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Talent Assessment | 10 Min Read

What are the Different Types of Aptitude Tests?


A recruitment process cannot be earnestly undertaken until recruiters have reliable insights into the candidates’ abilities and skills. Often, recruiters’ most significant struggle is to validate their decision on the candidates’ final selection. The hiring process demands time and effort, and organizations put a premium on them by choosing the best possible hiring methods. However, this process entails several challenges.

A survey suggests that the ongoing COVID-19 crisis has impacted 38% of hiring professionals’ acquisition plans. Conversely, after completing the hiring process, most organizations struggle to create a quality team despite having a predefined talent journey. The skills gap indicates a loophole in the hiring process.


Mercer | Mettl’s guide helps you understand the different types of aptitude tests


Different types of aptitude tests can help considerably in mitigating the scenario. And organizations are extensively using pre-employment aptitude tests to overcome the issues above-mentioned and find high-potential candidates. Traditionally, employers analyze the candidates’ resumes to evaluate their standing by scanning their educational backgrounds, work experiences, etc. However, several aspects don’t get reflected adequately in a candidate’s resume. For instance, resumes don’t inform whether the candidate is good at decision-making. It is possible to overcome such limitations by using different types of aptitude tests.


Chapter 1: Aptitude and Aptitude Tests

Before delving into the types of aptitude tests, it is essential to understand what aptitude is and how aptitude tests help measure it.


What is Aptitude?


Aptitude refers to an individual’s inherent competence to undertake specific tasks. It is his/her natural ability to learn and reason and includes components such as:


Competencies you can measure using aptitude tests


Recruiters need to understand that distinct job roles require specific kinds of aptitude. For instance, a statistician must have a knack for numbers, and a computer programmer should have a talent for logic.


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 types of testing formats, depending on the required skills for the job role. These tests are designed with questions to gauge how candidates react to a specific situation besides their ability to perform tasks or solve problems.

Additionally, various kinds of aptitude test:

  • 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.
  • Are cost-effective and expedite the recruitment process as recruiters employ them to screen job aspirants in the initial pre-employment stages. Sifting through many applications is a time-consuming and complicated process. Therefore, these tests enable zeroing in on suitable candidates in a vast talent pool. Different types of aptitude tests help maintain objectivity, accuracy and speed throughout the hiring process.

Aptitude Tests and the Types of Human Intelligence

Human Intelligence

Human intelligence is an intriguing and vast subject, which psychologists broadly divide into two major types: fluid and crystallized.

Raymond Cattell developed the theory of intelligence in 1963. It suggests that human intelligence is a composition of different abilities that coexist in an individual.

While fluid intelligence is about possessing the ability to reason and think flexibly, crystallized intelligence is about using an individual’s accumulated knowledge. It includes acquired skills, information and facts throughout learned throughout one’s lifetime.

Measuring Fluid Intelligence

Solving problems and possessing a sound abstract reasoning ability are examples of fluid intelligence. It is the ability to analyze a given situation and devise a solution. While using fluid intelligence, we don’t rely on acquired knowledge. It is about the human wit that works in spontaneity.Fluid intelligence involves using logic to solve new problems. Hence, pattern recognition and abstract reasoning are the core of fluid reasoning tests. Moreover, non-verbal problems such as those related to mathematics and puzzles also come under fluid intelligence.

A few examples of tests that measure fluid intelligence:

  • Puzzles
  • Abstract Reasoning Analyses
  • Spatial Reasoning Assessment
  • Visual Reasoning Test
  • Logical Reasoning Tests
  • Problem-Solving Skills Analysis

Measuring Crystallized Intelligence

Knowledge acquired through experiences and education forms the base of crystallized intelligence – everything one has learned in school and college builds his/her crystallized intelligence.

A few examples of tests that measure crystallized intelligence:

  • Reading Comprehension Analyses
  • Verbal Ability Tests
  • Language Proficiency Assessments
  • Numerical Reasoning Test
  • Data Interpretation Assessment
  • Decision-Making and Judgment Test

The following chapter offers detailed information about all the above types of aptitude tests.


Chapter 2: What Are the Different Types of Aptitude Tests?

