Do you remember doing those student aptitude tests in high school? I remember clearly doing my first test as if it was just yesterday. I started off like a lot of my classmates, just doodling in the margins disinterested, but I decided to give it a closer look.
I was curious about whether or not there was anything to these aptitude tests and figured the only way to know for sure was to take it seriously. I went ahead and answered every question but as you know, the questions are so poorly written in most cases that it’s hard not to make it come out the way you’d like.
Given my experience back in high school, it may strike you as a little odd that I ended up designing aptitude tests for a living. It is a job I just sort of stumbled into-I’d never given it any thought before, but I happened to come across a job posting on a bulletin board.
The position was advertised by a national testing company and mentioned that they were searching for writers to design questions on spec rather than paying up front. I knew there was a risk that this was a scam, but gave it a shot anyhow. As it turned out, they used all of the questions I wrote for them and they took me on for a contract job, paying per the piece.
I started off by writing questions for scholastic aptitude tests, largely in the area of English comprehension. Before long, I was working on many other kinds of questions, however. It is not something a lot of people know, but many of great standardized tests are done by a small number of large testing companies.
And once you get started with one of these companies, there’s quite a bit of work available. It can take a while before it really starts to pay off in financial terms, but once you become skilled at writing test questions, you can do very well for yourself.
In fact, the pay is good enough that I paid my own way through college along with a few small student loans; however, I was largely able to get by just by writing test questions. So there you have it: half of the questions on those business aptitude tests you see are actually written by college students!
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