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2024/2025 Mastery Guide to Ace in Aptitude Tests

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After submitting a job application to most IBanks, banks, and large companies, candidates often receive an online test or video interview as part of the selection process. Some companies, like Hang Seng Management Trainee, even require candidates to complete a personality test during the aptitude test stage to assess if their personality is a good fit for the company's environment and culture. This assessment directly impacts whether or not you receive an offer! These types of online tests, whether they assess personality, logical reasoning, numerical skills, or verbal abilities, are collectively referred to as Aptitude Tests.

1. Why are aptitude tests so important?


If you don't pass the aptitude test, even if your resume (CV) is outstanding, you won't pass the initial screening for the next stage of the selection process. On the other hand, even if your CV is not outstanding enough, if you demonstrate the ability to excel in aptitude tests, you still have a chance to proceed to the next round of interviews and compete with other candidates.


Given aptitude tests are so crucial, it is essential for you to continue reading and learn the winning strategies and techniques for different types of aptitude tests. This will enable you to confidently handle any type of test and increase your chances of receiving the desired job offer!

2. Common Apt Test Systems


Different companies adopt various apt test systems to assess students' abilities. Here are some commonly used apt test system:


  • SHL (also known as CEB/ Gartner); Companies: Hang Seng Bank, Deloitte, MTR Corporation, Barclays, PwC

  • Cut-e; Companies: UBS, Morgan Stanley

  • Talent Q; Companies: Macquarie

  • GradACE and CUBIKS; Companies: Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited (HKEx), Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC)

  • CAPP System; Companies: HSBC, Jardines
    Professional Learning Indicator (PLI) system; Companies: DBS

  • Skyrise/other game assessment system; Companies: MUFG, Standard Chartered

  • Other tailor-made systems: Oliver Wyman, Bain, McKinsey


Note: Many banks or companies may switch to different apt test systems from year to year, so the above information is for reference only. If you are unsure which apt test system a company uses, you may take a look at the test link, which usually reveals the system it is sent from.

Apt tests are mainly divided into four types: 1. Personality Test, 2. Logical Test, 3. Numerical Test, and 4. Verbal Test. Of course, different apt test systems may focus on assessing students' particular abilities, depending on the company requirements. The commonly used systems and question types in apt tests are as follows:


  • SHL

  • Cut-e

  • GradACE

  • Game Assessment

  • Personality Test



SHL is considered a relatively easy apt test system. Students need to complete a specified number of questions within a limited time. Since the questions in this system are relatively easy, most (prepared) students can complete all the questions. So, you should aim to complete all the questions!


Under the new version of SHL Talent Central, questions can be divided into three categories: Numerical, Logical Test, and Pattern Test, in which the question types and formats can be very different from the old edition. One thing to note is that Talent Central emphasizes interaction and is no longer limited to the traditional True/ False/Not Given judgment or multiple-choice (MC) questions . If students are not familiar with the new format of SHL, it is easy to make mistakes. Therefore, it is recommended that you practise various question types of SHL question formats in advance before starting the apt test!


For example, in a math question, the new SHL will provide several bar charts, and you need to move the lines of the chart based on certain conditions or expand/contract the entire chart to meet the requirements. For logical test questions, SHL no longer requires you to find the logic from five figures and infer the next figure. Instead, it asks how to transform Figure A into Figure B and then choose the correct answer from multiple options.

Aptitude Test Sample Multiple Choice
Aptitude Test Sample Statistics

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If you are interested in learning more, you can join the Free Demo and Career Advising Session.

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Offer Letter Sample


Students need to refer to six data files to complete 30 to 40 Math or English questions. You can quickly skim the content of each Cut-e data file in 30 to 45 seconds to get a general understanding. When answering the questions, you can refer to the relevant data file again to find the answers. The difficulty of Cut-e questions is not arranged in order, so the questions that appear later do not necessarily mean they are more difficult. When you encounter a question you don't understand, simply skip it and complete those you can do. If there is still remaining time, you can then go back and think about the skipped question. For the Logical Test section, Cut-e tends to test students using Sudoku puzzles. It is recommended to prepare plenty of blank paper and draw directly on the paper to save time.

Aptitude Test Sample Verbal


GradACE focuses more on students' language abilities and is considered a relatively difficult apt test. HKEX has been using the GradACE assessment system in recent years, making students who are interested in applying for HKEX doubt their abilities in the apt test! So, to pass GradACE, the most important thing is to have good numerical skills!

Aptitude Test Sample Verbal

⭕Apt Test Success Tips

1. Pay attention to scoring systems:
Different apt test systems have different scoring methods. For systems that do not deduct points for incorrect answers, such as SHL and Talent Q, you can try guessing the answers when running out of time, hoping to improve your score by luck. On the other hand, if you encounter a system that deducts points for wrong answers, especially Cut-e, you should never randomly select answers. If you don't know the answer to a question, it's better to leave it blank than to answer incorrectly.

