Differential Aptitude Tests (DAT)

Measures 8 areas of performance including, verbal/numerical/abstract/mechanical reasoning.


ATTENTION – The DAT-5th Ed and DAT for Career Interest was discontinued as of September 2014 and is no longer be available for purchase. This DOES NOT apply to the DAT for Personnel & Career Assessment series, which are still available

Canadian Customers – Please See the DAT Canadian version on this site.


Differential Aptitude Tests™ or DAT™ is a suite of assessments measuring cognitive abilities in a number of areas. This latest edition, DAT™ Next Generation, combines modern Computerized Adaptive Testing technology (CAT) to offer five new DAT tests in a number of languages.

Compared with traditional fixed-form tests, CAT presents a modern method of delivering item-banked tests to job applicants or students with many enhancements from the previous version.

Highly predictive of performance

Initially launched in 1947 to support career guidance and vocational counselling in students, DAT’s use has extended to measure an individual’s level of general and specific mental abilities that are required for success in many job roles and training courses. The increased usage of ability tests in these areas is supported by in-depth research showing that tests of mental ability are highly predictive of performance.


Each DAT Next Generation 15-item subtest measures:

  • Space Relations: Ability to visualise 2D shapes in 3D
  • Numerical Sequences: Problem solving abilities with numbers
  • Abstract Reasoning: Ability to see sequences in shapes and patterns
  • Verbal Analogies: Verbal reasoning by the relationships between pairs of words
  • Numerical Calculations: Addition, subtraction, division, percentages, algebra, and multiplication


  • Brief, 15 item test
  • More reliable scores
  • Improved user experience
  • Items presented at ability level of test taker
  • One test suitable for a wide range of ability levels


  • UK English and French now available
  • US English, Dutch, and Spanish coming 2019

Administration: 6-20 minutes per test, 2 hours for complete battery – Online and Paper Administration
Test Setting: Individual or Group
Ages/Grades: 16 years and older
Norms: Percentiles
Language: English The DAT for Personnel & Career Assessment Subtests Help Measure Aptitude for Success:

Verbal Reasoning – is appropriate for measuring general cognitive ability and for placing employees in professional, managerial, and other positions of responsibility requiring higher order thinking skills.

Numerical Ability – test the understanding of numerical relationships and facility in handling numerical concepts. Good prediction of success of applicants in such fields as mathematics, physics, chemistry, engineering, and in occupations such as laboratory assistant, bookkeeper, statistician, shipping clerk, carpenter, tool-making, and other professions related to the physical sciences.

Abstract Reasoning – is a nonverbal measure of the ability to perceive relationships in abstract figure patterns. Useful in selection when the job requires perception of relationships among things rather than among words or numbers, such as mathematics, computer programming, drafting, and automobile repair.

Clerical Speed and Accuracy (Paper Administration Only)- measures the speed of response in a simple perceptual task. This is important for jobs such as filing and coding, and for jobs involving technical and scientific data.

Mechanical Reasoning – closely parallels the Bennett Mechanical Comprehension Test and measures the ability to understand basic mechanical principles of machinery, tools, and motion. It is useful in selection decisions about applicants for jobs such as carpenter, mechanic, maintenance worker, and assembler.

Space Relations – measures the ability to visualize a three dimensional object from a two dimensional pattern, and how this object would look if rotated in space. This ability is important in fields such as drafting, clothing design, architecture, art, die making, decorating, carpentry, and dentistry.

Spelling (Paper Administration Only) – measures an applicant’s ability to spell common English words, a basic skill necessary for success in a wide range of jobs including business, journalism, proofreading, advertising, or any occupation involving written language.

Language Usage – measures the ability to detect errors in grammar, punctuation, and capitalization. When Language Usage and Spelling are both administered, they provide a good estimate of the ability to distinguish correct from incorrect English usage, which is important in business communication.


Administration: Complete Battery Working Time: 2.5 hours Partial Battery Working Time: 1.5 hours
Publication Date: 1990
Ages/Grades: 7 through 12 and adults
Norms: Percentile Ranks, Stanines, and Scaled Scores presented separately for males and females, as well as combined
Forms: One

General Cognitive Abilities – Contains Verbal Reasoning and Numerical Ability. These tests measure the ability to learn in either an occupational or training setting, and specifically the ability to learn from books and manuals, self instruction, trainers, teachers, or mentors.

Perceptual Abilities – Abstract Reasoning, Mechanical Reasoning, and Space Relations. Tests abilities that are important when dealing with things, rather than people or words.

Clerical and Language Skills – Spelling, Language Usage, and Clerical Speed and Accuracy. Tests skills necessary to perform various types.

© Harcourt Assessment, Inc.

Additional information

Appropriate For


Administration Time


Scoring Options



Interested in purchasing one or more copies of this test? We can help to ensure it's the right test to meet your specific needs. We look forward to hearing from you; please complete the inquiry below.