Science Aptitude Test


Syed Babar Ali School of Science and Engineering is all set to replace the standardized subject test with a completely new way to gauge its future students, a science aptitude test.

Some key features of the science aptitude test

The test will be a set of multiple-choice questions, that focuses on general knowledge and needs not have the applicant prepare rigorously through curriculum-based text. The questions may belong from a set of eight classes. Questions related to:

  1. Nature and method of science

  2. Interpreting quantitative data

  3. Understanding graphical representations of data

  4. Understanding causative relations in natural phenomena and scientific literacy (general knowledge)

  5. The art and skill of reasoning, qualitative and quantitative and deduction from one idea to the net

  6. Appreciation of scale, and dimensions

  7. Appreciation of approximation, significance (statistical) and uncertainties

  8. Ability to comprehend a technical text

Motivation and rationale

Humans are extraordinary creatures. Our ability to mix creativity with empirical knowledge and objectively verifiable truths can lead to stunning, inspiring new insights into nature. This submission begs the admittance and appreciation of our individualistic uniqueness. A vibrant combination of introspection, deep thinking, creative prowess, and the love for the scientific methodology is a concoction similar to snowflakes and fingerprints; no two are exactly the same. Any standardized test to gauge such diversity in intellect and capability will lead to quantum loss of ‘data’; data that is crucial in giving each one of us our own unique ability to solve problems, recognize patterns and come up with creative solutions, all of which is an integral part of a larger group of characteristics that ensure academic and professional success in the future.

Let this not take away from the importance of students’ academic credentials. They offer an important metric in helping decision-makers review applications; however, it is important to recalibrate the testing scheme by introducing a way to measure scientific proficiency (alongside conventional academic capabilities). In order to accomplish this, a scientific aptitude test is being piloted. Research indicates that scientific literacy and aptitude is an intuitive predictor of student success in courses that are progressively predicated on scientific thinking. Can an individual interpret data and appreciate trends of certain topics like climate change or the science behind pandemics and their biomedical management?

The aptitude test will also offer a new way to scrutinize applicants, introduce greater sense of fairness of the entire application process in the minds of the applicants. For example, a student might have excellent academic credentials and/or a high score on the standardized test but ends up performing poorly on the scientific literacy test. In such a scenario, the applicant could be flagged for a follow-up interview, to get more clarity on this discrepancy and deliberate over the candidate’s suitability for admission.

It is time to celebrate the diversity and unique competitive characteristics in our future pool of students, researchers behind potential breakthroughs of tomorrow!

Find out more:

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Here's an example of science aptitude tests which institutions use in foreign universities: