consist of one or a variety of questions. These often include:

  • Multiple choice questions
  • Fill in the blank questions
  • Ranking the best and worst options
  • Inputting answers 

Good to know: Based on your test performance, if you are successful in scoring above the cut-off mark set by the employer, you will be likely to move onto the next stage which is typically an interview (virtual or face-to-face).

Aptitude Test Examples

So what do these aptitude tests usually look like? Our experts have developed the following examples to give you a good idea of what you can expect in a typical online aptitude assessment with these example aptitude assessment test questions for Numerical, Verbal and Logical Reasoning tests. 

Numerical Aptitude Test Example
Numerical aptitude test example

In the above example, you as the candidate must make the necessary calculations and select the correct answer within the time limit. Note that you may only have 15 minutes to answer 20 questions!

Register with GF today and practice FREE numerical aptitude test questions to get a head start in your test preparation.

Got the answer to this question? Check it out at the bottom of the page.

The complexity of numerical aptitude tests do not lie in the knowledge tested but instead the time pressure and stress involved. When taking your numerical reasoning test, you will have less than a minute to read each question, analyse data provided and perform the necessary calculations.

Verbal Analysis Aptitude Test Example
Verbal analysis aptitude test

As the candidate, you must read the passage carefully and determine whether this statement is “True”, “False” or whether you “Cannot Say” based only on the information provided in this passage.

See if you got the answer to this question at the bottom of the page.

Verbal reasoning or verbal analysis aptitude assessment tests could potentially be more difficult for people who are not native-speakers in English. Therefore, we suggest combating this by practicing verbal reasoning questions as much as possible to help understand the language used and the specific layout of common verbal aptitude questions.

Sign up with GF today and practice FREE verbal aptitude test questions to boost your verbal test preparation with a full test with answers.

Logical Aptitude Test Example
Logical aptitude test example

For this logical reasoning aptitude example question, you will be required to observe the diagrams in the sequence carefully to uncover a shared pattern to determine which of the options would be the next diagram in the sequence.

You may only have just 45 seconds to notice that:

  • The arrow rotates clockwise around the diagram
  • The sequence of shapes is triangle-circle-square
  • The long line alternates between horizontal and vertical
  • …and to identify the correct answer!

Think you’ve cracked it? Check the bottom of the page for the answer!

Register with GF today and practice more FREE aptitude tests designed by former SHL experts who have developed tests relevant to 8,000+ companies around the world. 

Practicing is key to get ahead in your aptitude assessment tests. But why? Read on to find out!

Why Practice for Aptitude Tests?

There are two key reasons why you should practice aptitude assessments: 

  1. You want the job
  2. You want to stand out from other candidates

It’s likely that your fellow competing graduates are practicing already. As your scores will be compared against others, it’s time to put your game face on and start practicing.

5 Key Reasons Why You Should Practice Aptitude Tests

  1. Time Management: Develop your ability to answer questions quickly and correctly with practice. Often aptitude tests have a strict time limit, meaning you won’t have long to answer each question. 

Good to know: Practice helps to build accuracy and speed in your answers as you become more familiar with the assessments.

  1. Reduce Stress: Familiarising yourself with practice tests is a great way to reduce the stress and uncertainty of not knowing what to expect in your upcoming aptitude assessment test. 

Good to know: With practice, you can discover what questions you can expect, how you can answer them and the key areas that employers are looking for. 

  1. Staying Focussed: With the limited time and difficult questions often used in online aptitude assessments, it can be difficult to focus on completing the assessment. 

Good to know: Practicing under these conditions can help prepare you for the real thing and focus on answering each question within the limited time provided.

  1. Improve Results: You can combine progress tracking with practice to highlight development areas to focus on ahead of the real test and use strategies to improve your performance over time.

Top tip: Focus your practice over a few assessments to gain a more in-depth understanding of the questions and the key patterns and reasonings employers use to reach the answers.

  1. Boost Confidence: Grow more comfortable ahead of the real thing, settle your nerves so you can perform your best. 

Good to know: With practice you can develop your own strategy that you are comfortable with for the real test and be confident in completing the employer aptitude test, first try.

In fact, it has been proven scientifically through research that practice increases the chances of success! The study discovered that undergraduates who do not practise assessments are more likely to fail in psychometric tests.

This study looked at the Times Top 100 employers.

“Two one-sample t-tests show that more than 50% of students failed the verbal and numerical reasoning tests (53.53% vs 83.57%). The only predictor of an increased likelihood of passing the numerical reasoning tests was having previous experience with those tests.”

“Falling at the first hurdle: undergraduate students’ readiness to navigate the graduate recruitment process”

Bradley et al. (2019)

So how do we practice to prepare and pass these assessment tests? Let’s check out the top tips you can use below!

How to Prepare and Pass an Aptitude Test?

Now that you are aware of the importance of an aptitude test for graduate schemes, let’s dig into the ways of cracking the test. As the competition for each job is fierce, it is crucial that we prepare for the test to best demonstrate our cognitive abilities on the day.  

5 Top Tips to Pass Aptitude Tests

Here are 5 key tips you can use to prepare and pass aptitude assessments

  1. Check the job description and research the role to work out which skills the employer is looking for. Use this knowledge to select the aptitude assessment tests you need to practice ahead of your application.

For example, if you are applying for a financial role which deals with a lot of data quickly, you will likely be assessed using numerical and logical reasoning assessments.

  1. Familiarize yourself with the assessment through practice. A good way to develop an understanding of the format, categories, and questions asked in an aptitude assessment test is to practice assessments ahead of time.

Practicing in a home environment can help manage your stress and time under pressure and develop a personal strategy to approach the questions. 

