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By Karen Casanovas
For Senior Voice 

Why take aptitude tests at my age?


November 1, 2023 | View PDF

Q: I am feeling stuck in life. A counselor recommends I complete aptitude testing to help gauge my interests, preferences, etc. I’m skeptical since I’m in my 60s. How would it benefit me?

A: When people find themselves at a career crossroads, entering retirement, or perhaps yearning to make a life transition, often it is difficult to determine what future possibilities exist. In order to make choices that fit your personality, your skill set, or do what makes you happy, think of ways to turn the stumbling blocks into stepping stones. An evaluation of what tugs at you, what you’re motivated by, or what you want to learn next, can help you get “unstuck”.

One solution is to take an aptitude test. Or you could complete a behavioral assessment. Another suggestion is to conduct a summative assessment.

Aptitude analysis

Listed below are sample jobs. See what attracts you when looking at the list. Following each job title is the aptitude required for that type of work, in italics. Even if you are looking for a volunteer position, match your strengths and interests to an industry that enhances your skillset. That will ensure greater success.

Pilot, first responder, military, safety specialist. Situational judgement: ability to gauge situations and quick decision-making.

Photographer, interior designer, surveyor, chef. Diagrammatic/spatial reasoning: reach conclusions based upon diagrams or observing spaces.

Welder/pipe fitter, service technician, mechanical engineer. Mechanical reasoning: knowledge of physical concepts and ability to evaluate technical situations.

Musician, dancer, artist. Abstract: problem-solving abilities to create abstract objects or themes and identify relationships between abstract elements.

Researcher, strategist, politician. Numerical: numbers, math and data strengths, layered problem-solving skills; an ability to turn data into useable information.

Language translator, leadership role, author. Verbal: capacity for language, reading comprehension and vocabulary.

Psychologist, lawyer, scientist, software engineer. Logical: recognize patterns and sequences and identify relationships between objects, people, numbers or data.

Statistician, sports analyst, athlete. Inductive reasoning: analysis of data and patterns; examines ways to improve performance.

Accountant, bookkeeper, recorder of information (court room, front desk or office clerk). Clerical: concentration, attention to detail, focus, accuracy.

Behavioral assessment

The Predictive Index measures the four key behavioral drives of Dominance, Patience, Extroversion, and Personality. These behavioral drivers are called factors. Each factor is categorized by one of four groups: Analytical, Social, Stabilizing, or Persistent.

Analytical: Strategist, controller, venturer (more extroverted, low patience, problem-solver, risk taker).

Social: Collaborator, persuader, promoter (outgoing, seeks harmony, freedom from structure, self-driven).

Stabilizing: Adapter, artisan, guardian (less dominant, high patience, steady, helpful, prefers formality).

Persistent: Individualist, scholar (self-confident, drives change, methodical, independent, introspective, deliberate).

By determining whether you like to be in control, or are more adaptive, or your behavior tends to be steady and helpful versus methodical and independent, a behavioral assessment can predict what careers or opportunities in life will provide the most satisfaction.

Summative assessment

The final example takes a more academic approach. Determine your overall learning progress and achievement, evaluate the effectiveness of educational programs to date, measure your progress toward personal goals, and use that information to make future self-improvement decisions.

You could consider OLÉ courses (Opportunities for Lifelong Education), learning in a group setting either in person or online:

Coursera, free world-wide courses:

Master classes, access to thousands of bite-sized lessons:

Moving forward

Whichever way you choose to assess your interests, motivation and learning style, find jobs or volunteerism in areas that suit your personality and behavioral traits. That way your personal values and expectations are more likely to be met. You may discover a sense of purpose, meet new friends, increase your social skills, improve self-esteem, experience a sense of community, and even add fun to your life. All are terrific benefits that move toward thriving in a mental state where you now feel vigorous and energized—instead of stuck.

Karen Casanovas, PCC, CPCC, CLIPP is a health, wellness and Predictive Index professional coach practicing in Anchorage. If you have questions, write to her at


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