APT for you

Aptitude tests draw up interesting findings, based on our reaction to methodically structured questions. Or do they?, asks Shilpi Madan

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APT for you


"The purpose of education in the future will not be to create people with heads crammed full of knowledge, but to rear children who know how to efficiently use their whole brain. Rearing children with enormous ability, rich creativity, and the capability to make use of a high proportion of their brain should be the goal of child rearing." —Professor Makoto Shichida, internationally renowned Japanese educator.
Diagnostic tests are a rage these days. There are online questionnaires on career counsellor websites, as well as examinations conducted during school hours that throw up a detailed qualitative and quantitative analysis of your child's leanings towards a multitude of subjects. Of course, with your young one's best interests at heart, each is powered by the objective of telescoping the ideal choice of career for your kid. Foxed by the melee? Don't be. Simply deconstruct the mechanics for a better grasp:

Aptitude vs IQ Vs Genes
As opposed to an Intelligence Quotient (IQ) test that turns in a score that is a measure of your general intelligence, aptitude tests funnel in a deeper reflection of your comprehension of many concepts, indicating your strengths and weaknesses. "Aptitude tests are simply tools that determine and measure your overall performance across a broad range of specific skill sets," explains Sadaf Merchant, Head Assessment Analyst and Consultant Clinical Psychologist at Energia Wellbeing Pvt. Ltd, Mumbai, that conducts such tests across several institutions across the country. "These tools are an important guide, as individuals differ in their special abilities, and these differences can be useful in predicting their future achievements in their choice of career."
So an aptitude test has a host of sections, dedicated to analysing your numerical skills, spatial skills and power of abstract reasoning... Your response to the situations listed in each section helps identify your area of strength. Of course, if you wish to delve even deeper and glean the roots of your most probable areas of interest, genetic mapping comes into play. Says Amit Monga, Consultant at Brain Barn Edu., an organisation pivoted on a 100-year-old forensic science, "It is imperative to assess whether genetics supports the likelihood of success in your career choice. Parents push their kids into taking up subjects that they are unlikely to succeed in. In contrast, if an individual takes up a subject that is supported by his genetic mapping, he is more likely to succeed with lesser time and effort. This is a one-time generated report, formulated on the basis of the study of unique fingerprints, that catalog your speed of understanding, cognitive reflections and reverse thinking abilities."

The Varied Matrix
Your aptitude is your ability to develop proficiency in an area, and your aptitude test results help thread out your low-performance skills and bring to the fore your areas of strength. Of course, skills can be acquired, honed and developed over a period of time, to cultivate a reasonable degree of proficiency in other areas as well. This makes your aptitude dynamic.
Since aptitude tests assess the application of your knowledge of different subjects, there are various kinds of tests to measure specific skills. "Then there are age appropriate tests as well to gauge the skill-set required, as per career growth," explains Sadaf. "As we grow we learn more, and these tools give us a fairly accurate insight into our strength and limitations. I believe that aptitude tests should be an ongoing activity right from 8thgrade to the professional level. These tools gives insight into our strengths and limitations, making us aware of the road blocks that we could face and how to overcome them." Of course, your aptitude evolves over a period of time, depending on the quantum of time and effort you plough in. The more time you invest, the better your aptitude results.

There are a multitude of pegs that stand knitted together in such a test. Mechanical, verbal, abstract reasoning, numerical ability, language usage...

Delineating the results is best handled by experts. "It is a question of fleshing out and harnessing your strengths to be able to manage your weaknesses better," sums up Amit. "Since no two individuals are alike, it is always better that the observations are explained by the experts." Such tests also serve as a vital assessment tool. According to Dr Monica Bhatia, Principal, Veer Bhagat Singh Vidyalaya, Mumbai, "Often, with the help of these tests, teachers have been able to uncover latent talent in some children and use it to improve their educational opportunities. Aptitude test scores have also proved useful for teachers, in forming realistic expectations of their students."

Some resources that conduct aptitude tests:

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