Differential Aptitude Tests (DAT) Online Practice

What is the DAT Test?

Pearson's Differential Aptitude Tests for Personnel and Career Assessment, more commonly known as the DAT for PCA, are a series of tests designed to measure one's abilities in different fields, such as verbal reasoning, numerical reasoning, mechanical reasoning, and space relations. These tests are used by employers to assess their future employees' abilities, and consequently decide which ones are competent and suitable for their offered positions.

Take note that Pearson Assessments offers two kinds of DAT tests: the DAT for PCA, and the DAT 5.

Format and Content

The DAT tests can be administered online, or in a paper-and-pencil format. All of the DAT tests consist exclusively of multiple-choice questions. The tests are all timed, and range from 12 to 25 minutes each. Each DAT assessment can be used individually, while all of the assessments can be administered as a battery.
Before you begin preparing for your DATs, make sure you know which tests you're required to take!

Verbal Reasoning

Designed to test one's thinking skills and cognitive ability, in the shape of verbal analogies.

Max time: 20 minutes.

Number of questions: 30.

Verbal Reasoning Sample Question

Arctic → polar bear

kitchen →___?

Living room
Correct Answer
Incorrect Answer

The correct answer is Refrigerator.

The relation between word A and word B, in this case, is location: word B is found only in word A.

Polar bears are located in the arctic like refrigerators are located in the kitchen.

None of the other options is located in the kitchen, so it is the only possible correct answer. Lamps can theoretically be found in the kitchen, but are also found in other places.



Numerical Ability

Designed to assess one's ability to comprehend and deal with number-related concepts, as well as his understanding of numerical relationships.

Max time: 20 minutes.

Number of questions: 25.

Numerical Ability Sample Question

Please choose the correct answer. If none of the options is the correct answer please choose answer choice e, "N".

–(X + 3) = -8 – 10X
X= ?

Correct Answer
Incorrect Answer

The correct answer is -9/5

This question deals with a single variable equation.
When solving a single variable equation, the goal is isolating the variable (usually noted x) in order to find its value.
The way to do that is by gathering all variable expressions of the equation (one or more X-expressions) on one side and all numerical members of the equation on the other side. This is done by using the four operations (+, -, *, /) in the equation, as needed.
Note: Any numerical operation must be applied on both sides of the equation.
In this case, first and foremost, open the brackets, before applying any further operations:
*Notice! (-) sign before brackets is the same as applying (-1)* to what is in the brackets.
-X - 3 = -8 - 10X
To isolate X apply the following operations to both sides of the equation:
1. Add 3
-X - 3 + 3 = -8 - 10X + 3
-X = -5 - 10X
2. Add 10X
-X + 10X = -5 - 10X + 10X
9X = -5
3. Divide by 9
9X/9 = -5/9
X = -5/9

Test Purpose Max Time # of Quest
Verbal Reasoning Designed to test one's thinking skills and cognitive ability, in the shape of verbal analogies. 20 min 30
Numerical Ability Designed to assess one's ability to comprehend and deal with number-related concepts, as well as understanding of numerical relationships. 20 min 25
Abstract Reasoning Designed to test one's reasoning abilities via a non-verbal method, it assesses logical thinking and pattern understanding abilities. 15 min 30
Mechanical Reasoning Similar to the Bennett Mechanical Comprehension Test, it measures one's ability to comprehend the elementary principles of mechanical tools, machinery, movement, etc. 20 min 45
Space Relations Designed to estimate one's ability to envision 3-D objects from given 2-D images. 15 min 35
Language Usage Tests one's language skills, particularly correct use of capitalization and punctuation, and the ability to identify grammatical mistakes. 12 min 30

DAT Scoring and Results

Each DAT test has a separate result, which is translated into a percentile rank. In addition to that, each test has its own norm groups. That means that the candidate is NOT assessed in comparison to the entire population, but to his own norm group: people who are in the same "category" as him, according to the test supplier.

Norm groups include categories such as: Hourly/Entry-Level, Managers, Supervisors, 12th Grade Students, Individual Contributors – Bachelor’s Degree or Higher, Skilled Tradespersons, Individual Contributors – Non-degreed, Blue Collar, and more.

I Heard That the DAT Is Being Cancelled. Is That True?

Pearson Assessments have two separate, yet very similar, tests, commonly known as DAT – the DAT 5, and the DAT for PCA. The DAT 5 includes all six tests of the DAT for PCA, along with two additional tests – a spelling test and a clerical accuracy tests.

The DAT 5 has indeed been annulled at the end of 2014. However, the DAT for PCA remains available. 


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