Aptitude tests can strike fear into the most confident of students, however there is a strong possibility you'll encounter them if you are applying for an internship, placement or graduate job.
Commonly used tests include verbal reasoning (understanding logic or patterns with words), numerical reasoning (drawing data from graphs or solving maths problems), situational judgement (aiming to find out about the type of worker you are, and how you would respond in different workplace scenarios), and e-tray exercises (assessing your skills of organisation or prioritisation by using a simulated work email inbox). Whilst these tests will vary from one employer to another, I hope the tips below help you feel more confident:
- Research: find out as much as you can about the type of test the employer uses. Sites such as ratemyplacement, studentroom forums and Glassdoor carry feedback from other job seekers about particular companies. It is also perfectly OK to contact the employer by email or phone to see if you can find out more about the tests they use in the selection process.
- Practice makes perfect: a little practice will help you get used to the type of questions that may come up and the best ways of approaching them. Swotting up on basic maths can be particularly useful if you are sitting numerical tests as this is an area we can all get a bit rusty on. Through the careers service you can access some excellent practice tests (more information below)
- Use common sense: in the overwhelming majority of cases these tests aren’t set up to trick you. With tests such as situational judgement and e-tray in particular they are merely trying to work out how you would react in corresponding real life work scenarios so think carefully about the best actions to take and how this may impact on others. It may be useful to read the job description which will have clues about the priorities of the role.
- Take your time: this isnt about winning - the key to ace online tests is to give yourself plenty of time to read (and re-read) the questions and to work at a steady pace.
Practice makes perfect
We have lots of useful information available on the Careers Service website including access to some great practice materials such as:
- Graduates First: contains seven numerical, verbal and logical reasoning tests. You can also take a personality and situational judgement test. Simply sign-in using your Bath student log-in and access the tests, detailed reports and video tutorials.
- Team Focus: practise reasoning tests and assessments designed to establish learning style, personality type and values determining motivation at work.
You may also want to explore the support available through MASH (at the University) who can help you brush up on basic maths and stats concepts.