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Programming Aptitude Test: A Quality Way to Hire

Talent Assessment | 6 Min Read

Programming Aptitude Test: A Quality Way to Hire

What is a Coding Aptitude Test?

A coding aptitude test, also known as a programming aptitude test, is an assessment intended to understand candidates’ knowledge and abilities to utilize the coding skills required to be a competent programmer. The test is designed to help tech recruiters hire entry-level programmers, enabling them to perform a comprehensive evaluation of professionals before making a hiring decision.

Society for Human Resource Management states employers spend an average of US$4,129 on every job hiring in the United States. Despite spending considerable resources, financial and otherwise, companies are unable to find quality talent. Organizations often agreed on hiring the best talent at the time but realized they were either under skilled or unprepared to work within a functional environment. The struggle is real because irrespective of the changes in hiring strategies, most practices remain the same, such as an incomplete or inefficient assessment of a programmer’s aptitude.

Let’s take an example of an aptitude test:

The campus hiring season has begun. Companies are receiving a large number of applications and have a significant talent pool from which to choose. With a significant number of candidates having similar qualifications, companies often shortlist swiftly, rather than analyzing the candidate’s abilities to learn and realizing their application of the skills necessary for being a successful programmer. The result is multiple screening and interviewing without favorable outcomes. Two other factors also hinder the hiring efficiency – one is asking non-technical recruiters to assess and filter engineers. The other is candidates exaggerating their abilities and proficiency during interviews to create a favorable impression. When recruiters hire in bulk, they find it challenging and time-consuming to validate such claims, and eventually face challenges.

If this is a common phenomenon at your hiring drives, you must shift to a new candidate assessment approach that can address pain-points and exceed the hiring manager’s and the company’s expectations. It can be made possible by understanding the coder’s programming aptitude. When you’re scaling development teams and maximizing agility, assessing a fresher’s coding aptitude test is critical. As proficient coders are not just known for their existing skills but also for their ability to learn and perform better in the future.


Why organizations should use Coding Aptitude assessments?

Programming aptitude assessment is necessary because assessing coders is an extremely complex process involving numerous factors. It transcends their past engagements while considering the future potential. Hence, a recruiter may find it challenging to assess candidates based on sizable parameters, merely screening obviously deserving ones. Thus, a coding skill test online offers them significant insights into the candidate’s capabilities.

Organizations are inclined towards online programming skills test to improve their recruitment and development processes and avoid high job turnover rates. They substantially reduce errors in predicting employee performance with their structured approach as organizations can identify exemplary candidates and remain informed about the valuable contributions each one brings to their business.


Programming Aptitude Test to Measure Coding Aptitude

When scouting for a small group of quality candidates from a mass pool, a programming aptitude test measures a series of core skills, such as job seekers’ technical knowledge and comprehension.

They include:




Programming Aptitude Assessment also measures a fresher’s focus and effort level, psychological adeptness in handling large projects, programming language design, team formation, the programming environment, potential success and much more.


A Programming Aptitude Test Solution

The term “programming aptitude test” refers to the well-planned process of gathering, analyzing, and demonstrating evidence to identify how well a programmer’s skills and expertise match job expectations and use the obtained information to determine participants’ suitability for selection. These scientifically validated tests have found their applications in the programming profession for decades.

A Programming aptitude test gives you an understanding of a programmer’s capability to learn and comprehend and provides insights into the extent of knowledge they can apply and analyze.

It provides a combination of customizable MCQ’s and simulators focusing on:

  • Decoding a candidate’s coding aptitude and the ability to build an efficient code
  • A candidate’s understanding of core technical concepts on a diverse set of technologies
  • A candidate’s coding proficiency in general programming languages

Here Are Six Simple Steps to Building a Coding Aptitude Test:

  • Create an MCQ test to find core technical concepts. Questions should be based on essential knowledge, concepts, applications, and analyses of a diverse set of technologies.
  • Filter out candidates that meet your essential coding criteria.
  • Analyze the shortlisted coders’ problem-solving skills by asking them to perform real-world tasks or solving test cases using coding simulators. This tests candidates’ coding proficiency in general programming languages.
  • Further, filter the candidates for the interviews based on detailed automated reports that thoroughly evaluate their coding aptitude.
  • Validate the resume and find hidden skills via online interviews. A live coding analysis on the interview platform enables recruiters to get the real picture of the candidates’ abilities and accomplishments.
  • Make an evidence-based decision and improve your hiring quality.


