A student’s college education is worth planning for, and career aptitude tests can help. Advanced aptitude tests allow students to know with certainty the professional tasks that come easiest to them. This data’s worth its weight in gold when students prepare for their college and for their careers. Afterall, college is expensive, and the prices of tuition only grow larger each year.
Because of the expense, fewer parents are willing to play their student’s college by ear. Not only is college expensive, but it’s time-consuming. Four years is a long time to do anything. But it’s an even longer time to do something wrong. Aptitude tests (if you take the right one) reduce the chances of students picking a major they’re not wired for. So, if that’s of interest to you, keep reading.
What is an aptitude test?
We’ve written much on this subject. Suffice it to say that aptitude tests measure natural abilities. By natural abilities, we don’t mean skills, interests, or personalities. Abilities (or aptitudes) are cognitive dispositions that predispose students to excel at certain tasks. Hence, an aptitude test measures aptitudes, or the natural abilities a student has in a particular task-oriented arena.
The main difference between aptitudes and skills is this. Skills are learned; aptitudes are not learned. Unlike skills, we wake up with our aptitudes just as we wake up with two eyes, a nose, and two legs. Similarly, just as longer legs might predispose you to be a distance runner and shorter legs a sprinter, aptitudes predispose you to perform optimally in specific professional fields.
Where can I take an aptitude test?
This begs the question, if aptitude testing is useful, then “where can I take an aptitude test?”
Contrary to mountains of misinformation on the internet, Aptitude tests can’t be taken anywhere. If you search the word “aptitude test” or “aptitude test for high school students” on google, you’ll likely find hundreds of scammy personality tests, not aptitude tests. So, if you’re in the market for a real aptitude test, you have two options.
Take An Aptitude Test Remotely
Taking an aptitude test remotely remains your most convenient option. To take a career aptitude test remotely, you’ll want to take the Highlands Ability Battery (HAB). In my view, the HAB is the golden standard for aptitude testing. Here’s why you might want to take the Highlands Ability Battery over using an aptitude testing center like AIMS or the Johnson O’Connor Foundation. The HAB measures the vast majority of the aptitudes that research centers measure. And yet, there are a host of other benefits that come with taking the HAB (see below).
- Least Expensive
- Ability to break up the test into multiple sessions instead of all at once
- Access to an Aptitude Specialist (even after the test is taken)
- Interactive Reports for Easier Career Research
A key benefit of the HAB is that only a certified aptitude specialist can administer it. Each HAB consultant must undergo rigorous training to become fluent with aptitude testing technology and content. What’s great about that is that students and parents have access to the consultant after they get your test results. This consultant can further guide parents and students on using their aptitude testing results to plan for college.
Travel to an Aptitude Research Center
Your next option is to travel to an aptitude research center. If you want to use an aptitude testing research center, you have two options:
- The Johnson O’Connor Foundation OR
- Aims Aptitude Testing Center
Both centers provide reliable aptitude testing. However, both have unique strengths and limitations as well. Both require you to travel to their locations, and both are similarly priced just below $1000 USD. If you’d like to use an aptitude testing research center, follow this guide to pick which one best fits your needs.
Johnson O’Connor Foundation
The Johnson O’Connor Foundation is known as the progenitor of aptitude testing. Their research is what the HAB and the AIMS aptitude tests are adapted from. Longevity is the Johnson O’Connor Foundation’s main strength. With an entire century of aptitude testing experience under its belt, it’s been in the aptitude testing game the longest.
Where do I take the Johnson O’Connor Aptitude Test?
To take the Johnson O’Connor test, you’ll need to travel to their testing center in Dallas. Or, you can go to one of their other centers or affiliate centers. Below is a list of all the Johnson O’Connor locations:
List of All the Johnson O’Connor locations
- Austin, TX
- Atlanta, GA
- Boca Raton, FL
- Boston, MA
- Chicago, IL
- Dallas, TX
- Denver, CO
- Houston, TX
- Los Angeles, CA
- New York, NY
- Mint Hill, NC
- San Francisco, CA
- Seattle, WA
- Washington D.C.
If you don’t live in one of these cities, you’ll need to make arrangements to one of their centers.
How much does the Johnson O’Connor Cost?
Their testing is more expensive since it’s administered manually and not with technology. Thus, at $850, it’s the second most expensive. However, they’ve been at the aptitude testing game the longest. So, if you want to get aptitude testing from the progenitors in the industry and are willing to travel to one of their locations, they’re a great option.
AIMS Aptitude Testing
AIMS, the other aptitude testing center option, has one key benefit. The AIMS organization uses its resources for college to career planning. As a college prep consultant, I greatly appreciate the work this organization does for its students. Furthermore, they make their data available to the public for students to use in their college planning.
Their aptitude test is practically identical to the Johnson O’Connor. AIMS only has one location in Dallas, TX. So, if you want to take their aptitude assessment, you’ll need to make plans to travel to Dallas.
While they’re the most expensive testing center ($925.00), I would use AIMS over Johnson O’Connor. I’m not claiming that Johnson O’Connor sells an inferior product. AIMS just has more resources to help parents and students plan for college than Johnson O’Connor.
Should You Use an Aptitude Testing Research Center or Take an Aptitude Test Remotely?
To answer this question, it ultimately depends on what you want from an aptitude test. Additionally, I’m a Highlands Ability Battery Consultant, so my opinion is far from unbiased. However, for most families, taking the HAB aptitude test remotely makes the most sense for the families I work with. Here’s why:
The HAB offers superior reports to the AIMS and Johnson O’Connor. The HABs reports are interactive. The HAB uses data from ONET, the Department of Labor’s database on career occupations. This means that when the HAB recommends a career for you, you can click on that career and learn the following:
Career Data on HAB Report
- Average Salary of Career
- Availability or Saturation of Job
- Education Requirements
- Skills Requirements
All this organized data streamlines your career research. It effectively cuts your career planning time in half. While the AIMS and Johnson O’Connor offer aptitude reports, they don’t have the accessible career data the Highlands Ability Battery has.
There are two more benefits the HAB provides. First, taking the HAB is the most affordable. My team and I charge $500.00 for a HAB, while the Johnson O’Connor costs $850, and the AIMS costs $925. Second, taking the HAB doesn’t require families to drive to an aptitude testing location. Students have the flexibility of completing the aptitude test on a laptop or desktop computer. For most families, this eliminates a weekend of travel time and expenses. Thus, we believe the Highlands Ability Battery is the best aptitude test for high school students.
So, you have your answer to the question, “Where can I take an aptitude test?”
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 O’Connor, Johnson. “History.” Johnson O’Connor Research Foundation, https://www.jocrf.org/about/history/. Accessed 19 November 2022.
 Johnson O’Connor Foundation. “Locations Archive.” Johnson O’Connor Research Foundation, https://www.jocrf.org/locations/. Accessed 19 November 2022.
 “News & Resources — AIMS.” AIMS, AIMS, https://www.aimstesting.org/news-resources. Accessed 19 November 2022.