In popular language we very often use terms like flair of knack to indicate a person’s natural ability to quickly lean or understand a task at hand. An individual’s inherent ability is also known as aptitude. Psychologists the world over have developed various measure to assess this inherent ability to develop a skill or acquire knowledge. One of the more popular methods is an aptitude test. What is the purpose of an aptitude test?
Various aptitude tests have been standardized on specific populations to scientifically evidence that the tests are measuring inherent ability and can be used to predict the potential for achievement in a specific area. However, these tests focus on academic abilities such as numerical and abstract reasoning ad are commonly used to predict relative success in various academic streams. The results can indicate whether a student had good numerical reasoning or verbal reasoning or abstract reasoning. But what if the student has all in equal levels or has both numerical and verbal reasoning and great language skills?
The results of an aptitude test are like a combination to a lock rather than a rigid physical key. Thus, the different numbers in the combination can result in opening different locks if you so desire and fortunately no combination of numbers is right or wrong. To complicate matters further sometimes an aptitude test will not pick out your real talent. Say for example if Sachin Tendulkar had taken an aptitude test, which stream do you think a counselor might have recommended to him in order to reach the summit of success that he has achieved?
The interpretation of aptitude test scores is a complex art. An astute career counselor will analyze the scores based on various components of the test in conjunction with personality, interest, academic reports and the values that the student holds.
But can an aptitude test predict achievement or success? Not quite; an aptitude test can give broad indicative directions to a person about paths in which they could potentially succeed. But no matter how talented you are, if you don’t have the will to succeed or the perseverance to put in the hard work then you might as well have had an empty treasure chest or no key.
Is there an apt time to undertake an aptitude test? An aptitude test undertaken early on in class 9 or class 10 and provide guidelines to students and their families abut the various opportunities for learning. Hence, a test at this stage in connection with academic reports can be used to decipher the subject areas for which a student may have an aptitude. Repeating a test is very rarely required. But if you have not taken an aptitude test in school then you could take one before joining college for a bachelor’s degree, particularly if you are unsure about the stream to pick
Change is constant
The reality is that all of us are in a constant state of flux – our interests values, motivation levels ability to work hard and our inherent abilities or aptitude are also likely to change. Thus an extensive career counseling session very year while you are in school and college can help a lot more than an aptitude test.
Because what you want out of life at 16 is not the same as what you might want at 20. A good counselor also be able to recommend the various types of training opportunities you could explore to fine tune your aptitude or abilities. They could recommend you to back up your aptitude by acquiring some skills that can complement an inherent.
However all this has to be constantly supplemented with a constant process of self assessment and self introspections. Here is hoping that you and your parents would step out of your comfort zones and explore the alleys and peaks of life.