How do MCQ’ s and Simulators Help in Programming Aptitude Test?


MCQs and Simulators, together, filter and screen fresh campus talent at scale to help understand the core competency of a candidate and help hire the best potential talent to take on a variety of coding tasks in the future.

  • Multiple Choice Questions (MCQ’s) are one of the most useful question types to gauge the candidate’s learning. They are not merely simple go-to questions. They extensively cover the topic or skill. Hence when framed, the focus is on higher and future levels of thinking. This process offers a quick and precise evaluation over a tremendous scope of the content.
  • The best way to analyze coders’ skills is by making them code and evaluate several parameters: code quality, efficiency, correctness, and scalability of the code. Coding simulators are undertaken on a platform to get a real sense of candidates’ ability and approach toward real projects with real-world challenges. Candidates create code from scratch; they are auto-graded in no time, which provides direct insight into their coding aptitude and on-the-job potential.


The Best Solution for Coding Aptitude Test:


A computer programming aptitude test is a systematic means of assessing a candidate’s skillsets to help employers determine if an individual has the potential required to be a competent programmer. This scientifically-validated test is designed to measure a candidate’s aptitude for working in this domain. The testing tool helps tech recruiters to spot deserving candidates from a pool of resumes.

Companies have long searched for a computer programming aptitude test that helps assess and hire the best freshers. Therefore, Mercer | Mettl’s suite of MCQ’s and simulators simplify and scale your technical hiring process by identifying potential candidates, evaluating them on various skills sets, and gaining a comprehensive summary of their knowledge.


A Repository of Technical Questions

The quality and coverage of our technical questions are unmatched as we cover a vast array of roles and skills. A rich repository of 100,000+ technical questions for 300+ skills help test a coder's competency at every level comprehensively. You can choose from a set of readily-available standardized tests from our expansive library of computer programming skills test online. If you seek something specific, our experts are adept at building a unique customized assessment. These tailor-made pre-hiring programming skills tests are an ideal filtration process for exploring candidates' desired skill sets without bias. Tailored solutions and instantaneously matching organizational objectives assist you in hiring a perfect developer.

An Extensive List of Simulators

Mercer | Mettl’s Codylises is a perfect simulator for assessing freshers to evaluate a coder's hands-on coding skills for the desired role. This simulator offers recruiters the liberty to test real coding skills in over 20 programming languages. Their coding aptitude test for software developers offers real-world challenges that provide a true sense of a student or fresher's project building abilities. The simulator is supremely user-friendly with an easy-to-use interface. It ensures a systematic approach, with easy-to-follow questions and adequate description, making assessments and experience an immersive experience.


Mercer | Mettl Also Offers a Suite of Simulator Environment for Programming Skills Test:


It evaluates candidates’ experience and ability to solve a problem in any desired programming language. 

It evaluates the candidates’ ability to write correct and optimized SQL queries.

It evaluates candidates’ capability to implement web designs and solve problems using front-end technologies.

It evaluates candidates’ analytical and statistical understanding of data analytics roles.

It evaluates candidates’ ability to develop console-based applications.

It evaluates candidates’ ability to develop front-end, back-end and database applications using JavaScript.

These simulators are highly-scalable, auto-graded, and designed especially for coding aptitude test. Mercer | Mettl’s simulators support all popular technologies and enable creating language-agnostic questions. A fully auto-graded evaluation report provides a detailed code journey with a plagiarism detector.

We have an unprecedented range of programming languages and frameworks available for all significant coding job roles. Our diverse coverage of all existing and new-age languages, frameworks, technology, topics and skills requirements is also unmatched. We help companies optimize their tech recruitment process by providing accurate programming aptitude assessments for micro-skills and concepts within coding and development. Our offerings provide an accurate picture of a candidate’s all-around fit for a required position.

