Practising aptitude tests - numerical & verbal reasoning

If you've got a job interview coming up, you may be asked to sit aptitude tests (sometimes called psychometric tests).

These tests are designed to test your numerical reasoning and verbal reasoning abilities.

Employers and universities use these tests assess aptitude at work related tasks. They are, in fact, a short proxy for intelligence tests, and are commonly used where a candidate isn't expected to have significant work history.

The tests are timed, and typically, you'll have around 60 seconds to complete a numerical question, and 30 seconds to complete a verbal question.

The tests are marked in 'quartiles'. Usually this means that people who score in the top 25% are considered to have passed.

Generally speaking, the tests do not disclose whether you have passed or failed upon completion.

Instead, you'll have to wait for feedback from the employer.

Numerical Reasoning Tests

Numerical Reasoning tests constitute questions about:

  • Fractions
  • Ratios
  • Graphs
  • Interpreting data from tables
  • Interpreting data from charts

The test doesn't contain mathematics above high-school level, although you would realistically have to be an A-grade student at high school to do well on these tests, as the questions are tricky and time is tight.

Verbal Reasoning Tests

The verbal reasoning component is a comprehension style test. You'll be shown a paragraph of text, and then be asked to state whether certain statements are true or false.

They are trickier than they sound.

The trick is to interpret the passage very literally. You shouldn't use any opinion or external information you know about the world, but only interpret the text as the most stringent lawyer might.

These tests are particularly challenging for those which English is not a first language.

Practising Aptitude Tests

The best way to improve is really to practise.

As a free option, Psychometric Success offers some free aptitude tests you can use, including numerical and verbal reasoning tests. These tests can be printed out and done on paper, which, depending on your employer, may be more representative of how you'll actually take the test.

As a paid option, your best bet is to try the Psychometric Tests app on the app store. This app (available on iTunes and Google Play) allows you to practise numerical & verbal reasoning tests on your phone or tablet. There are hundreds of numerical and verbal reasoning tests, and complete worked solutions for the maths tests.