Mechanical Aptitude Test – Free Practice & More
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If you’ve dreamed of breaking into an engineering or technical career, you’re going to need to do well on a mechanical aptitude test. These tests show prospective employers that you have the right background to excel and already have a basic understanding of mechanical and physical concepts.
There are a number of different mechanical aptitude tests, including these well-known versions:
- Wiesen Test of Mechanical Aptitude
- Ramsay Mechanical Aptitude Test
- And more
Did you know?
Mechanical Aptitude Tests typically have 8 different question types: (1) forces, (2) levers, (3) pulleys, (4) gears, (5) springs, (6) simple electrical circuits, (7) hydraulics, and (8) tools. You’ll need to score 80% or higher to move forward in the hiring process. To pass, you’ll need to demonstrate mechanical comprehension, understand simple machines, and be familiarized with basic physical forces.
Question Types Explained
Mechanical aptitude tests are generally timed multiple-choice tests. While each test is different, you can expect to have between 30-60 seconds per question.
These are the common mechanical aptitude question types:
Basic Physical Forces
You may be expected to understand different energy forces, such as gravity, velocity, heat, and friction. You will need to demonstrate how these physical concepts apply in everyday life by predicting the behavior of objects subjected to various forces.
Basic Physical Forces Sample Question
Which weight will reach the ground first, if weight B is heavier than weight A?
(If at the same time, mark C.)
The correct answer is C – at the same time.
It can be seen that weight B is heavier than weight A, i.e. WB > WA. Now, weight is defined by Newton’s 2nd Law as:
Weight (W) = mass(m) * gravitational acceleration (g)
But for Earth, the gravitational acceleration is a constant i.e. 9.81m/s2. This shows that neglecting the effect of air resistance, the weight of a body does not change its downward acceleration due to gravity.
Even though weight A and B are different, according to Newton’s law, it does not change their accelerations towards the earth. This means that they will reach the ground at the same time.
These questions display pictures of levers with weights on one or both sides of the fulcrum. You’ll be challenged to answer questions about weight, balance, spacing, and the mechanical advantage of levers.
Levers Sample Question
Two fixation points provide an accurate force to prevent the weights from breaking the poles. Which weight is heavier?
(If equal, mark C.)
The correct answer is B.
The given problem can be modeled as a beam balance with point O as the pivot. Summation of moments on O is zero since no rotation occurs. We denote the weights of load and counterweight as FL and FW and their moment arms as RL and RW respectively. Now, ΣM=0,
FW × RW – FL × RL = 0 or FL = RW/RL × FW
Since FW and RL are the same in both cases, and RW for B is greater than RW for A, hence load B must be heavier.
You will be shown a picture of a pulley or pulleys and have to answer questions about the structure of the pulley system or the force needed to lift or move a weight.
Pulleys Sample Question
A stone is dragged in two different ways. In which method is it easier to drag the stone?
(If equal, mark C.)
The correct answer is A.
When the stone is pulled directly, the applied force (FB) is directly equal to the tension in the string. When a pulley is used, the tension is divided into two and the applied force (FB) is halved. This can be mathematically stated as:
FB = TB = FFriction and FA = TA = 0.5TB = 0.5FFriction
As shown in the figure below, the force resisting the movement is the friction force (FFriction). The pulley helps in dividing the required force into two parts and hence facilitates the process. Hence method A is easier for dragging the stone.
Like the other sections, you will be presented with an image of gears and have to answer questions relating to the direction and speed of the different gears.
Gears Sample Question
Three cogwheels mesh in a gear train. In which direction should gear Y rotate to have gear X rotate counterclockwise?
(If it cannot be determined, mark C.)
The correct answer is B.
As we know that the tangential velocity of two meshed gears always remains the same. However, their direction of rotation is always the opposite of each other. We can see that gear X meshes with another gear. We will call it the idler-gear. Gear Y meshes with the idler-gear as well.
