Can Aptitude be developed?

Can reasoning and quantitative aptitude be developed by hard work and practice ?

Or is it something that comes naturally to a person and cannot be mastered (Unlike CFA Exams) with practice ?

(I am basically planning to write GMAT next year and want to know what are the chances for a guy like me who always got poor grades in Maths during school but became a hard worker only recently.)

The math on the GMAT is pretty simple. You can definitely improve your score through practice because there are a lot of shortcuts and patterns that you can learn.

CFA exams strike me as exactly the kind of things you pass by hard work and practice. Probably 5% get through just based on aptitude alone, while the rest just slog through it.

Ahhh my favorite topic. Quick answer: no, it cannot be developed in the same way. You are either born with it or not. But for many practical purposes, you can achieve a very high level of reasoning by practice and studies

In my opinion, yes, aptitude can be developed. You are born with a certain level of natural intelligence, just like you are born with a propensity for strength and athletic ability. You can develop both. However just like not everyone can be on the cross-fit games, not everyone will be able to develop their aptitude to “genius level”. I would say that there is a range within which you can develop you aptitude. Every time you pick up a book or do a mental exercise, you are training your mental aptitude.

Aptitude, by definition, can’t be developed. Rather, you can work to take more advantage of your aptitude. The GMAT doesn’t test aptitude. No test can.

Agree with the Binky on the GMAT. You basically just learn how to solve the types of problems they test you on. There are recurring patterns you need to be able to recognize quickly and it comes with practice.

On the other hand, some people are just not intelligent enough to make the cut.

I always think aptitude is like fitness. It can be developed, but you are capped by certain natural / genetic limitations. I will never be an olympic sprinter, that’s just not in my DNA, but if I worked at it I could be a better sprinter than I am today. The good news is that for 99% of jobs, if you have some basic level of aptitude and work hard, you are going to do just fine. A lot of people seem incapable of working hard, but that’s a different discussion.

A lot of smart people are just bitches. They think because they went to some school and had their ass kissed for two decades of their life, they should all sorts of opportunities handed to them. They go to work, think a lot of things are beneath them, and treat people like crap. Then somehow, they are surprised that people don’t think they are so great. Bromion is correct that it is shockingly hard to find people who will just STFU and do their job. In some ways, it is better to hire someone who is slightly less talented if they have a better attitude.

+1 to Bromion.

I’m a really bad basketball player. I’m clumsy and uncoordinated. But if I tried hard enough, I could probably get enough skill to play on a junior college-type level. But I’ll never play in the NBA, because the bar is just too high. Some people (Randy Moss) are just freaks of nature and can play any sport they want to without even trying.

Yep, the limits of aptitude are probably genetic (though it probably depends on the task - I’ll bet that virtually all of us have the same aptitude or very close to it at tic-tac-toe).

Still, there’s no reason to believe that for non-trivial tasks, more practice can’t make you better at something. Practice often delivers diminishing returns, however, so at a certain point, “more practice” won’t make you better at something. What that maximum level is is likely in part genetic, and in part about the quality of your training/instructor, for example, some people might have an awesome one-handed backhand, but if the instructor insists that a two-handed backhand stroke is the only “proper” way to do it, that one-handed aptitude never gets unlocked.

I’m not sure that the presence of extreme outliers (e.g. idiot-savants like Rainman, non-idiot savants like Einstein) help the discussion tremendously. If Einstein had been born in the pleistocene, he probably wouldn’t have had much aptitude for life. The fact that some people have a natural aptitude for things isn’t a license to give up on becoming better at what you need to be better at. Though it does mean you need to look inside yourself and figure out what your comparative advantage in aptitude is. Maybe you’re a thinker, a writer, programmer, athlete, fashion model, courtesan, whatever.



Admit it - don’t YOU sometimes also get a bit peeved when the peasants are being just so slow and not getting on with the program?

I do not know about the bigger question but purely from the GMAT point of view, it is a beatable exam. My maths was never particularly strong and when I first gave a sample GMAT to see where I stould I got 630.

I studied from scratch using the entire Manhattan GMAT set and 6 months later ended up with a 720. Their material is excellent and really all you need.

Technically they’re hatched. Didn’t you know the world is run by lizard people?,28804,1860871_1860876_1861029,00.html



Rahul, you are a leader in this group. Were you born or made?

Uh. The creature from the black lagoon is not a lizard, or even a reptile. It’s an amphibian.

I would say yes. It’s the classic Nature vs Nurture argument. I have seen many genius people here in my country whose parents were very poor and cannot even read or write but their kids are in Mensa, scored perfect scores in their O&A levels, SAT, GMAT etc.

If aptitude or reasoning was just a function of nature, then they would be just like their parents but they are not.

Imo, CFA exams can be mastered with enough PRACTICE. No rocket science here.

I am in the same position as you except that I always scored high in Maths but I would not consider myself “natural”. I scored high due to practice. I understood all the topics that were thrown at me but I always took my time (I studied upto Calculus 2). There were some people in my class who would just look at problems and calculate the answers in their heads within a few seconds. These are the people whom I consider genius. And it was not like they were nerds or something. They were among the most social people in entire school. Their processing speed was something which I always envied.

Regarding GMAT, it only tests up to high school maths. You just need to become familiar with the test pattern, shortcuts and do loads of problems. And you WILL/CAN become good at it with time.

I think leaders are born…

If you make a group of 5 people and ask them to perform a task…more often than not you will find one of them taking the lead and controlling others…i think it is a born quality…