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Aptitude testing is commonly used in many different recruitment processes. It often goes under the term psychometric testing. Now psychometric testing isn't personality questionnaire, so it isn't looking at your personality traits, and what drives you, and how you choose to behave at work. It looks at how your brain works-- how quickly and accurately you can make decisions.

Most aptitude testing is derived from government psychometrics that initially started in the late '40s, '50s, '60s, and came into the commercial marketplace in the mid '80s onwards. The commonly used ones in the UK and the US use highly validated data, normally from the government departments over decades, so they're usually valid indicators of performance. And what they look for is how quickly you can think-- your raw brain horsepower-- how quickly and accurately you can come to decisions, how well you're going to adopt training, and how quickly you can learn new skills, and whether you are fast-track potential.

Important to get across is that aptitude testing isn't intelligent testing. In fact, you could take a professor from a local university and a tramp off the street, and there's no reasons why the tramp wouldn't score higher in an aptitude test than the university professor. Most commonly used aptitude tests, particularly in the UK, are a mix of different tests.

Now, they're very short, normally lasting two, three, four, five minutes each, and looking at things like numerical reasoning, verbal reasoning, short-term memory, long-term memory, spatial awareness, and so on. They're very, very quick. Normally they follow quite esoteric patterns.

So to give an example of the verbal reasoning examples, it will be things like, Deborah is taller than Sally. Sally is shorter than Karen. Who is the tallest? So just be aware, to get your head around that kind of questioning on verbal reasoning.

Now a tip and some tips on all commonly used aptitude tests. If we look at verbal reasoning, the example that I've just given, if you read that from the bottom up-- who is the tallest, who is the smallest-- it engages your brain into then to look for that information in the passage above, and that helps.

In numerical testing, normally the numbers aren't more than 10 numbers away from each other. So you can use your fingers and thumbs if you do use that-- if you do use your fingers and thumbs when doing mental arithmetic. However if you don't use your fingers and thumbs, actually it's not going to help you

In most aptitude tests, you're not allowed to mark the paper in any way. But there's no reasons why you can't use your fingers to help aid you. For example in error checking tests, you cover over each of the sections of it, and that can sometimes help.

In addition, in spatial awareness tests, you can spin the paper around to help get your brain engaged into looking for what the test is asking you to look for. So there are little things that you can do which are perfectly allowed in psychometric ability and aptitude testing.

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