  1. Practice dealing with stress and time pressure using timed practice aptitude tests. Use the feedback reports and worked solutions to develop your understanding and approach ahead of the real thing.

We recommend practicing tests until you are able to answer up to 90% of the answers correctly and have 20-30% of the time remaining.

  1. Use the recommended device for the test. Most aptitude tests are now online, so ensure to use the device recommended by the provider or employer in the email invitation.

Many tests are now mobile-friendly, though publishers may encourage to use a computer for interactive assessments. Ensure you have a strong wi-fi connection beforehand for the best experience.

  1. Take the test at your peak brain performance to boost your confidence in your ability for the test. It is key to sync the real assessment with your bio clock to ensure you focus throughout the test.

If your brain works best in the morning, take your online aptitude tests in the morning to get the best results.

For more tips, check out this quick video to discover how you can improve your speed while taking your upcoming aptitude tests:

Improve your speed in online employer tests | Top Tips to get Quicker #shorts

Keep reading to learn how our practice aptitude tests can help you prepare!

Where to practice aptitude tests?

At GF we have designed a variety of practice assessments to help you to prepare for your graduate scheme tests. Each of our assessments provides a real test environment under timed conditions to accelerate your preparation and benchmark your score against thousands of others. 

Below are just some of the top practice aptitude assessments we provide:

Practice your Aptitude TestsPractice Now
Numerical Reasoning TestPractice Now
Verbal Reasoning TestPractice Now
Logical Reasoning TestPractice Now
Diagrammatic Reasoning TestPractice Now
Abstract Reasoning TestPractice Now
Spatial Reasoning TestPractice Now
Numerical Estimation TestPractice Now
Critical Reasoning TestPractice Now
Personality QuestionnairePractice Now
Situational JudgementPractice Now

Get the practice assessment Essentials to prepare for your aptitude assessments with GF and practice over 1,900 unique assessment questions with worked solutions, progress tracking and reports based on your performance. 

The Science Behind Aptitude Tests

Since Schmidt & Hunter’s seminal research on the ‘Validity Ladder’ in 1998, thousands of studies have been conducted which discovered that cognitive aptitude or General Mental Ability (GMA) tests have a strong prediction accuracy of on-the-job performance.

It is important for employers to select the right candidate that will stay longer, perform better and remain satisfied in their role. 

Did you know? According to Forbes, roughly only 1 out of 5 candidates will be selected for an interview. Additionally, on average, 118 individuals apply for a single job position.

The challenge of finding the best talent for a role is something that employers around the world have faced for many years. Further to this, many employers struggle to find the right applicant that fits best within the organisation, leading to high employee turnover. 

Graduate recruitment tests, such as aptitude tests, ultimately help to ease this process.

Did you know? Classical Test Theory (CTT) is used in aptitude assessment tests to evaluate the reliability and validity of the assessments. CTT aims to improve test quality to assist recruiters in making informed decisions to recruitment processes and select the best candidate.

Aptitude Test Publishers

For your online aptitude assessments, employers commonly use test providers to assess your cognitive skills and abilities. In your test invitation email, the recruiter may include which test provider they are using. 

Top tip: To gain an advantage in your application, it is important to understand more about the provider as many provide a different test format.

Who are the top aptitude test publishers?

Below are a list of the main aptitude assessment test publishers used by top employers around the world:

Did you know? SHL is renowned as a leading test publisher and is responsible for providing personality assessments and aptitude tests to thousands of organisations globally. At GF, our practice assessments have been designed by former SHL developers to help you practice and prepare ahead of assessments for many publishers, including SHL aptitude tests.

Check out more answers to some of the most commonly asked questions below for aptitude tests in recruitment! 

Aptitude Test FAQs

How do I prepare for an aptitude test?

  1. Research what the company is looking for
  2. Familiarise yourself with the tests
  3. Practice beforehand
  4. Use feedback and progress tracking
  5. Find the right time and place to take the tests
  6. Use the recommended device
  7. Read the instructions carefully
  8. Balance speed and accuracy
  9. Stay calm and focussed
  10. Take one question at a time

Can you pass or fail an aptitude test?

Most aptitude tests do not have negative marking or a failing grade, so it is unlikely for candidates to fail an assessment in the traditional sense. However, getting a low percentile score on your assessment is likely to reduce your chance of getting selected for the next level of the recruitment process.

How long is an aptitude test?

The timing of an aptitude test can vary depending on the test type, publisher and the job requirements of the employer. Whilst some online tests may last for around 15 minutes, some assessments may last for up to 30 minutes or longer as some tests may be blended together.

What is the minimum pass mark for aptitude tests?

The minimum mark required to pass an aptitude test depends upon the cut-off percentile set by the test provider or employer. This is often set at between the 30th and 50th percentile. To improve your chances of getting ahead, it is key to score higher than the 70th percentile.

Are aptitude tests and IQ tests the same?

Although aptitude tests and an IQ test measure your cognitive abilities, the IQ test assesses general intelligence whereas an aptitude test focuses on certain specific cognitive skills such as logical reasoning skills, behavioural reasoning skills, numerical and verbal reasoning skills

Practice and Register with GF to ace your aptitude tests first time

Do you want to pass your aptitude tests first time? Sign up for free aptitude tests offered by GF, the only assessment practice test experts that provide tests to over 100 UK universities and their students, and also across Asia and continental Europe.

Go to GF now and select from the range of products we offer at no risk. We offer a comprehensive premium package with a full set of assessment tools for candidates (numerical, logical, verbal reasoning, situational judgment tests, assessment centre exercises and more). Buy with peace of mind without commitment to a full 100% money back guarantee.

Correct answers to example questions:

Numerical Reasoning Test: D

Verbal Reasoning Test: B

Logical Reasoning Test: C