Sample Questions to Help You Prepare for an Aptitude Test

If you are applying for a job then there's a chance you are going to be asked to take an aptitude test. Our guide full of sample questions is here to help.

person working on an aptitude test

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Aptitude tests are a common part of applying for jobs, and they’re regularly used to test applicants for educational settings, too. They allow organizations to determine if candidates are the right fit for the role or the course, if they align with organizational values, and the business’ culture. Like them or not, aptitude tests are a fact of life and have many benefits. There are lots of aptitude tests, and recruiters will utilize different kinds of psychometric tests depending on what information they want to deep dive into.

Aptitude tests can be challenging, as they are often time-controlled and, in some cases, points are actively deducted for wrong answers, meaning educated guesses might need to be avoided. Learning about the various types of aptitude tests will ensure you are in the strongest position to excel when taking them. This article covers 17 of the most popular aptitude tests, what they cover and a sample question for each one.

1. Abstract reasoning

Abstract reasoning tests are used when an organization wants to determine your ability to think clearly and process information. These tests use shapes and patterns to assess your problem-solving skills and often involve completing sequences.

Abstract reasoning exampleCareerHunter

The correct answer is the middle option.

This is because, in the sequence, the pattern turns 45 degrees anti-clockwise and adds a semi-circular line to the pattern, and then turns 45 degrees clockwise and adds a semi-circular line to the pattern in the next entry. This means that the missing pattern in the example needs to turn 45 degrees anti-clockwise and it should have an extra semi-circular line added onto the pattern, meaning that the third option is the next in the sequence.

2. Verbal reasoning

Verbal reasoning tests assess how well you can analyze written information, testing your ability to read and reach conclusions. These tests typically present you with passages of text or patterns of words, asking you to come up with answers, or to find the next steps in word patterns.

Verbal reasoning exampleCareerHunter

The correct answer is: ‘The degree of avoidance of social media functions’.

The first passage states that you shouldn’t hesitate using all the functions that social networking sites offer, while the second passage advises to be selective in what functions you use.

3. Numerical reasoning

Popular for roles which require internet data or using numerical information, numerical reasoning tests assess how well you understand this type of information. Questions typically present candidates with sets of data and ask them questions based on their interpretation of this information.

Numerical reasoning exampleCareerHunter

The correct answer is 232.

First, you need to work out how many employees took the test. The pie chart shows that 2.68 (in hundreds) took the test. That means that 2.68 converts to 268 people. The question states that the company has 500 employees, so you need to deduct 268 from 500 to find the number of people who didn’t participate in the survey: 500 – 268 = 232.

4. Spatial reasoning

Common for assessing candidates applying for technical or engineering roles, spatial reasoning tests require candidates to assess movement or patterns associated with 2D or 3D objects. This skill is often referred to as ‘spatial awareness’.

In this question, you have to align each of the three shapes to their corresponding edges (x along x, y along y, and z along z). Then, you are asked which of the shapes in the box the newly aligned shape corresponds to.

Spatial reasoning testJob Test Success

The correct answer is C.

In this example, when you align the three shapes along the matching axes, it will match shape C.

5. Diagrammatic reasoning

Diagrammatic reasoning tests are similar to abstract reasoning but focus more on sequences and application of logic. These questions often present the candidate with a flow diagram or ‘star to end’ sequence, asking them to fill in the gaps based on what they know.

Diagrammatic reasoning exampleAssessment Training

The correct answer is C.

In this situation, you study the symbols and their effects, linking these with the output on the diagram. Not only have the images been rotated 90 degrees counterclockwise (this effect has been added), the triangle and the arrow have swapped. We see that adding an orange triangle swaps the second and third figure around. Therefore, C is the correct answer.

6. Logical reasoning

Logical reasoning tests are often visual-based and rely on candidates using rules. They measure their ability to draw conclusions, rather than draw on their prior knowledge. As the name suggests, the test is designed to evaluate analytical thinking and logical capabilities.

In this question, we must find the image that comes next in the sequence.

Logical reasoning exampleGraduate Wings

The correct answer is A.

Rationalize how the shapes in the heptagon are moving. The black diamond is moving two points anti-clockwise, as is the white triangle. The white circle is moving four points anti-clockwise. Now that we know the logical next steps, the answer becomes easier to work out.

7. Inductive reasoning

Inductive reasoning tests are similar to abstract and logical reasoning tests. These are used to test how well you draw conclusions. For example, “If this happened in the past, then this is likely to happen in the future”. Questions are visual and often feature pattern sequences.

In this question, we must find the image that comes next in the sequence.

Inductive reasoning exampleGraduate Wings

The correct answer is C.

Here, we analyze the relationships between each box. We can deduce that as the sequence progresses, each shape in the box moves one place anti-clockwise and alternates between black and white. To use the circle as an example, in the missing box it must therefore be in the top right corner, and colored white.

8. Analytical reasoning

A popular test for graduate schemes, analytical reasoning draws upon a wide variety of abilities, involving critical thinking, logic, and finding relationships. Questions are visual in nature and can cover a wide variety of formats. Time controls are often very tight with analytical reasoning tests.

In this question, we must find the missing shape.

Analytical reasoning examplePractice4me

The answer is B.

Analyze the shapes, in terms of what comes before and what comes next. In this example, the shape is staying the same but is decreasing in size. Therefore, the square is the right answer.

9. Mechanical reasoning

Mechanical reasoning tests are used for technical or engineering roles, but unlike spatial reasoning tests, they specifically draw upon mechanical principles, such as laws of motion or physics. Questions often involve gears, pulleys, levers, and so on.

Mechanical reasoning exampleAssessment Centre

The correct answer is A, B, D, F.

