Aptitude Tests & Assessments | Thomas.co

Aptitude Tests & Assessments

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Aptitude Tests & Assessments

Accurately predict a person's potential to grasp a new role

  • Measure mental capacity and problem solving
  • Develop your people through training
  • Understand how quickly it will take an employee to adapt
  • Ensure your people are challenged
  • Better predict success in a role
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Thomas' Aptitude assessment

Aptitude has been widely acknowledged as the most important predictor of job success. The Thomas Aptitude assessment is a cognitive ability assessment that can help to predict how quickly an individual will take to get to grips with a new role or regime.

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Why use the Thomas Aptitude assessment?

Measuring the aptitude of a candidate helps you to understand if that individual will be able to quickly grasp the requirements of a role, whether they are able to learn quickly and solve problems in different scenarios. 

This insight makes it easier to select the right candidate for a role by placing an objective filter on their ability, regardless of their IQ score, qualifications, and past experience. That’s not to say that these are unimportant, but they’re not the best predictor of potential performance in a role. Research by the American Psychology Association inc. Frank L. Schmidt & John E. Hunter (1998) reviewed 85 years of research. They found that higher cognitive ability, or aptitude as it is also called, as measured by the Thomas Aptitude assessment, is more directly linked to higher employee productivity and performance in a role than experience. When you combine that with insight into a candidate’s personality and behaviour, and use structured interviews, you’ve a much better chance of finding your next top performer. 

When you’re facing a skills gap and those with the right skills can’t be found or are too expensive to hire, hiring a candidate that can quickly learn the skills needed can help you reduce not just hiring costs, but also the time to hire. 

How the aptitude test works

The Thomas Aptitude assessment measures an individual's aptitude in 5 key areas; Reasoning, Perceptual Speed, Number Speed & Accuracy, Word Meaning and Spatial Visualisation.

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5 Online Assessments


The Thomas Aptitude assessment consists of 5 online tests, including reasoning, perceptual speed, number speed and accuracy, word meaning and spatial visualisation

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Detailed Understanding


Gain a detailed understanding of a person’s mental capacity and how quickly they can grasp a new role/regime

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Understand General Intelligence

The overall percentile is an estimate of a candidate's general intelligence, while focusing on their response to training, mental processing speed, concentration and fast track potential.

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Assessment Information

  • Assessment type: Aptitude
  • Format: 5 assessments
  • Time to complete: 30-45 minutes
  • Training required: None


Registered with the British Psychological Society and audited against technical criteria established by the European Federation of Psychologists’ Associations

Click below to download a sample candidate profile from the Thomas Perform platform

We simply would not be where we are today without the GIA from Thomas International. The feedback that these assessments provide is invaluable.

Simon Bastin-Mitchell - Silverlake
Simon Bastin-Mitchell
Commercial Manager
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Background & Theory

The Thomas Aptitude assessment (also known as the General Intelligence Assessment, or GIA), was developed over 15 years by Dr Peter Dann in the Human Assessment Laboratory at the University of Plymouth. Thomas integrated the assessment into its product suite in 2006.

Intelligence has been defined as having fluid and crystallised components (Horn & Cattell, 1966):

Fluid Intelligence (pure processing speed) – basic intellectual processes of manipulating abstract concepts, generalisations and logical relationships (Carroll, 1993). Fluid intelligence is used to solve new problems, use logic in new situations and identify patterns. Crystallised Intelligence (learnt factors) –verbal, mechanical, and numerical ability etc. Crystallised intelligence is the ability to use learned knowledge and experience.

The Aptitude assessment is designed and theoretically underpinned by Carroll's taxonomy/classification of cognitive abilities components of 'g', which is general intelligence (Spearman's & others' general factor of mental performance). However, the assessment is concerned much more with fluid intelligence and the use of procedural rather than declarative knowledge, by measuring elementary cognitive abilities (perceptual speed, verbal reasoning etc.). This assesses what we have termed trainability rather than 'IQ'.

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The Aptitude assessment looks at an individual's speed of processing information and ability to learn and develop new skills. The General Intelligence Assessment is used for a variety of purposes: recruitment, retention, development, management, identifying training needs, career guidance, succession planning and benchmarking.

The Aptitude assessment was first developed as a way to measure cognitive abilities and trainability of Armed Forces known as the British Army Recruitment Battery (BARB). As the assessment continued to develop, the Human Assessment Laboratory used the potential of computer technology to pioneer the research and development of item-generation whereby test items are automatically produced to create an extremely large number of different but equivalent forms of the same test (Irvine, Dann & Anderson, 1990). GIA, along with a paper-based version, was developed from the same theoretical principles and resources as BARB. Thomas International integrated the paper-based version into its product suite in 1993 and GIA in 2006.

Download the factsheet to learn how the Thomas Aptitude assessment can help you better understand the learning speed and trainability of your people

Aptitude format

Format of the Aptitude test

The Thomas Aptitude assessment consists of five online tests of simple cognitive abilities (i.e. abilities that rely on processes such as thought, language, decision making, learning and memory).

Each of the five tests has one type of task and all the questions in a given test are of an equal level of difficulty. The individual's score is then determined by the speed and accuracy of their responses. Scores are then compared to a sample population (the norm group) to determine whether the scores are lower, higher or in-line with the majority of that population.

Although the overall score measures 'trainability', each of the five tests measures a specific cognitive function (detailed below):

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This test measures the ability to make inferences, the ability to reason from information provided and to draw the correct conclusions. This test assesses the ability of an individual to hold information in their short-term memory and solve problems.

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Perceptual Speed

This test measures the perception of inaccuracies in written material, numbers and diagrams, the ability to ignore irrelevant information, the ability to recognise similarities and differences, and error checking. It tests the speed of semantic encoding and comparison.

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Number Speed and Accuracy

This is a test of numerical manipulation and a measure of basic numerical reasoning ability. It measures the degree to which an individual can work comfortably with quantitative concepts.

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Word Meaning

This test assesses word knowledge and vocabulary. It assesses the comprehension of a large number of words from different parts of speech and the ability to identify the words that have similar or opposite meanings. It assesses the ability to work in environments where a clear understanding of written or spoken instructions is required.

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Spatial Visualisation

This test measures the ability to create and manipulate mental images of objects. This test correlates with tests of mechanical reasoning, and assesses an individual’s ability to use mental visualisation skills to compare shapes. It relates to the ability to work in environments where visualisation skills are required to understand and execute tasks.

Behaviour Validity

Reliability & Validity

The Thomas Aptitude test has been subject to rigorous scientific testing to determine its reliability and validity as a psychological assessment. Various research studies have shown that the GIA is a consistent and valid measure of trainability.

The GIA is registered with the British Psychological Society (BPS) after it was audited against the technical criteria established by the European Standing Committee on Tests and Testing, part of the European Federation of Psychologists' Associations.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is an aptitude test?

An aptitude test is a way to measure an employee's or applicant's ability to carry out a role within a business. It focuses on testing problem solving, communication, numerical and analytical skills. In short, an aptitude test will test a candidate’s skills for a specific role or duty.

Aptitude tests give hiring managers and HR teams the tools to assess a candidate’s suitability for a role based specifically on their skills and abilities. Because the tests are graded on this criteria, it helps identify the right person for the role that is available. Being able to understand how a candidate will perform tasks or knowing how they will react to different situations is, of course, a huge advantage.

Mainly carried out over online platforms, some organisations may choose to invite you into a workplace to carry out these tests - it depends on each business' recruitment process.

What are the different types of aptitude tests?

There are two types of commonly recognised aptitude tests; verbal and non-verbal. Verbal tests are designed to test your verbal reasoning skills, language comprehension and situational awareness. Non-verbal tests include, numerical reasoning, ability to handle numerical problems and understanding patterns and problem solving.

These aptitude tests can be divided into a wide range of assessment criteria. It is common to come across tests such as: Spatial Reasoning, Perceptual Speed, Number Speed & Accuracy, Word Meaning and Spatial Visualisation. These tests are individually identifying different skill sets and their potential application into the job role that is being advertised.

For example, spatial reasoning will assess a candidate’s ability to understand and visualise two-dimensional and three-dimensional patterns and shapes; this is ideal for a job role that requires strong problem solving skills. Someone who scores highly here, stands a better chance of getting the position.

What is the purpose of aptitude testing?

Aptitude tests are designed to understand a candidate’s inherent strengths and limitations, and where the candidate will either succeed or struggle in specific areas or roles based on those innate characteristics. With the right training and focus, a candidate can develop their limitations and flourish with their strengths.

When it comes to recruitment, an aptitude test supports a few important functions. Firstly, it helps to filter high volumes of candidates for a given role based on the results of the tests - allowing the rest of the recruitment process to take place in a timely manner.

Secondly, recruiters are basing hiring decisions on skills evidenced in the assessments. This helps to remove bias, but also strengthens the team and organisation with the right skillset in the right roles.

Thirdly, an aptitude test helps the recruiting manager know inherent strengths and limitations that can be developed with the right training and provide a pathway within the organisation for the candidate to succeed.

What are the benefits of aptitude testing for recruitment?

Aptitude testing gauges a candidate’s suitability to the job, and gives insight into how quickly they will grasp a role. Therefore recruitment can only benefit by getting the right person for the role that needs filling.

Many organisations around the world use aptitude testing as a standard part of their recruitment process. There are widely understood benefits of doing so.

Aptitude assessments offer efficient and objective comparisons between candidates. Aside from being able to see if a candidate is best suited for the role, they can compare the candidates that have scored well against the most important criteria, fairly providing a balance between each applicant.

They help identify skill strengths and skill gaps. By doing so, recruitment managers get an understanding of what's needed to help the candidate succeed and even use the tests to try alternative scenario planning to see what can be improved or find a shining star in the recruitment process.

Aptitude tests are also standardised. Recruitment managers can feel confident in the data being provided to be both valid and reliable and for the business. It also helps justify decisions for the organisation should the recruitment process be questioned on the grounds of equal opportunities.

What’s the difference between aptitude tests and IQ tests?

An aptitude test is designed to evaluate your skills and general intelligence for a role with numerical reasoning, verbal skills and mental fitness whilst an IQ test is evaluating your Intelligence Quotient.

IQ Tests have always been great conversation starters, in short, they are tests that look at the overall intelligence of a person. Invented in the early 1900s they are a way to give a broad overview of a person’s wider intelligence, however, compared to aptitude tests they are broad in scope but do little to target where a person has strengths and weaknesses for a business or within civil society.

To find out more about about the difference between aptitude tests and IQ tests, read our blog.

How can Thomas help with aptitude testing?

At Thomas International we've created a series of aptitude tests that help recruiting managers pick the right candidates for the roles you're looking to fill.

Online, filled with helpful guides, user-friendly interfaces and a system that provides real-time feedback and scoring, our Aptitude assessment (GIA) is delivered via the Thomas solution and helps you identify the right candidate for your role.

The Aptitude assessment can help you answer questions about your workforce requirements and training developments, including, ‘Can your people think on their feet?’, ‘Can they cope with the mental demands of the job?’, ‘Are they good problem solvers?’ and ‘How quickly can they learn?’.

If you are interested in what we have to offer, please speak to one of our team.