Physical Ability Test - Meaning & Definition

Published in Human Resources Terms by MBA Skool Team

What is Physical Ability Test?

Physical Ability tests are those that are used to measure the physical capacity of a candidate to do certain types of jobs. Jobs of sectors like defence, police, firefighting etc. essentially employ physical ability tests in their screening process. However, today, even in sectors like sales and IT more and more employers today are conducting Physical ability tests to understand if the potential employees are suitable for the tenacious work hours and have the capacity to keep up with the work pressure.


These tests generally applicants on specific physical requirements like:

• Height

• Weight


• Balance

• Speed

• Finger dexterity

• Weight lifting capacity

• Rope climbing

• Obstacle course completion etc.


At times they also measure skills like

• Reaction time

• Onsite decision making speed


Advantages of Physical Ability Tests:

• Easier to identify candidates with physical capability to perform the essential tasks related to a job without exposing themselves or others to harm

• Results in decreased cost of medical insurance and reimbursement

• Decreases absenteeism

• Fit workers increase productivity and makes for a better work environment

• Reduces work related stress

• The tests are fool proof as the candidates have no chance of faking their responses


Disadvantages of Physical Ability Tests:

• These tests are rather costly to conduct

• Without experienced evaluators, the test results can be misleading and thus result in wrong hires which can lead to disastrous results in the long term

• The job requirements have to be well defined, otherwise the whole process is a futile exercise

• The tests can be more favourable to younger candidates

• The tests can be gender biased as physical strength of men may be higher than that of women candidates

• The tests can be time consuming thus not economically favourable for the administrator

• It may not be possible for an employer to simulate the real time work environment to conduct the test so the result may be faulty


Hence, this concludes the definition of Physical Ability Test along with its overview.

This article has been researched & authored by the Business Concepts Team. It has been reviewed & published by the MBA Skool Team. The content on MBA Skool has been created for educational & academic purpose only.

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