Types of Aptitude Test

Aptitude tests are frequently used during the recruitment process to test a candidate’s abilities in a range of different areas.

These tests make it easy for employers to compare candidates – and to ensure they have the correct competencies to do the job well.

There are many organisations that develop aptitude tests; finding out the provider of the one you'll be taking will help you prepare effectively.

The following is a list of the different types of aptitude tests that are used by employers as part of their candidate recruitment and assessment process.

Click through to the linked article in each case for more information on how the tests work, plus tips and techniques for success.

1. Abstract Reasoning Tests

These evaluate a candidate’s ability to work out abstract concepts and see the logic in data, patterns and information.

They are usually visual problems in a multiple-choice format.


The BioMedical Admissions Test is an aptitude test used by medical, dental and veterinary schools in the UK and elsewhere.

The test is two hours long and is taken with pen and paper. It will test your aptitude and skills, your application of scientific knowledge, and you will be given 30 minutes to write an essay.

At the end of the test, you will receive a score that will be used during the application process to your chosen university.

3. Cognitive Ability Tests

This is a general term for tests that measure a candidate’s intelligence and the way they think.

As part of this assessment, candidates could be asked to take numerical, verbal and abstract reasoning tests, among others.

A popular cognitive ability test is the Wonderlic Test, which is frequently used by recruiters to test IQ and how a candidate interprets instructions and solves problems.

4. Critical Thinking Tests

These measure how a candidate evaluates information and how they reason.

Each test presenst a scenario and a statement, and asks candidates to work out whether the statement is true, false or cannot say.

The Watson Glaser Test is one of the most popular critical thinking tests, often used by law firms.

5. Diagrammatic Reasoning Tests

Similar to abstract reasoning tests, though more likely to use letters and numbers (rather than symbols or shapes).

Like abstract reasoning questions, they ask you to use logic to deduce patterns.

6. Error Checking Tests

This test is about looking for errors in complex data (usually figures or codes), usually under very tight time constraints.

It is possible to improve dramatically with practice, so it is more a test of ability than aptitude.

7. Inductive Reasoning Tests

These typically involve questions about patterns, diagrams or pictures within a sequence. You might be asked which image comes next or is missing.

8. Intray and Etray Exercises

Most commonly used at an assessment centre. Usually, you will be presented with an email inbox or intray of tasks, messages or information, and will be asked to prioritise, manage and negotiate those tasks.

9. Logical Reasoning Tests

These tests reveal how a candidate uses logic to interpret information.

The information you will be given might be patterns, number sequences or shapes, as well as text-based questions that will ask you to make a conclusion based on evidence.

10. Mechanical Reasoning Tests

These assess a candidate’s ability to apply their mechanical or engineering knowledge to work situations.

Learning engineering principles can help you succeed, so preparation is essential.

11. Numerical Reasoning Tests

Numerical reasoning tests evaluate how a candidate can handle numerical information, often with a strict time limit.

The questions may incorporate graphs, tables or number sequences as well as written maths problems, and are typically multiple-choice.

12. Personality Tests

Personality tests are increasingly used by employers to determine whether a candidate has the right behaviours and attitude to fit in with the company culture and work ethic.

These tests are normally questionnaires that present statements and ask for ratings dependent on the level of your agreement.

All you need to do is answer honestly. Common personality tests are Myers-Briggs, DISC, NEO and Birkman.

13. Situational Judgement Test

Situational judgement tests present candidates with hypothetical work-related scenarios and scrutinise how they solve the problems presented.

You will be given a situation and a series of responses, and will be asked to choose the most or least effective, or to order the responses from most to least effective.

Usually, these will be specific to the role and company you are applying to.

14. Spatial Awareness Tests

Spatial awareness relates to how well your mind can visualise and manipulate images and patterns.

You will be given a range of 2D and 3D images to organise, or visualise in 3D. Alternatively, you might be asked to match reflected or rotated images.

15. Verbal Reasoning Tests

You will have to deduct meaning, information and implications from passages of text without making assumptions. Verbal reasoning tests examine a candidate’s ability to think logically, critically and accurately.

Further Practice

To practice these various aptitude tests, try these free aptitude tests from WikiJob. They are slightly harder than most real tests, so they will be challenging practice.

WikiJob also has a psychometric tests app, available for both Apple and Android, which has hundreds of questions to help you prepare for job assessments. The tests are timed and there are worked solutions at the end.