Our past interactions with analytics companies have suggested that more than domain specific skills, what they actually look in a candidate for analytics roles is firstly an aptitude. As Tapan Rayaguru from Tredence in his recent interaction with AIM stated there are more fakes than genuine resumes and conducting aptitude test first is a way to validate what they claim. Also, since problem solving is one of the key areas in analytics, a candidate needs to be well equipped in all aspects of aptitude before being tested for core analytical skills.
Here’s how you can crack an analytics aptitude test
What to prepare
The aptitude test for analytics jobs such as for consultants and business analysts include areas like quantitative, verbal and logical reasoning, which are usually in the lines of CAT like entrance tests, but on an easier scale. For instance, in a blogpost by a candidate who posted her experience of interview with Fractal Analytics wrote that there were 10 questions in quantitative for 15 min, while English and logical reasoning had 40 questions for 40 min. The idea to conduct aptitude test is to check your comfort with numbers and how good are you at crunching them, as that is the essence to analytics jobs.
Like typical MBA entrance tests, analytics aptitude tests in most companies have quantitative sections from areas like time and work, compound interest, mixture and allegations, calendars, etc., while that from logical reasoning and English include alphabet series, patterns, syllogism, seating arrangement, coding decoding, logical puzzle, easy reading comprehensions etc.
According to an experience shared by one of the candidates on Quora who applied for a position in analytics, there were 70 question to be done in 75 minutes. The test included passage reading, sentence correction in English, data analysis such as with graphs and tables, reasoning such as similar figures, predict the next in series, round table questions etc., and quant which included of pipe and cistern, labour and work, profit and loss, amongst others. While solving these questions it is important to keep a track of time. Some of the online tests also consist of case study simulators to assess candidate’s analytical abilities in real life scenarios.
Usually in most analytics companies the aptitude exam carries 60% of the overall weightage, and these tests are conducted online. Though the difficulty level is medium, it is the speed that matters in clearing the test.
The areas with most focus are analytical thinking, data interpretation, data sufficiency, comprehension, writing skills. While the level of quantitative aptitude is moderate, it forms a deciding factor if you would make it to the technical round, which tests your understanding in the core subject.
How to prepare
It is important to understand the basics of each of these topics and practise the problems of different complexities. The key to clearing these tests is practise. Pick one topic at a time and cover all the possible corners of that topic and then shift to the other topic. Taking aptitude tests online or through practise books, that scores you on logical reasoning and numerical skills is the best way to brush up your numerical skills. Taking mock CAT and GMAT exams could be a good way to practise for these tests which may have multiple choice questions, fill in the blanks, descriptive, true or false kind of question pattern.
Most of the candidates applying for analytics jobs vouch by Arun Sharma Level 2 Aptitude book for getting a hands on the quantitative aptitude. It also covers English for practise. With these practise questions, it gets easy to crack analytics aptitude as these have mostly medium difficulty level. Apart from these you should get your hands on practising few case studies as well. Other practise books that cater to MBA entrance examinations can also be referred to which are easily available online. There are many online blogs that have company specific practise test uploaded. You can take some of the practise tests here as well.
Solving and practising aptitude questions as much as you can is the key. It not only gets you acquainted with speeding up in terms of the time required to solve a question but also improves your logical approach for the solution, which is the key thing that recruiters are looking at.
You can read our earlier article on top 10 puzzles that are most commonly used in analytics interviews here.
Most of the companies use online portals such as mettle for conducting these online aptitude tests while hiring for positions like research analyst, business analyst, etc. They live monitor the candidates using webcam, screen sharing along with other constraints to keep a check on the candidate.
Once you clear the aptitude, for entry to mid level jobs in analytics, they focus on your projects, internship, understanding of the languages used in the industry and your problem solving skills and your ease with numbers. As mentioned earlier recruiters stress more on problem solving approach than results.
So get yourself moving, practise more and get your dream job in analytics by cracking its aptitude test, as that is definitely a deciding factor by most analytics companies.