Select Page

Mechanical Reasoning Aptitude Test Practice: Free Sample Questions & Tips – 2021

Civil Service Employment Test Prep

If you’re applying for a job as a technician, mechanic, electrician, welder, carpenter, or even a combat soldier in the military, you may be asked to take a pre-employment mechanical comprehension test.

Whether you’re taking the Bennett Mechanical Comprehension Test (BMCT), a Ramsay mechanical test, or the Air Force Officer Qualifying Test, you’ll need to prove that you have a basic understanding of electricity and simple machines including levers, pulleys, and gears. Not only will you have to demonstrate that you fully understand the relevant concepts, but you’ll also have to show that you can perform detailed calculations.

Below, we’ll explain what you should expect, which concepts you should review, and how you can best prepare for your pre-employment exam.

 

What Is a Mechanical Reasoning Test?

Anyone considering a career in manufacturing, production, utilities, energy, automobiles, aircrafts, installation, or heavy equipment operation should prepare to take a mechanical screening test either as a graduate or a job-seeker. This test will be a multiple-choice test designed to evaluate your general knowledge. Below, you’ll find more information on each of the most popular psychometric tests.

  • Bennett Mechanical Comprehension Test (BMCT)
    The BMCT lasts for 25 minutes and contains 55 questions. Administered for vocational positions, the BMCT is the go-to psychometric exam for the industry. The test is at a sixth-grade reading level, and while the test is unsupervised, the company offers a random assortment of questions drawn from their database. So, each test is completely different. However, they can ask a candidate to come into an assessment center to take a supervised exam if they have reason to suspect cheating. Learn more about the BMCT II.
  • SHL Verify Mechanical Comprehension Test
    This short assessment is unsupervised and only lasts 10 minutes. In each of the 15 questions, you’ll be asked to answer a question about a diagram involving levers, pulleys, and gears. If you pass this assessment, you’ll receive an invitation to take a similar, supervised test in their assessment center.
  • Wiesen Test of Mechanical Aptitude (WTMA)
    The WTMA is a 30-minute long, 60 multiple-choice questions test by Criteria Corporation that tests one’s ability to learn how to operate, maintain, install, and repair equipment and machinery.
  • Ramsay Mechanical Tests
    • Ramsay MAT: The Ramsay Mechanical Aptitude Test is typically given to candidates for apprenticeships. The test contains 36 questions and lasts 20 minutes. Applicants may be asked about anything from hand tools to basic physics.
    • Ramsay MecTest: The Ramsay Maintenance Mechanics Test is given to more experienced tradesman. There are 60 total questions, all of which are multiple choice, including 4 lubrication questions; 4 reading questions; 5 power transmission questions; 7 pumps and piping questions; 8 shop machines, tools, and equipment questions; 10 mechanical maintenance questions, and finally 15 hydraulics and pneumatics questions.
  • EEI CAST
    The Construction and Skilled Trades Selection System (CAST) is a test that helps employers select candidates in construction and skilled trades occupations. It is approximately 2 hours long and tests Graphic Arithmetic, Mechanical Concepts, Reading for Comprehension, and Mathematical Usage.
  • Barron’s Test of Mechanical Aptitude
    The Barron’s Test of Mechanical Aptitude is an old mechanical aptitude test that focuses on general physics and mechanics. It is a test that can be used for a variety of fields from mechanics to aerospace engineering and everything in between.
  • Stenquist Test of Mechanical Aptitude
    The Stenquist Test of Mechanical Aptitude is an old, visual aptitude test. It uses pictures and diagrams to test your ability to learn physical concepts toward jobs in engineering, mechanics, and skilled trades.
  • Air Force Officer Qualifying Test (AFOQT)
    The AFOQT includes a verbal and numerical reasoning section similar to the SAT or the ACT. However, it also requires more specific knowledge, such as perceptual speed, aviation knowledge, and spatial rotation.
    The test is given to anyone applying to go to officer training school or air force reserve officer training corps. You’ll also be asked to pass the test if you plan to work as a combat systems officer, pilot, or air battle manager.
    Far from simple, the test contains 550 items divided into 12 different sections, one of which contains situational judgement questions. Examinees may take the test twice but only after 150 days have passed. Students cannot take the exam a third time without written approval.

 

How to Prepare for a Mechanical Aptitude Test?

Ideally, you’ll have worked with enough tools on enough projects to have a general sense of mechanical principles. However, chances are more than likely that you have gaps in your knowledge.

