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Can career aptitude tests help you decide what you want to do?

I have taken three aptitude tests since Grade 8 – one for careers class, one for science class and one for English class – and my answers were different every time because they were based on my attitude during those years of my life.

In Grade 8, the career aptitude test told me I should do something in the medical field, but I I didn’t want to go near any career that might involve the medical industry.  This still hasn’t changed for me, four years later; I still believe a medical career would bore me and I just wouldn’t enjoy it.

In Grade 9, another test said I should do something that involves business. While I really didn’t like the idea at the time, I now want to take business in University, no matter what career I end up in.  I know it will come in useful, as many industries require it.

Finally, in Grade 10, I took yet another career aptitude test and it told me I should be an interior designer. I really enjoy visual arts, so when I saw that result I was really pleased and I could see myself doing a job like that!

The results of the two most recent tests, I have found, reflect most accurately what I would like to do in the near future.  I haven’t decided completely, however I know that I want to incorporate business and visual arts into a career for myself.

I’m still not entirely sure what I would like to do after high school.  I know that I am headed toward business and visual arts, however I am not sure what direct path to take.  To be honest, the aptitude tests did not really help me all that much.

I never wanted to do something in a medical career, so it didn’t give me the right advice there. And I’ve made my decision to continue on in business based on how much I actually enjoyed the subject, not because the test result showed it would be a good fit for me.

I think students who are planning to take a career aptitude test should not rely on it.  It’s good to see what career would be good for you, however it’s not always accurate. I recommend taking more than just one test and if you get careers that are in completely different industries, it can be a wake up call.

You need to first figure out what you really enjoy doing.  If you truly know where your strengths lie and what you are passionate about, no aptitude test can contradict that. So before starting your career based on a a test, I recommend that you just follow your gut instinct!

Written by

Natasha Alli is currently in her first year in the Honours Arts and Business Co-op program at the University of Waterloo in Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario, pursuing a major in French and a minor in Spanish. She enjoys working with children, yet is also very drawn towards the world of business and loves aesthetics, particularly make-up artistry. Upon completion of her program, she hopes to own a cosmetics business,but as the world of business is quite unpredictable, she has an alternative career option of French teaching.

One comment

  1. December 3, 2009 at 1:25 pm

    I took quite a few career aptitude tests in high school, both in school and online on my own time, and I don’t think any of them could have fully prepared me for a career. I was really artistic growing up, so it would often tell me I should be a fine artist. Sounded great, but I was worldly enough as a teen to have heard the term “starving artist” before. No thanks!

    So, ultimately, I went with what I knew: journalism. I re-started our dinky little school newspaper and ran it almost singlehandedly, and based on that experience I thought I was destined to be a reporter or editor.

    I really think the high school curriculum should include more in-depth career preparation than just aptitude tests, however. Students would be much better served by internships or short-term job shadowing, or even guest speakers coming in to talk about their career paths.


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