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What are the different types of aptitude tests?

Talent Assessment | 6 Min Read

What are the different types of aptitude tests?


Hiring is a time-consuming process. However, often, in a race to fill the position, organizations end up with mis-hires.

According to research by CareerBuilder, the average cost of one bad hire is nearly US$15,000.

One reason behind mis-hires is reliance on traditional hiring practices. The conventional methods use a candidate’s CV as a yardstick for their suitability for the open position. Furthermore, they rely on their intuition and information gleaned from an interview to validate the final selection.

The most efficient way to mitigate this challenge is to use different types of aptitude tests.


Chapter 1: What are aptitude tests?

An aptitude test is a widely accepted medium for employers to evaluate a candidate’s intelligence and ability. It can have different formats, depending on the skill being assessed. These tests are designed to gauge how candidates react to a specific situation besides their ability to perform tasks or solve problems.

Additionally, various kinds of aptitude tests:

    a. Help assess candidates objectively by focusing on the core competencies. Organizations define competencies as a group of skills. Thus, aptitude tests can be used to evaluate candidates according to the different competency frameworks defined by organizations.

    b. Act as a cost-effective screening tool. The tests expedite recruitment and enable talent acquisition managers to zero in on suitable candidates. Different types of aptitude tests help maintain objectivity, accuracy, and speed throughout the hiring process.


Chapter 2: What are the different types of aptitude tests?


Aptitude tests provide critical information about a candidate’s skills. These insights indicate the applicant’s logical abilities, decision-making skills, grasp of the language, depth of comprehension and the ability to deal with problems.

Here is a closer look at the different types of aptitude tests that evaluate specific abilities:


1. Abstract Reasoning Test


Abstract reasoning test assesses a candidate’s ability to think laterally and from a unique perspective. It also considers an individual’s ability to make logical connections between the available sets of information. A high level of abstract reasoning is related to creativity and helps solve novel problems. Therefore, learning new skills is easy for people with strong abstract reasoning abilities as they can process ambiguous information effectively.

On-the-job application of abstract reasoning:

  • Employees with sound abstract reasoning solve problems quickly and with less effort.
  • Solid abstract reasoning skills help use the available data and integrate its insights to make better decisions.
  • It helps extract meaningful ideas and information from the bulk of available data.


2. Spatial Reasoning Test


Spatial reasoning defines a candidate’s ability to understand and visualize two-dimensional and three-dimensional patterns and shapes. Spatial reasoning tests help identify people who can easily understand an object’s spatial distribution and movement.

On-the-job application of spatial reasoning:

  • It helps innovate and implement new ideas with a visual perspective.
  • Spatial reasoning helps find creative solutions to problems.


3. Verbal Ability Test


This type of aptitude test evaluates how well an individual can use a language. An excellent command of language is one of the critical aspects of ensuring good communication.

On-the-job application of verbal ability:

  • It helps maintain excellent communication with colleagues, clients and management.
  • Interacting with people and managing relationships with co-workers becomes efficient.
  • It helps in understanding the client’s specific needs.


4. Logical and Critical Reasoning Test


This test helps evaluate the candidates on their logical inference. It assesses the candidate’s ability to draw sensible conclusions based on given information and statements. Logical thinking is critical in daily life and various business scenarios. Likewise, critical thinking is a creative way to approach a problem involving validations using comprehensive judgment and assumptions.

On-the-job application of logical and critical reasoning

  • It helps gain meaningful information from unstructured data.
  • It enables sound problem analysis based on facts and information to find a solution.


5. Visual Reasoning Test


A verbal reasoning test assesses a candidate’s ability to create a mental image of an object to find a conclusion. Visual reasoning is also an effective tool for making technological designs. Hence, a visual reasoning test helps evaluate the candidates’ non-verbal abilities.

