Cost vs BenefitsYou’re at a career crossroads. The path you choose now could define your professional life for years, if not decades. Aptitude tests then make for an exceptionally reliable guiding compass in this endeavor. These assessments offer a scientific approach to what often feels like an overwhelming decision. But with so many aptitudes filling the internet, how do you choose?

First off, there’s good news. There are only three aptitude tests worth paying money for. Narrowing your shopping down to three tests makes your shopping a lot easier. This article compares the three leading aptitude tests: Johnson O’Connor, AIMS, and Highlands Ability Battery. So, keep reading to determine which aptitude test makes the most sense for your needs, budget, and career aspirations.

Why Take An Aptitude Test?

Simply put, aptitudes are talents or natural abilities. They are not skills. Skills change over time depending on how often you practice them. Aptitudes don’t.[1][2][3] They are innate, so they stick around. When they have a high aptitude for something, that aptitude pushes them to be used. When you’re low in an aptitude, performing activities in that area is often tricky and requires more effort.

See what I’m getting at?

Knowing your aptitudes makes anticipating the scenarios in which you’ll thrive easier. For example, if you have an aptitude for noticing quick patterns, you’re more likely to excel in fast-paced careers requiring constant problem-solving. Likewise, if you have a knack for remembering what you read and can process text quickly, you’re more likely to take to careers where reading and scanning documents are pivotal.

Knowing what you are naturally good at is a huge advantage. It gives you an edge over others who don’t. Finally, it enables you to plan your career with more confidence and foresight. Thus, aptitude tests are valuable tools, as their insights are critical to determining your ideal career path.

Using a Reliable Aptitude Test

Simply put, fake aptitude tests fill the internet. At the risk of sounding condescending, a risk I’m going to take still, you’ll need to remember this when you look for an aptitude test:

When you take an aptitude test, the test needs to actually measure aptitudes.

For example, take a look at the image below. This image is a Google search I did for aptitude testing.

aptitude test search

Now, you might expect one of the top results to be reliable. SPOILER ALERT: it isn’t. Not a single one of these is an actual aptitude test. They’re all personality tests or interest profilers.

Personality tests are lovely. I’m not knocking them. Some can reliably predict how you’ll react in various social situations. However, they can’t predict how you’ll perform specific tasks at work. Interest profilers do the same; they can sometimes forecast what projects you’ll find interesting. However, intriguing doesn’t equate to ease or success.

The point I’m ineffectively trying to make here is that there are a lot of scams online. So please don’t just buy any aptitude test that pops up in a Google search. Chances are, it isn’t one.

How to find a Good Aptitude Test

Your choice of aptitude test is not just a financial decision; it’s an investment in your future. The correct test can provide invaluable insights into your strengths, weaknesses, and potential career paths. It can differ between a fulfilling career and one that leaves you unsatisfied, unhappy, and unfulfilled. Therefore, it behooves you to consider both cost and benefit thoughtfully.

You should choose from the options below:

  • The Johnson O’Connor Aptitude Test
  • The AIMS Test
  • The Highlands Ability Battery

These three aptitude assessments comprise the market’s most reliable and valid tests. Other aptitude assessments fall far below the mark in quality, accessibility, and reliability. There’s a reason for this. Most aptitude tests you find on the internet aren’t aptitude tests. They’re personality tests claiming to be aptitude tests.

Why Any Aptitude Test Won’t Do

An example might help illustrate this point. Imagine if you needed to hire an attorney. You searched the internet and found a lawyer that appeared to offer the exact services you need. You contact them to set up an appointment and meet them, only to find that this isn’t an attorney. They’re a heart surgeon.

If you need a stent installed in your heart or a heart transplant, this professional could help. But you don’t need those services; you need a lawyer. Just because a heart surgeon can’t practice law doesn’t mean they’re a lousy surgeon. Their natural talents solve a different problem. Do you see what I’m getting at?