Plus, just because you have experience using hand tools doesn’t necessarily mean that you know much about calculating forces or kinetic energy. If you’re preparing for an online mechanical assessment test, you’re going to need to brush up on your skills with some practice questions and answers.

 

Why Do I Need to Take a Mechanical Ability Test?

If you’re applying for a job as a technician of some sort, you’re going to need to prove you know how to use various tools before heading into the job. That is to say that you need to show that you already know what you’re doing. Companies can’t risk allowing a beginner to take on dangerous tasks. They want to know that they can trust you with difficult projects and complicated tools.

Your prospective employers also want to know that you have a general understanding of theoretical physics. It’s essential that you know how to handle the necessary equipment; however, that’s not enough. If you’re going to be working in the military, for instance, you’ll need to know how various parts contribute to the functioning of the machine as a whole.

You’ll be expected to know how a single section of a tank, for example, connects to various other sections. Without this theoretical foundation, you won’t be able to make educated decisions when faced with a challenging repair.

 

Tips for Succeeding on Mechanical Engineering Tests:

Still worried about your upcoming mechanical reasoning test? Don’t sweat it! Take some of our top preparation tips, and you’ll be more than ready by the time you head out for the assessment center.

  1. Take the time to draw a picture if there is none. It can sometimes be difficult to work out mechanical concepts in your head, so don’t hesitate to label pulleys and gears, for example, with arrows and other relevant signs.
  2. While studying, make sure to compile a list of important formulas. While many of the questions will deal with principles alone, if you encounter a problem that requires a formula, you’ll be lost without it. Don’t give away easy points just because you forget the coefficient of a common equation.
  3. When in doubt, try putting a situation in context. It can be difficult to grapple with abstract concepts. Instead, try to connect the problem to something more familiar.

 

Topics Covered on Mechanical Tests :

Electricity:

  • Circuits- parallel, series
  • Magnetism
  • Capacitors, charge, current, resistance, voltage

Mechanics:

  • Energy-kinetic & potential energy
  • Forces-acceleration, friction, gravity, moments, pressure
  • Simple Machines-gears, levers, pulleys, screws, springs

Other:

  • Area
  • Units
  • Terminology & Tools

 

Mechanical Aptitude Tests Topics

Different mechanical tests include a multitude of topics. Here is a list of topics you may be tests on:

 

Mechanical Topics

  • Basic Machinery – Simple machines include the Inclined Plane, Lever, Pulley, Screw, Wedge, and Wheel & Axel.
  • Belt Drives – Understand that belt drives can be open or crossed and that they connect two pulleys of different sizes to achieve a mechanical advantage in torque.
  • Electrical Sequences – Know how electricity flows in a system or circuit.
  • Gears – Understand that gears are meshed together with their teeth and achieve a mechanical advantage through torque.
  • Hand and Power Tools – Common tools include clamps, drills, hammers, pliers, sanders, saws, screwdrivers, solders and wrenches.
  • Household Objects – Be aware of your surroundings at home. Use your experience from using common house objects to demonstrate your mechanical aptitude.
  • Hydraulics – Understand water flow down a pipe or container. Know how to use Bernoulli’s Principle and to find buoyant forces.
  • Levers – Understand the equation for torque and how levers provide a mechanical lift about a fulcrum.
  • Mechanical Concepts – These can range from how simple machines work to basic physics concepts. Much of them are already listed here.
  • Movement of Objects – Be familiar with the movement of objects under gravity or connected to a string pendulum, for example. This can be broad so try to think about how everyday objects move on their own.
  • Pulley Systems – Pulleys use extra parts/supports to reduce the force needed to lift an object. Understand the reduction in tension throughout the pulley system.
  • Process Flow – Understand how a system may proceed. Take care to follow a diagram with steps to reach an endpoint.
  • Production and Maintenance – Know how to follow procedures to maintain or create an object. Know what tools or materials are needed to repair/maintain the quality of a machine.
  • Signal Flow – You will have to figure out what a signal may indicate in a diagram. Be familiar with the idea of “action” and “reaction”.
  • Structures – Apply what you know about forces, torque, and center of gravity to understand the strength/durability of a structure like a bridge or table.
  • Velocity and Acceleration – Understand how an accelerating object moves, or how objects at constant velocity move. The conservation of momentum is very important here.

