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Aptitude testing
  By Sunit Dhawan  
  SHIPRA has just completed her XII in the non-medical stream from a small town near the national Capital. She has quite a few entrance exams lined up before her and is busy preparing for these. Her parents -- and even grandparents -- are worried about her career.

"She is terribly confused regarding the choice of a good course, and so are we... the kid is working really hard and I pray she succeeds in getting admitted to whatever is good for her," says her mother.

Shipra's case is a representative one. Most students find themselves on crossroads after passing out from school and/or college. "What next?" is the question that gives many a sleepless night to the students as well as their parents.

The vast variety of career and higher education options available add to the confusion, with considerable peer pressure and "valuable" advice from relatives, family-friends and other acquaintances playing their own role in influencing the crucial decision.

It is generally seen that instead of going in for aptitude testing of their child to decide his/her choice of discipline, the modern-day parents seek and follow the advice of "successful" acquaintances and parents of already "selected" or "settled" children in their circle.

"Parents usually go by the prevailing trend in the job market, without considering the core competence of their child," observes Dr Jyotsana, Chairperson, Department of Applied Psychology, Guru Jambheshwar University of Science and Technology, Hisar.

She maintains that choosing a discipline in accordance with a child's innate aptitude would be beneficial in the long run. "A person pursuing the field of his/her core competence will work with more enthusiasm and have fewer adjustment problems and lesser job-related stress and burn-outs which are so prevalent these days," asserts the psychologist.

A scientifically prepared aptitude test brings out the real inclinations, capabilities and skill-set of an individual. It provides one a chance to get acquainted with one's inner self and tread a path closest to one's heart.

Dr Jyotsana, who also runs an aptitude-testing and counselling centre at the university, points out that in certain cases, parents complain that they had put their child in the stream of his/her own "interest", but it did not work out well.

"Here, it should be clearly understood that at such a tender age, a child is not capable of self-assessment. Moreover, the influence of external factors like the compulsion to pick a study area from a limited set of options, line chosen by friends and outside impression of a course or institute are more likely to influence his/her decision," she explains.

Then, in the present era, the career-path adopted by the youngsters has become a status symbol for the parents, who want to realise their own unfulfilled desires through their children or just love to boast about their hefty pay packages and perks.

So great is the charm of money that most parents want their wards to pursue a career which offers a high remuneration. However, in the mad quest, they not only tend to overlook their innate abilities and desires, but also become willing to compromise on good moral values and ethics, for which they have to pay a heavy price in the long run.

Parents usually take no notice of the basic principle of psychology, which underlines the concept of individual differences. They need to understand that like all individuals, their ward has also been programmed to chart a distinct course.

In the light of the given observations, a standardised and scientific aptitude-testing procedure becomes all the more significant. Apart from helping the students know themselves better, it also guides them as to what track they should take to exploit their potential to the fullest.

However, due to lack of awareness, coupled with the limited availability of aptitude-testing centres, very few parents take their wards for aptitude assessment before zeroing in on a field of study. Hence, commissioning of more such centres, along with spreading of awareness about the vital significance of aptitude-testing, is the need of the day.

The students, with the help of aptitude-testing, should try to have a realistic judgment of their capabilities and venture into a field best suited to these.

On their part, the parents should also understand that their child has got a unique identity, psyche and his/her own set of capabilities and limitations.

So, instead of having unrealistic expectations from their wards and pressurising them to fall in line, they should try to know their children's bent of mind and play a proactive role in realising their dreams. (Courtesy: The Tribune, Chandigarh)
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