Aptitude Tests vs. IQ Tests

While both aptitude testing and IQ testing aim to measure brainpower, they do so in different ways. Generally speaking, IQ tests assess general intelligence, while aptitude tests evaluate intelligence in more specific areas like mental fitness, verbal ability, and mathematical skills. Let’s take a deeper look at the differences between the two assessments.

What is Aptitude?

Aptitude is defined as a person’s natural ability to do something. Aptitude can refer to specific skills, like a person’s computer programing ability, or more general skills, like cognitive ability. Specifically, a person’s cognitive aptitude can be thought of as their ability to solve problems, process new information, and learn quickly.

What are Aptitude Tests?

There are many different forms of aptitude tests including cognitive aptitude tests, abstract reasoning tests, critical thinking tests, and a wide range of career-specific aptitude tests. While most aptitude tests assess a specific set of skills, cognitive aptitude tests can measure a broad range of abilities and provide individual scores for each ability. Cognitive aptitude testing can be done through standardized tests, like the CCAT, or through game-based assessments.

What Do Aptitude Tests Measure?

  • Problem Solving Ability
  • Critical Thinking
  • Attention to Detail
  • Memory
  • Verbal Ability
  • Vocabulary
  • Communication Skills
  • Spatial Awareness
  • Number Sense
  • Mathematical Reasoning

Predictive Power of Cognitive AptitudeWhat are Aptitude Tests Used For?

Over the years, cognitive aptitude tests have become an extremely popular form of pre-employment testing. Specific aptitude tests, like mechanical reasoning tests, are great for determining if a candidate will succeed at a specific job function. Taking that a step further, general cognitive aptitude has been scientifically proven to be the top predictor of future job success, even more so than interviews and experience. Because of the predictive and objective nature of cognitive aptitude, hiring managers place great value on these scores for job candidate evaluation.

What is IQ?

IQ, or intelligence quotient, is essentially a measurement of a person’s raw intellect in relation to their age. The term was coined by German psychologist William Stern for an intelligence scoring method he developed in 1912. Originally, a person’s intelligence test score, or mental age, was divided by their age to obtain their IQ score. This formula to determine IQ has since been replaced by how far a person’s scores deviate from the average score of people their age.

What are IQ Tests?

IQ tests are typically standardized tests that cover a wide range of questions including logical, visual, spatial, classification, analogical, and pattern-driven questions. Your IQ is determined by the deviation between your test score and the average test score of people your age. IQ is considered a rough metric for general intelligence.

What are IQ Tests Used For?

Since IQ tests are estimations and are considered less predictive that aptitude testing, IQ tests are mostly used for educational and research purposes. The most commonly administered IQ test today is the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale for adults and the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children. Clinical uses of these tests include ADHD testing and assessing brain function after injury.

What are the Differences Between Aptitude Tests and IQ Tests?

Aptitude Tests

IQ Tests

Can measure specific areas of intelligence.Measure general intelligence.
Age is not a factor.Age is used to determine IQ score.
Score for each category.One score.
Highly predictive of job performance.Moderately predictive of job performance.
Most common use is pre-employment testing.Most common uses are research & education.