In order to rotate the gear X counterclockwise, the idler-gear needs to be rotated clockwise. But since the idler-gear meshes with gear Y, it can only rotate if gear Y rotates counterclockwise. Hence gear Y should be rotated in direction B.
Each question will display a spring, and challenge your ability to calculate responses based on compression, force, and distance.
Springs Sample Question
At which position of the torsion spring is the potential energy greater?
(If equal, mark C.)
The correct answer is B.
A torsional spring is an energy storing element, which stores potential energy in the form of strain. Initially, the spring is at the normal extension, as shown by position A. When compressed, it compresses to position B. At this point, it has stored potential energy, which means that it will tend to regain its original position once the applied force is removed. Since the work done on the spring equals its change in potential energy, the potential energy of the spring increases when it is compressed from position A to position B after the work is done. Hence the potential energy of the torsional spring is greater at position B.
Simple Electrical Circuits
After looking at simple diagrams of electrical currents, you will need to answer questions relating to power sources, switches, loads, and wiring paths.
Simple Electrical Circuits Sample Question
In the current structure, switch 1 is on and switch 2 is off. Which lamp will light up?
- Lamp 1
- Lamp 2
The correct answer is C – neither.
It can be seen from the structure that the given circuit is short-circuited by a jumper wire connecting the two terminals, highlighted in the figure below. A short circuit occurs when two nodes having a finite potential difference are connected to each other without having any resistance between them.
According to Ohms’ Law: Current (I) = Potential Difference (V) / Resistance (R)
If resistance is near zero, then the amount of current flow will be very large. Since current always takes the path of least resistance, it will move through the jumper wire and will not pass through the bulbs. In this case, we do not need to consider the configuration of the switches.
Hydraulics deal with the mechanical properties and use of liquids. Questions will deal with transmission of power by the use of pressurized liquids, pipe flow, dam design, and more.
Hydraulics Sample Question
Water flows through the big pipe on the left and there is no air in the system. The cross-section area of each of the smaller pipe is exactly half that of the big pipe. What will be the velocity of the water flow in the smaller pipes?
- Greater than that of the big pipe
- Equal to that of the big pipe
- Less than that of the big pipe
The correct answer is B.
Since water is incompressible, we can safely assume that the density of water does not change from entering to leaving the system. Thus, we can conclude that the mass of water entering the big pipe will be equal to that leaving the smaller pipes i.e.:
Mass flow into the pipe (Δm1) = Mass flow out of the pipes (Δm2)
It is given that the cross-section area of each of the smaller pipe is exactly half that of the big pipe. This means that the cross-section area of both of the smaller pipes is equal to that of the big pipe.
In cases that the overall exit area is smaller than the entry area, the flow velocity in the exit area will be greater to compensate for this difference and balance the equation.
However, in our cases, there is no difference between the entry area and the exit area, therefore, no change in velocity is required to balance the equation.
You will need to identify tools and the tasks for which they are used.
Tools Sample Question
What is this tool used for?
- To smooth surfaces by abrasion with sandpaper
- To grind metal and cut tile, stucco, and pavers, rout out mortar
- For light cutting, grinding, and cleaning tasks
- To flatten, reduce the thickness of a rough piece of lumber
The correct answer is A.
This power tool is a sander.
Mechanical aptitude tests won’t let you skate by on general knowledge and strong reasoning skills. While the challenges presented on the test are not complex problems, they require an existing understanding of a number of physical and mechanical concepts. Here are a few things you can do to give yourself the best chance of doing well and impressing your hiring manager.
- Study any guide that you are given before the test.
- Take multiple practice tests, like those offered by iPrep, to familiarize yourself with types of questions you will face even if you are already familiar with the material.
- Understand your weaknesses, and spend more time studying those sections.
- Ask a friend to help, or find a study group online.
- Take a refresher course, either at a local college or online.
