Trade aptitude tests assess candidates who want to eventually enter jobs for licensed millwrights, steamfitters, plumbers, carpenters, pipefitters, boilermakers, ironworkers, or dozens of other professions. The entrance exams contain questions in subjects such as algebra, reading comprehension, mechanical comprehension, arithmetic computation, and geometry.

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Trade Union Aptitude Tests are usually divided into two to three sections: (1) reading comprehension, (2) math, and (3) mechanical comprehension. Individuals who pass the test are eligible to enter trade entrance training programs. Passing grades vary by different unions but usually require a minimum score of 70%.

These skilled trades aptitude tests have been developed specifically to assist in the selection of new recruits for the respective trade positions. Passing the trade entrance exam is pre-requisite for starting a training program, which is why it is imperative to be prepared. There is a multitude of exams that are given to applicants. They will vary based on the type of job you want.

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1. Becoming a Skilled Tradesperson

The benefits of becoming a tradesman or a tradeswoman include, but are not limited to the following:

  1. Start receiving a paycheck right away – you will start earning your pay even before you are fully trained.
  2. Get hands-on career training – you will learn on the job while you are earning for the next one to four years as a trade entrant.
  3. Have an automatic career – you can ease into your next position because you have not only been trained but have a resume that shows work experience as well.
  4. Join a union – you can become part of a trade union such as the United Association (UA), IUEC or IBEW. Every union has locals which are responsible for drafting recruits in their area. Once you are a member of a union, you will enjoy its benefits and support throughout your career.

2. Get a job in the industry

Candidates can rely on trade entrance exams to be the most up to date. You will want to have the most current training if you want to get the job in your chosen industry.

3. Simple and candidate-accessible

It is of utmost importance to practice for the test and to focus on achieving a passing score. To take the test, all you have to do is to apply. Once you receive confirmation, you can take the test. If you pass, you will move onto the interview round. Good overall scores in these sections will help you on your first steps to becoming a skilled tradesperson, which is a great jumping-off point for your career.

4. Help candidates become licensed

Once you start your training, you are well on your way to becoming a licensed millwright, carpenter, pipefitter, plumber, sheet metal worker, ironworker, etc.

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Basic requirements

  • Minimum age of 18, but some training programs can start at age 16
  • Proof that you have passed an annual course
  • Some course require previous work experience
  • High school transcript
  • Personal interview

Various Types of Skilled Trade Aptitude Tests

There is no single uniform “Trade Aptitude Test.” This term can refer to many different tests, which are usually developed and administered by the trade unions and locals. Before entering the following trades you should expect to take a screening trade aptitude test: Ironworkers, Plumbers, Millwrights, Carpenters, Pipefitters, Sheet metal worker, Steamfitters, Welders, Boilermakers, Painters, Machinists, and more.

Some trade entry-level jobs are more popular than others, which makes that specific trade aptitude test more competitive:

Carpentry Math Test

The Carpentry Math Test challenges applicants in the type of math frequently encountered by carpenters. You must demonstrate your ability to add, subtract, multiply and divide whole numbers, fractions, decimals, and percentages. You will also be tested on your ability to calculate area, compute angles, and answer other geometric problems. Questions are asked in the form of linear equations and story problems. 

Ironworkers Union Aptitude Test

The Ironworkers Union Aptitude Test is a general knowledge exam that includes reading comprehension and math. On the math side, you will be asked to solve basic arithmetic problems, including fractions, decimals, and percentages. Additionally, you will be expected to know high-school algebra and geometry. The test also covers units of measurement and conversion tables. Questions are in the form of linear equations and story problems. 
For the reading comprehension section, you will be asked to read a paragraph and answer questions based on the passage. 

Plumbing Aptitude Test

There is both an English and mathematics component to the Plumbers entrance aptitude test. On the English test, you can expect to be tested on your reading comprehension skills and spelling abilities. The math test is more comprehensive, covering basic arithmetic, units of measurement, geometry, and conversion. 

Pipefitter Aptitude Test

If you’d like to be a pipefitter, you will need to pass the pipefitter math exam. You will be tested in basic arithmetic, story problems, and geometry. The test also covers basic algebra, fractions, and your ability to read a ruler. 

Uniform UA Union Aptitude Test 

The United Association (UA) represents plumbers, gas fitters, steamfitters, and steamfitter helpers. As the requirements for each of these trades are different, there is not a standard aptitude test for union applicants. 

Additionally, each local union is responsible for developing its own test. As a result, while the tests for every UA is similar, it does change from one locale to the next.

Additional Examples of Trade Aptitude Tests

As mentioned above, many trade applications include an aptitude testing phase. Most of these tests focus on two major components – basic math and reading comprehension. Additional test modules may include mechanical and spacial comprehension, more advanced math (algebra, functions), and writing skills.

Timed test

Each test is different, but they are almost always timed, which is why it is essential to practice in advance and be ready to answer each question correctly as quickly as possible. Here are some examples of possible test structures:

  • Multiple-choice questions in electrical concepts, mechanical reasoning, numerical, grammar, technical, and reading comprehension.
  • 69 multiple-choice questions in algebra and reading comprehension; 96-minute time limit.
  • 10 questions in math, reading comprehension, and practical applications; 10-minute time limit; 80% minimum score required.

Application process

When you apply to become a trade entrant, you will have to complete the following application process:

  1. Apply for the trade union aptitude test. You will probably be required to show proof of a diploma or high school equivalency.
  2. Take the test. This is where you can shine if you practice enough in advance for the exam.
  3. Undergo an interview.

