Student Resources
Aptitude Testing and Career/ Educational Counseling

Aptitudes are talents, traits or special abilities for doing certain kinds of things. The work you are most likely to enjoy and be successful in is work that uses your aptitudes. For example, if you are an engineer but possess aptitudes not suitable for engineering, your work might seem unrewarding, difficult and unpleasant. Aptitude testing is one tool for educational/ career selection. It can help you find where your aptitudes lie, and why certain occupations may be more suitable to you than others. PsyCounsel does not provide employment counseling services, but only an inventory of your aptitudes.

The more the information available to you, the better your decision will be. Guidance counselors at PsyCounsel can help you marry your interests, academic achievements, aptitudes and personality characteristics. Your parents can give you the benefit of their experiences. But the most important thing is knowing yourself, knowing your own strong points. You should formulate your goals based on this knowledge.

What are your values, interests, aptitudes?

Aptitudes are talents, special abilities for doing, or learning to do, certain kinds of things easily and quickly. They have little to do with knowledge or culture, or education, or even interests. They may have to do with heredity. Musical talent and artistic talent are examples of such aptitudes. Some people can paint beautifully but cannot carry a tune. Others are good at talking to people but slow at paperwork. Still others can easily repair a car but find writing difficult. These basic differences among people are important factors in making one person satisfied as a banker, another satisfied as an engineer, and still another satisfied working as an editor.

Every occupation, whether it is engineering, medicine, law, or management, uses certain aptitudes. While aptitudes suggest the directions in which learning might best take place, they are no substitute for the learning itself. The purpose of taking aptitude tests is to find areas in which you have ability. It has been our experience that people tend to be more satisfied and successful in occupations that challenge their aptitudes and do not demand aptitudes that they lack.

Aptitude Testing and the Teenager

What kind of college should I join? What should I specialize in? How do I choose my career? These are the questions that high school kids should ask themselves. How can testing help someone choose a specialization? What are my aptitudes?  When is a good age to take the tests? Unfortunately, many people seek answers to these questions only after high school and college, and when they are already out in the working world. Family and financial commitments at this stage of one's life may make it difficult to change careers. The best time to ask these necessary questions is when you are in your teens, before you attend college and embark on your first job.

The multiplicity of choices at college level can be bewildering even to well-informed students. As any parent with college-bound children know, the cost of higher education has been rising dramatically. Because of the problems of variety and cost, it is important to plan your education carefully. Aptitude testing can be done any time from 12 years onwards. Many may wait until junior or senior year in high school. The tests can provide the student with information for choosing high school courses. We would like to encourage parents to get involved in helping make this decision. If you have questions about whether the testing is appropriate for you or your teenager, feel free to discuss your concerns with us.

We feel that you should have your aptitudes evaluated if you:
  • Are in high school or college, so that it can help you select a major field of study.
  • Wish to learn about the nature of aptitudes and how they affect human behavior.

Poor school record or lack of schooling should not deter you from taking an aptitude test, because aptitudes are not based upon knowledge or educational background. However, the test results may not be 100% accurate for those for whom English is a second language. If you have a physical or mental impairment or learning disability, or are taking strong medication, your scores may not be accurate. Most of the tests are timed; your scores are determined by how fast and accurate you are. After reading our literature, you should carefully consider whether testing would be suitable.

Why Should Adults Take Aptitude Tests?

A mother, who came to our office to discuss her daughter's aptitude pattern, after an explanation of her scores, remarked that she wished that she had been tested when she was in school. She presumed that it was too late. We however feel there are many situations in which aptitude testing may prove useful for those over 30, and one should not automatically decide it is "too late". Sometimes, parents also get tested along with their children simply to gain first-hand knowledge of the tests and to better understand their children's scores.
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