YouScience Aptitude & Career Discovery FAQs

Here are the top frequently asked questions about YouScience Aptitude & Career Discovery aptitude-based career guidance. Get a PDF version.

Q. What is YouScience Aptitude and Career Discovery?

A. YouScience Aptitude & Career Discovery is the only aptitude-based college and career guidance solution available. It lets students take a series of brain game-like exercises to discover their aptitudes and interests and the careers best suited for both. Unlike interest-only college-and-career readiness solutions, Aptitude & Career Discovery uncovers abilities someone may not have been aware of and careers they’ll excel at but may never have considered.

Q. How does YouScience Aptitude & Career Discovery help prepare students for post-secondary education or careers?

A. Once students discover best-fit careers, Aptitude & Career Discovery shows education pathways to qualify for those careers — whether certifications, colleges, or both. They can access YouScience Industry Certifications used by their school in career and technical education (CTE) programs. They also access real employers with in-demand internships, work-based learning opportunities, and jobs who want and need their skills, education, and aptitudes.

Q. How can CTE and school counselors use YouScience Aptitude & Career Discovery to help students prepare for education or careers?

A. Educators access reporting built into Aptitude & Career Discovery to guide students’ career development and education pathways, including CTE pathways for more than 200 certifications in all National Career Clusters, and more.

Q. What is an aptitude?

A. An aptitude is an individual’s natural ability to learn or perform in given areas. Aptitudes are not the same as interests, personality, or learned skills, which are environmentally dependent and change over time. For example, someone can’t be interested in something they’ve never been exposed to, but aptitudes are innate and solidify by the age of 14. Someone is good at something that is innate regardless of exposure.

Q. What value does an aptitude assessment offer students, educators, and businesses?

A. Assessing aptitudes eliminates biases. It shows students what they’re naturally able to do well regardless of gender, race, age, economic status, or life experiences. When students know what they’re suited to do, they can take the right course and pick the right careers. That can positively affect student engagement and graduation rates. It can also increase college graduation rates and reduce the number of times a student changes majors, reducing individual college costs.

Knowing students’ aptitudes can help educators quickly guide students; drive equality, including by identifying non-traditional students for under-represented pathways; and more.

When students know their aptitudes and follow the right career pathways, it helps employers hire those best suited to a job and more likely to stay.

Q. What makes Aptitude & Career Discovery better than other college and career readiness solutions?

A. Aptitude & Career Discovery is the only aptitude-based college and career readiness solution available. Most career-guidance tools assess only interests. But people can only be interested in careers they know about — usually those they see on social media or in movies. They might assume they can’t do other careers due to cultural or familial biases.

But anonymized results from students who’ve taken Aptitude & Career Discovery show that students’ aptitudes for in-demand careers are often much higher than their interests and vice versa. One report found that female high school students have more than 4x the aptitude than interest for careers in architecture and engineering while male students have more than 1.8x the aptitude than interest for these careers.

What’s more, in Aptitude & Career Discovery, once students discover their aptitudes, they find 500 in-demand careers from O*NET OnLine and see how those careers align with their own aptitudes and interests. Aptitude & Career Discovery reveals the educational pathways to qualify for those careers — whether through certifications, post-secondary schooling, or both. And it shows students real employers with in-demand internships, work-based learning, and in-demand jobs that need their skills, education, and aptitudes.

Users keep access to their Aptitude & Career Discovery results for 10 years.

And educators access a suite of reports to quickly guide students to the right classes, careers, and colleges and create equity in CTE programs.

Q. What’s the difference between an aptitude and an interest?

A. Interests depend on what someone knows and is exposed to. Someone can’t be interested in something they’ve never been exposed to or experienced. For instance, someone who’s never gone skiing may think it sounds interesting but find it uninteresting after experiencing it. They’d never know that without going skiing.

Q. What aptitudes does Aptitude & Career Discovery measure?

A. Aptitude & Career Discovery measures nine aptitudes that are key to career performance: idea generation, numerical reasoning, spatial visualization, sequential reasoning, inductive reasoning, visual comparison speed, timeframe orientation, vocabulary, and work approach. 

Aptitude & Career Discovery also includes five added optional brain games to let users assess their aptitudes for numerical computation, associative memory, hand-eye coordination, visual memory, and pattern memory, and amplify their career matches.

Q. How does Aptitude & Career Discovery determine aptitudes?

A. Aptitude & Career Discovery uses brain game-like exercises to assess aptitudes. YouScience adapted select measures from the Ball Aptitude Battery to create the algorithms used in Aptitude & Career Discovery. The exercises used in Aptitude & Career Discovery are based on more than 50 years of scientific research on aptitudes.

Q. How does Aptitude & Career Discovery match someone’s aptitudes to a career?

A. Aptitude & Career Discovery uses a proprietary algorithm to match aptitudes and interests with careers based on the best fit between the individual’s aptitudes and the aptitudes that are most important for a career.

To determine which aptitudes are most important for each career, YouScience partners with experts in job performance and uses the US Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration’s O*NET career database.

Aptitude & Career Discovery algorithmically combines several sources of information to translate the tasks or requirements of each career into an aptitude profile that reflects a successful fit for that career. This aptitude profile is then matched against a student’s aptitude profile to show best-fit careers where the student will naturally be most successful.

Q. How does personality differ from aptitudes?

A. Personality is the unique thinking patterns, feelings, and behaviors of a person. Introversion and extroversion are personality traits for example. Both are largely innate. Aptitude is what someone can naturally do well while personality is how someone behaves or interacts with the world. Personality matters in a career, but it doesn’t predict someone’s ability to do the work needed for a specific job.


Q. How are skills different than aptitudes?

A. Skills and knowledge are learned. For example, someone learns to weld or play the piano or about history. Aptitude can affect how quickly or easily someone learns a skill. But unless someone is a savant, a period of learning is needed to acquire a skill.

Q. What's the best age to take an aptitude assessment?

A. Aptitudes solidify by the age of 14. Taking an aptitude assessment at 14 or older gives someone a complete picture of their aptitudes.

YouScience offers a version of Aptitude & Career Discovery for middle school students to take in the 7th and 8th grades. It measures five aptitudes and shows students career clusters that align with their aptitudes.

The full Aptitude & Career Discovery experience is used for students in 9th grade and beyond when aptitudes are set. This gives individuals a solid picture of their aptitudes and how they apply to best-fit careers.

Q. How long does the Aptitude & Career Discovery assessment take to complete?

A. The assessment portion of the full Aptitude & Career Discovery product for 9th graders and beyond includes a total of 11 4- to 15-minute exercises. It takes roughly 90 minutes to complete, though some people complete it more quickly.

Q. How can someone study for the assessment?

A. The goal of Aptitude & Career Discovery is to assess natural aptitudes and see how those aptitudes align to careers where you can naturally perform well and that you’ll enjoy. Studying won’t impact your natural abilities and isn’t recommended. Similarly, it’s important not to cheat or use external aids on the assessment.

Studying or cheating the algorithms is difficult, but it also can put your at risk of ending up pursuing a career you’re not suited to do well in, which can lead to frustration and dissatisfaction.

For example, during the spatial visualization assessment, if someone folds a real piece of paper, they might be assessed as having a better or worse aptitude for spatial visualization than they actually have. They would then be matched to careers that require a level of spatial visualization that doesn’t reflect their actual aptitude and likely find those careers stressful and/or unsatisfying.

The assessment is about what you naturally do well. Knowing what’s challenging is as important as knowing what comes naturally.

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