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Why use the Thomas Aptitude assessment?

Measuring the aptitude of a candidate helps you to understand if that individual will be able to quickly grasp the requirements of a role, whether they are able to learn quickly and solve problems in different scenarios.

This insight makes it easier to select the right candidate for a role by placing an objective filter on their ability, regardless of their IQ score, qualifications, and past experience. That’s not to say that these are unimportant, but they’re not the best predictor of potential performance in a role. Research by the American Psychology Association inc. Frank L. Schmidt & John E. Hunter (1998) reviewed 85 years of research. They found that higher cognitive ability, or aptitude as it is also called, as measured by the Thomas Aptitude assessment, is more directly linked to higher employee productivity and performance in a role than experience. When you combine that with insight into a candidate’s personality and behaviour, and use structured interviews, you’ve a much better chance of finding your next top performer. 

When you’re facing a skills gap and those with the right skills can’t be found or are too expensive to hire, hiring a candidate that can quickly learn the skills needed can help you reduce not just hiring costs, but also the time to hire.

How the aptitude test works

The Thomas Aptitude assessment measures an individual's aptitude in 5 key areas; Reasoning, Perceptual Speed, Number Speed & Accuracy, Word Meaning and Spatial Visualisation.


5 Online Assessments

The Thomas Aptitude assessment consists of 5 online tests, including reasoning, perceptual speed, number speed and accuracy, word meaning and spatial visualisation

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Detailed Understanding

Gain a detailed understanding of a person’s mental capacity and how quickly they can grasp a new role/regime


Understand General Intelligence

The overall percentile is an estimate of a candidate's general intelligence, while focusing on their response to training, mental processing speed, concentration and fast track potential.

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Assessment Information

  • Assessment Type: Aptitude

  • Format: 5 assessments

  • Time to complete: 30-45 minutes

  • Training required: None


The Thomas Personality assessment has been extensively validated and optimised for workplace applications following psychometric research with thousands of participants with the acquired data being subject to advanced statistical methods.

Click below to download a sample candidate profile from the Thomas Perform platform

Background & Theory

The Thomas Aptitude assessment (also known as the General Intelligence Assessment, or GIA), was developed over 15 years by Dr Peter Dann in the Human Assessment Laboratory at the University of Plymouth. Thomas integrated the assessment into its product suite in 2006.

Intelligence has been defined as having fluid and crystallised components (Horn & Cattell, 1966):

Fluid Intelligence (pure processing speed) – basic intellectual processes of manipulating abstract concepts, generalisations and logical relationships (Carroll, 1993). Fluid intelligence is used to solve new problems, use logic in new situations and identify patterns. Crystallised Intelligence (learnt factors) –verbal, mechanical, and numerical ability etc. Crystallised intelligence is the ability to use learned knowledge and experience.

The Aptitude assessment is designed and theoretically underpinned by Carroll's taxonomy/classification of cognitive abilities components of 'g', which is general intelligence (Spearman's & others' general factor of mental performance). However, the assessment is concerned much more with fluid intelligence and the use of procedural rather than declarative knowledge, by measuring elementary cognitive abilities (perceptual speed, verbal reasoning etc.). This assesses what we have termed trainability rather than 'IQ'.

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The Aptitude assessment looks at an individual's speed of processing information and ability to learn and develop new skills. The General Intelligence Assessment is used for a variety of purposes: recruitment, retention, development, management, identifying training needs, career guidance, succession planning and benchmarking.

The Aptitude assessment was first developed as a way to measure cognitive abilities and trainability of Armed Forces known as the British Army Recruitment Battery (BARB). As the assessment continued to develop, the Human Assessment Laboratory used the potential of computer technology to pioneer the research and development of item-generation whereby test items are automatically produced to create an extremely large number of different but equivalent forms of the same test (Irvine, Dann & Anderson, 1990). GIA, along with a paper-based version, was developed from the same theoretical principles and resources as BARB. Thomas International integrated the paper-based version into its product suite in 1993 and GIA in 2006.

Download the factsheet to learn how the Thomas Aptitude assessment can help you better understand the learning speed and trainability of your people

Format of the Aptitude test

The Thomas Aptitude assessment consists of five online tests of simple cognitive abilities (i.e. abilities that rely on processes such as thought, language, decision making, learning and memory).

Each of the five tests has one type of task and all the questions in a given test are of an equal level of difficulty. The individual's score is then determined by the speed and accuracy of their responses. Scores are then compared to a sample population (the norm group) to determine whether the scores are lower, higher or in-line with the majority of that population.

Although the overall score measures 'trainability', each of the five tests measures a specific cognitive function (detailed below):



The Thomas Aptitude assessment consists of 5 online tests, including reasoning, perceptual speed, number speed and accuracy, word meaning and spatial visualisation


Perceptual Speed

This test measures the perception of inaccuracies in written material, numbers and diagrams, the ability to ignore irrelevant information, the ability to recognise similarities and differences, and error checking. It tests the speed of semantic encoding and comparison.


Number Speed and Accuracy

This is a test of numerical manipulation and a measure of basic numerical reasoning ability. It measures the degree to which an individual can work comfortably with quantitative concepts.


Word Meaning

This test assesses word knowledge and vocabulary. It assesses the comprehension of a large number of words from different parts of speech and the ability to identify the words that have similar or opposite meanings. It assesses the ability to work in environments where a clear understanding of written or spoken instructions is required.


Spatial Visualisation

This test measures the ability to create and manipulate mental images of objects. This test correlates with tests of mechanical reasoning, and assesses an individual’s ability to use mental visualisation skills to compare shapes. It relates to the ability to work in environments where visualisation skills are required to understand and execute tasks.

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