When you google “Best Aptitude Test,” you’ll probably get something like this:

fake google results

Well, none of those are aptitude tests. They’re personality tests. They’re not flawed assessments but not solving problems for which you need an aptitude test.

Aptitudes differ from personalities. Personality traits inform us how we behave and react in different social scenarios. Aptitudes tell us the tasks and problems we’re wired to excel in. Unlike personalities, aptitudes are fixed. They rarely, if ever, change. Thus, knowing your aptitudes empowers you to pick a career and ​​skill set where you’re more likely to thrive.

So, in this post, we’ll explore the best aptitude test adult professionals should ​​examine. We’ll determine how much an aptitude test should cost and the benefits aptitude assessments offer.

The Johnson O’Connor Test: A Legacy in Aptitude Testing

The Johnson O’Connor Test is the grandfather of aptitude testing. With a legacy spanning over a century, it comprehensively analyzes your natural abilities and aptitudes. For $850, you get six hours of testing and a detailed consultation. However, you’ll need to visit one of their centers, adding travel costs. This can be a significant factor for those on a tight budget. The test’s longevity speaks to its credibility, but it’s essential to consider the full scope of costs involved.

  • Test Fee: $850 for six hours of testing and a consultation.
  • Location: You must visit one of their centers.
  • Additional Costs: Travel and potential lodging.

Cost of Johnson O’Connor

The Johnson O’Connor Test isn’t just a financial investment; it’s a commitment of time and travel. The $850 fee is consistent across their locations. However, the travel costs can vary depending on your proximity to their centers. The Johnson O’Connor Research Foundation has set the price for their aptitude test at $850. Here’s how the payment structure works according to their website:

Our current fee is $850 in all our offices. That flat fee includes six hours of testing, one 60-90 minute results consultation, and a second, optional consultation that can be taken within a year of testing… We request a $100 deposit to hold appointments. The balance is due upon your arrival for the first appointment.[4]

The Johnson O’Connor isn’t the most expensive option on the market. However, it’s not cheap, primarily since reliable aptitude assessments cost nearly half as much.

Required Travel for Johnson O’Connor Test

Despite the cost, the Johnson O’Connor test is a remarkable assessment. I can’t say enough good things about their organization and their product. However, if you plan to take the test, you must also budget for other expenses, particularly travel.

Let’s consider a hypothetical scenario: you’re based in Little Rock, AR, and you’re traveling to the nearest Johnson O’Connor center in Dallas, TX. Here’s a rough and conservative breakdown of the additional costs you might incur:

  • Gas: $100.00
  • Hotel: $300.00 (2 nights)
  • Food: $120.00 (6 meals at $20.00 a meal)
  • Total Travel Cost: $520.00 for one person
  • Aptitude Testing Fee: $850.00
  • Total Cost (Travel + Testing Fee): $1370.00

These expenses make the test less accessible for those on a tight budget or schedule. Therefore, it’s essential to factor in these additional costs when considering this option. The test’s price tag may be steep, but the unexpected travel expenses can also catch you off guard.

The AIMS Aptitude Test: The Premium Experience

AIMS is the priciest aptitude test. However, it measures the most aptitudes as well. Its strengths lie in its comprehensive testing services. Additionally, AIMS is the most remote testing center. Aspiring professionals will likely have to drive or fly to their only testing center in Dallas.

Cost of the AIMS Test

So, how much does the AIMS test cost? To take the test, you’ll need to pay $925.00. For $925, you get eight hours of testing and a detailed debrief. The test is exhaustive, often stretching over multiple days. But is the premium price tag justified? It’s a question worth pondering, especially when the financial commitment is significant. The test’s thoroughness is its selling point, but the cost may be prohibitive for some.

  • Test Fee: $925 for eight hours of testing and a debrief.
  • Duration: Can stretch over multiple days.

