Hello readers this piece is for you if you want to ace your next aptitude test
It’s no longer a topic of debate, we all know there is abundant unemployment in the country. According to a survey, 55.4% of youths aged 15-35 are unemployed. This has always been like a circle as old graduates seek jobs, fresh graduates come into the market to share a bit of what is not enough.
Due to the many factors (a bunch of em) in the country, Government outfits (public sector) do little in open employment programmes, either they recruit once in a blue moon or they just get few people to fill up the little vacant roles or get referrals from top individuals in office. As regards the private sector, this is where the majority of the employers of labour fall in. Companies recruit regularly and at least once a year for graduate recruitment. There are a lot of reasons why companies initiate graduate programmes, but that’s news for another day. We focus on how to pass one of the difficult stages involved in talent recruitment – Aptitude Test.
As promised this article will be focused on the mistakes job seekers make, do’s and don’ts of aptitude test and what to consider to ace your next test. Some of these mistakes are from the get-go, from the moment of application or at the last stage (if you get there). This brief introduction is essential so as to put you in the mood.
Before we begin, however, I must say that if you are looking forward to getting cheats, past questions or other related stuff from this article, don’t bother wasting your time reading this. This article is not for you.
DISCLAIMER: YOUR INTELLIGENCE AND BRAIN POWER WILL PLAY A HUGE PART IN ENSURING YOU PASS ANY TEST. THIS ARTICLE IS TO GUIDE THAT INTELLIGENCE
I – KNOW WHAT YOU ARE GETTING INTO
Ideally, after graduation from the university ( and NYSC obviously -_-), every graduate hopes for a Job immediately, but in reality, no country is perfect. I get that some countries have less than 1% unemployment rate, but hey… (there is really no but).
At the point of any job application, you need to know at first whether you qualify for the job – now, job requirements in this country is a topic for another article. If you fit the job criteria, apply, and if you don’t, still apply (at least it can be useful for data analysis or may be considered for another role), you never can tell, you might be lucky. What you shouldn’t do is to lie about your personal information, this is a NO, NO.
So the first mistake is at this point, lying about your personal information (age, class of degree, experience, etc). No organization will employ any individual with integrity issue(s). By doing this, you just failed your first test. It is better you give correct information about yourself, and by chance, be called for another employment opportunity that matches your profile. I have done this over time where I send emails out to candidates in my database to apply for jobs that match their profile. It is not the end of the road if you don’t meet a particular requirement, it’s a start to another opportunity.
As for me, I feel candidates should be punished for this, cause it has a ripple effect. The slot you occupy in the shortlist could have been for a legit eligible candidate. (Just my thoughts anyway). Let’s get back to business.
II – TAKE THE OPPORTUNITY
This is a rookie mistake, common among candidate in the age range of 18 – 22. This sets of candidates always think they still have time, another opportunity will come, another organization, a better one will come. Let me say, it is better you start as a graduate trainee in any available good firm than trying to pick your job battles, no matter how good your grades are. In case you don’t know, first-class graduates fail aptitude tests.
Also, most companies set an age lid at 26 years old, while some 25 for their GT programmes (I have seen 24 too). If you’ve been selective, it’s a matter of little time you’d clock 24, and at this stage, desperation sets in, and being desperate can kill your test confidence. Moreover, you can work in a company and still apply to GT programmes from another company if you feel they are better suited for you. This case, you still have a bird at hand.
III – PREPARE, PREPARE VERY WELL AND PREPARE RIGHT FOR APTITUDE TESTS.
Well, this is almost it, this is the ultimate stage. This is where the wheat is separated from the chaff, boys from men and employees from candidates. This is the stage that will most likely determine your job application. This stage is so important that most companies can’t do it internally, they outsource.
So let me explain the above heading:
a. Prepare: The old and popular adage says, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail”. Preparation is never too much, yet, it should be deliberate. Deliberate in the context of the area you are preparing on. For example, you are preparing for a GT test for a company in 2020 and you are reading on current affairs (are you a learner?). I understand that some companies might want to assess this knowledge, but it’s rare. Preparation in this area should come as an added value when you have covered a lot in Numerical, Verbal, Critical/Abstract Reasoning. At this point, I think it will be nice to list and short-explain some popular test area:
For a GT programme, you might have:
• Numerical Reasoning – Test of Numbers and calculations
• Abstract/Critical Reasoning – Test of Mental Strenght
• Verbal Reasoning – Test of components of the English Language
• Function Specific Test – Test for a supposed area of expertise (E.g If you apply for the role of an architect, you would be tested with architecture questions
• Error Test – Test for Attention to Details
• Current Affairs/General Knowledge – General Knowledge of events locally and globally
• Data Interpretation – As the name implies.