Mechanical reasoning tests require you to follow the direction of the wire and work out how it’s moving each wheel. Work out the direction of each wheel in turn.

10. Situational judgement

Situational judgement tests, sometimes called ‘personality’ or ‘behavioral’ tests, focus on how you might behave in a certain work-related situation by giving you a scenario and a few different options to choose from, or allow you to rank in order of how likely you are to pursue a certain action. Often, these questions are presented as having ‘no right or wrong answer’ but organizations use these tests to understand how you’ll fit when it comes to how they operate.

Situational judgement example

The correct answer depends on the role, the organization, and its culture.

Often in situational judgement tests, there are no right or wrong answers, but some will be ‘more correct’ than others. It often helps to read up on the working culture of the organization and the role before you take a situational judgement test. In this question, D ticks many of the boxes, but the other three are perfectly acceptable responses as well. In target-driven organizations, C might be a good option, whereas in customer-focused organizations, A or B work well too.

11. Basic numeracy

As the name suggests, basic numeracy tests present you with basic numeracy-related questions to gauge your competence in basic mathematical principles. These tests are often quick-fire to see how swiftly you can come up with the answers, and how many you can get through within a certain time limit.

Basic numeracy aptitude exampleJob Test Prep

The correct answer is 15.

In this question, it is likely that you jump at the answer right away. The reason for this is that there are several ways you might arrive at the answer. Glancing at the clock might instinctively give you 15, as it represents a quarter of an hour. You might also take ’60 minutes’, see that a quarter of the clock is shaded, so work out 60/4 or 60 x 0.25. Finally, you could count the shaded minute markers on the clock, which totals 15.

12. Cognitive ability

These tests assess your ability to think through various principles, such as perception, reading, verbal, mathematical ability, or logic. They often combine features of other aptitude tests, or be a combination of all of them, flicking from text-based questions to diagrammatical ones.

Cognitive ability aptitude exampleJob Test Prep

The correct answer is C.

In this example of a verbal cognitive question, you are looking for a pair of words with a relationship the same as ‘Replete’ and ‘Famished’. Seeing as ‘Replete’ means ‘full’ and ‘Famished’ means ‘very hungry’, the words are opposites, and contradict each other. The only other two words which do the same are ‘Blatant’ (obvious) and ‘Masked’ (hidden or disguised).

13. Basic comprehension

Basic comprehension assesses how well you can read information, process it, and draw conclusions or answer questions based on what you have read. They usually involve reading a passage of text and answering questions based on what the text says (or doesn’t say).

Basic comprehension aptitude exampleVictoria State Government

The correct answer is B.

Reading the paragraphs will demonstrate that the Tyrannosaurus Rex was mis-named ‘The Ferrari of Dinosaurs’ as it was slow. This infers that this nickname was chosen because it was fast. The paragraphs also talk at length about speed and agility more than anything else.

14. Financial reasoning

Financial reasoning tests are very similar to numerical reasoning, but with questions more focused on financial numbers, such as currency, stock measurements and other accounting principles. As you might expect, these tests are favored by financial services companies or consultants.

Financial reasoning exampleAssessment Day

The correct answer is E.

Here, the share price of Drebs is 40% higher (a 40% increase) from one month ago, or 1.40x (140%) of what it was a month ago. Therefore, take Drebs Ltd’s current share price (18) and divide it by 1.4.

18 / 1.4 = €12.86.

15. Deductive reasoning

Deductive reasoning assesses your ability to draw conclusions based on the facts available. These tests are often used by organizations that value investigative prowess, critical thinking, and logic. Questions present a series of facts — often competing with each other — thus testing your ability to arrive at a singular, correct conclusion.

Deductive reasoning exampleWikiJob

The correct answer is B.

By process of elimination, we can work out that Luke is the strongest person. He is stronger than John, and because John is stronger than Mike, and there are only three people, he is the strongest of all. Therefore, we can deduce that Mike is not stronger than Luke, for the above reasons.

16. Clerical aptitude

Clerical tests are used to assess clerical or administrative ability. These are used to assess administrators, secretaries, or executive assistants. In addition to the example question below, these tests might include timed assessments to do with filing information or typing ability.

Clerical aptitude exampleLAcounty

The correct answer is C.

Here, administrative professionals would be looking for the sorting of names by surname, as is the norm. The underlined name’s surname is third alphabetically (Rolen, Romero, Ross and Ruben).

17. Non-verbal reasoning

Non-verbal reasoning tests draw upon solving problems or patterns using visual reasoning. They focus on deducting sequences and relationships in sets of images. These are popular tests and can be given to children or adults, often as quick-fire questions designed to measure analytical skills.

Non-verbal reasoning exampleAEtuition

The correct answer is A.

With the shape with squiggly lines appearing alternately with the shape with straight ones, we are looking for a shape with straight lines next. The shapes with straight lines have these lines rotating 45 degrees clockwise each time they appear in the sequence. Therefore, the next shape will be A.

Final thoughts

Aptitude tests can be daunting, especially when combined with a job application or something similar. They are there to help gauge your fit to a role or qualification, but this doesn’t mean that failing an aptitude test is always an indication that you are not right for the role. Tests are tests, and it’s challenging to prepare for what we don’t know. Aptitude tests rarely directly correlate to actual job responsibilities, either, although some career assessment and personality tests do.

Getting to know the different types of aptitude tests will ensure you are best placed to predict what might be asked of you in a job application. Knowing about what they cover might also help you think about which career is right for you and will help you prepare when searching for a job. Learning about them will enable you to prepare or revise test questions, to give you the best chance of success possible. Good luck!

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This is an updated version of an article originally published on 20 June 2017.