Mercer | Mettl’s MCQ’s and simulators come pre-integrated with Mercer | Mettl’s online assessment platform. The dynamic platform has a user-friendly and easy-to-use interface for the candidates and the assessors. It allows recruiters to schedule tests, screen candidates, and roll-out online interviews seamlessly. With provisions such as smooth integration, location-agnosticism, customization, hands-on skill support, swift auto-evaluation, a suite of anti-cheating solutions, result validation, and proficient tracking of the tech hiring funnel, the online coding platform enables quality hiring at scale. Companies are seeking agility during their hiring process, and an auto-graded environment with minimal human intervention. Our platform can effectively automate the tech screening process for you to meet your desired needs.


List of Coding Aptitude Assessments by Mercer | Mettl

Identify the right candidate for any kind of programming role with Mercer | Mettl’s coding assessment tests offering real-world project capabilities. From front-end, back-end, full stack, to QA, devOps, data science and many other roles.

Front-end Coding Aptitude Tests



There is no need to persist with traditional, non-functional methods. Tech recruitment is evolving, and so is the process of screening and interviewing candidates at scale. When organizations invest significant effort to hire the right candidate, they also have to apply adequate filters that rest their imprecise shortlisting and inefficient assessment. There needs to be a more focused approach to ensure every hired professional brings certain value to the company rather than merely filling up a vacancy. Companies need to realize that hiring has some specific goals that must be accomplished. And by hiring generalized engineers, they are jeopardizing the present and the future goals.

Even at the entry-level, proficient coders should have a solid foundation of technical skills, even in one programming language. They should also have the potential to adapt either by upskilling or reskilling as new demands emerge. However, to accomplish this, companies have to look beyond the merits and instead of the actual ability to code. One can only determine such characteristics by undertaking a programming aptitude test of various candidates. It is a fundamental futuristic evaluation criterion.


How Mercer | Mettl Offers the Best Coding Aptitude Test

Plagiarism Checker

With a significant number of candidates taking the assessment, there is a high probability of at least two similar codes arising. Our coding simulator identifies candidates' submissions and detects if they are similar, partially, for better decisions. We use MOSS (Measure of Software Similarity) and a string comparison algorithm to check plagiarism. Usually, we prefer MOSS for more extended codes (with relatively more number of lines). Our checker is also competent at detecting copied codes from the internet.

Remote Proctoring

Whether enabling human proctoring or deterring students' attempts at cheating by employing high-tech and innovative means, a comprehensive suite of anti-cheating solutions and a robust invigilation mechanism continually supervises students.

Auto-Suggest Logic (Intellisense)

Our online coding simulators feature ‘Intellisense.’ It is an auto-complete feature that automatically recommends language-specific, context-driven suggestions at specific syntax points. It can be activated if required.

Code Playback

Have you ever thought of watching a movie to evaluate a candidate's code? We share the full video of code, recorded at each keystroke, to help you analyze the candidates’ thought process behind their execution. It is integrated closely with code editors, such as Emacs, Vims and Sublime. Code Playback shows you the video of the code’s evolution at each compilation. It is another way to evaluate on-the-spot proficiency and the capability to code in the desired language.

Custom Scoring and Report

Apart from knowing how to code, measuring other parameters, such as the code’s perfection, correctness, difficulty level, time and space complexities, and other such vital measures, is possible with custom-scoring. Companies can easily award points to each of the hidden and default test cases, which are successfully passed on several parameters. The candidate is then given a score based on the parameters, considered the benchmark for getting to the next level. Generating a customized report, extracting every minute detail of the coder that helps scrutinize and understand them better, is also possible.

Originally published August 5 2020, Updated September 23 2021

Written by

Shirisha has been helping countless brands gain traction with her content. Her deep understanding of the education sector and sound knowledge of technical skills have helped her structure the most creative solutions for key stakeholders. Shirisha has also ghosted pieces for several industry honcho’s successfully published both online and offline. When she's not keeping up with the world, you're sure to find her catching up on bollywood stories or gramming for fun.

About This Topic

Online coding tests are used in the technical recruitment process to screen programmers and coders. Online programming tests usually consist of MCQs and simulators to test their knowledge and hands-on skills.

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