Capacities test: What does it (not) measure?

Employers obviously want the best candidates for their vacancies. Different ways can be used to determine whether a candidate is the right person for a particular job. This is why assessments now are becoming a standard part of the application process. The capacitiy test is in many cases an important part of such an assessment. But what is a capacity test exactly and how is it different from a cognitive test?

What is a capacity test?

A capacitiy test is a way of testing general intellectual thinking. It comes close to what is in practice is called an intelligence test , but capacity tests are often specifically focused on one aspect of intelligence. As the name capacity test suggests, this test is used to measure specific capacities of a candidate. The test gives insight to the extent to which candidates have the skills to quickly solve particular issues. Because each question has a time limit, it looks at how candidates perform under pressure. A capacity test therefore appeals to certain cognitive skills.

The capacity test measures whether you possess the relevant skills and competences to function properly at a certain position. Which parts are more emphasized therefore also depends on the position that is being applied for. For example, language skills will be more valuable for a journalist, whereas in a technical function proper spatial insight plays a greater role.

What capacities or skills are measured with an online capacity test?

A capacitiy test often consists of different aspects. These aspects can be divided into the following test categories:

  • Verbal tests
  • Numerical tests
  • Abstract tests
  • Simulation Tests

Verbal tests measure the verbal abilities of a candidate. These include aspects such as verbal reasoning, vocabulary, language use, analogies, and antonyms. These capacities are important for functions in which the candidate must be able to speak well, listen and process verbal information quickly and efficiently.

Numerical tests measure the extent to which a candidate can process numerical information. Here the numerical and mathematical skills are examined. This can be tested by offering number sequences, editorial sums, numerical insight, arithmetic, or numerical reasoning.

Abstract tests measure to what extent a candidate is able to deal with abstract information. Here the spatial insight and logical reasoning ability are tested by means of images, figures and matrices. Employers can measure in a non-verbal way how strategically the candidate is thinking and how quickly he/she solves less concrete problems.

An employer can use simulation tests to see which strategy or reaction the candidate chooses to solve situations in the right way. These tests simulate situations on the work floor that are often related to the job that is applied for.

There are plenty of online testing capabilities on the market, but which is best? This depends very much on what you want to achieve with this test. It is important to measure the capacities that are specifically relevant to the vacancy.

Most commonly used capacitiy tests:

  • Verbal reasoning
  • Analogies
  • Number sequences
  • Numeric reasoning
  • Numeracy
  • Diagrams
  • Abstract reasoning
  • Figure series
  • Spatial insight

What is the difference between a standard capacity test and a cognitive test?

The most mentioned disadvantage of online capacity tests is that a candidate benefits if they make certain tricks and strategies their own in advance. This practice significantly increases the chances of a good score. And with that, there is immediately noise on the line. Hence, the emergence of cognitive tests is strongly explained by the need to test people in a honest way, by reducing foreknowledge, trainability or fake behavior.

Both a standard capacity test and a cognitive test measure cognitive thinking ability. However, there is a very big difference between these two. That is, the effect what practice has on your score. As mentioned, you can increase your score on a standard capability test as reasonably easily, through exercise. It will not increase your intelligence, but you will become more skilled at making such tests. This is especially true for parts in which patterns are to be discovered in figures and numbers. A good cognitive test on the other hand, has good test-retest-reliability. This means that exercising has no effect on the scores and it says more about the actual capacities of the candidate. And not the degree of preparation. A cognitive test is often a better alternative to a capacity test.

What cognitive skills are measured with a standard capability test?

Cognitive skills are characterized by the degree to which you are able to incorporate, process and apply knowledge and information. All kinds of mental processes play a role. For example, you need memory, but also orientation, concentration, attention and the ability to anticipate, solve problems and form concepts. They are the underlying building blocks of your skills. These biological building blocks – brain functions – are difficult or impossible to fake or circumvent with tricks.
The Cognitive Assessment Games from BrainsFirst, emphasize these brain skills. Specially developed to match the brain with a job at a detailed level. In the form of challenging, serious games. Stable, science-based and reliable. It doesn’t matter how many times you play these games, your score will remain roughly the same. And in this way gives much more reliable insights into one’s cognitive skills.

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