 

Scientific Topics

  • Acoustics & Sound – Understand the basics of a wave and the Doppler effect.
  • Center of Gravity – Figure out where mass is most concentrated and where gravity acts on an object. It will be important to apply your knowledge to balance objects.
  • Centrifugal Force – Know the effect of centrifugal force in a rotating system.
  • Electricity – Understand circuit diagrams, Ohm’s Law, the path of least resistance, basics on charge, current, potential, resistance, and power.
  • General Science – You may need to understand the basics of chemical reactions, heat, physical movement, and similar topics.
  • Gravity – This is different from Center of Gravity. Gravity is about the force of gravity on an object due to another object’s mass. Be prepared to think planets, the solar system, and large celestial bodies for these types of questions.
  • Heat – Understand how heat flows between temperatures and between objects and their environment. Knowing the Laws of Thermodynamics to a basic level is helpful here.
  • Inertia – This is Newton’s First Law of Motion. It is important to understand this law. Know how inertia affects you in an accelerating vehicle or as you rotate your body for example.
  • Optics – Know the basic properties of light as a wave and as a particle. Know reflection, refraction, and optical equipment like mirrors and lenses.
  • Physics – This is a broad subject and covers electricity, heat, fluids, gravity, momentum, torque, optics, and much of what is listed here already.
  • Resolution of Forces (Vectors) – Understand how forces are vectors and what their directions and magnitude mean in a problem. Know how to cancel forces.

 

Math and Arithmetic Topics

  • Electrical Mathematics – This is mostly about Ohm’s Law, V =IR, and related equations. Knowing the basics of multiplication and division are essential here.
  • Graphic Arithmetic – Know how to read a diagram and its dimensions. You will be asked to find the length of a side of an object based on the lengths already given to you. Perimeter and Area are two essential math concepts here.
  • Mathematical Usage – You will be tested on the basics of algebra (addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, the use of a parenthesis).
  • Shape & Volume – Know the basics of volume and geometric shapes like the cube, sphere, cylinder, cone, rectangular prism, pyramid, and triangular prism.
  • Slopes and Planes – Know what a slope looks like on a graph. Be able to use the concept of “rise over run.”

 

Free Practice Questions for Mechanical Reasoning Job Tests:

  1. Which direction does the block move? (if it does not move, mark C.)
    Mechanical Reasoning Test Question 1
  2. Which light bulb will be brighter when the switch is turned on? (if neither, mark C.)
    Mechanical Reasoning Aptitude Test Question 2
  3. Which direction does the belt drive turn on the left? (if it does not turn, mark C.)
    Mechanical Reasoning Aptitude Test Question 3
  4. What image do you expect to see in the mirror ball?
    Mechanical Reasoning Aptitude Test Question 4
  5. How much force do you need to balance the lever?
    Mechanical Reasoning Aptitude Test Question 5
  6. Which container holds more water (if neither, mark C)?
    Mechanical Reasoning Aptitude Test Question 6
  7. Which gear has greater torque (if neither, mark C)?
    Mechanical Reasoning Aptitude Test Question 7
  8. Which arrow shows the direction of ball A after the collision?
    Mechanical Reasoning Aptitude Test Question 8
  9. Mechanical Reasoning Test Question 9
  10. Which metal object heats up faster under the lamp?
    Mechanical Reasoning Aptitude Test Question 10

Answers:

  1. The block will move down because the force on the other side of the pulley (40N) is smaller than the block’s force due to gravity (50N).
  2. Neither light bulb will be brighter because they have the same voltage drop (V), current (I), and power (P = IV) flowing through them.
  3. The belt on the left will turn in the direction shown by arrow A because the belt on the right causes the pulley in the middle to move clockwise, causing the pulley on the left to also move clockwise.
  4. The mirror shown is convex, and convex mirrors always produce upright images.
  5. The torque on both sides of the fulcrum (center point) needs to be equal for the lever to balance so 0.25m x F = 0.5m x 40N gives F = 80N or 80 Newtons.
  6. The cube container holds more water because its volume is 8m3 while the volume for the sphere is 4/3 * π * 1m3 ~ 4.2m3.
  7. The larger gear will always have larger torque because it has a larger radius.
  8. Both balls will move to the right after the collision according to conservation of momentum but since Ball B will move downward after the collision, Ball A must move up and to the right, which is shown by answer B.
  9. A quarter of a mile is about 402 meters so one-and-a-quarter (1.25) miles is about 2011 meters, which means the closest answer to this is 1.24 meters, or b.
  10. Object B will heat up faster under the lamp because it has more of its surface exposed to the lamp (greater surface area means more contact with the environment and therefore more heat exchange).

 

Helpful Videos with Sample Questions: