Questions about the Highlands Ability Battery

Why is measuring abilities/aptitudes so important?

Most sources of job unhappiness stem from natural abilities not being used, or people being forced to perform tasks for which they do not have the natural abilities. If you choose a new career without a knowledge of your innate abilities, you have a relatively high probability of winding up in a career that you find boring, frustrating, or unfulfilling.

How do you measure abilities?

Each ability is measured by you performing a particular task, which requires a certain innate ability. Given enough time you probably could do all the work samples. We obtain results by putting you under time pressure which eliminates the possibility of substituting another ability or extra time to accomplish the task. Whilst we measure abilities individually, we then look at them in combination. One combination of aptitudes makes the accomplished salesperson, another combination describes a person who enjoys network administration, and another combination explains why a person enjoys one part of management but not the rest.

How accurate is it?

The Highlands Ability Battery is based on over 80 years research, beginning with Johnson O’Connor. It is psychometrically valid and reliable. The information and suggestions that it makes are highly accurate. The minimum reliability standard for the 19 tests that make up the Highland Ability Battery is r = .80 and the reliability range is to .93, with 1.0 being perfect. It has been described as the equivalent of getting a CAT Scan for a painful injury instead of a traditional X-ray.

Do I really need a test to help me find out my natural abilities?

Some people think they know their abilities. However, we get mixed up with our skills and abilities. There are some things we are naturally good at, and other areas where we have developed a high level of skill. E. g. I’ve got quite a good reputation for proof reading, but my natural ability is very low. It’s something I’ve learnt to do. It certainly wouldn’t be a good fit if this was the main focus of my work. Don’t forget, what we know of our talents is based only on what we have done before. You could have talents/ abilities that you don’t even know about. At school we only cover a few of the abilities you will find out about if you take this assessment.

How does this differ from other psychometric tests like DISC, Myers Briggs etc?

Personality tests are self report where you need to make choices over e.g. pairs of words or phrases. Our personality can change over time and can be influenced by particular circumstances. The Highlands Ability Battery is an objective assessment of natural abilities, taken under timed conditions and the results will be relevant for years to come.

What’s the difference between natural abilities and skills?

Our natural abilities are innate, they are part of who we are just like our eye colour. Skills are something that we learn and they can enhance our abilities. However, because they are learnt they can be lost when not used.

What if I don’t have any natural abilities?

Everyone has natural abilities, but they differ. You could have abilities that make you a good manager, a scientist, a designer. Don’t worry about getting low scores, in many cases it can be more helpful to score low than high.

There is a scale called classification which is non logical problem solving – an ability to quickly spot the big picture. I score very low in this, but the benefit of this is that it means I have a lot of patience in working with people and in going at a pace to suit others rather than me. A real strength in the work that I do.

What if I’m hopeless at tests?

Don’t worry, The Highlands Ability Battery is not like an exam, you can’t pass or fail and there is no need for any revision. Your results will show if you have a high or low ability in something and it is just as important to know what you are low in as what you are high in.  Sometimes a low score is preferable for a particular job.

Don’t my abilities change over time?

Our abilities are formed by the age of 14/15. Research has shown that our abilities remain constant so the investment for taking the Highlands Ability Battery will be beneficial to you over the years to come.

Why is measuring abilities so important?

Most sources of job unhappiness stem from natural abilities not being used, or people being forced to perform tasks for which they do not have the natural abilities. If you choose a new career without knowledge of your innate abilities, you have a relatively high probability of winding up in a career that you find boring, frustrating, or unfulfilling.

How long does it take?

The assessment takes about 3 hours and you can take the online assessment in the comfort of your own home. You don’t need to complete the assessment all in one go and can split the testing over a number of sessions.

How good is it?

In October, 2002, 32 graduate students at Colorado State University were asked to compare a number of assessments which they had completed as part of their course. The group was asked to rate 4 different well-known assessments in terms of effectiveness in measuring their abilities and talents, as well as in guiding them in future career decisions. The assessments were the Highlands Ability Battery, the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, the Strong Interest and Skills Confidence Inventory, and True Colors.

1st Diagram: Percentage of Students that ranked it #1 in measuring abilities and talents

2nd Diagram: Percentage of Students that ranked it #1 in effectiveness in guiding them in career decisions

What is the earliest age someone can take the Highlands assessment?

Since abilities do not stabilise until age 14, we recommend waiting until after the 15th birthday.

How does your service differ from other Highlands affiliates?

Very few Highlands affiliates offer other assessments and integrate them into their feedback. I offer 3 separate assessments to give real depth and clarification to your career decisions. It means you have triangulation – 3 different approaches that together give very powerful support to your decision making. I also help you to consider the wider picture – your values, longer term goals, ideal working environment, everything you need to make a well rounded career decision that will enable you to have a life that is right for you.

Don’t forget in addition to the in-depth assessment, 39 page report and in depth feedback discussion you also get a complimentary additional 39 page booklet – Highlands Explored, the most effective reference book for you to get the most out of the assessment, the e-book  10 steps to finding a job you love (sold at £10) sent on request.  I also provide you with a 1 page summary of the most relevant points, and when you purchase the additional career report compare your results to a database of other jobs to enable me to discuss where you have the closest match.

Will this help me make choices for study/ university?

Absolutely! You will be able to make decisions based on what you can actually do, and get job suggestions to explore, thus helping you to make good use of your time at university. You can also take a more extensive programme of assessments linked with careers coaching,

Will this help me at work?

The results from this assessment can help you to understand why your job may not be bringing you satisfaction and provide you evidence to enable you to make changes, either to get a job which is a better fit or to adapt your current job. Companies such as Glaxo Smith Kline, IBM and Marriott encourage their employees to understand their abilities to enable them to be more productive at work.

What will I get from taking the Highlands Ability Battery?

  • Understanding of where I am naturally talented
  • Know how I solve problems and make decisions most effectively
  • Understand in black and white why I would be happy in some fields and not happy in others
  • Be able to choose the best option from a group of study/ career/ job/ business choices
  • Knowledge on how to study most effectively
  • Know what other jobs within my organisation I would be better and more fulfilled with
  • How to use my true strengths more effectively and more consistently