How to pass a mechanical reasoning test

Careers Advice
10 March 2020 | Careers Advice | Guest Author

If you’re applying for an engineering or a similarly technical position, you’ll probably be faced with mechanical reasoning tests at some stage in the application process. These tests evaluate a candidate's ability to implement their mechanical knowledge in live scenarios.

Here’s a step by step guide in helping you pass the mechanical reasoning test.

Step 1: Learn some core principles

To score highly in the mechanical reasoning test, you need to learn some key principles. You can’t learn all of them of course, but do your best to understand key mechanical principles which are likely to come up. These include circuits, levers, mechanics and basic forces. Here are some mechanical reasoning tests to understand exactly what’s involved.

Step 2: Learn about the different types of tests

There are a wide range of different types of mechanical reasoning tests and you should try and get familiar with as many of them as possible. Some of the most common ones are Wiesen, Bennett, Stenquist, and Barron tests.  Wiesen tests focus mainly on operating machinery and tools. Bennett's tests focus on testing the ability of the candidate to comprehend how mechanics affect physical force. Stenquist tests include the display of images, with the candidate required to select the most suitable. Lastly, Barron tests are primarily used for military occupations.

You don’t need to be well versed in all these tests but, if you know the ones you’ll be taking, it makes sense to practice them beforehand. 

Step 3: Learn what is important

The mechanical reasoning test format varies from publisher to publisher, but the key components are the same; they’ll typically have images, one or two lines of text and some multiple choice answers. Try and keep things simple and go through the questions carefully. There may be information in the questions which is not important and merely there to distract. Be aware of this and be ready to eliminate decoy information.

Step 4: Keep and eye on the clock

Mechanical reasoning tests are timed and typically, you won’t be given very long. The average test time is 20 minutes and you may have 20 questions to answer in this time so try and work as quickly as you can. Before the test starts, note how long you have, and how many questions there are so you can pace yourself.

So, there are some steps to help improve your mechanical reasoning test performance. The key is to practice and get familiar with the types of tests you’ll be facing. 


-Francis Dimaano

Communications Manager, Practice Aptitude Tests

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