On-the-job application of visual reasoning:

  • People with strong visual reasoning skills take a strategic approach to solving problems.
  • Learning new concepts and skills becomes easier.
  • Visual perspectives substantially impact the product designing process and implementation of design-related solutions.


6. Decision-making and Judgment Test


Decision-making is an employee’s ability to assess various aspects of a problem and decide on a solution using skills and acquired knowledge. Decision-making tests have situational questions that seek sound judgment from the candidate.

On-the-job application of decision-making skills:

  • It helps make the most out of the available resources and information.
  • It helps address organizational challenges to achieve goals.
  • It’s an essential leadership quality that motivates people and drives them to do their work well.
  • It helps find innovative solutions to existing problems.
  • Good decision-making is directly related to an organization’s overall productivity.


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Chapter 3: Why use aptitude tests for hiring

One of the significant drawbacks of using a CV for screening is that it may project the candidate as ideal on paper, but often, that is not the case. Furthermore, relying on a CV makes it difficult for recruiters to arrive at a decision, especially where candidates have the same experience and educational background.

This is where pre-employment aptitude tests can help organizations find top talent by measuring the following:

Soft skills:

Soft skills are not easily assessed by traditional means such as interviews. However, as discussed above, aptitude tests can efficiently evaluate soft skills such as teamwork, leadership, communication, and the ability to perform under pressure.

Natural abilities:

Aptitude tests help assess a candidate's inherent strengths, like logical reasoning, problem-solving skills and attention to detail. These intrinsic qualities are hard to measure with other conventional hiring techniques.

Candidate potential:

Aptitude tests give organizations valuable insights into applicants' full potential. This helps the organization predict a candidate's future work-based performance.

Personality traits:

Skills and ability to perform assigned tasks are not the only traits that make a candidate successful. They also need to have high work values, ethics, and personal motivation. All of these can be easily measured with aptitude tests.


How Mercer | Mettl can help

Organizations can easily assess targeted work competencies using different types of aptitude tests, depending on the job’s nature. However, three core competencies that work everywhere, irrespective of the industry, are:

Information processing:

This is the ability to use available information using numerical and analytical reasoning.

Solution generation:

It refers to finding creative solutions to existing problems using abstract reasoning.


It refers to solving problems using rational and logical thinking. It also involves the ability to think of 'out-of-the-box' solutions.

To help organizations measure the abovementioned competencies, Mercer | Mettl offers reliable and scientifically validated tests designed by leading industry experts. Some of the tests provided by Mercer | Mettl are:



Why use Mercer | Mettl

Mercer | Mettl’s has an existing question bank of more than one million questions covering 3000+ skills. Alternatively, organizations can create their questions as well.

Furthermore, the Mercer | Mettl proctoring tool ensures that the integrity of the assessments is maintained. Organizations can opt for ID-based authentication along with AI-based and human proctors for anti-cheating controls.

Once aptitude tests are administered, the reports generated are specific to each candidate. The reports are benchmarked to organizational standards and provide a clear picture of how well the candidate will perform if hired.



The significant types of aptitude tests are a proven way to measure a person’s abilities and potential to improve those abilities with appropriate training. Since people differ in their skills and are fit for different tasks, an aptitude test is an efficient method to understand and gauge such abilities. It helps the recruiters gain predictive insights into the candidates for various job roles.



What is an example of an aptitude test?

What are the important sections of an aptitude test?

Which aptitude test is the best?

Originally published August 18 2020, Updated June 5 2024

Written by

Vaishali has been working as a content creator at Mercer | Mettl since 2022. Her deep understanding and hands-on experience in curating content for education and B2B companies help her find innovative solutions for key business content requirements. She uses her expertise, creative writing style, and industry knowledge to improve brand communications.

About This Topic

Aptitude tests, also known as cognitive tests, are assessments to measure the cognitive acumen of a person. Aptitude tests measure skills such as abstract reasoning, visual reasoning, logical reasoning, problem-solving, decision-making, numerical ability, verbal ability, etc.

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