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Archive for October, 2013

Aptitude tests can be testing!

Wednesday, October 30th, 2013

You’ve applied for your dream job, maybe it’s the first step on the career ladder out of college or university. Then you get the letter, you’ve got an interview! Brilliant! But then you read on – you’ve also been invited to an assessment day where you’ll face an interview panel and aptitude testing. You start to feel a bit panicky. You’ve no idea what an aptitude test is and you’d look a bit daft if you rang them and asked. Because we tutor both children and adults we often help young people and those more established in their career as they transition into new jobs. One of the most common things that people encounter when they apply for a new job is the requirement to take an aptitude test and we often support people as they take them.

So what is an aptitude test?

Quite simply it’s a test or series of tests designed to check your work based reasoning (they are also called assessment tests or sometimes psychometric tests) . The most commonly used tests check your numeracy (numerical reasoning), verbal reasoning and abstract reasoning (how you solve problems and think).  It may also include personality tests and other types of testing such as how you work in a team.

How can I pass an aptitude test?

  • Don’t panic. You can improve all these skills but you need to set aside some time and focus on each skill set. This is where a private one to one tutor can come in handy.
  • There are practice websites for all three areas all over the web so use those to work on your skills.
  • Get used to tests again – make sure you have a calculator, paper and a pencil and find a quiet environment to practice
  • On the day before the test make sure you relax, get plenty of sleep. You should approach the tests as if they are an interview.

If you have been called for an assessment day and want help with aptitude testing in Manchester or Cheshire (covering Altrincham, Didsbury and other areas) call 121 Home Tutors today.

Literacy and maths in the UK – are we failing our children?

Friday, October 25th, 2013

This month the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) released the results of a large study measuring the literacy and numeracy skills of 16 to 24-year-olds  across the world. The results for England were shocking – 22nd for literacy and 21st for numeracy out of 24 countries in the study.

The study involved testing 166,000 young people and adults (age 16-65) from different countries including the UK, England and Northern Ireland. The study looked at literacy, numeracy and digital skills. Japan and Finland topped the tables while the UK lagged far behind. One of the most worrying findings was that in the UK the younger population fared badly compared to older people (in most industrialised countries younger people do better). This shows a continuing decline rather than improvement in skills.

There have been calls in the last couple of years to ‘toughen up’ the UK system, reintroducing exams and getting rid of coursework in a bid to improve skills. The study throws up a number of questions around testing of children in the education system – because despite a year on year increase in GCSE results between 1997-2010 the study has shown many young adults lack basic skills in key areas.

It’s vital we tackle this issue right now, not only for the future careers of our children but also to put the UK in a strong position in the global workforce.

If your child needs support with basic literacy, numeracy or digital skills then one to one private tutoring with 121 Home Tutors can help. We cover Manchester and Cheshire (Didsbury, Sale, Trafford) – call us today.