- Make sure to get a good night’s sleep and eat right before taking the test. When your body is taken care of, your mind can do its best work.
There are a number of different tests used by companies:
Wiesen Test of Mechanical Aptitude
The Wiesen test was designed to be a standalone test or part of a larger testing process.
Administered by: The test is administered by a company as part of its hiring process.
Test Structure: The test contains 60 questions and must be completed in 30 minutes or less. It may be given online or using a pencil and paper.
Test Results: Scores are given as a raw score and percentile. An average electrician will need a raw score between 47-56, while a materials handler will need a 40-52. When taken electronically, test results are available immediately.
Ramsay Mechanical Aptitude Test
Administered by: The test is administered by Ramsay during the hiring process.
Test Structure: The test consists of 36 questions and must be completed in 20 minutes or less. It may be given online or using a pencil and paper.
Test Results: You will receive both a raw score and a percentile rank, with the average score being 43-48. Different positions require different scores.
Bennett Test of Mechanical Comprehension
Administered by: The test is administered by Pearson, either at your potential employer, a Pearson Assessment Center, or online at home, as part of the hiring process.
Test Structure: There are two versions of the test. The first has 55 questions and must be completed in 25 minutes, while the second has 68 questions which must be answered in 30 minutes. Tests are usually taken on a computer, but pencil and paper versions are available.
Test Results: Scores are presented as both a raw score and a percentile and are broken down into subsections. Passing scores are based on each individual company’s policies, but generally, 70% or higher is needed to move ahead in the hiring process.
Results Scale and Interpretations
While every company determines its own passing scores, the different tests provide percentile ranges for different positions. For example, Criteria Corp’s Wiesen test report shows recommended scores by position.
One rule of thumb to keep in mind is that employers are looking for candidates who score a minimum of 70%-80% regardless of which mechanical aptitude test is being taken. If you’re serious about a job in a mechanical job, you’ll need to score well to get your foot in the door.
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Mechanical Aptitude Test FAQs
Mechanical aptitude tests have a few things in common. Almost every question begins with some type of diagram that you will need to understand before you can answer the question. They are almost always timed multiple-choice tests, giving you less than a minute for each question.
Most mechanical aptitude tests draw on a library of questions from their question bank. Additionally, tests may be modified based on the type of position.
There is no law requiring you to take a mechanical aptitude test in order to get a job. However, most companies today won’t consider candidates who refuse or are unable to take the test.
Most employers absorb the test fees for the mechanical aptitude test. However, you may come across an employee who wants you to cover the cost of the test as part of the screening process.
Mechanical aptitude tests measure your understanding of mechanical concepts, and your ability to apply those principles to solve problems.
While every company has different standards, 80% or higher is considered a good score. Some companies will consider candidates who score as low as 70%.
The best way to practice for your mechanical aptitude test is to simulate testing conditions as closely as possible. Make sure to strictly adhere to time limits during your practice test, and review incorrect answers so you can improve on your next attempt.
A mechanical aptitude test helps prospective employers determine whether or not you are a qualified candidate. The tests display pictures of different mechanical challenges and ask multiple choice questions for you to answer.
Mechanical Aptitude Test Tips
- Don’t miss points for providing partial answers. Each question has only one correct answer but rather often, it will be an answer like “all the options are correct” or “neither option is correct.”
- It is helpful to know basic formulas of volume, pressure, acceleration, and moment by heart. In most cases, you will not need to do the math but you will need to understand the potential effects of different magnitudes of forces.
- The first thing you should ask yourself while reading each question is what is the mechanical principle this question focuses on. The answer should be as precise as possible. For example, do not answer “pulleys” but “the number of ropes pulling the weight in the pulley system.”
- If you are caught up by a question and are not sure of the correct answer, try to “exaggerate” the application of the forces. For example, if the question compares two different heights, then instead of rather similar heights, think of the problem as if one point is very high and the other is very low. Same goes for distances (very short and very long), mass (very heavy and very light), and many other features such as speed, volume, surface area, and force applied. This “exaggeration” will usually help you in refining the essence of the mechanical principle you should examine.
