How can young people prepare for a future that few of us can define?

How do we equip our young people to navigate their future?

The answer is to know as much about yourself as you can.

And the Highlands Ability Battery experience is a unique tool to do just this – because it is all about YOU!

  • The HAB provides you with objective information about your natural abilities.
  • The HAB experience equips you with valuable tools so that you can make informed decisions to better manage your decisions throughout life — in both your career and your personal life.
  • The HAB is an assessment, but experience is a better description of what it entails.
  • Taking the HAB is a journey that involves far more than a simple internet quiz; it is a valuable investment that will yield returns throughout your entire life.
  • It gives you for the first time, an acknowledgment of who you are, with tangible resources to move forward.
  • The HAB is intended to provide self-awareness to the participant about natural abilities for use in career and life decision-making, which means that it applies to just about everyone.
  • As a self-management tool, the HAB also provides lasting information participants can learn and use for future decision-making, making it a worthwhile, life-long investment.
  • Students use the HAB experience to explore careers during both high school and college; to consider potential certifications, majors, work experiences; and to decide which schools to attend.
  • Students also find it useful for fine-tuning study strategies – even graduate students find valuable information from the HAB.

What is the HAB Experience?

The HAB is an internet-based assessment that is comprised of a series of timed, objective, performance-based worksamples. The proprietary internet platform allows for participant access from any location with a reliable connection to the internet, at home, work, school, computer labs, etc. Instructions are provided by a Highlands Certified Consultant to ensure the participant can feel confident in the results.

Part 1: The Instrument

The Experience: Taking the HAB (all three hours) is the first major step in the HAB experience. Understandably, part of the experience is anticipating what the results might reveal. You can expect to feel a degree of nervousness – even if it’s is simply from not knowing what to expect. When you actually take the assessment, you’ll experience different things as you take each section — some activities seem easy or difficult, while others might be frustrating or fun – and of course there are the time constraints. Have I been wasting my time in my current situation? Am I really cut out to be a leader?

  • The assessment consists of 19 worksamples.
  • A worksample is performance-based: participants must do an activity (objective measure) rather than self-report the degree to which they think they can do it (subjective measure).
  • Each worksample is representative of a reasoning ability such as Classification, Concept Organisation, and Spatial Relations Visualisation.
  • Most worksamples are not language-based. They measure a wide range of natural abilities including three that are hearing-related (implications for musical pursuits).
  • Instructions are in English, presented on the screen and heard, and can be reviewed for an unlimited amount of time prior to the timed activity. There are no “accommodations.”
  • Each worksample is timed and lasts between 5-10 minutes. The timing allows for the separation of natural abilities (which stabilize at around age 14) and for separation of one ability from another.
  • The worksamples may be taken all in one sitting or separated in time. In total, the HAB takes just over three hours to complete.
  • Everyone takes the same set of worksamples.
  • The resulting percentile ranking scores provide participants with information about their ability level for each worksample relative to all others (12,000+) in the database (regularly checked and updated).
  • The score does not represent the percent correct/incorrect. Detailed results are provided in a variety of reports and interpreted by me during our feedback session.

Part 2: The Report(s)

ReportsThe Experience: The next part of the experience is understanding the results. Your report provides detailed information; each of your abilities is described and then combined in a way that is uniquely you. You’re provided with guidance on how to use your abilities to makes choices about work roles and responsibilities. Of course, all of the options generated are based on natural abilities alone and don’t take into account other influences critical to making work/life decisions.

The information might feel like it conflicts with your experiences or what others have said about you. The report provides a launch pad for exploration, not an answer. This part of the experience can feel a bit overwhelming because there is so much information. This is where I bring in my coaching experience, to deliver the information in a way you can understand it and know how to use and refer to the reports later. Parents are welcome to join the feedback session, if the student agrees.

Part 3: The Debrief

The Experience: Hands down, participants describe the debrief as the most beneficial part of the experience. During this 1.5 to 2-hour session, we meet either online or in person while I  explain your reports in detail, and further customise the interpretation based on your reason for participation. Most participants experience the debrief in a personal way as I incorporate your life into the explanations, and bring in my 13 years of career coaching and my intuition to bear.

Most participants enjoy engaging in the process. I ask questions to learn more about you, to encourage reflection, and to reveal personal examples. These questions help you learn what to look for and questions to ask as you’re exploring. Sometimes the debrief reveals gaps in information you need. You may feel you want to stay connected with me for check-ins and future support for life decisions.

The Debrief is a required part of the HAB experience. It takes 1.5 to 2 hours and is participant centered.

I will review each ability by providing a definition, the worksample that measured it, and an interpretation of the score. Every ability is reviewed and its implications are discussed. Abilities are described as falling on a continuum and scores are described as “home base”. Sometimes even more interesting, is how the combinations of abilities work together. It is these combinations that can guide career exploration and change.

I guide you on how to use all the tools connected to the Highlands Ability Battery, and ensure an understanding of individual and combinations of abilities.

Whole person modulePart 4 – The Whole Person Model

The Experience: If you want to take the HAB a step further, and feel acknowledged by the Whole Person Model, we can discuss the influences of Skills, Interests, Personal Style, Family, Values, Goals and Career Stage.

You will see the importance of being intentional about including other influences in your decision-making. You will also realise you have just experienced a process you can use throughout your lifetime.

Regardless of next steps, the HAB experience is rarely forgotten and often remembered as pivotal in a participant’s life.

About the Author: Diana Ritchie

Diana RitchieDiana Ritchie has supported professionals and students with their career development and self-development as the owner and founder of SCC Sàrl, a Swiss-registered company established in 2007. She holds a BA in Economics from McGill University, Canada and an LLB in Law from the University of London, England.

Diana supports young people with their future direction through her vast international knowledge and the use of the above tools. In particular, the Highlands Talent Ability Battery which is a self-assessment tool that supports students and those wanting a change in career to better understand their natural abilities, what comes naturally and what jobs are possible. Highlands tests their natural ability as driving abilities and specialized abilities as abilities that enhance how they use natural abilities.

Diana is presently certified and accredited within:

  • Frameworks Coaching Process
  • Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) coach within the Classic code and the New Code
  • Sophrologist (registered with the Swiss complementary health insurance (ASCA)); practitioner and teacher
  • Insights Discovery and the Highlands Talent Ability Battery self-assessment tools
  • Systemic Change Coach with Nowhere
  • Peter Koenig system, a master class 2014 graduate
  • Business Model You methodology; coach and trainer
  • Certified Masters Hypnosis

Testimonials from students and parents who have completed the HAB program

Stefan really enjoyed the test and it was a lot different from other tests he had done before. He found the instructions easy to understand and completed all the modules.

Diana is very knowledgeable and could explain the results in a clear, understandable way. She could answer the questions we had and offered to have more sessions if needed.

The HAB is definitely different as it tests the learner’s personality traits and who they really are. From the test you can determine a career choice/path but, more importantly, it speaks to the individual’s character and personality. The result was very clear and to the point.

It confirmed in a lot of ways what he already knew, but we needed the assurance that he was on the correct path. It gives him the opportunity to work through the results in his own time and research different career paths. He will be able to refer to the results whenever he needs reassurance and guidance.

It assisted us in understanding Stefan better and in a way confirmed to us that we knew who he really was. It was important to get confirmation of his strong points and his type of personality and how it fits into the greater world. It will be information we can refer to for many years to come and will assist us as a family in supporting Stefan in his career path.

Christene Mouton

At eighteen years old it is difficult to determine who you are as a person, let alone what job you want to study for, for the rest of your life. The Highlands Ability Battery (HAB) helped me discover the various aspects of my personality that will affect my interactions with the world and my future as a whole. When hearing about the battery I originally assumed it would be like the many personality and career tests I have taken in my life – filled with unhelpful and generalised questions about myself.

However, the test uses various exercises to assess your abilities based on performance rather than perception. This allows you to inadvertently be honest with yourself, while assessing your natural skills and abilities. Moreover, during my consultation following the test, Diana Ritchie explained the results of the test with specific regards to my own life. I realised that many aspects of my personality that I had always believed to be that of the general population, such as the ability to link various subjects, were actually rare abilities I should utilise.

Diana went beyond merely explaining the results, but rather included how my abilities displayed in the results could benefit me, as well as the various cautions I should take because of them. Suddenly, many of my strengths and weaknesses began to make sense and were linked to a trait of mine that I had not previously realised exists. Before the test, I was unsure with which career path I wanted to follow. However, I can now confidently say that I know what I want to do with my life. I would undoubtedly recommend taking the HAB.

