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Difference between Aptitude and Abilities | Kalvimalar - News

Difference between Aptitude and Abilities-

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This irrefutably is a more important factor than interest in making one successful in ones career. The term aptitude has become famous because of the Aptitude tests conducted by the IT companies before recruiting freshers from college campuses. But let us first understand what is Aptitude. Dictionary defines Aptitude as an innate, acquired or learned or developed component of a competency to do a certain kind of work at a certain level."

The difference between Aptitude and Abilities is that Aptitude could be the potential, which has as yet not been tapped and trained to a skill level. Whereas ability as the word describes is, it is present here and now in the individual. In young children especially, aptitude denotes the childs potential to do a certain activity. For example if the child is able to create pictures, forms in his mind and bring them out in art form, then his spatial aptitude is high. He may not already be an artist of Picasso or MF Hussain calibre, but the potential or Aptitude is there. Spatial Aptitude denotes a persons ability to visualize things in space. Similarly a child may be able to easily pull apart mechanical things and put them together on his own. Then obviously his Mechanical Aptitude is good.

Basically what an aptitude test can reveal is the persons mental abilities. To put it bluntly it measures your brains potential. Originally a persons mental capacity was evaluated based on his ability to reason and analyze situations and issues. This is generally termed as Intelligence or IQ. Then Howard Gardner brought in the theory of Multiple Intelligence and said there is more than one type of Intelligence. He said different parts of the brain have different functions. And logical reasoning is just one of them. The different types of Intelligence brought out by Gardner include Linguistic, Logical, Spatial, Bodily-Kinesthetic, Musical, Interpersonal, Intrapersonal and Naturalistic Intelligence. For example when the portion denoted for musical intelligence in a persons brain is well developed, then he is able to pick out musical notes easily, sing or play instruments well. We say this person has a good musical aptitude.

Each type of intelligence denotes a persons aptitude in that area and so it makes sense to choose a career which requires more of that particular type of aptitude. For example a person with Linguistic intelligence has a natural aptitude for words. He would be able to write and/ or speak well because of his natural command over language. Professions like Teaching, Journalism, Novelists, Speakers, Technical Writers, Jockeys, require people with high levels of Linguistic intelligence or Aptitude. Here the words Intelligence and Aptitude are used interchangeably.

Research has shown that successful people have chosen careers which make maximum use of their inherent potential. Examples below will illustrate the different types of intelligence and the successful people associated with it.

Linguistic: Successful Novelists like Arundhati Roy, Salman Rushdie, RK Narayanan, Sujatha would be high on Linguistic

Logical: People who are high on this intelligence are capable of understanding concepts, analyze and solve problems, are good at sequential thinking and working with mathematical problems. This aptitude is required in most careers but more so in careers which require conceptual thinking and involve scientific work like Technical jobs, Scientific research study, Mathematicians. Examples of successful people would be Ramanujam Homi Bhabha, Abdul Kalam, C.V. Raman etc

Mechanical: Our own GD Naidu is a sterling example of high Mechanical aptitude

Spatial: MF Hussain, Ravi Varma, actors-Kamal Hassan, Director Mani Ratnam, Sundar, etc

Bodily- Kinesthetic: Sachin Tendulkar, Dhoni, PT Usha, Prabhu Deva, Shyamak Davar,

Musical: P. Suseela, Lata Mangeshkar, SP Balasubramanian,

Interpersonal: A person with high Interpersonal Intelligence is very good at interpersonal relationships, they can make friends easily, they have this ability to reach out to people and establish rapport and connect to people easily. Most successful businessmen who are able to build a good customer base or enrol the support of other people are examples of this type of intelligence. So are politicians.

Intrapersonal: A person high on this intelligence is very high on self awareness. They are in touch with their strengths and weaknesses, what they can do, what they cant do, how they react to things, where to go for help. This intelligence again is important for most professions but in certain professions where you are helping people like psychology it becomes invaluable to help others help themselves

Naturalistic Intelligence: Steve Irwin, Dr Salim Ali, Menaka Gandhi, Crocodile man -Whittaker.

Parents have to be in touch with their childs different aptitudes and NOT evaluate him or her based on the marks only. Generally it is the person with high Logical Aptitude and Verbal aptitude who is able to well academically. But there are various other types of intelligence and suitable vocations for them. Imagine Sachin Tendulkar as an Accountant or Mani Ratnam as a research scientist. Each seed has to be planted in the right soil.

There are more aptitudes than those listed above and we will address each aptitude in detail when we discuss different careers. But what we need to remember is each one of us, is naturally endowed with certain capabilities. Unless an individual is mentally retarded, all of us have certain latent potential within. All of it is not visible outside. It is like the proverbial tip of the ice berg. Only a small portion of it is visible outside. Only exposure and opportunities can bring out the latent aptitude. The home environment and school environment should unearth these potentials within the individual. Because if it is not brought and trained, it lies dormant and unused. Aptitudes have to be trained and honed by training to become an ability.

This is where scientific tools like Psychometric testing can be of immense value. It is an unbiased evaluation method wherein it can not only identify the various aptitudes within an individual but it can also accurately measure the levels of each aptitude present. But a word of caution is that it is a scientific process and there is a prescribed methodology for administering the test. You cannot do it chatting over a cup of coffee or in a noisy place where there are other distractions. Primarily check if the individual administering the test is a trained professional and secondly the test should be a standardised test. Aptitude tests are generally time bound. The logic being that if you are really good at something you should be able to do it naturally and quicker than a person whose aptitude in that area is lower. And the analysis and interpretation of the test results should be done by a trained psychometrist. Else it can do more harm than good. A good psychometric test can measure an individuals aptitudes in different areas and the levels it is available in each area.

It is very important that a persons aptitude is in alignment with the requirements of his career. Because this is one of the factors which very strongly determine a persons ability to perform on a job. If I don’t have the required aptitude then no amount of training can ensure an effective performance. On the other hand if I have the required aptitude then even with a little training I can perform excellently. Every set of jobs requires a set of different aptitudes. For example, to be an lawyer you need to be good at analytical thinking (Reasoning Aptitude), Good with language because you have to argue the case in court using language and prepare legal documents (this requires Verbal Apttiude), and also most important you need to able to think differently, look at the situation from a totally different angle which nobody else has thought about and break open the case (this is indicated by a high Spatial Aptitude). So every job requires one or more aptitudes in different levels. As we discuss each career in our further issues the different aptitudes will be discussed in detail according to the requirements of the job.

So to conclude it is very important to assess what are the aptitudes an individual is good at and align it with the right career. Only interest in a particular job is not enough, one should have the required aptitude also.

We have looked at Interest and Aptitude, are these two factors enough. Certainly not, there is another equally important factor which can contribute to a persons success or failure in the chosen career. We will look at that now...

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