Performance in Aptitude tests plays a crucial role in lives of the majority of students. Barring a few career options, everywhere else a test of aptitude determines the future progression. It could be related to a job, a bank test, a PSC examination or an entrance test to a post graduate program. Anyone preparing seriously for any of these situations would do a world of good to oneself if they understand the basic reason for an aptitude test rather than doing pattern recognition.
There are tests designed to identify and understand the inclination of students at an early age and guide them to a particular career path, which are also referred to as aptitude tests. I am not referring to such tests here. The aptitude tests referred to here are test papers administered by the corporates, the government and educational institutions for screening candidates for a job or a course offered.
Majority of the aptitude tests look at the three generic skills of candidates.
1. Logical Thinking Ability: Ability to come up with solutions and possibilities under a given set of constraints; ability to reason and transfer a particular learning to a new situation.
2. Arithmetic skills: Basic mathematical skills required in routine business transactions like the knowledge of percentages, proportions, profit and loss, interest calculations etc. This calls for elementary understanding of the basic concepts involved in addition to the ability to perform simple mathematical calculations without the aid of calculating devices.
3. Language Skills: Ability to comprehend written material and ability to make error free communication. English being the language of business in our part of the world, candidates are mainly tested on their English language skills. Standard testing areas include reading comprehension, grammar and usage based error identification and correction and at times vocabulary.
These are all skills that can be acquired and developed. Yes it is true that some have a natural flair towards these and they would naturally score well in the aptitude tests. Never the less, all candidates can attain a certain minimum desired level of competence in each of these critical skills with the right effort and application. Even though there are about a hundred different areas or topics from which questions can be set for an aptitude test, all the questions try to test one of these three basic skills in one way or the other.
These skills have a meaning and purpose beyond an imminent test. As such your approach to acquiring these skills also should have a long term view. Instead of focusing on preparing for a particular test pattern, you should spend time to build your basics on the logical, quantitative and verbal ability. Once the foundation is set correct, you can build on that. Any preparation based on pattern recognition alone has a limited scope and is never advocated as a stand -alone approach.
One should look at aptitude preparation with an open mind and see it in a broader perspective. The utility of these skills go beyond clearing the screening tests as they have now become essential life skills whose absence will curtail one in the long run.