2. Be mindful of the time limit:
Different Apt Test systems also have different time limits for answering questions. Understanding the test rules can help you pass more easily:
✅ SHL/Capp System: Although they do not explicitly state that you need to complete the test within a specified time, the system calculates your completion time behind the scenes. Therefore, it is best to complete the test as quickly as possible.
✅ Cut-e: It requires you to complete a large number of questions in a very short time. Don't expect to finish the entire test. Being able to complete about 80% of the questions accurately is already good enough.
✅ Talent Q: Each question is timed independently, so the pressure is greater.

The secrets to succeed in apt tests cannot be generalized, but it is more important to drill the questions more and learn from others' insights. HKCareers has a vast network of mentors from various professional backgrounds, including investment banks, banking, property, consulting firms, conglomerates, FMCG, and more. They can share their first-hand experience and insider tips on how to excel in apt tests, helping you pass the apt tests and hence increasing the chance of getting your desired job offers!

HKCareers has successfully helped over 2,000 students from Hong Kong and Singapore secure IB/Banking/Consulting/Conglomerate Offers in the past.

If you are interested in learning more, you can join the Free Demo and Career Advising Session.

Offer Letter Sample
Offer Letter Sample

Game Assessment

Aptitude Test Logical Questions

To put it simply, the Game Assessment is a kind of personality test. Interviews or assessment centers that last up to a few hours only may not be sufficient for employers to evaluate a candidate's personality or personal abilities. Therefore, many large companies include a personality test in their apt test or early screening stages to ensure that the individuals they hire can fit into the company culture and working environment.


Taking the Balloon Game as an example. The game instructs you to inflate balloons of different colors or patterns by pressing a button. Each inflation costs $0.05, and you can withdraw money by pressing the "Enter" key at any time. The more you inflate, the more money you earn, but the risk of bursting the balloon also increases. Once a balloon bursts, you won't earn any money, resulting in wasted effort.


Games Assessments of such kind may seem simple, and many students believe that the more money they earn, the higher their chances of passing the test. However, this perspective is only partially correct. Each color of balloon has a specific bursting point, and the design of the game is not only to test your risk management abilities, but also to evaluate your observation and learning skills. If you haven't grasped the patterns after the first 10 trials, even if you end up with a high score, it does not guarantee that you will pass this assessment.

Aptitude Test Scenario

⭕ How to Prepare for the Personality Test

The personality test is different from other logical or numerical tests. It only assesses students' tendencies when making choices or their work attitudes. There are no standard answers, and it cannot be fully prepared simply by practising from various sources. It may seem like there is no way to prepare. However, before taking the personality test, students can do some research on the background and culture of the company, getting a rough picture of what the type of person they are looking for. Then, try to answer the questions in that direction. The companies listed below may tend to favor specific types of individuals. When taking the personality test, think about how to demonstrate these aspects of your personality.

⭕Company Preferences:

✅HSBC: Banks often place a strong emphasis on compliance issues, so HSBC values integrity and honesty among candidates. When participating in any banking interview or answering behavioral questions, it is essential to think from an ethical perspective.
✅ Deloitte, KPMG: Big 4 and other large companies have numerous employees, so they highly value teamwork. Additionally, analytical skills, fast learning, and attention to details are also important factors they consider.
✅ Bloomberg: Bloomberg requires employees to have sharp analytical skills and leadership abilities.
✅ P&G: P&G tends to select flexible, innovative, agile individuals with leadership potential. If you can think out of the box and have excellent social skills, it can be an advantage.
✅ McKinsey: Similarly, McKinsey prefers individuals who are innovative, analytical, and possess leadership qualities.

HKCareers has successfully helped over 2,000 students from Hong Kong and Singapore secure IB/Banking/Consulting/Conglomerate Offers in the past.

If you are interested in learning more, you can join the Free Demo and Career Advising Session.

Offer Letter Sample
Offer Letter Sample

HKCareers tailors personalized job application strategies for university students in Hong Kong, Singapore, and the UK, targeting Management Trainee Programs, Internship Programs, and positions in Investment Banking, Banking, the Finance sector, and Consulting Firms. These strategies include improving CVs and Cover Letters, providing interview training and mock interviews, Aptitude Test question banks, detailed interview questions, and industry reports, all aimed at significantly increasing the chances of students securing a Management Trainee Offer. Since its establishment in 2014, HKCareers' professional team, consisting of over 150 experienced career consultants and industry experts, has paved the path to success for more than 2,000 students, documenting numerous successful cases.

HKCareers Offer Letter
HKCareers Offer Letter

Alumni of HKCareers share their success stories and reflections:

Aptitude Questions
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Aptitude Test Questions

HKCareers has successfully helped over 2,000 students from Hong Kong and Singapore secure IB/Banking/Consulting/Conglomerate Offers in the past.

If you are interested in learning more, you can join the Free Demo and Career Advising Session.

Offer Letter Sample
Offer Letter Sample

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