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Aptitude Tests–Do We Need Them?

By on Jun 20, 2011 | 3 comments

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I remember the days when I started preparing for CAT aka the common admission test for entry into IIMs. I was in my final year of engineering and was preparing for a career that had zilch connection with my four year engineering course. Well, I believe engineers can take up anything they wish, but it makes me more happy if they stick to their roots – technology. I joined coaching class because that was the most sane thing to do because a mere look at previous years’ CAT paper got me an idea that it’s not going to be my cup of tea.

But it’s my nature – when people tell me something is ‘very tough’, it makes me restless. The same restlessness resulted in me filling up the CAT application form. The preparation started at least 8 months in advance and I thought it would be ample time for me to prepare for the aptitude tests.

One point I must make clear – I exactly knew why I wanted to get into IIMs – to find like minded people who’ll get me ideas and join me in building my own company. I knew I had to do something on my own but was entirely clueless about it. So the path was clear – Get into IIM –> Find like minded people –> start a business. I wasn’t keen on learning management, because I firmly think management can’t be taught – it has to be learned on your own, on the job. Aptitude-Test-Frustration

Just few days into CAT preparation and I began struggling with math problems: X days Y amount of work in Z days so how many days will G take to …blah. Find the sum of roots positive integers of <insert a complex equation here>. Give me a break! I thought. This isn’t going to help me in ‘managing’ anything in life and I knew even Bill Gates Or Ambani won’t be able to solve a thing. Soon everything began making lesser and lesser sense than at the start. The more forcefully I convinced myself that I’m solving ‘wrong problems’ made me more restless. Then happened a series of incidences that made it clear that I should be solving different problems and I put an end to my CAT preparation just a month before the CAT.

I decided to do what looked more exciting and tougher than anything else. Something that would give me incremental victories every day. And it turns out that it was the best decisions I took.

All above babble to make one point – Do we really need Aptitude tests? I seriously don’t know why a Computer Science Engineering student must master Data Sufficiency, Data Interpretation, Work & Time problems to get into a career that involves computer programming? Why do I need aptitude tests to do a MS course in Networking Or Animation? If I’m right, even MS course in medicine requires you to crack GRE which involves mathematics! What about those who are incredibly awesome at writing software code but at the same time, incredibly bad at quickly calculating 34/77 mentally to solve a problem? Will we always deny opportunities to them?

Take a look at the dictionary meaning of Aptitude: capability; ability; innate or acquired capacity for something; talent. An aptitude test for programming job should involve questions based on programming, not on mathematics – because you are intending to judge capability/ability/capacity for PROGRAMMING, not ‘mathematics’. Isn’t it a pure common sense?

Do you agree?


  1. Kamal Kannan

    June 20, 2011

    Post a Reply

    Interesting observation. I’m just about done with my tryst with CAT. Joining a IIT Bschool this year.
    I also dont believe aptitude tests are a real way to select people. But I didnt see a solution being provided in your post.
    There are 2 Lakh cat aspirants every year. How do we filter out a few thousant from that without compromising on quality and time?

    • The Big K

      June 20, 2011

      Post a Reply

      I don’t usually provide solutions to the problems, but I guess I should consider it. Makes sense. Thanks. 🙂

  2. Sahithi Pallavi

    July 10, 2011

    Post a Reply

    Undoubtedly agreed 🙂  I’m always against to aptitude tesst and Group discussions! It will be So good if the Exam conductors understand our views 🙂  See Recently Even they changed the Civil Services – Priliminary examination pattern to Aptitute from the Optional Subject 🙁  So now even the IAS,IPS Officers must also be the quick solvers of the mathematical problems!  It is no wonder if the Aptitude becomes the ‘must-subject’ in the Engineering course 🙁

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