As a recruiter, you need data to understand a candidate. And data in the form of test scores is ideal as it provides comprehensive insights into the job applicants. These insights indicate their logical abilities, decision-making skills, grasp of the language, depth of comprehension and the ability to deal with problems. Let’s take a closer look at the different types of aptitude tests that evaluate specific abilities.


Abstract Reasoning Test


Tests that measure abstract reasoning assess a candidate’s ability to think laterally and from a unique perspective. Abstract reasoning tests also assess 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

  • While working on a project or handling a team, one needs to identify patterns and logic regularly. People with sound abstract reasoning solve problems quicker and with less effort.
  • Solid abstract reasoning skills help use the available data and integrating its insights to help make decisions.
  • It helps extract meaningful ideas and information from the bulk of available data.

Tools to measure the competency- Raven’s Progressive Matrices.


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 things and ideas with a visual perspective.
  • Spatial reasoning helps find creative solutions to problems.

Tools to measure the competency are mirror and water image questions.


Verbal Ability Test


This type of aptitude test evaluates how well an individual can use words. Excellent command of language is one of the critical aspects for ensuring good communication. Recruiters can ensure the candidates’ job readiness and measure their working skills using language and comprehension evaluation.

On-the-Job Application of Verbal Ability

  • It helps maintain excellent communication with colleagues, clients and management.
  • People with good verbal ability are less likely to commit grammatical mistakes in their daily written and oral communications activities.
  • It takes less time to read and understand any given information. Finding meaningful information from the bulk of a text is easier for individuals with good verbal ability.
  • Interacting with people and managing relationships with co-workers becomes easier.
  • It helps in understanding the clients’ specific needs.

Tools to measure competency are sentence correction, sentence completion, reading comprehension, essay writing and email writing.


Logical and Critical Reasoning Test


These tests help evaluate the candidates on their logic inference irrespective of the job roles. It’s about drawing 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, as it involves 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 analysis of a problem based on facts and information to find a solution.

Tools to measure the competency are Watson Glaser Critical Thinking Appraisal, Critical Reasoning.


Visual Reasoning Test


Individuals’ visual reasoning abilities are directly related to their intelligence. It is about creating 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 create a substantial impact on the product designing process.
  • It also helps find better design-related solutions.

Tools to measure the competency are Letters and Symbol Series.


Problem-Solving Abilities Test


This particular test assesses how an individual effectively processes every aspect of a situation and finds a viable solution. It helps evaluate his/her ability to use the available data and information to deal with a problem. Problem-solving involves four basic steps: defining the problem statement, generating alternatives, evaluating alternatives and implementing solutions.

On-the-Job Application of Problem-Solving Abilities

  • Finding effective ways to solve problems related to business projects.
  • It also helps maintain good interpersonal relationships and purposeful business communication.
  • People with excellent problem-solving skills can easily break down complex scenarios into simpler information and devise a prospective solution.

Tools to measure the competency are Arrangements (Ranking, Circular, Linear), Analogies (Verbal, Semantic, Number and Letters).


Decision-Making and Judgment Test


Decision-making is a person’s ability to visualize various aspects of a problem and decide on a solution using skills and acquired knowledge. An individual thinking logically about a situation is expected to be good at decision-making. Decision-making tests have situational questions that seek sound judgment from the candidate. A candidate with good decision-making skills can analyze various alternatives to a problem. Analytical thinking with a lateral approach toward an issue is evaluated in decision-making tests.

On-the-Job Application of Decision-Making Skills

  • It helps make the most out of the available resources and information.
  • Decision-making helps address the 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.

Tools to measure the competency are Statement Conclusion and Statement-Course of Action.


Chapter 3: The Role of Different Kinds of Aptitude Tests in Recruitment: How to Choose an Aptitude Test

Aptitude tests evaluate and validate the candidates’ specific abilities. If we analyze the aptitude tests mentioned above, all of them assess different mental abilities. These tests are effective mediums to help recruiters make data-driven and reliable decisions during hiring. Some of the most apparent uses of aptitude tests for recruiters are mentioned below:

  • They provide immediate insights into candidates’ abilities while enabling the recruiters to look beyond their resumes and work experiences.
  • They are directly related to the quality of hire.
  • They are a handy tool to screen a variety of candidates for bulk-hiring.
  • They help maintain a focused approach to zeroing in on suitable candidates for particular job roles.
  • They support equal opportunities for all and help maintain a fair recruitment process.
  • They can help identify the need for training in a particular domain.
  • They can expedite the recruitment process as the results are automatically generated via computers.
  • They are cost-effective and easy to administer.
  • The insights from the aptitude tests offer a well-rounded understanding of a candidate’s skills.
  • They also help understand the strengths and weaknesses of existing or prospective employees. With a better understanding of the employees, it is easier to place them in the right job roles.


