High school students are at a stage in their lives when they have to decide upon a career path. For most, it is a time riddled with confusion with so many career options to choose from. The need to take into account several factors can make the process of choosing a career a daunting task. At this juncture, taking a career test is seen to help. In fact, this is the ideal time for students to take a career test because it helps them gain a direction about the kind of career to take up. These tests are specially designed to evaluate the intelligence, aptitudes, interests, inclinations, and personality of a student.
In the following sections of this article, we will help you understand why these tests are important, and give you examples of some of the tests commonly used for this purpose.
What the Tests Include
Career tests are specially designed to understand the level of intelligence, the kind of personality, varied interests, and aptitudes of a student; which when combined with an interview by a career counselor help a student to shortlist those careers that seem to be the most suitable in terms of strengths and weaknesses, preferred lifestyle, social environment, growth in a career, the consequent possibility of success, and thereby happiness in life.
Career tests help identify the varied factors mentioned above. This becomes important because different jobs require different levels of intelligence. Some courses require higher levels of intelligence as compared to others. Similarly, certain jobs are better suited for certain personality types. For example, an outgoing person will fare better in an event planning job which requires one to be open and outgoing. A career test will help identify the same.
As far as interests are concerned, sometimes there are hidden or latent interests which are revealed only through a test. Along with that, there are different capacities that a person possesses which are evaluated by an aptitude test -- these capacities include mechanical aptitude, numerical aptitude, spatial aptitude, verbal aptitude, clerical aptitude, kinesthetic aptitude, aptitude for music, sports and so on. When a person has an aptitude in a particular area, the person benefits most when training is imparted, therefore, it becomes important for a student to take a career test because it will throw light on his strong areas and help him choose a direction to take.
Interpretation of the Tests and After
Once the tests are administered, their interpretation becomes important. However, training is required for scoring and interpretation. Hence it is necessary to answer these tests with a professional career counselor. Generally, these scores are combined with an in-depth interview to understand the other crucial aspects required for making the right career choices. At the end of such a session, the student is able to shortlist 3-5 career choices which are placed in a ranking order, and he can thus start planning how to go about preparing for the same. Accordingly, a student can then choose certain courses for studying, or prepare for answering a competitive entrance exam.
The counselor is also able to provide additional information regarding these courses, like the institutions in which they are conducted, the fee structure, duration of the course, as well as details of an exam such as whether they are conducted annually or bi-annually, around which month, mode of payment and so on.
A career test, therefore, provides helpful guidelines for a high school student for whom it may not be possible to make objective assessments about oneself. In fact, many times it is not possible for parents to objectively assess their children either. For one, they do not have updated information about careers (new careers are added everyday. For example, cyber law or environmental science are fairly new additions to the career market), and two, they might let their personal choices influence their decision. That is where career tests help because they are scientifically designed and therefore provide reliable and valid information. They are standardized tools of measurement.
The Advent of Computers
With the advances in technology, most of these tests have been converted into computer tests. This works out effectively and efficiently -- both in terms of administering the tests and evaluating them.
In interactive computer systems, the individual is in direct contact with the computer by means of response stations -- in effect, the individual engages in a dialog with the computer. This technique has been studied with regard to the educational aspects, career planning, and decision-making. In this, test scores are usually incorporated in the computer database along with the other information provided by the student or client. Essentially, the computer combines all the available information about the individual and the stored data on educational programs and occupations, and utilizes all the relevant facts in answering the individual's questions, thereby aiding him/her in reaching decisions. An example of such interactive computer systems is the System for Interactive Guidance Information (SIGI). In use for over a decade in colleges and universities, this system was subsequently updated and revised to serve not only students, but also adults preparing to re-enter the job market, or those considering career changes or career advancements.
Types of Career Tests
The following are the different types of career tests that are in use, with examples of the same.
- Wechsler Intelligence Scales
- Raven's Advanced Progressive Matrices (RPM)
- Multidimensional Aptitude Battery-II
- Differential Aptitude Test Battery
- 16PF Questionnaire
- R.B. Cattell and Cattell
- Vocational Interest Record
- Educational Interest Record
This article emphasizes the importance of why career tests are an essential tool in today's society. However, hard work and consistent efforts are equally important in order to reach great heights in one's career.