What makes someone good at a particular task with or without training can be termed as aptitude. These skills, or abilities can be innate or acquired over the years. A child whose first language was not English, yet she picked it up over the years and uses it equally well just as her first language, can prove that the child had an aptitude for learning languages fast. Aptitude can be further simplified by dividing it in various abilities which include readiness to learn or a positive orientation towards a particular skill. These abilities are either innate, hidden, never explored, or can be acquired with age. For example, people who appreciate music, particularly singing, may not be good singers, to begin with. However, they learn and pick up that skill over time. Factors such as interest, exposure, and motivation contribute a lot to building an individual’s aptitude. Training could be another powerful factor. Students preparing for competitive exams may not clear or score well at the very first attempt, however with coaching and feedback they improve over time. However, someone not good at mathematics may never understand the concepts of calculation even with coaching and training. The term aptitude is often used as a negative term as well when it is used to describe a person’s intelligence. Not possessing an aptitude for subjects such as mathematics or chemistry is often termed as ‘not being intelligent’. Students pursuing subjects such as humanities or language are often considered as ‘not-so-bright’ by the society. It boils down to the marketability of an individual’s skills. People are normally drawn to subjects and things that can fetch them a good and stable job. We see many cases around us where students are not good at a particular stream of subjects, yet they keep at it with the objective of finally getting a good job for most of the aptitude tests conducted by the universities or companies normally looks for the clichéd skill set.
Memory, age, and environment also contribute to aptitude building. Reading is one interest that some people pick up quite late at life, especially reading a religious text, which could be due to a changing spiritual inclination. On a lighter note, the example of aged people struggling with the fast changing technology could be funny. An old lady who earlier couldn’t learn to switch on the television properly can now use mobile phone applications such as WhatsApp and Facebook easily. There is an undeniable pleasure involved in skills that we pick up accidently or out of sheer interest. Whereas some may never learn to calculate or solve a puzzle in their entire life.
Is there anyone reliable test that can measure the intelligence of a person?
The invention of Intelligence measuring tests is yet another way to separate or filter one type of people from the bigger lot. We first need to understand the idea or objective behind such tests. People are born with different abilities and capabilities and those who identify and acknowledge them early in life, usually benefit from it. The conventional IQ tests which eventually became a household name were definitely a revolutionary idea to showcase what a human mind is capable of, however, later the very test became the symbol of limiting the other abilities of people who couldn’t count, memorize or recollect a certain piece of information. However, we can’t ignore the fact that such tests made it easier for people to in-cash on their abilities and get jobs, recognition, and fame due to their abilities. Such intelligence measuring tests also make selection and distinction easy. A farmer may not be able to calculate, read or recite text but he knows about the science of harvesting and use smart strategies to grow a better harvest. Though his intelligence is limited to a particular skill yet he is, intelligent.
With the changing times, educational institutes and employers are also adopting the trend of conducting Psychometric Tests to also check whether a person scores well on emotional and behavioral aspects as well. Helping people to come out of conflict, having impeccable convincing power, running a successful sales campaign can also be an example of acute intelligence. Though intelligence measuring tests these days include measuring memory, reasoning, attention, and planning as well as information on the test takers’ background and lifestyle. It all still boils down to the fact that these tests only determine the marketability of skills.
Language related tests such as IELTS and TOEFL make it easier for universities or countries to assess whether the test taker could survive in a foreign (English speaking) land, or could understand the medium of teaching in a particular university. Here, other intelligence abilities of an individual such as the singing of gardening will not help. Hence, such intelligence measuring tests are unavoidable needs of our times.