Test Location: Mechanical aptitude tests are generally given at the employer’s office. However, some tests can be taken online at home or at a local testing center.
Test Schedule: Mechanical aptitude tests are scheduled as part of the job hiring process.
Test Format: Mechanical aptitude tests are multiple-choice, with candidates having less than a minute per question.
Test Materials: Tests are typically taken on a computer, although some tests are done using pencil and paper. Candidates can have a piece of scratch paper with them to work out questions.
Retake Policy: If you fail the test, most employers will not allow you to take the test again. However, there is no set policy against the practice.
There are a number of mechanical aptitude test providers, including Pearson, Ramsay, and Criteria Corp (Wiesen).
Disclaimer – All the information and prep materials on iPrep are genuine and were created for tutoring purposes. iPrep is not affiliated with Pearson, Ramsay, Criteria Corp, or any third-party providers of assessment tests.
Get to know what mechanical aptitude tests are like by practicing with these sample questions:
Question 1 of 7
Through which pipe will the water flow in greater pressure?
(If pressure will be the same, mark C.)
The correct answer is C – the pressure will be the same.
The pressures in pipe A and B can be described by Bernoulli’s Theorem, which divides total pressure into three heads:
Total Pressure = Static Head + Dynamic Head + Elevation Head
The static head is the static pressure at the given point. The dynamic head, as the name suggests, is due to the velocity of the liquid and the elevation head is due to the height of the liquid.
In our case, the pressure at pipe A and B is due to the elevation head of water above them. This exerts equal pressure on both points A and B. When water shoots out from the pipes, its velocity is equal, in accordance with the Toricelli’s theorem which gives the velocity of a jet as: v = √2gh. h is equal for both A and B, so velocity is the same.
Due to the same velocity, the dynamic pressure head will also be the same. It is known that pressure is defined as, “force per unit area” i.e. P=F/A. So even though the jet force due to flow rate will be greater for pipe B, the flow rate of a unit area will remain the same and hence pressure for both A and B will be the same.
Question 2 of 7
A friend asked you to hand over an Allen wrench.
Which screw does he probably wish to tighten?
The correct answer is
- Flat Head / Slotted / Straight wrench
- Phillips / Cross Head wrench
- Allen / Hex Head / Hex Key wrench
- Torx / Star Head wrench
- Robertson / Square-Head wrench
Question 3 of 7
Which part of the string has a higher strain on it?
(If neither, mark C.)
The correct answer is C.
The string attached to a pulley is considered to be massless and “non-stretchable.” Therefore, it has an equal distribution of tension forces acting on it. This is due to Newton’s Third Law of equal and opposite reaction, acting on every point of the string. Also, consider the force balance on a small section of the string. As each small section of the string is in equilibrium, the tension (T) acting on it on both sides will be the same as shown in the figure.
If you extend this argument over the whole length of the string, you can conclude that the tension will remain the same on every part of the string, which means that neither part of the string has a higher strain rate than the other.
Question 4 of 7
At which position will the pendulum normally travel the fastest?
The correct answer is C.
The pendulum given above is a simple pendulum, having a bob of mass “m”, hanging from the pivot with a string of length “l”. let us assume that the pendulum is released from the horizontal position, which is the highest the pendulum can go.
As we know that the potential energy of an object is greatest at its highest position, the pendulum will have the most potential energy at the horizontal position A. However, the speed of the pendulum at this point will be zero, which shows that the kinetic energy will also be zero.
According to the law of conservation of energy, the total energy at all points should remain the same.
Now, potential and kinetic energies are given as:
Potential energy = mass (m) * gravitational acc.(g) * height
Kinetic energy = mass (m) * velocity(v)2 / 2 [mv2/2]
At position A, the pendulum bob will have a greater height than in positions B or C, so its potential energy will be greater, but since the total energy is the same, the kinetic energy will be less than that of the other positions. This means that it will travel slower.
