About the YouScience tool

YouScience says its tool is built upon decades of research that dates back at least to World War II, when the U.S. military developed a test to determine whether new recruits would be better at flying planes or fixing them.

The company worked closely with the Ball Foundation, a Chicago-based career-consulting organization, adapting its Ball Aptitude Battery of tests for the age of the Internet.

Students from prior generations who wanted to research their aptitude for careers had to travel to Illinois to take the assessment, and it wasn’t until the 1990s that the federal government started correlating jobs with aptitudes in its O*NET database. YouScience puts all this together, using a system that it says was validated by the nonprofit Human Resources Research Organization.

YouScience says it measures both fixed aptitudes and interests, which can change. Students get access to their account for a decade, during which they can retake the interest portion.

The aptitude portion works like a high-pressure game, with short, timed exercises that require test takers to discern patterns or similarities with numbers, words or images. Test takers likely have no clue how what they’re doing will influence the results. By contrast, the interest portion requires self reporting, such as answering whether one is usually the center of the party or prefers working with his hands versus abstractions.

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YouScience puts it all together into an interactive website that gives users words to describe themselves, such as “strong communicator” or “numerical code breaker.” The company maps the results onto the O*NET, producing a list of careers — as specific as aerospace engineer or camera operator — in order of suitability. Clicking on the jobs produces descriptions of the work, pay and education required plus an analysis of why it is a strong or a weak fit based on each aptitude and interest.

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