by Lisa McGrimmon
The General Aptitude Test Battery, also known as the GATB, is a professional career aptitude test which measures nine different aptitudes and can be used to help assess the likelihood that you will be successful in specific careers or training programs.
An aptitude is something that you have the potential to be good at; it refers to your innate ability to do well at tasks that require a specific type of skill. Aptitude is not dependent on previous learning.
For example, if you took the GATB and discovered you had a strong numerical aptitude, that means you have the potential to do well at math. You may not have taken many math courses in school, but that doesn't matter when we're talking about aptitudes. An aptitude test seeks to measure what you have the potential to do well at; not what you already know. So, even if you haven't studied math in many, many years, if the General Aptitude Test Battery shows that that you have a strong aptitude for math, then you can feel quite confident choosing a profession or training program that requires mathematical aptitude. You may need to brush up on your actual math skills before you will be successful in a specific course or career, but if your aptitude for math is strong, you will not likely encounter any problems in learning the skills you need.
The aptitudes that are measured by the General Aptitude Test Battery are as follows:
G - General Learning Ability
The ability to "catch on" or understand instructions and underlying principles; the ability to reason, and make judgments. Closely related to doing well in school.
V - Verbal Aptitude
The ability to understand the meaning of words and to use them effectively. The ability to understand relationships between words and to understand the meaning of whole sentences and paragraphs.
N - Numerical Aptitude
The ability to perform arithmetic operations quickly and accurately.
S - Spatial Aptitude
The ability to think visually of geometric forms and to comprehend the two-dimensional representation of three-dimensional objects. The ability to recognize the relationships resulting from the movement of objects in space.
P - Form Perception
The ability to perceive pertinent detail in objects or in pictorial or graphic material. Ability to make visual comparisons and discriminations and see slight differences in shapes and shading of figures and widths and lengths of lines.
Q - Clerical Perception
The ability to perceive detail in verbal or tabular material. Ability to observe differences in copy, to proofread words and numbers, and to avoid perceptual errors in arithmetic computation.
K - Motor Co-ordination
The ability to coordinate eyes and hands or fingers rapidly and accurately in making precise movements with speed. Ability to make movement response accurately and swiftly.
F - Finger Dexterity
The ability to move fingers, and manipulate small objects with fingers, rapidly or accurately.
M - Manual Dexterity
The ability to move hands easily and skillfully. Ability to work with hands in placing and turning motions
The GATB must be administered and interpreted by someone who has completed GATB certification. It may be administered in its entriety, that is, you may be asked to complete all 12 portions of this aptitude test, or you may be asked to complete some parts of the GATB, but not all.
For example, if someone was trying to assess your potential to do well in post secondary education, you may only complete the General Learning Ability, Verbal Aptitude and Numerical Aptitude sections of the GATB. The other sections may not be relevant to the information required.
The General Aptitude Test Battery may be used in career planning to help you determine specific careers and training that are a good fit with your aptitudes. It may also be used in whole or in part by employers who are hiring new staff. For example, if you were applying to work on the line in a factory, you may be asked to complete the Motor Co-ordination, Finger Dexterity and/or Manual Dexterity sections of the GATB to determine your aptitudes in these areas.
If you are asked to complete the General Aptitude Test Battery, get a good night's sleep the night before, read any instructions carefully when you're completing the test, and, while you should try to complete as many questions/tasks as accurately as possible in the time allotted, do not worry if you do not complete all questions on the test. The GATB (like many other professional career aptitude tests) is designed so that it is almost impossible to complete each section in full.