What to bring with you

Bring a photo ID. If you forget your ID at home, you will not be allowed to take the test and you will lose your registration fee.

No calculators are permitted.

Is the test taken online?

The test is usually computerized and will be administered at your local testing station.

What should I study for the test?

We recommend that you have at least a basic command of high-school-level reading comprehension and basic math skills such as arithmetic, pre-algebra, and algebra to be comfortable taking the exam. Practicing with iPrep will improve your scores and help you get ready for exam day.

Are there other tests once I start my training?

At the end of your training, you must pass the journeyman exam to become a certified tradesperson holder. This is a difficult professional exam, which does not focus on general aptitude but on the professional knowledge gained during your training. However, it should not be confused with the trade aptitude test.

The trade aptitude test is very crucial. On the one hand, you do not need to prove professional knowledge, only basic skills. On the other hand, if one doesn’t pass it, one will not get the chance to gain professional knowledge and to become a skilled tradesman or a tradeswoman.

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1. Work on your test-taking skills

Study as often as you can so you can improve your skills and answer more questions correctly during the time limit. Practicing in advance will not only help you do better in a shorter amount of time, you will also feel more confident on testing day.

2. Read books regularly

Read plenty of books before taking the test to improve your reading comprehension skills.

3. Practice math equations

Practice solving basic math problems in algebra, fractions, addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. If you practice and sharpen your math skills, your accuracy will increase while your answer time will decrease.

4. Make educated guesses and move on

Given the time limitations, don’t spend too much time on any one question; guess the answer and move on.

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Where do I take the Trade Aptitude Test?

The test will be administered at your closest local union aptitude testing center.

Is there anything I should bring on the day of the test?

Bring an ID and a valid photo ID.

Disclaimer– All the information and prep materials on iPrep are genuine and were created for tutoring purposes. iPrep is not affiliated with any of the test providers mentioned.

About this Course

(8 Ratings)

Welcome to iPrep’s Trade Entrance Aptitude Test course.

This course will help you boost your skills and with it your confidence towards your upcoming Trade Entrance Aptitude Test . This is the kind of test that you need to pass in order to be accepted to the Trade Entrance program. The course will provide you with the following tools and benefits:

  • You will become familiar with the test’s various types of questions.
  • You will be given a full-length Trade-Entrance-style simulation test. This simulation is divided into two sections – the Algebra and Functions section and the Reading Comprehension section. Each section includes similar questions to those you might encounter in the real test with the same level of difficulty. They also have a time limit just as the real test does. Experiencing the test’s time pressure will ensure it will not come as a surprise on test day.
  • You will be provided with a great variety of helpful tips for the different types of questions. Some of the tips are in the introductory sections while most are in the detailed explanations that follow each question.

20 Learning Hours23 Practice Tests780 Questions30 Day Access

By the end of this course, you will be more knowledgeable and comfortable with the aptitude test – 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.

The course is comprised of both practice and learning sessions. We will guide you through learning lessons with essential information about your upcoming Trade Entrance Aptitude Test. These lessons will help you understand the underlying techniques that are essential for succeeding on the test.

The course is then concluded by its core component – simulating full-length tests that follow the structure and concepts of the Trade Entrance Aptitude Test.  Once done, you will be able to get full question explanations and even see how well you performed in comparison with other people who have taken the test.

Wishing you an enjoyable learning experience!

Skills You Will Learn

Basic mathBasic algebra & functionsReading comprehension


  1. Course Introduction
  2. Question Types Introduction
  3. Test-Taking Tips
  4. Full-Length Trade Aptitude Test Simulations
  5. Course Conclusion


Take This Course


This course will help ease your mind and allow you to confidently take your exam, which is will worth the money. I took the real exam and could tell that this course put me ahead of other test takers. Go in confident and that starts with signing up for this course. Good luck!

Josh Trevino

August 5, 2019 at 5:11 AM


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(8 Ratings)
  1. Khaled A*********
      October 12, 2021 at 4:14 AM

    This was fantastic! I loved how it broke down reading comprehension into easy to understand categories and content! I was able to grasp all the concepts and feel quite prepared to take on reading comprehension.

  2. Ryan B****
      May 10, 2021 at 9:13 AM

    The videos along with the transcription was nice since it’s been a long time since I’ve done any intricate math. Went into the test very relaxed and prepared.

  3. Matthew H*****
      April 30, 2021 at 5:10 PM

    I enjoyed every aspect of this course. While I was talking this course I began to feel more and more confident in my abilities. The layout of the course was easy to fallow and the information was easy to understand. I am looking forward to taking a test for the first time in my life.

  4. LEANNE B******
      March 17, 2021 at 5:40 PM

    Great prep for entry testing. Easy to follow and super helpful to get me going. aced my test! highly recommend!

  5. Mark B****
      April 16, 2020 at 11:17 PM

    IPrep has given me the tools to be able to give me the knowledge to pass the exam I have been studying for. I highly recommend this site and this course specifically for anyone looking to go into the union or who is studying for the union entrance exam.

  6. Andi H***********
      October 26, 2019 at 12:14 AM

    Good covered a lot of information. Needs more practice tests. Needs word problems. Needs 1-3 mechanical questions. Over all above average test prep.

  7. Hunter W*****
      October 24, 2019 at 12:37 AM

    helped me out a ton it showed me what was on the test and more. but i wish it would explain things a little easier i had a hard time understanding some equations.

  8. caleb s*****
      October 12, 2019 at 7:05 AM

    very good for refreshing on basics of algebra. highly recommend. helped me with the test a lot

Get to know what the Trade Entrance Aptitude Test will be like by practicing with these sample questions: