Differential Aptitude Tests Differentiate in Aptitudes

The differential aptitude tests (DAT) are the latest genre of the career aptitude tests.

It is realized that general aptitude tests are not such powerful to help in screening candidates for all jobs.

The DAT measures your aptitude in eight different areas.

Testing Areas

differential aptitude tests

- Verbal reasoning

- Numerical Ability

- Abstract Reasoning

- Mechanical Reasoning

- Space Relations

- Spelling

- Language Usage

- Perceptual Speed and Accuracy


You are offered eight sets of differential scales. They contain multiple choice questionnaires. You are required to select the best/correct option within a set time limit of 12 to 25 minutes for each test. However, in practical, you can attempt each within 6 to 20 minutes.

It depends upon the tester whether he offers you eight tests in a bundle or each test separately.


The Differential Aptitude Tests (DAT) battery follows the theory that different individuals have varying levels of interest and intelligence in different fields. You may be good at math but bad in verbal reasoning. Some may architect language excellently but may be very bad in calculations.

The variety of human society in aptitudes generates a balance. However, total score of general aptitude tests can’t make a true calculation of your different kinds of aptitudes. On the other hand the aptitude tests offered by the individual employers are too specific to measure you all out potentials.

The Army applies almost a general aptitude (intelligence) test called the AFQT to select recruits for different branches of the service. Scores form a normal distribution where the top 10% are classified as category I and the bottom 10% as Category V (those rejected for service). During World War II they had to dip into Category IV for 21% of recruits. In the Vietnam War, however, in 1979, 46% of new recruits were from Category IV . (Frum, 2000, p. 89)!

However, a differential test measures all kinds of aptitudes separately. No doubt the test is scored both individually and collectively but individual scores are given much bigger weight.

You may find commonalities between a general and differential aptitude test. But it is philosophy behind the latest genre which differentiates it from the others. Here if optimum description of different differential tests:

Verbal Differential Ability Scale:

Verbal Reasoning Test measures your ability to find relations amongst words. How do you view a concept? How do you manipulate abstract ideas? Etc are the topics on which various verbal analogies are framed.

Numerical Differential Ability Scale:

This differential aptitude test measures your capability to interpret numerical relationships between different figures.

Your mathematical reasoning is also tested. You can improve your performance by going through basic mathematical manuals and science hand books.

Abstract Reasoning Differential Ability Scale:

Abstract Reasoning (AR) is not your verbal fluency...

This differential aptitude test measures your reasoning when you solve problems in terms of size, shape, position, quantity or other geometric figures and shapes. Logical thinking is involved.

Mechanical Reasoning Differential Ability Scale

Mechanical Reasoning (MR) measures your ability to understand mechanical principles of machines, motion and devices.

It is an important test for engineering and machine operation jobs. It involves logic with motion. However, specialized knowledge is not required.

Space Relations Differential Ability Scale:

Space Relations (SP) measures your capability to analyze three dimensional figures. How do you see 2D or 3D drawings? When you are looking for some job in engineering, architecture or designing you must expect such kind of aptitude test.

Spelling Differential Ability Scale:

Spelling test measures your capability to recognize correct or incorrect spelled common English words. This differential aptitude test is used for English and writing courses.

Language Differential Ability Scale:

Language Usage Test is used to measure your ability to detect grammatical and other language errors (using present/past tense, direct/indirect speech, capitalization etc). This test is mainly used to screen candidates for jobs in journalism, review writing and management courses. You must have basic knowledge of grammar, punctuation, and capitalization of English language to score better in this test.

Speed and Accuracy Differential Aptitude tests

Perceptual Speed and Accuracy (PS&A) measures your quickness and accuracy in performing your jobs.

And you know it is impossible to succeed with office working without making and implementing right decisions quickly.

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