How to Choose an Aptitude Test?


Recruiters must know the types of aptitude tests that best suit their assessment needs. Every job comes with particular tasks, and completing them requires specific competencies. Hence, the type of test you choose should ideally be a custom battery that assesses all the relevant aptitudes. This section will help you understand the factors mentioned above through an elaborate framework.

Mercer | Mettl’s Job Categorization Framework

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

  • Information Processing: This is defined as 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.
  • Decision-Making: It refers to solving problems using rationale and logical thinking. It also involves the ability to think of ‘out-of-the-box’ solutions.

Depending on the difficulty level and the quantum of desirability, a particular competency defines an individual’s overall performance. For example, a business analyst’s job role regularly involves information processing and decision-making. In the absence of these two factors, it’s challenging for a person to take up a job irrespective of its difficulty level.

Mercer | Mettl’s job categorization framework offers recommendations about the types of aptitude tests that help assess candidates for specific job roles.



Mercer | Mettl offers different types of aptitude tests that cover all the essential competencies in the spectrum of jobs:

  • Abstract Reasoning Tests
  • Spatial Reasoning Tests
  • Visual Reasoning Tests
  • Verbal Ability Tests
  • Logical and Critical Reasoning Tests
  • Problem-Solving Tests
  • Decision-Making and Judgment Test

Verbal Ability:

It is apt for managerial roles, corporate communication and PR-related jobs. It is one of the tests that can be used for all kinds of recruitment because verbal ability ensures that individuals can convey and communicate their thoughts easily and effectively.

Visual Reasoning:

It is related to strategic thinking and visualization. Therefore, it is highly effective in recruiting graphic designers, computer programmers, advertising professionals, system designers and system analysts.

Logical Ability:

It is related to quick decision-making and concluding using facts and available information. It can be used to recruit HR professionals, people managers, computer programmers, etc.


It helps recruit for roles such as management professionals, HR professionals, senior-level executives, project managers, business analysts, etc. It is an effective way to evaluate candidates for the jobs that have decision-making as a part of the daily work.

Abstract Reasoning:

It involves identifying patterns and analyzing complex problems. It is suited for assessing mechanical engineers, design engineers, product designers, architects, system designers and others.

Spatial Reasoning:

It is about visualizing two-dimensional and three-dimensional shapes and objects. Such tests are apt for recruiting designers, engineers and architects dealing with shapes, patterns and objects.

At Mercer | Mettl, we design competency-specific assessment solutions driven by statistical data insights. Various tests are available to evaluate the candidates’ aptitude, but not every test provides reliable results. Only a well-crafted aptitude test that includes all the essential human intelligence elements can deliver the intended outcome.

We understand the importance of identifying the key competencies to evaluate fluid and crystallized intelligence – why we have meticulously designed aptitude tests that ensure a thorough evaluation with insightful results. Mercer | Mettl’s aptitude tests also measure core cognitive skills, such as attention, memory and speed.



The major types of aptitude tests are a proven way to measure a person’s abilities and his/her potential to improve those abilities with appropriate training. Since people differ in their abilities and are fit for different tasks, an aptitude test is a method to understand and gauge such abilities. It helps the recruiters gain predictive insights into the candidates for various job roles. This article elaborates the purpose of different types of aptitude tests and highlights how recruiters can use them for recruitment, L&D initiatives, leadership planning, etc.



What is an example of an aptitude test?

What are the main parts of an aptitude test?

Which aptitude test is best?

How do you test aptitude?

Originally published August 18 2020, Updated October 4 2021

D'ipanjenah Ali

Written by

D’ipanjenah is a writer and marketing professional associated with Mercer Mettl since 2020. Her working style thrives on a balanced approach towards standard insights and novel trends. She utilizes creative content and digital strategies to help brands start important conversations. When not reading/writing, she enjoys art and parents a calico.

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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