– Demi Kaplan 
Completed IEB matric in 2021, now enrolled with LU for A level exams in Oct 2022.

“As a student on the brink of finishing high school with little idea of what to pursue as a degree and/or career, I was in desperate need of some clarity and guidance. However, upon my consultation with Diana, I feel fully confident in my choice of study and this certainty has inspired a considerable amount of drive and passion within me. The HAB assessment was easy to follow and engaging enough to feel far shorter than it actually was. The reports were extremely detailed and thorough and instantly gave me a solid idea of what my strengths and weaknesses were and what I’m most naturally drawn to. Mrs Ritchie helped tremendously during my consultation with her by further explaining the results and giving valuable advice and insights in regards to how I should implement the results in respect to my personal aspirations. Extremely thankful for everything I’ve learnt about myself through the process and couldn’t recommend it enough.”
—A level student

From a young age – when collecting snails in the backyard for the day isn’t seen as strange or dressing up as a fairy on a very ordinary, non-fancy dress sort of day is normal – we’re often asked one, simple question – “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

It’s a question that tends to repeat itself in its various forms as the years roll on by – when you’re picking a high school, deciding on what subjects to take, what societies would look good on your cv, when picking university courses. The problem is that, for most of us, it only gets harder to answer. And that’s where the HAB (Highlands Ability Battery) test steps in. It’s not just another one of those quizzes that are designed to put you in a box and spit out a career result that you must follow. It’s more than that, which is why I would highly recommend it to anyone looking for career, university or even study advice.

I found the test itself to be well instructed with easy-to-follow tutorials, making the whole process simple to do. I could even say it was fun, considering that it is, after all, an assessment. The end result is an objective reflection of one’s natural abilities. Rather than recommend a career path, it offered guidance as to what fields my talents are most suited to but left me room to self-exploration. Not only this, but it’s able to find the best work environments and study techniques that suit me which will no doubt prove very useful. I would perhaps not describe the end result as a result in the traditional sense but as a tool that can help me make informed decisions. All the information is broken down into reports that can always be referred back to at any time, but what truly brings it to life is the feedback session with a Highlands Consultant. I found Diana, the consultant, to be very understanding and supportive with lots of sage advice. She definitely left me with lots of food for thought. I found the whole process put into words what I’ve always felt about myself but have never been able to consciously articulate. And having this in concrete form, having this solidified, helps me be more certain about my decisions.
—A level student

“This test was different to any I’d done before. It tested a variety of different skills and abilities instead of just asking “what I like to do in my free time”. The format and instructions for each question made me feel comfortable with answering as it was made very clear. I somewhat enjoyed taking the test even though it was difficult. The wide range of tests incorporated an array of different exercises and challenges that tested some things I didn’t know were actual skills. It also showed me possible learning styles that might suit me and the way I work. The exercises that involved sound and tones were unique and something I’ve never had to do before. Where I’ve struggled with taking some previous tests is when it asks about what careers I might like doing. Seeing as I have no idea what I want to do (hence Im taking a careers test) I usually choose ‘indifferent’. But what was great about the HAB test is that instead of asking what I liked to do, it tested my abilities and found what my skills were. It generated career fields that I would do well in. Overall, I thought the test was a great, eye-opening experience.”
— Grade 11 student

“Diana, I want to thank you for meeting my daughter and me. We found our discussion and the reports very useful. Chloe enjoyed interacting with you and I want to thank you for your warm and nurturing approach to her. The process has certainly created further debate here at home about Chloe’s career path and subject choices! Having been through similar assessments with my son (for example, at Stellenbosch University), we found your report vastly more thorough and insightful. Chloe enjoyed the discussion and feels that it will help her gain improved clarity around her career choice. She has begun further detailed investigations on a number of options following the meeting with you. I have already highly praised you and your process to a number of my friends!!”
— Parent of grade 9 student

I definitely highly rate the HAB test and would recommend anyone (not just students) do it.—Student

“My son did the HAB assessment to help with his A level choices; however, the whole process provided us with a much more in-depth perspective than we envisaged. The feedback and report were incredibly detailed and gave unexpected insights with regard to his strengths and weaknesses. I am sure my son will refer to it at various stages in his life. Diane was very professional and we found her inspiring and so knowledgeable. It was a very worthwhile exercise for both of us and I would highly recommend it.”
—Mother of a grade 10 student.