Numerical Aptitude Tests

Numerical aptitude tests are used by employers to measure your ability to perform tasks involving the manipulation of numbers. The questions in these tests range from simple arithmetic, for example, addition and subtraction, to more intricate questions where you need to interpret numerical information presented as graphs, tables and diagrams.

There is no widely accepted definition of the difference between numerical ability and numerical aptitude and as far as psychometric tests are concerned the two terms are interchangeable.

Numerical aptitude tests are administered under exam conditions and strictly timed, a typical test might allow 30-40 minutes for 30-40 questions. The questions are almost always presented in multiple-choice format and may become more difficult as you progress through the test. These tests usually have more questions than you can comfortably complete in the time allowed So don’t worry if you can’t finish the test - it is the number of correct answers which counts.

If you are applying for a job which involves working with figures on a day-to-day basis, then the employer will regard your numerical aptitude as a valuable predictor of your performance on the job. However, since most jobs require you to work with numbers at least some, numerical aptitude tests are among the most widely used of psychometric tests.

There are several hundred numerical aptitude tests from different suppliers on the market and they all vary in both the number and difficulty of the questions that they contain. The duration of the particular test you are given will depend on the job you are applying for and how many other tests you are taking on the day.

Even though there are so many numerical ability tests available to employers, the types of question used in these tests can be classified into:

Numerical Aptitude - Computation
These questions involve basic math including: subtraction, addition, division, multiplication, ratios, fractions, percentages and decimals. You will need to practice making quick and accurate calculations without using a calculator if you want to score well on these questions.

Numerical Aptitude - Estimation
These questions require you to make quick estimates. You do not have time to actually calculate these answers.

Numerical Aptitude - Reasoning
These questions test your reasoning ability rather than your ability to do calculations. They invariably include some number series questions where you need to work out which number or numbers are missing from the series and may also include questions where a mathematical problem is posed in words and your task is to apply the necessary logic to find the solution.

Numerical Aptitude - Data Interpretation
These tests commonly use: line graphs, scatter-plots, pie charts and tables which you need to understand and manipulate to answer the questions. Data is sometimes shown in more than one format and you may need to understand how the data relate to each other before you can begin to answer the question.

Your score in the computation and estimation tests will depend on your ability to add, subtract, multiply and divide quickly and accurately. You can practice the type of questions you will be given in these tests by downloading the numerical computation and numerical estimation practice tests.

Data Interpretation and numerical reasoning tests require you to do fewer calculations than computation and estimation and you may be allowed to use a calculator. However, you should still download the data interpretation and numerical reasoning practice tests to familiarize yourself with the type of questions you will be asked.

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