Time Commitment for AIMS

The AIMS test is not for the faint-hearted. It demands not just a financial investment but a significant commitment of time. The process can take up to 12 hours, spread over two or three days. For busy professionals, this could be a considerable drawback. Time is money, and AIMS demands a lot of both. Therefore, it’s crucial to consider whether you can afford both the time and the financial investment. If you’re short on either, this may not be your test.

  • Total Time: Up to 12 hours.
  • Multiple Days: Testing often stretches over two or three days.
  • Busy Schedules: This may not be suitable for those with limited time.

The Highlands Ability Battery: The Balanced Choice

Highlands offers a middle ground. The test provides a detailed aptitude assessment and career recommendations. But how does it stack up against the competition? It’s a question worth considering, especially when the cost is a significant factor in your decision. The test’s flexibility and affordability make it an attractive option for many.

Cost of Highlands Ability Battery

How much does the Highlands Ability Battery cost? The Highlands Ability Battery (HAB) costs between $450-600. You can take the test remotely, offering a more flexible option. This is a massive advantage for professionals scrambling for time. Another nice perk of the HAB is that you can break the testing into sections. This enables you to take the assessment in bite-sized chunks that fit around your schedule.

  • Test Fee: Between $450-600.
  • Remote Testing: Can be administered from the comfort of your home.
  • Comprehensive: Includes a detailed aptitude assessment and career recommendations.

Other Advantages of The Highlands Ability Battery

The Highlands test goes beyond mere aptitude assessment. It includes interactive career reports that offer data-driven recommendations. This makes it an invaluable tool for those amid a career transition. These reports provide insights into education requirements and average salaries. They equip you with the information you need to make informed decisions, making it a cost-effective choice for many. The test’s comprehensive nature and affordability make it a standout option in a crowded field.

  • Interactive Reports: Offers data-driven career recommendations.
  • Education and Salary Insights: Provides valuable information for career planning.
  • Affordable and Accessible: A cost-effective option for comprehensive analysis.

The Final Verdict: Costs vs. Benefits on Aptitude Assessments

Each test possesses merits and flaws. AIMS offers the most comprehensive analysis but at a premium price. Johnson O’Connor has a long history of excellent service, but their service needs more convenience. Highlands offers a balanced approach, both in terms of cost and the insights provided. Therefore, your choice should align with your financial capabilities and career goals. The decision should not be taken lightly; it’s a significant investment in your future.

  • AIMS: Comprehensive but expensive.
  • Johnson O’Connor: Reliable but less convenient.
  • Highlands: Balanced and affordable.

Making Your Investment Count Toward Your Career

Your choice is significant. It’s an investment in your future career path. Understanding the nuances of each aptitude test allows you to make a more informed decision. Choose the test that aligns best with your career goals and financial situation. In my practice, I administer the HAB to my clients. However, I’ve advised people who have taken one of them. They’re all wonderful assessments. This way, you ensure that your investment yields the highest possible returns regarding career satisfaction and financial stability. Your future is too important to leave to chance; make your investment count. Check the chart below to see a summary of the cost.

HAB=$500, Johnson Oconnor=$850, AIMS=$925

Conclusion: Your Career, Your Choice

The proper aptitude assessment can be a game-changer. It can provide the insights you need to make a confident career move. Each test offers something unique, so your choice should align with your needs. Make your investment count by selecting the test that provides the most comprehensive insights tailored to your career goals. In the grand tapestry of your career, this decision is a single thread—yet it could significantly influence the pattern that eventually emerges. Choose wisely; your future depends on it.


[1] Skills Change, Aptitudes Don’t., Career Vision – accessed at on 18 October 2023.

[2] Skills change, but capabilities endure., Deloitte – accessed at on 18 October 2023.

[3] Life Path: A blog dedicated to helping you chart your journey., Feduccia, Mary – accessed at on 18 October 2023.

[4] Scheduling & Cost., The Johnson O’Connor Research Foundation – accessed at on 10 October 2023.


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