For Experience hires:
• Personality Assessment – Test for personality fit with respect to the role
• Competency-Based Assessment – Test whether you have the right competencies or the right level of competencies needed for the job. *Used for graduate trainees too
• Functions Specific Assessment – As explained above
The truth is, 90% of GT test is always in the areas of Numerical, Abstract and Verbal Reasoning.
b. Prepare Very Well
Your preparation alone will not suffice to pass the test, because as far as the test performance is concerned, you are literally at war with other candidates. A candidate can score 90% in a test and still rank in the second quartile (in lay man’s term, say you’re the 50th in position in a class of 100 students), which is poor as most companies set their pass mark to the least candidate in the first quartile ( say first 25 out of 100) or even less. Your 90% is good ( yeah yeah) but there were candidates who did better, maybe because they prepared better or they were just good or lucky, but then good preparation begets luck.
c. Prepare Right
This area makes me pity a lot of candidates. Some good candidates become poor as a result of this mistake. Let quickly say this, 90% of the supposed “past questions” you download online (e.g Nairaland) is fake – they will only confuse you more. The guys that prepared it just want to make some money off your desperation and innocence. Imagine this, you put together some questions together (even from jamb past questions) and insert a company logo on it, I can bet you, some people will buy it if you tag it XXXX past questions. That is practically the same thing those guys did, and you are falling for it.
So what can you do? Good question!
• Numerical Test: Here the majority of the questions in this area have an identical image with GMAT questions. So get yourself a good and original (cos there is fake of this too -_-) GMAT practice tools to sharpen your skill in this area.
I NEED TO SAY CLEARLY THAT, I AM NOT INFERRING THAT APTITUDE TEST QUESTIONS ARE GMAT (cause some graduates thought process and understanding amaze me sometimes), I AM ONLY POINTING YOU TO THE DIRECTION WHERE YOU CAN GET HELP TO SHARPEN YOUR NUMERICAL SKILLS.
Moreover, if you know you are not that sound with numbers, start the test with Verbal or other areas.
• Verbal Test: Mistakes majority of candidates do in this area is that they undermine ENGLISH. They focus preparation more on numerical questions and plan to just “wing it” for Verbal. “Its just English, we will do it”, so they say.
You should know that this area needs its own preparation. Parts to sharpen are your vocabularies, grammars, word usages. You can also learn new words, read dictionaries and read good novels.
A good candidate will know that at this stage, these preparations are not something you do when its time for a test.
• Abstract/Critical Reasoning: This area tests your brain. How well can you identify patterns and similarities? You can do well to prepare with similar questions in this area.
III – FOLLOW INSTRUCTIONS
Only if your village people are after you (so they say) you will be a victim of this mistake. The most insane reason you can give for not getting a job should be that you did not follow instructions. Different organisations with different methods and processes so different instructions. For example, why would you use a calculator when the instructions strongly advise otherwise? Please read test instructions carefully and understand it, if not, ask questions.
In case you’ve not noticed, the instructions page is never timed, so take your time.
IV – IT’S NOT ANSWER ALL, IT’S ANSWER RIGHT
Some people are obsessed with answering all the questions, which will still make no difference to test performance if the wrong answers are chosen. In reality, you cant answer all question with the same brainpower. If at attempting a question you hit a dead-end, leave it and come back to it later. But then, if you did this for 50% of the questions, dude/sis, that exam is not for you.
In all seriousness, I shouldn’t even include this here, but some candidates still do it. We all know this trick from our WAEC or JAMB days.
V – BE PUNCTUAL
Nigerians and African time (smh). In case you don’t know, when you rush into an exam you tend to focus less. All that adrenaline rushing through your body as a reaction to your lateness will make you lightheaded and experience increased heartbeats among other things. I’m not a doctor but I have experienced how late candidates react to test – Sweaty, not composed and sometimes, lost.
Ensure you arrive at the test venue early to relax your mind and brain. Little things count, down to this, it does.
VI – NO PRESSURE
I have discussed being complacent earlier, also, don’t put yourself under any undue pressure. Putting yourself under any form of pressure will make you agitated and anxious ultimately increase adrenaline rush (as explained earlier). In addition, Putting pressure on yourself can also make you overthink,e.g when solving test questions, you would try to imagine problems that are not there, this will make you approach a question in the wrong manner. The best is to find a fine balance between complacency and anxiety, you will be fine.
Finally, I know you are expecting to see a link or a reference to get practice test question resources. There are some good websites on the internet to prepare for aptitude test, but honestly, I would not be listing any (I don’t want to be misquoted), pardon me. Yet, you can search for good websites to practice aptitude test online.
In summary, passing an aptitude test is not a mountain that is impossible to climb, you can pass that next test and have a good shot at the job if you prepare well, read instructions carefully and learn from this article. I have managed a good number of projects in this line, and these are observable mistakes I have seen candidates like yourself make that impact their chance of success.
Take the points from this article to heart, your next test should be different.