As the bob moves downwards, the potential energy will keep converting to kinetic energy and at position C, all the potential energy will be converted to kinetic energy. Hence the bob will move the fastest at the position C.
Question 5 of 7
How many lamps will be lit if switch 1 is closed?
The correct answer is A – 1 lamp.
Current only flows between two points if there is a potential difference. In order to analyze the above circuit, define the nodes in the circuit. When switch 1 is closed, there are only three nodes—A, B, and C—in the circuit. In this case, lamps 1 and 2 are in the series; however, the potential difference across the series is zero since both end terminals are connected to node A. Therefore, lamps 1 and 3 will not light up. Lamp 2 is directly connected to the battery terminals A and C; therefore, lamp 2 will light up. This is why only one lamp will light up.
Question 6 of 7
Two people are balanced on a seesaw as in the top part of the image. If the left person jumps up, which of the scenarios, A or B, is likely to happen upon landing on the seesaw?
(If equally likely, mark C.)
The correct answer is A.
This is a case of a class 1 lever, where the people on the sides are loads and the fulcrum is in the middle. When the person on the left jumps on a balanced seesaw, the weight of the person on the right unbalances the seesaw and it falls to the right. When the person on the left lands on the seesaw, an effort is exerted due to weight, which lifts the seesaw from the right. However, it does not stop right in the middle due to the extra energy from the jump, and keeps lifting the person on the right, as can be seen in scenario A.
Question 7 of 7
Which gear rotates fastest?
The correct answer is A.
The rotational velocities (ω) of directly meshed gears are inversely proportional to their number of teeth (N) as:
ω1/ω2 = N2/N1. This means that the greater the number of teeth is, the lower the speed is.
We have denoted the green gear as gear D. Now the number of teeth (N) of the gears is in the order: NB < NA < ND < NC.
Gear D directly meshes with gear A, so since gear A has fewer teeth than gear D, it rotates faster (ωA > ωD).
Since gear B and D are connected to the same shaft, they rotate at the same speed, i.e. ωB = ωD.
Gear B directly meshes with gear C, so since gear B has fewer teeth than gear C, it rotates faster (ωB > ωC).
Combining the conclusions above:
ωA > ωD = ωB > ωC
Gear A rotates the fastest and gear C rotates slowest.
You have completed the Sample Questions section.
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About the course
Welcome to iPrep’s Mechanical Aptitude Course.
This course will help you boost your skills and with it your confidence towards your upcoming mechanical aptitude test. The course will provide you with the following tools and benefits:
- You will become familiar with various types of mechanical aptitude questions.
- You will be given many mechanical aptitude simulation tests. Experiencing the test’s time pressure will ensure it will not come as a surprise on test day.
- You will be provided with a mechanical aptitude study guide, which will review the main topics to appear on real exams.
- You will find a great variety of helpful solving methods, theoretical explanations, and tips for the different types of questions. These are found in the detailed explanations that follow each question.
- This course also includes a comprehensive numerical skills review. If your test also includes a numerical section, you will be able to refresh your math skills with our comprehensive yet concise guides, which cover all the important aspects you may encounter on your test. Each section of the review is followed by test-level questions.
By the end of this course, you will be more knowledgeable and comfortable with mechanical and math aptitude questions, which intimidate many test-takers. Knowledge and familiarity with the test are the two most significant factors that can help you maximize your score and improve your chances of success.
Wishing you an enjoyable learning experience!
Skills you will learn
- Course Introduction
- Mechanical Comprehension Guide
- Test-Taking Tips
- Mechanical Aptitude Test Simulations
- Math Aptitude Test Review
- Tool Recognition
- Course Conclusion
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December 30, 2020 at 7:39 AM
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May 30, 2022 at 6:25 PM
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