What is a Capp style numerical test?
Numerical reasoning tests are one of several types of aptitude tests used by employers in the early stages of recruitment. Designed to measure a candidate’s natural talent for working with numerical information, they help recruiters narrow down the applicant pool to those that show the greatest potential.
Cappfinity (also known as Capp) is a well-known publisher of such tests.
Like all numerical reasoning tests, Capp’s version looks at your ability to interpret and draw conclusions from data sets, presented in various forms such as tables, charts and graphs. However, there are some key differences to be aware of.
Capp’s numerical test is strengths-based, showing an employer the maximum level of complexity you’re able to handle. It does this by using an adaptive approach, where the difficulty of each question is based on how well you did on the one before.
There is no time limit to a Capp test - though speed is factored into your score - and you’ll also come across different question types including multiple choice, ranking questions and free form text boxes.
The unique format of the Capp assessment requires a slightly different test-taking strategy. Follow the tips below to ace your Capp numerical reasoning test.
1. Brush up on your basic maths skills
While the Capp numerical reasoning test is not a maths exam, it does require a level of mathematical skill, since to successfully interpret the data presented you’ll often have to manipulate it in some way.
Spend some time practicing basic arithmetic - i.e. addition, subtraction, division and multiplication - and revise number representations. Focus on percentages, decimals, ratios, fractions and averages, how they relate to one another, and how to apply basic arithmetic to them.
The more confident you are in your mathematical ability the more you can focus on the crux of each question. Improving your maths skills will also help you solve problems at speed.
2. Take plenty of practice numerical reasoning tests
Just as you would for any other type of assessment or exam, make practice tests a regular part of your preparation. There are several benefits you’ll gain from this.
First, you’ll become increasingly familiar with the nature of numerical reasoning tests. The questions on these tests are unlike anything you may have come across before. They ask you to work out the meaning of data in a practical sense, which can take some getting used to.
Second, the more you practice the quicker you’ll become. This is key, since the time you spend on each question affects your score. Finally, you’ll identify weaknesses in your skill set that you can work to improve.
3. Read the test instructions and questions carefully
As Capp uses a variety of question types in its numerical reasoning test, it’s especially important to scrutinize the instructions of each to make sure you fully understand what is being asked of you.
This is particularly true of ranking questions, which ask you to order a series of answers based on certain criteria, for example, highest to lowest percentage profit. Confusing the ranking order is one of the quickest ways to lose marks.
It’s equally important to read each question carefully. As there is no time limit, Capp often uses more complex language and may purposefully include irrelevant details to distract you.
4. Know how to use your calculator
In the majority of cases, you’ll take your Capp numerical reasoning test remotely, which means you’ll be using your own equipment - including your calculator. Get to know this inside out ahead of your test date.
Make sure you’re familiar with its layout and how to use all the relevant functions, like brackets for multi-stage calculations for example. This will help calm your nerves and shave precious seconds off your response times.
If you don’t have a calculator of your own, borrow one ahead of time and use it in your practice tests.
5. Try to balance speed with accuracy
It’s true that you have as long as you need to complete the Capp numerical test, but that doesn't mean you should slow your pace right down. Remember, the speed at which you answer a question matters to your score.
Try to find an ideal balance - you don’t want to rush through and miss key details, but you also don’t want indecisiveness to eat into your time.
Practice tests should help you with this. Take them under timed conditions to get an idea of the average time spent on each correctly answered question and use this as a benchmark. If you think you have the right answer within that time frame don’t second guess yourself. Trust your abilities and move on.
6. Double-check your answers
As vital as it is to find that balance between speed and accuracy, it’s also important to do a quick sanity check before submitting an answer.
For multiple choice questions, Capp will often present options that are misleadingly similar and it’s easy to fall foul of this without close attention to detail. Free form questions, where you type your own answer into a text box, are particularly important to double-check as an inaccurate keystroke can cost you dearly.
7. Take the test in the right environment
As the Capp numerical test is administered online you can take it wherever you choose - just be sure to pick a suitable environment.
It needs to be quiet and free from any potential distractions so you can fully focus on the task at hand. It should also have a stable internet connection - preferably wired - to limit the risk of you losing your test session before it’s complete.
Make sure the only tab you have open is the one for your Capp test and, if using your own computer, temporarily mute notifications like email and social media alerts. The last thing you want is something popping up unexpectedly and diverting your attention.
8. Remember the test is adaptive
For most numerical reasoning tests, the general advice when you’re stuck on a question is to take your best guess and move on. This is because you won’t lose marks for an incorrect answer, you’re working against a time limit, and the questions moving forward may be easier for you.
Also, as most tests only use multiple choice questions you have a one in four or five chance of getting it right.
This is not the case with the Capp test. If you’re stuck on a question here it’s an indication that you’ve reached your maximum capability. The variety of question types also limits the potential for lucky guesswork.
You’ll need to do your best to work out the right answer but don’t be disappointed when you reach your limit. The test is designed to show an employer the extent of your numerical ability, and what you’ve achieved may well be more than enough.
9. Don’t neglect physical preparation
It’s all well and good putting in the test practice and brushing up on your skills, but if you’re not at your best on the day your performance will suffer.
You need to be alert and focused to succeed on your Capp numerical test, and that means getting a good night's sleep, eating a balanced meal and keeping yourself hydrated.
These things are all too often overlooked, but as they can have a significant impact on your cognitive function they’re an important part of test preparation.
10. Stay calm
It’s perfectly normal to feel apprehensive about pre-employment testing, and a little nervous energy can actually prove beneficial. Don’t let stress get the better of you though as it can quickly spiral out of control and throw you completely off track.
Practice breathing techniques that help you stay calm and remind yourself that this is only one part of the selection process.
Your future does not rest solely on the results of your Capp numerical test, and if you’ve followed the steps above you’ve prepared yourself as best as you possibly can.